Monday, December 7, 2009

Goldfish Part II, What separates my tank from others

This picture features(from left to right) Tom, Schmitty and spastic. This was taken when I tried marble tile for the bottom of the tank and before the plant was eaten.

Goldfish, epically the feeder fish that I have, on there own are not that great. But with any fish it is truly the tank that makes them worth having. My fish tank is a standard fifty gallon tank set up in such a way to make it truly unique. What goes into that is the choice of fish, water management and décor. Now know that décor is were I spent the least amount of time. I focused more on the fish and how water management affects them. My décor only consist of a collection of gravel and a couple of odd shaped aquarium rocks. It is well lit with a natural toned light fixture.

First comes the fish, I went with four because this results in more natural behavioral pattern in the fish. Understand it is better to have 4 or more of a particle kind of fish as this will cause them to act as a school. Ultimately a school of fish is far more interesting then four random fish; as four random fish will not know what to make of each other simply sit there and stare at each other. A school of fish will swim around the tank in formation and have a noticeable pecking order. They also form up for protection from, as well as to investigate and try to eat the glowing red dot, my laser pointer, which occasionally shows up in the tank.

Water management is vitally important. And it’s the corner stone of my fish tank. When I started this tank I wanted to grow GAINT goldfish. So I went with a moving water tank. That means that my fish tank has a current. This is created as the bubble bars sit along the one side of the tank. A moving water tank causes the fish to swim constantly, like they do in nature. This causes the fish to grow to huge sizes. It also causes fish to grow past normal tank limitations. The constant bubbling also provides the fish with well aerated water. The gravel is a part of water management as well. My tank has a filter as well. To play it safe my filter is meant for tank larger then my own. Although it is easy to over look the gravel provides natural organisms a place to grow. These natural organisms help to keep the tank healthy as a mini ecosystem is formed. I once lined my aquarium, as seen above, with marble tile. In the absences of gravel my water quality went way down and filter cleaning went way up. Adding some live plants will add to mini ecosystem effect and improve water quality. Also know that these plants will provide a nice snack for your fish. My fish enjoyed them completely, which is why my tank has none.

A note to those Beta owners, DO NOT PUT MORE THEN ONE IN A TANK TOGETHER. No matter how many you put in, you will end up with, at most, one fish.

Good Times, an Old Friend and Top Gear

The two terms seem to be sinuous and often are. These two terms have come to my mind as I have recently had some good times with an old friend of mine. My friend, Jon, and I went to Applebee’s and had few drinks then went and caught an episode of top gear. It was definitely a good time. The two of us always do seem to have good time together as we have since middle school. I met him through the youth group at my church. It is funny as I have not seen him in a while yet we both watch Top Gear. For those of you who do not know Top Gear is a show from BBC, the British Broadcasting Company. It is a gear head, car enthusiast, show done in a British style, as anyone might expect from its producing network. The three host of the show do your standard car reviews with plenty of shot of the cars racing around the tack. But there is more. They are smart enough not to take themselves too seriously and they do interview celebrities. They also perform challenges like turning cars into amorphous vehicles or seeing if a car or plane will get from point A to point B quicker. Jon notes that it is the only car show that girl friend, Heather, will watch with him. I will note that it the only car show in which the host will evaluate the cars performance while participating in a beach front attack with the Royal Marians. Of that note if you want a car that has proven its effectiveness as a transport during a beach front attack go with the Ford Feitot, but do pick a color other then bright orange.

To continue on about top gear the show is awesome. Honestly on one episode they worked to determine the “roughness” of a pickup truck from Toyota. They left it out in the tide lit it on fire and placed it atop a sky scrapper during its implosion only find out the truck still ran after some work with no replacement parts. Truly useful information for those of us who will need to know what pickup trucks can take a hell of beating and keep on… well trucking. On one episode they raced a car against a jet and lost. And in the midst of all this absurdity with car more expensive then most could hope to own, they take a celebrity and have them do a lap around the race track in a standard car. Pure genius.

Something that I have come to find through this show that a gallon of gas in the UK is about 5 pounds. Now understand that the exchange rate from dollars to pounds fluctuates between 1.5 to 2 dollars for every pound. Ultimately this means that gas in the UK is priced at about 7.5 to 10 dollars a gallon. The thought of this alone has me wondering where my bike is. So as a bonus the show also enlightens one to world culture.

Goldfish, more specifically, mine.

My goldfish are Schmitty(That’s how his name is spelled), Spastic, Tom and Jerry. They are by far the coolest goldfish there ever where, in fact Schmitty is too cool to be the color gold. He is in fact white. This is the result, as fair as my research efforts can tell, of a lack of direct sun light. Now the other goldfish have received the same, if not less, amount of sunlight as Schmitty, but Schmitty is the only one to go all albino on me. Schmitty is so cool he actually has his own Facebook. It was half made because of how cool he is and half because his owner used it to get ahead in a Facebook game. As a side bar said owner, me, has given up Facebook games. Schmitty does have his draw backs, he will go hemorrhagic septic simply for attention. For those not familiar hemorrhagic septic is blood poisoning that causes a fish’s blood to begin to surface in its fin and face area. It is as neat looking to the untrained eye as it is life treating to the fish. Now I say that Schmitty goes hemorrhagic septic for attention because he does it when the fish tank has undergone no major changes and is in peek condition. Further proving my theory that he simply does this for attention is that he does with no cause but also seems to clear up with no change in his environment as well. Schmitty is approximately six inches in length from tip to tip.

Spastic is the smallest at about four and a one quarter inches. His name comes from his spastic temperament which results from being the smallest in the tank. His temperament also makes him the most interesting of all the fish to watch. As he is the smallest in the tank and significantly smaller then the largest fish in the tank I do have to keep an extra eye on him for abuse from the other fish. This can first be spotted as fin shredding, which I have yet to see. It is normal behavior for fish to pick on significantly smaller fish given the opportunity. But I guess my fish are just special.

Tom and Jerry, named after the cartoon duo of my youth are the two fish in the middle of the size range at five and one half inches as well as five inches respectively. Tom also has two marks on his from the time he managed to squeeze in and get stuck behind the bubble tube. Fortunately I noticed and saved him in time. Since then I have put gravel around the bubble bar to prevent further incident. Aside from Tom’s little endeavor, Tom and Jerry are not very exciting. But they do complete school.

They are actually feeder fish that my sisters turtle passed over. It is a bit of a funny story my mom, sister and myself got a few normal tank fish and bunch of feeder fish to put in my sister’s turtle’s tank. The turtle went straight for the normal fish despite the fact that the feeder fish were much larger then its head. It was ironic cruel and sad as we had just finished naming those fish.

Pit Bulls

I got a pit bull a couple of months ago, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier to be specific, and it is not the terrifying beast that they are made out to be. Rufus, is the polar opposite of every stereotype I had ever herd about pit bulls. First off let me say that I was under the impression that pit bulls were these massive blood thirsty beasts. Massive is not even close, my vet says that Rufus will grow to be approximately 50 lbs. That is all. Human children, especially in this country, run bigger then that. Sometimes I carry him around just to be funny; he is a little light weight. We actually used to have a female runt of a chocolate lab and that dog was bigger then this male pit bull.

It isn’t all about size as there is the stereotype that these dogs are ferocious and will rip your throat out just for looking at them the wrong way. NO. Rufus will run and hide under the table if you look at him the wrong way. And if you raise your voice, even at jest with someone else in the room, the little guy makes a B-line to hide under my parent’s bed. While on walks the little guy will defend me as he stops to bark off those killer… killer street signs and trash cans. Even moving around a throw rug will send him scurrying off.

Now many times people say that they are just plain mean dogs. Those people are mistaken. Rufus is a pack animal just the same as any dog. My mom and my sister recently had minor surgeries done which took them out of commission for a few days of hanging out on the couch and recuperating. Despite Rufus being a scarred little ninny his pack mentality had him at their sides the whole time they were recuperating. He could sense that they weren’t at the top of their games and stood by, just in case. It was kind of sweet of him.

Uncontrolled and inhibited have been said of pit bulls as well. Not the case either. The entire time my family has had Rufus he has had 2 accidents. That’s right the 6 month old puppy went two whole months with only two accidents. He can from the SPCA were he did receive daily walks but the dog kennels are set up so that dogs can, and often do, go to the bathroom in them. So Rufus becoming house broken so quickly is no small feet for any dog. Pit bulls rather are a trainable dog. Perhaps this is why dog fighters use them, because they will do what they are trained to do, no matter the cost.

Ignorance is horrible thing, and I always strive to set myself from the ignorant masses. It also helps that I have a friend who rescues pit bulls and enlightened me long before we got ours. Still I was surprised that pit bulls are not big. But my little rascal is just right.