Sunday, January 23, 2011

The high power heater

After a night with the high power heater there is open water near the well intake, but an ice layer formed underneath. the fish are swimming slowly around, too.

My Tropical Aquarium

12/30/2010 I scooped out all the gravel, which was covered with some kind of white filaments. I cleaned it by rinsing with fresh water, then replaced it. I also cleaned the filter. The fish is doing well. I think I would like to get some kind of scavenger, like a catfish, to see if they could keep this under control.

01/03/2011 Today I got two new fish: a catfish and a pleco. I was hoping the catfish would eat some of the filaments. when I had a pleco before it grew very big. I am hoping this one will last a long time.
The catfish is hard to photograph as it moves so fast.

The pleco is hiding behind the heater. They always look for a place to attach.

And my old fish.

Jan. 4 and 5. The catfish didn’t make it. On the morning after I bought him he had white fluff over his eyes and behind some fins. That seemed to diminish, but he went downhill and died that evening.
I brought him back to the pet store as I was within the 48 hour guarantee. They tested the water and found that the pH was 6.0, which is really low!

I got a pH adjuster that is supposed to make the pH 7.5. I also got a fungicide treatment, that consists of two tablets. It has turned the water greenish/blue. They did give me credit at the store so I can get a new fish when everything is adjusted.

1/11 The pH is still about 6.5. I added a dose (5mg?) of the pH up solution.

1/22 The pH is staying stubbornly at 6.5. Should I dose it again. The fish are doing great.

Koi maintenance updates

12/31/2010 Filter running well. I took advantage of the melting ice to scoop out some of the leaves. I also keep checking that the circuit breaker isn’t out. I took the heating pad out. I’ll put it back when it gets really cold. I hope it works. Can’t always tell.

01/03/2011 Even though the cold came back, the ice stayed out except for a small amount.  I guess it takes time for the heat to be lost.

01/11/11 pond is almost completely frozen. I have noticed that the water level in the pump well gets low when the ice thickens. I had to add water directly to the well to bring the level up. The heating pad doesn’t seem to be turning on at the right time. I guess it’s all right if the pump is still working. I might need to buy a new pump.

1/22/11 The temperature got down to 7 last night. As the top freezes the water level drops and the pump isn’t getting enough water in the well. I have been adding water about 4 or 5 gallons at a time with the watering jug. I got the level up after three containers full. I hope the cold snap doesn’t last too long. I have been breaking up the ice by the water fall and at the intake.

The heating pad doesn’t seem to be working at all. I will test it on another plug today. I think I may have to buy another one.

1/23/11 The 200watt heater has stopped working. Because the forecast was so low I decided to install the old 2400 watt heater for the time being. I don’t want to use it too long because of the cost!

The Koi Pond

In December the fish were starting to slow down as the water got colder. No ice yet when these shots were taken on Dec. 4

Goldfish Pond

I have decided to chronicle the different aquariums that I have going around the house. The goldfish pond is a bump out on the porch. It holds may 50 gallons? I have added an external filter to keep the water fresh for the 20 or so fish.

12/30/2010 Changed the charcoal packet and all the filters in the tank. It took a while to get the flow going. I added more water. The fish are doing well.

1/22/2011 The pump stopped working this week. I got it working but the suction wasn’t very strong. I will have to take the pump apart to get it up to full power. The water is starting to get cloudy.

1/23 The filter of the pump seemed to be plugged with algae. I washed everything and am getting a good flow. The bottom of the tank needs vacuuming. The water is quite cold now and the fish seem to be slowing down.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Mithradates, the Poison King

I just finished reading the new book about Mithradates by Adrienne Mayor. Mithradates was the king of ancient Pontus, in modern day Turkey on the Black Sea, at the end of the Roman republic. He fought against the expansion of the Romans for forty plus years. Even though he had successes, he could never defeat the Romans. They always had a new general and legions to throw against him. I think there are several reasons why the Romans could always defeat him, even when they were badly outnumbered.

  • The Romans had a system that was independent of personalities. Mithradates ruled personally. He didn't hesitate even to kill his own children if he felt threatened by them.
  • The Romans were united even when fighting. All the members of the Roman army spoke the same language and worked together. Mithridates armies were formed from people from many countries and cultures who must have had difficult communicating. 
  • Mithradates had bad luck. Many times he should have won, but fortune swung to the Romans. It even looked as though the gods were against him at times.
This is a fascinating book. Sometimes characters from ancient history can seem remote, like people in marble. Mayor succeeds in making Mithradates come alive. The reader just has to accept Mithradates' behavior on its own merits. We can't judge his murders, poisonings, and plotting by today's standards.

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