Aquarium Overhaul

I had a bout of itchy green fingers again, and browsing through Pinterest, looking at the lush aquariums some people have done, isn’t exactly helping. Since last week was a long weekend in Singapore as Polling Day falls on a Friday (which I hope, all my fellow Singaporeans got whoever they voted for), I decided to give in, because what better to get rid of temptation?

I went Driftwood hunting a few weeks back, in the pursuit of that perfect, branchy looking one. Finally, I ended up with 2, rather nice looking ones. I had the idea of putting both of them into the tank, and went on to soak them in hot water for about 2 weeks prior to the overhaul, trying to get rid of any nasty stuff and tannin (boiling would be best, but I doubt I will be allowed to ‘cook’ my wood in pots used for cooking, with my germaphobe dad around).

Polling day came, my man bought me Macdonald’s breakfast, because, what better way to start the morning but with hot pancakes and scrambled eggs, before I went to do my part as a citizen, secretly hoping the potentially elected will result in a 5th mall in my area, and maybe, just maybe, Chacott will open a store here (hint hint). Anywaaay, after citizen business, its back to my tank. I drained about half the water out of my tank, which required several huge pails, since my tank is about 14 gallons, or 60 litres, not exactly fun. Luckily, my man was around to do the heavy duty. I then removed most of my plants, since it might be easier to get my fauna out without the obstructions. Which led to a conundrum, yanking my plants out will lead to an ammonia spike, which is why I wanted to remove my fauna in the first place. So which comes first?

In the end, I tried to remove the plants as gently as I could, praying that each cloud of dust will settle soon. At the same time, trying to remove as much fauna as I could into a little pail with an airstone, with little success, since I only managed to get about 1/3 of the population out. The Platys and Betta are not much of a problem, since they are relatively slow, some rummy noses were caught by trapping them against the glass and net, the Celestial Pearl Danios proved impossible, and the Shrimps and Otocinclus, needless to say, are impossible. I’m sorry to say, homegirl here has no patience in catching fishes. By now, I have removed most of my plants, except those that I thought looked good in that area and my tank was as hazy as Singapore right now. Occasionally, I managed to catch a glimpse of red (from the remaining rummy noses in the tank).

I kept the filter of the main tank running, to try to get rid of the cloudiness. I then proceeded to put in the Driftwood. Lo behold, homegirl has overestimated the size of her tank once again, and putting both driftwoods in would be impossible. It’s ok, I can work with one. Rescaping the soil would not be a great idea since I still have some fauna in there and I have no wish for them to die from the Ammonia (my heart breaks whenever one of them dies, don’t judge!).

After close to 5 hours of all these shenanigans, I am now really proud of my tank. It looks so much better and less cluttered than before! Still waiting for the Microswords and Micranthemum Monte Carlo to carpet…

So here’s the before…….

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….. and the after

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Let my know your thoughts, if anything else can be improved.

On the ballet front, I haven’t been going for classes, since I had exams and then it was term break for my ballet school. I feel awfully guilty for not attending classes as regularly. Anyhow, World Ballet Day is coming up soon (1 October!), and I’m super excited. They will be streaming 5 ballet companies LIVE on Youtube! It seems just yesterday, I was camping in front of my laptop, with bags of chips, and feeling the pangs of jealousy of how my extensions are not as high, or that petite allegro still befuddles me, BUT STILL, watching them practice is really inspirational! Even genius ballerinas do not get away with training! 23 hours of watching behind the scenes footage from The Australian Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, The Royal Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada, and San Francisco Ballet.

Here’s the schedule if you need it:

British Standard Time
3 am – 8 am: The Australian Ballet live from Melbourne
8 am – 11 am: The Bolshoi Ballet live from Moscow
11 am – 4 pm: The Royal Ballet live from London
4 pm – 9 pm: The National Ballet of Canada live from Montréal
9 pm – 2 am: San Francisco Ballet live from San Francisco

Eastern Standard Time
10 pm – 3 am: The Australian Ballet live from Melbourne
3 am – 6 am: The Bolshoi Ballet live from Moscow
6 am – 11 am: The Royal Ballet live from London
11 am – 4 pm: The National Ballet of Canada live from Montréal
4 pm – 9 pm: San Francisco Ballet live from San Francisco

Signing off~

Broken toe nail =(

Its been a while since I blogged, but my exams and assignments are finally over (at last!), so I figured, why not?

I went for ballet class last weekend, and I’m not sure if its because I missed a couple of lessons prior (coz exams), but for some unknown reason, pointework seems to be really hard for me this week.

We did a short barre, so centre was about 1.5 hours. After doing a couple of demi pointes in the centre (the burrrnnn),  we moved on to pirouttes en dedan from fourth, when something really weird happened. I couldn’t go up on my left feet. There was a nagging pain on my left big toe, and no matter how I braced myself for the turn, I just couldn’t get up, and ended up doing it in demi pointe.

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Calf cramps! Help!

So we were doing normal class work yesterday, and got to the frappé part of barre work. Frappés en croix (anyone feels the same about battement frappés derrière? That the action alone, just feels weird?)? Pfffftt….. piece of cake. Should be no problem right? After all, the set was fairly easy, with frappés en croix on flat, battement frappés double en croix, then repeat en rise.

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No filters = no fish

I need to get this out of my system.

ALL fishes need a filter. Whether you are keeping a SGD$2 Betta, or a ten grand Arowana, they all need filters!

8590505928_23dae4004c Platinum-Arowana

The reason for this is that a few close friends of mine have decided to go back to keeping fish. Take note of the words ‘go back’. This means that they have got fish keeping experience, and probably have got more experience than I do. I have to admit, although I have been keeping fishes for 2 years coming 3, I am still learning new things everyday.

I have committed the mistakes almost every fish keeper would have, from throwing fishes into a new tank, (although, the pet store is equally irresponsible for not telling me otherwise, and furthermore, encouraging me to do it. Yes, its great for sales, but just plain cruel to the fish, and for giving wrong information. I knew nothing about the Nitrogen cycle until when i woke up one day to cloudy water and half my fishes floating on the surface) to playing God by throwing in random medicine in hope that the fishes get better.

So when this supposedly more experienced friend, let’s name him A (because he’s evil, like “A” in “Pretty Little Liars”), decided to get a Betta, the same time as I do(since the aquarium disaster episode), I asked if he has cycled his tank. All he told me was: ” A betta doesn’t need a cycled tank, nor a filter. Just a bowl, since Bettas live in stagnant water and can even survive in drains” I was outraged! For a split moment, whatever he said actually made me question myself and my beliefs in fish keeping. After all, he has more experience than I do.

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A week later, another mutual friend (let’s name him B), also an experienced keeper, decided to keep a Betta too. To my disbelief, he heeded A’s advice and just threw the poor fish into a less than a gallon tank, with the water only half filled (reason being that Bettas jump. Bettas are strong fishes, which can easily leap that distance, and furthermore, it is unfair to shortchange their living environment when they just want to get out of that filthy environment)! With no surprise there, no filter. At the same time, A decided to get a 1 Ft tank, cycle if for 2-3 days with conditioned water (note that there’s no beneficial bacterial used), and threw in a monster fish, a Polypterus Senegal.

Albino Shortbody Senegal Eel

Polypterus Senegalus. Picture from Google Images

I feel so bad for the fishes. Imagine living in such conditions. Although I have tried to convince them otherwise, but they stood their ground, that what they did was right. If I should make them live in a cupboard box. they will be ok, being provided with food and water, but will they be happy?

Truth be told, I find myself questioning myself, All those hours spent on forums and websites, painstakingly learning about water parameters like pH levels and gaseous names (I’m not a chemistry student) and making sure that the fishes that I keep have the right living conditions, waiting for weeks to months on end for the water to cycle, and all they do is plop the fish into aged water without filters, so much for ammonia and unstable temperatures.

Frankly speaking, I blame pet stores for not educating the public. Making money at the expense of lives. Oh, and don’t get me started on pet stores. They are just cruel! Have you seen the little containers that they use to keep Bettas? Some of these containers have so much filth in them that the water turned brown with little room to swim!! This however, isn’t the case just for Singapore, but also everywhere around the world! I have talked to people in the US, who have also complained about the living conditions of Bettas in Petsmart and Walmarts.

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Picture from Google Images

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Picture from Google Images

I sincerely urge people to read up and do their research. Came across this website which gives insightful and yet easy to understand information. A filter is essential in any aquarium. It is where the beneficial bacterial grows and without it, ammonia levels will get out of control, especially in a small tank.

Please don’t make the same mistakes as me, these are living creatures after all. Just because pet shops put Bettas in tiny ass containers without filters, does not mean Bettas are meant to live the rest of their lives in a tiny ass cesspit you call their home.

please feel free to leave a comment below.

signing off

P/s: I do not hate A, we’re still friends. I just get very agitated when I see pet owners not giving their pets what’s best for them, even if it was within their means. Animal lover? 100% guilty as charged.