I recently lost all the fish in my 37 gallon tank and it lay dormant for a couple of months. Then, after being tired of seeing all that equipment sit unused, I spent some money and rebuilt the aquascape entirely, using sand instead of small gravel. And by adding a large piece of real driftwood, smooth stones, and large sandstone pieces as structures instead of a fake coral “hotel” for the fish, there has been a new sense of quality. Lastly, I added new plants to keep everything fresh and add some color.

For about a month I only had a black and a white snail keeping everything clean while I tried to figure out my strategy of buying fish. After a little toil, I decided to buy a brand new 10 gallon tank as a “staging” area for all new fish. Here’s the logic: Five to seven fish at a time will be put into the 10g, and I will gradually adapt the 10g over three weeks’ time to the same pH, ammonia, and nitrate levels as the 37g. Then, once the 10g has leveled out and is stable (and is fully cycled), I will transfer the fish from the 10g to the 37g. Making changes to the smaller tank is much easier and faster in acclimating the fish to my environment. It also adds the additional bonus of being a quarantine tank incase the new inhabitants have any illness.

So, about four and a half weeks ago I bought the new 10g with all the bells and whistles, and got it running, water balanced, etc. One week later, I bought five Neon Tetras, the first of the new fish destined for the 37g. After a couple of days, I lost one of the Neons to Ich. This past Sunday, three weeks after putting them in the 10g, I transferred the remaining four Neons into the 37g and they have been very happy in their new home. And today, I bought seven more Neons and put them in the 10g. In three weeks, if everything goes well, they’ll make it into the big tank too, joining their brothers.

Life, Work, and Fun

So, a lot has been going on lately. I’ve been working a decent amount (yeah, big surprise there), but I’ve also been getting organized in a lot of ways on the personal front too.

We went through a new logo redesign for Suncoast Studios a few months ago and recently we’ve printed up new business cards as a result. The next step is to do a website redesign, which is (kinda) underway right now. Actually, I’m building a development server, which is a first for SCS. Normally I make changes to the live server, but since this is going to be an entire redesign, I didn’t want to potentially mess up the live box. The dev environment should be complete this week, and the goal is to have the new site live by November 1.

I’ve also been making headway on app development. I’ve recently signed up to be an iOS/OSX developer, and have managed to get a new Mac Mini (i5/2GB RAM/500GB HD) to write XCode on. I’ve created a little app for the iPhone to play around with, and will eventually be working on a real project.

And speaking of projects, I’ve been working on a new lighting system for the fish tank. Arnold and I have been brainstorming on a new LED lighting system that incorporates fiber optics, as well as a micro-controller that contains a web server that allows you to configure the lights. More on this to come.

Oh, and speaking of fish tanks… It’s currently empty. I had a system mishap a few weeks ago where I woke up one morning to find all the fish dead. The water temperature was 110 degrees, and come to find out the heater shorted out and the thermostat never turned off all night. All the fishies died. 🙁 So, I have some work to do to the tank now, including getting new pets.

And lastly, I’ve decided to get healthy. For the next two months, I’m going to be on a juice fast to lose weight, reboot my metabolism, and get a huge amount of energy.


Well, I lost the red-tailed shark last night. Two nights ago he decided to find his way into the inside of the fake white rock. I thought he might just be exploring or hiding for some reason, but I think he got stuck in there. I finally got concerned last night and got him out, but he was looking rough. His tail fin was really shabby – about half the length it used to be, his color was washed out, and there was a large white rash on his side. I tried to feel him, and noticed he had trouble swimming, and would rest on the gravel a lot which he never did before. Around midnight, I noticed he wasn’t moving any more, so he got the Royal Flush treatment.

Oh well, it was fun while it lasted. Guess I need to find a way to plug up that big opening in that rock so no one else gets stuck.

The Move-In

I re-tested and the tank is now at a good 7.0 pH, so I decided to move everyone in. All 33 inhabitants are now testing out the new crib. The current roster is:

  • (1) Snail (*Unknown species)
  • (2) Dalmation Molly
  • (1) Lg White Molly
  • (2) Sm White Molly
  • (5) Neon Tetra
  • (1) Lemon Tetra
  • (2) Lg Plecostomus
  • (5) Cory Catfish
  • (1) Lg Red-Tailed Shark
  • (5) Serpae Tetra
  • (7) Orange Tiger Barb
  • (1) Indigo Betta

I also planted the 2 Sword plants and the 5 Money Wort plants.


The Final Tank

I’ve been sick since Tuesday night, and finally started feeling good enough yesterday afternoon to go out and get some fresh air. My wandering found me at Pet Smart where I decided to finally make the leap: I bought a new freshwater tank.

I picked up a Top Fin 37-gallon Starter Kit which came with:

  • The tank (30.25″ L x 12.5″ W x 22.75″ H)
  • Hood with a 20-watt, 30″ fluorescent bulb
  • Glass canopy
  • Adjustable 200-watt heater
  • Strip thermometer
  • Top Fin Power Filter 40 with cartridge
  • Sample fish food, water treatment pack

I also bought:

  • Black stand with doors
  • (4) new Money Wort plants
  • (4) Neon Tetras
  • Glass thermometer
  • Blue background
  • Extra carbon pellets

After getting home, I drained the 20-gallon temporary tank that was on the kitchen counter and relocated the fish into a plastic tote, then did the same with the 10-gallon tank and put those fish in a different tote (alone with the new tetras and plants).

I was then able to tear apart the 10-gallon tank and move the old stand from it’s resting place. I built the new stand and put it in place, then placed the tank on it. After mounting the blue background and properly trimming it, I pushed the entire system against the wall, mounted the filter and heater, and prepped all the electrical.

After emptying the 10 and 20-gallon tanks, I cleaned all the gravel and got the 25-lb. bag of gravel from the closet and rinsed it too. That all went in the tank, and then I added the fake rocks and plants, and mounted the thermometer.

Lastly, I added the water in. After starting up the filter and heater, I tested the pH and found it to be higher than 7.6, essentially meaning it was off my chart. I added some pH balancer before going to bed. After waking up this morning, I retested and the pH was still at the 7.6+ level, so I added in another batch of treatment as well as some balancing pellets. I’m hoping the water is ready for the plants and fish in the next few hours.

New Residents

Arn swung by tonight and brought me a whole bunch of fish, a ton of fake plants, a pump, and some scenery. I finally took the 20 gallon tank out of the back of the truck (it’s been in there for about a month), cleaned it out and filled it with water and threw some fake plants. Even though this is just a temporary setup, I still treated and pH balanced the water. I’ll tear this and the 10g tank apart next weekend and then everyone will live happily in the same tank.

Tomorrow I’m heading up to Alex and Nel’s to watch the kids for them for the weekend while they go off to St. Augustine to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary. I’m so happy to be able to do this – I’ve even lined up a little surprise for them.

I should be at their house around 3:00pm, and then they’re out of there soon after not to be home until Monday afternoon. I have a TON of activities planned with the kids. I’m SO excited to be spending time with them, acting like a kid, and just having fun and relaxing. And, I’m able to give Alex and Nel a great time by themselves on a special weekend to boot. Love them all!

Pancakes, Pucks, and pH

Friday night I had dinner with a former co-worker at Hooters. We caught up on a ton of things for a few hours and I generally enjoyed myself.

Saturday, Alex and the kids met with me for breakfast at Tampa North, who was having a pancake breakfast to support the Civil Air Patrol chapter that is based out of the airport. I took the kids down to the flight line to see the planes and we all went over to see a helicopter that came. Generally, I think it was a great turnout, as several pilots flew in for the event.

Alex invited me over to watch the Lightning game that night (the first of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Bruins), so I ended up hanging out all day in the Luts/Wesley Chapel area. I flew, went shopping, and had some great pork chops at Primebar. Around 7:00pm, I got to Alex & Nel’s. I brought a couple presents for the kids, including a couple of books I got that show how to draw comic book characters. Alex and I had talked about how Brandon needed to evolve to the next level of drawing, so I got the books that I had used when younger. I think he’ll learn a lot from them and Alex said he’s going to work with Brandon to learn the techniques outlined in the books. We had some beers, pizza, talked a lot and watched the game. I love hanging out there, and it’s been a while. Had a tone of fun.

Today was work, work, work. I did take a little time out to pop Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune into the PS3 adn finish it. Overall, great game.

And speaking of games, I added the video games section of the Museum up here. Yeah, I’m rebuilding all that from the old site.

Did the usual to the fish tank today by swapping out five gallons of water from a jug Arn gave me Thursday night. I tested the pH from his jug, and it came out to about 6.0, which is pretty acidic. However, my tank has been running around 7.4 lately, and I was hoping the new infusion would balance the pH naturally. It did: 7.0.

Hammers, Soup, and Bits

I took Friday night off to grab some dinner at Chipotle and go see Thor with Arn. We decided to not see it in 3D, as I’ve heard it’s not worth the extra money. All-in-all, I thought it was a pretty awesome movie. Definitely portrayed Thor’s power well. And was a lot of fun to watch this franchise come to life. Asguard was beautiful. Best part: The sound that the Destroyer made was incredible and really projected how menacing of a device it is.

Saturday I went with Arn to Auburndale to go pick up a large saltwater tank he wanted to get. I helped him take it apart, load it in the truck, and unload it at his place. We then grabbed a bite to eat at Holy Hog BBQ.

After running a few errands on Saturday, I ended up coming home to work on Allie’s project and spent most of the day Sunday doing the same. Oh, I did make a big pot of some simple vegetable soup with mushrooms, celery, rice, and onions too.

Feeling… Eh.

So, lately I’ve been noticing that I have very little energy. I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that I’ve been working non-stop for weeks, haven’t been eating right, and my workouts aren’t long enough. The workload will taper off very soon, as I’ll finish Allie’s project in the next few nights. As for eating, well, I need to do better on that (not today though – I just ordered some hot wings). And I intensified my workout tonight to see if that helps. I also stopped off at CVS to pick up some multi-vitamins with lots of B12 and B6 in them.

I get home, walk in the door and look at the fish tank and see the two Moneywort plants I bought floating on the surface. What the fuck. These plecostomus’ have to go this weekend. I went to Target for a couple minutes today to see if they had pH conditioner for the tank to get the levels down to around 6.8, but no luck. I’ll have to get that on Saturday I guess.

Well, back to work…

Lost Another One

Was able to get a bunch of sleep last night for the first time in quite a while. Feel a lot sharper mentally today, although the coffee I have will no doubt help that along.

Last night I tested the fish tank and found the pH to be around 7.6, which is high. This may explain the recent die-offs I’ve been having, including another victim this morning – an orange tetra. This guy had been sick for a bit, I believe, as he had some weird molting going on. This weekend, I’m getting rid of the plecos and getting some new algae eaters along with a kit to bring the pH down to a more acidic level (6.8 or so).

I played through some Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune last night since I didn’t have any work to do. With the PlayStation Network being hacked recently, I also spent some time changing some passwords on some accounts around the inter-webs. Me thinks Sony’s gonna get sued big time over this one.