Keychain box

The contents of my pocket I carry a lot of stuff in my pockets. This is the contents of my left front pocket. I am tired of sounding like a coffee can full of nuts and bolts rattling around every time I take a step. My keys rattle against each other, the little Altoids tin, the pill canister, my knife, etc. I took to carrying the Altoids Smalls tin as a catch-all box due to it’s small size. I’ve had in my pocket for probably 4 months now, so it’s getting pretty tired looking.

Keys and an Altoids Tin I drilled a couple of holes in each corner of the lid of the tin. I picked the lid as the keys will cover the embossed Altoids name. Space the holes as near as you can to the outside but leaving a space for the base to fit inside of the lid and not hit the nuts. I used a couple of 1/2″ #6-32 machine screws and nuts to bolt the keys to the lid. I would probably use some of those Chicago Screws as they are called if I had them. I faced the teeth of the keys in, so they didn’t snag in my packet. I use the keys in a specific order, so they are ordered outside in in the order of use. I thought about using thin plastic spacers, but it doesn’t seem to be needed for now. I just rotate the keys out that I need. There is enough clearance around the keys that they are easily usable.

Keys bolted to an Altoids tin as a keychain You can see that the small tin, with 8 keys bolted to the top isn’t any thicker then my Victornox Cybertool pocket knife. Granted, that’s a rather large knife to carry every day.

My keychain can now hold stuff I didn’t want the keys falling off my tin. I super glued the nuts to the bolts and to the tin as I don’t have any lock-tight. A Dremel will take the head of the bolt off if I can’t break the glue with a screwdriver & a wrench.
I put my headphones adapter for my cell phone in the tin. I also carry a 1 gig USB memory stick in it that I made a custom, waterproof housing using some casting resin.
I am going to put a small bit of cloth in the bottom and lid to quite the rattle down. I will also put in a cotton ball to fill the space and help silence the contents of the tin as well.

I am going to see how long this tin key-chain lasts.

My Jack Dempsy Fish

Jack Dempsey at night - the only time I saw her When my friend gave me his 75 and 45 gallon fish tanks, he gave me two Jack Dempseys as well. The one was in really bad shape, and lasted about 2 weeks after the move. The one that remained went nocturnal on me. She always hid in the castle ornamentation in the tank, and would only come out at night. I finally trained her to come out when I was awake by only feeding her when I actually saw her.
This was kinda disappointing, because there is this HUGE fish tank in the middle of the room, and no fish in it, as she was always hiding.

I actually get to see her now.

Jack Dempsey She got moved yesterday into the 45 gallon tank. No hidey holes for her, poor girl. Much less light though – just the ambient light coming off the plant stand that the tank sits next to.

Jack Dempsey 

Jack Dempsey from above 

New Fish – Oscars!

With the recent changes in my life, comes a difference in opinion on what ‘cool’ fish are. Me, I love watching dozens of Neon Tetras schooling from one side of a large tank to the other. I’ve been told that little fish are boring, and that the tank in the living room needs fish big enough to see.

We found some Tiger Oscars this weekend.

I’ve never been a ‘big’ fish aquarist, so I hadn’t read too terribly much up on them. The 75 gallon tank came with Jack Dempseys, so I have done a little research into non-community fish. No serious research though.

I knew Oscars got big. I have seen good sized ones. I guess I didn’t realize how big. 16 inches long and over 2lbs in the wild. In most fish tanks, only a foot long.

My new baby Oscars

I got 3 of them. My thoughts being, that it would be cool to get a breeding pair, and getting 3 vs. 2 doubles my chance at getting at least one male and female. A little research shows that 3 is exactly the wrong number to get. If 2 pair up, the 3rd one will get harassed something fierce.

My 75 gallon tank isn’t big enough. It can comfortably handle 1 Oscar, but it too small for 2 of them, much less three. Luckily I have the 110 gallon tank which will work for 2 of them. I will just need to find a new home for one of the Oscars in about a year. Likely, 2 will go in the 110, and one will stay in the 75 gallon tank when I get the 110 set up (when I am out of the apartment).

Moving the Oscars into their new home Because the 75 gallon tank is in the main living area, it is used as a display stand, including a fish tank on top – so it’s a bit of a pain to tear it down to open the lid.
I had to evict the nocturnal Jack Dempsey from the 75 to relocate her into the 45 I recently set up in the other room. That was a pain trying to chase her down. I hope she will like the other, smaller tank. Less light, more cozy. There is a big temperature difference between the two tanks, so I had to take my time and acclimate her on the temperature differences.
I have had a Platy in the 45 gallon tank for probably close to a month to cycle that tank up. So, that platy needed to be moved to – into the little tank that sits on top of the 75 least it be eaten by the Jack Dempsey. Most people aren’t patient enough when starting new tanks. I would have liked to move a few more Platys into the 45 for another month to get the tank used to the mass of fish that the Jack Dempsey is. I will just need to watch the 45 gallon tank for about 2 weeks to a month to make sure that it can cope with the Jack’s size.
I am not too worried about it, I tend to be over-cautious with moving fish around.

Wonderfalls large aquarium volcano I had seen one of these volcano aquarium decorations set up and running in a pet store years and years ago. I had always wanted one. Badly.
I am not much of one for candy-colored tank decorations, moving divers, opening treasure chests, etc. I just love this volcano for some reason.
I found this Wonderfalls Large Aquarium Decoration in a little whole-in-the-wall pet store in Fort Lauderdale a few years ago. The owner was re-arranging the store a bit, and I spotted this gem on the bottom shelf, hidden behind other merchandise. I offered to take the thing off the guys hands as I wiped the dust off the price tag so I could read it. $149.99!
I paid $30-40 for it. Whatever I had for cash on me at the time. I had been in there a few times before and bought fish. I think he was happy to be rid of it.

He said that they where nothing but trouble. The sand got everywhere in the tank. It plugged up with crud and quit working. Basically the thing would make a mess of your tank, and wouldn’t work past a week without constant fiddling.
I still love the dumb thing. This is the first I have been able to use it. I haven’t had a tank tall enough for this thing. The pump that came with it is worthless, so I put one of my sump pumps on it.

It looks wicked cool sitting behind my castle. In about a year or so when the volcano algie’s up to match the castle, they will make an awesome looking set.

I also like the coloration as it matches and compliments the Oscars.

I am thinking of setting the volcano up on a timer so it goes on/off/on/off frequently during the day. It seems wasteful to run that pump at night when nobody can see it. I may hook it up to a red LED and run it a few hours into the ‘night’ after the lights go off just for effect. Tank lights off is about 10pm or so, so running it until midnight light up might be pretty cool.

Moving my plant stand

With the changes in my life, come changes in where I can keep my furniture. I had put my plant stand in the sliding glass window, as I always kept the shades open. Now, it was deamed too annoying to fight closing and opening the blinds around the planter. It had to be moved.

Aquarium and plant stand  I moved the plant stand in front of the window in the extra bedroom – the ‘project room’. The 45 gallon tank got set up in there. You can see that it has LED lights on the tank. I think this works pretty well. It’s not very bright, but for around 20 watts, on a 4 foot long tank, it’s not to bad. I have 2 aluminum gutters sitting on top of the tank I think I will be setting them up for hydroponics/aquaponics. One will be a raft system, the other ebb and flow I think.
I think I can make an automatic fill/flush system where I fill the raft unit, let it overflow into a temporary tank, when the temporary tank fills full, it starts a siphon, which rapidly fills the ebb&flow unit. The ebb/flow system will then have the fill -> flush siphon built into it as well, so once it fills, it will rapidly drain. If I size and balance things right, it should just automatically work passivly on a single, continuously running pump.

Florescent and LED grow lights I am playing around with the different grow lights to augment what little natural light comes in my north window. I have tried the $10 stick florescent tubes from Walmart which don’t work so well and burn out bulbs like you wouldn’t believe. Then I put in a nice t12 florescent fixture that I really do like a lot. I am also playing with LED lighting as well. These plants are going to be set up to be watered out of the fish tank on an automatic timer. I had to move the tubing around to the other side and yet have to set it back up.

Florescent and LED grow lights The boxes the African Violets are sitting on are LED light boxes. I know, the red LED light box would probably help the violets flower better, but, I need to cast a little light into the taller section that the Aloe Vera are in, so I thought I would give it a try. It’s interesting to play around with this stuff at least.

LED aquarium light hood Here you can see my LED lit 45 gallon tank with a single Molly in the tank to cycle the tank. I think the Jack Dempsey will go into this tank, as she will like the lower light level from the LED lights. The Molly has been in the tank for 3 weeks to a month now. Patience is a virtue that is often overlooked in setting up aquariums. Many people buy a tank and the fish rush home, set everything up and wonder why all their many fish died in a day or two, keep buying lots of fish repeatedly and still wonder why the keep dieing.