Re-Dying my 10 year old sun-bleached jacket.

I needed to dye a tan zipper black to match a black pair of pants that the zipper slide split on. I cut the zipper out of the pants this weekend. now, to sew the new zipper in.
I had found the zipper in a collection of old zippers I had gotten via FreeCycle. The zipper is made of real metal. Should last longer then the plastic one original to the pants.

I decided to dye my jacket tonight while I was dyeing the zipper. I have had the jacket about 10 years now. It got pretty sun-faded sitting over the car seat in the Florida sun. The shoulders of the jacket are quite yellow now.

 Here I have my jacket in a steaming hot bucket of green dye water.

 I used tongs and a glove to move the jacket around. I used the tongs more then my hand, because that water was hot! I wanted to make sure that the jacket was dyed through.

 While I was at it, I tossed a few odds and ends in with the dye. I tried some acrylic sheets in the black and green dye. The black dye came out a nice brown color, and the green just tinted the plexi. I also stuck a bit of airline tubing into the black, and that took the color really well. I will need to remember that to get black tubing for a tank in the future. Some bits of plastic took the black as a dark blue. Funny how the acrylic took it as brown, while the plastic took it as blue.

  My jacket, natural light before.

 Natural light after.

 Camera flash before.

 Camera flash after.

It looks better to the eye then it does on the camera. Not sure why. But you can see that it’s a little less yellow. If I had spent more then the $6 on 3 colors of dye, and didn’t have the two half-packets left over, I would be frustrated with the results. I think it ruin the jacket – it’s no worse then it was. I took a year or two of age off of it, so that;s good.

Next up is to try to water-proof it. I had wanted to give dyeing a go before I coated it with waterproof spray and prevent the jacket from taking the dye at all.

Adding new fish

I add fish to my tank differently then anybody else I know. I usually have pretty good luck too.

I put the fish into my cleaning bucket with the petstore water. They all go into the bucket. I then use a piece of airline tubing to siphon a small amount of water out of the tank into the bucket. Done slowly, I acclimate the fish over several hours in a nice, gradual way. After sometimes as much as 4-5 hours, I net the fish out of the bucket, and dump them into the tank.

CO2 Reactor Modifications

I did a little research last night on the internet about how other people where building their CO2 reactors. Nothing like researching after the fact, right? I was looking to see if anybody else was building their reactor the same way I was. I didn’t find reference to it, but, there are hundreds of DIY Reactors out there, so I not too worried about not finding one. I did stumble across a person who used an RC airplane part called a Bulkhead Fitting. This looked to be a much cleaner way of attaching the airline tubing to my reactor.

Big Al’s was having it’s 1 year anniversary this weekend, and the “plant guy” was giving a demonstration on how to build a proper planted tank. I figured I wouldn’t learn much, but it was something to do with my Saterday, so I went. I was right, his song and dance was for new peeps, and not experienced planted tank creators. More importantly, there is a hobby shop next to Big Al’s, so I could pick up this part.

At the hobby store, in the RC airplane section, I found my new fitting. It is a “Large Bulkhead Fitting, 1/8 inch I.D.” packaged by a company called “Fourmost Products”. It is designed to be used as a fuel line connector.

These modifications replace the previous steps I have posted to my blog.

CO2 Reactor airline fittingHere is my old (heh, 2 whole days!) airline connection using a airline tube elbow fitting. I had zip-tied it together. I had managed to make the whole reactor without any glue, and it didn’t leak (much)!

CO2 Reactor airline fittingHere is the top part of my new fitting. I think this looks much better then the old fitting did. I used the old part of the hose that had the old fitting cut into it to make a seal for my new fitting. I don’t have any small O-rings for this yet, so I had to improvise. Getting proper O-Rings is on my todo list.

CO2 Reactor airline fittingHere is the inside view of my new fitting. Don’t do what I did, and make the hole too close to the outside of the endcap so the nut won’t set square. I still put it together like this because I am way to impatient to go get some silicone, and seal the hole up, and drill a new one. My fitting does leak just a tiny little bit, but not enough to worry about it today.

CO2 Reactor airline fittingHere is the finished reactor modification. I really like that the blue fitting matches the blue bioballs. The fitting seems just the right size for my airline tubing.

I am going to use the other fitting that came in the two-pack and replace one of my CO2 bottles where the current glued together mess is coming apart. Posted by Picasa

Do It Yourself CO2 Reactor Construction Details

As promised, here are some more details on the construction of my Home Made CO2 Reactor. This CO2 Reactor is made from a couple of aquarium siphons, and an airline tubing splice connector.

I drilled a hole in the top Siphon Cap the same size as the airline tubing splice connector. I chose to drill the hole as close to the edge of the ridged plastic in hopes that I can give the connection some mechanical strength. I left as much room as I could so there would be enough surface area to make a watertight connection.

Here I am drilling a hole through the plastic siphon hose after I had slipped it back onto the end of the siphon cap. This hole is the same size as the inside of the plastic airline splice peice. I wanted the rubbery hose to form a tight seal around the airline splice.

After a lot of cleaning of the burs in the hose and pushing hard, I finally got the splice to fit inside the hole.

I made an improvised clamp system out of 3 nylon zip ties to hold this whole area toghether. This area leaked a little bit, so I ended up wrapping another zip tie around the elbow of the airline tubing and the siphon tube, to press the airline tubing more tightly against the rubbery hose in hopes of creating a better seal. The water leak seems to have stopped.

In looking at how the completed arrangement thing functions, I may move the airline tubing down into the larger part of the siphon tube. With the airline tubing fitting where it currently is in the hose, a lot of water preasure is trying to make the whole thing leak. I think by moving the airline fitting out of the hose, and into the larger tube, where there is mostly gas as opposed to moving water, I can eleminate the chance of this fitting creating a leak. I also think that I would be able be able to change out one of my Yeast & Sugar CO2 bottles without water trying to flow down the airline tubes when the whole thing is mounted higher then the water level on the fish tank. Posted by Picasa

Cardinal Tetras

Cardinal Tetras and Amazon Sword PlantsI LOVE schooling fish. One of the reasons that I am into freshwater aquariums is because you can afford a school of fish.

Yesterday I went to 2 different pet stores. The second trip was to actually buy fish. I went for Cardinal Tetras, and bingo, they had them. They where pretty cheap too! $1.49 each or 4/$4.99. So I bought them up. I got 9 of them.

It took about 3 hours to get them into the tank. I had topped off the tank earlier in the day, and had filled it to almost overflowing. I let the bag float in the water for half an hour (I had to take a liitle bit of water out of the tank first, it was THAT full). Then the bag of fish got emptied into my water change bucket. A bit of airline tubing siphoned a bit of water out of the tank. Every 20 minutes or so, a little bit more water got siphoned into the bucket. After 3 hours, I had about a gallon of water in the bucket. I then netted the fish out of the bucket into my tank. This is about the most effective way I can come up with for adding fish to my tank. The fish get a slow change of water to adjust to, and no pet store water gets into my tank. I have also in the past added a drop of general cure-all type medicine to help keep the fish healthy – tetras are pretty lightweight, so I don’t do it to them.
Cardinal Tetras and Amazon Sword PlantsThe cardinals picked up their color pretty quickly once they where in the tank. I try not to take photos of new fish the same day as I got them, their usually stressed and their color is off. The Cardinals are getting along famiously with my 3 Neons that I have already had for a while. The 12 of them are back and forth in the tank. A dozen schooling fish is so much fun to watch! The Angels are laying eggs YET AGAIN as I type this, so they have been pretty teritorial the last day or so, so they would run the school off if they felt a little crowded.

Cardinal Tetras and Amazon Sword PlantsIt is so interesting watching my tank now. With just the 3 Neons, there wasn’t much schooling going on in the tank. When I FIRST got the Neons, I had a half a dozen, and they didn’t school up all that much even then. It looks like somewhere between half a dozen and a dozen might be the number to half to get good schooling behavior. We will see how many of the Cardinals make it a week.