Category: Aquariums and Fishes

Aquarium Light Replacement: Aquael Classic 50

I’ve didn’t know I missed having a light in the fishtank. I bought a new batch of live plants and completely forgot the fixture was broken. Having gone through 3 replacement lids which all developed lighting faults I’ve had enough of Aquael units and went out in search of something else that would fit.

Arcadia’s Ultraseal ACU15 takes the same T8 bulbs I already had, so it seemed like a good bet. It turned up on Thursday and it’s almost perfect; the brackets sit at *exactly* the right width to screw into the side of the tank lid.

Arcadia bracket that doesn't fit

But there’s a problem. The old light fittings get in the way of the new bracket. Wedged between them the new bracket sits a few cm lower than the old light, meaning the water level would need to be dropped which is something I’m not too keen on doing.

At this point you’re left with 2 options:

* Saw the old screw fittings off. Drill through the side of the tank to fit the new bracket (meaning the screws would be visible from the outside)

* Make a new bracket using the existing screw holes.

Arcadia light balanced in Aquael Classic lid fitting

All it really needs is something to bridge the 5cm gap, curved in a U shape to allow the light enough clearance from the lid. I turned the local high street upside down looking for something suitable in the DIY section with no luck. Best I could do was this:

Plant labels aka useful bits of plastic

Bendy bits of plastic ftw! Conveniently the existing holes were the perfect size for the 4mm screws. A bit of persuasion with a stanley knife and a dodgy screwdriver later (note to self: get a Dremel) I ended up with something that remotely resembled what I was after.

Close up of improvised fitting for Arcadia Light

I added an extra sideways piece to keep the cables out of the way. Without it, the bulb rotated so the cables were pointing straight down, and I didn’t fancy having them in the water. Passed a quick safety test to ensure it didn’t get hot (the bulb is the only part that gets warm).

Completed aquarium light replacement

Success!

Tank with new light

The bulb has a slight pink-shift that my camera can’t handle, but you get the idea.

Things and Things and More Things

Lets get this in order.

Two chapters and 4 exercises left in the Java textbook, kinda happy to get to nearly get to the end of it. Though it is all Swing GUI stuff and I always find that kinda tricky. Sooo many objects, so many lines, so many odd little settings and things to remember.

I made a wallet. It has constellations on.
Constellation ZIppy Wallet
Modified the Riko doll. I’m still not happy with it. It’s missing something but I can’t quite put my finger on it.

Diddy Riko Revisited

I’ve been watching too much anime. Then again, there’s nothing on so maybe that’s okay. With Game of Thrones coming back and some random thing on Channel 5 about fairytales, maybe that’ll change. I still need to finish Battlestar.

A wandering Timcanpy appeared. It was cute.

Timcanpy Plush

An amigurumi dragon stopped by to say hello too. He was resized, but he didn’t seem to mind. He now lves on my desk, amongst other things.

Cute Little Amigurumi Dragon

I got one of these, I thought they were cool:

Baby Angel Cat Qee - Blank

I need to design it. You can paint them with acrylics but seeing as I suck at painting I think paint marker-pens are the way to go.

A friend sent me one of these. It was also cool:

Tea Mug

The fish got new plants. The just-a-bundle-of-leaves fern was a little disappointing, but there’s some baby ones growing off it so maybe those will survive.

New Plants in Fishtank

Yeah… this is totally the wrong kind of camera for this.

I had a go with my new Studio pencils. Can’t say I’m used to them yet as the drawing I’m trying them out on is allllll black so half of the pencils are from a different range, but it’s nice to have so many shades of grey to work with.

Pencil Test - Allen Walker WIP

The polychromos are nice, they cover big areas well and the colours come out darker than the harder Derwents. But then, that’s not what I brought the Derwents for.

I’m on holiday at the moment. It’s nice to have time off work, finding places to go is somewhat difficult. I have plenty of things to do here but it kind of feels like killing time, and that’s no way to spend a holiday. I won’t sit indoors the whole time.

I need a new bag. I can’t find one I like. I considered making one, though I’m not sure where you get the thick kind of fabric that makes messenger bags work from. All I’ve found so far is cotton, and that stuff isn’t much good when it comes to handling book-weight.

The Mopani Root Monster

I’ve always wanted wood in my tank, but decided against it due to the sheer amount of time and mucking about it takes to prepare the stuff. It seemed like too much hassle when getting the tank started. But it’s been a while since then, and when I spotted a nicely shaped piece of mopani root for £1.99 in an outlet store I brought it home and stuck it in a bucket, where it’s spent the last month soaking.

Mopani Root - Top View

Submerged wood releases tannins, which turns water into the colour of tea. The purpose of pre-soaking the wood is to extract as much of the colour as possible before the wood goes into the main tank. It’s been a pain in the butt changing the water in the bucket day in day out, but it’s finally got the the point where the worst of it is out and the root is ready to go in the tank. It will still continue to release tannins into the water so there will be a permenant brown tinge, I’ll have to see what I think of that. I’ve got some unused bags of carbon from the old filter I can chuck in if I need to which should remove the colour from the water if it’s too powerful.

Mopani Root - Side View

Fishies were somewhat apprehensive of the giant dark brown sprawling monster that has taken up residence in the centre of their tank, but while I’ve been pulling the terrible photos off my camera Kio’s gone in for a closer look. I thought I’d have to keep an eye on them to see if they get used to it, but I think it’s okay. I’ve tied what’s left of the Java Fern onto it; the plant hasn’t been doing well and I haven’t figured out why yet. It’s an absolute pain tying knots in cotton with cold hands, but I think the end result was worth it.

Pictures another time; artificial light and camera aren’t playing ball.

Green Day

Hurrah, the aquarium plants arrived! I was a little worried when they dispatched on thursday as our offices are closed on weekends, but the little white box of turned up just in time to avoid a weekend in the parcel office.

The coldwater tank, home to Kio and Amris, now looks a lot like this:
110729 Planted Goldfish Tank

It took almost an hour to get all those plants in. The ones with long roots were pretty easy, but the problem with plants is that they float. The stem plants and the ones with short roots are a nightmare to get to stay in. Not that I think they’ll stay there for long, these fish have a habit of “rearranging” things to their liking so I fully expect most of it to be floating by tomorrow evening. I don’t mind though, it’s their home not mine.

Amris moves far too quickly to be captured by camera, I’ll get him one day. Kio, on the other hand, is pretty photogenic:
Kio - 19th March

Kio is the rescue fish who started all of this. When I brought her home I don’t think I expected fishkeeping to be quite as stressful as it has been, but when everything’s set up and things just work how they should it’s pretty fun. Planting is one of those fun parts.

Except for the water wisteria. How the hell you’re supposed to get that stuff to stay in the gravel is beyond me. The Vallis put up a fight too but I love how that one looks so it’s forgiven for being a pain to get in.

Ordering plants online might sound a little odd, but I’ve found it difficult to find plants locally. I haven’t had much success with local plants, after picking up 2 non-aquatics from a store that doesn’t label their plants. The Java ferns I got online in January are pretty strong and the Anubias Nana is practically indestructable.

Tank contents:
Microsorum Pteropus (Java Fern)
Anubias Nana
Ceratopteris thalicroides (Water Sprite)
Egeria densa (Pondweed)
Egeria najas (Ditchweed)
Hygrophila difformis (Water Wisteria)
Ludwigia repens (Ludwigia)
Vallisneria spiralis (Straight Vallis)
2 x Comet Goldfish
(… well, jury’s still out on whether Amris is a Comet or a Common, I’m not convinced his tail is long enough)