Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Spot of Bad Luck

It seems like I've been having nothing but bad luck lately with the aquariums. I came home from Thanksgiving with the family only to spot the remains of a brownish puddle on the floor by the big aquarium. Sure enough, I opened up the stand to find the auto-doser jug was absolutely empty. Turns out the tube that ran from the pump to the top of the aquarium had fallen off and fallen behind the stand (it was only held on by a suction cup) and without all that height to slow down the pump, 30 days of fertilizer slurry (yeah, I had just topped it up a few days before I left) emptied onto my floor over the course of two or three days in one minute intervals. I guess it could have been worse...but all those fertilizers wasted and a big stain on my floor now have taught me not to trust a single suction cup again.

Just two weeks earlier I bought a brand new Marineland heater for the big tank (exactly like the one in the photo above), since the one that I had in there was damaged in the move. After a few months of doing weekly water changes without a heater, I had gotten too used to just siphoning the water out. In the middle of my first water change since getting the heater, I heard some weird popping noises and saw an unfortunate leaf being cooked on the outside of the heater glass. I had forgotten to unplug it before I drained the water down and it had gotten so hot it had cracked the glass. The brand new heater was thoroughly fried, but the cracks in the glass were nearly invisible. Luckily, I didn't tempt fate and unplugged it and took it out to examine it. Sure enough, just handling it, it fell apart. Needless to say, I bought a Theo heater that's supposed to offer some protection against running dry, but I'm also going to be much more careful in the future. Heaters are one of the most dangerous pieces of equipment in an aquarium (as Jestep found out recently), so be careful with them!

Sometimes small accidents this hobby can be a real drain on the wallet. I'm just glad I haven't had a near catastrophe, like a leaking tank! (knock on wood)

Monday, November 09, 2009

CAPA 2009 Aquascaping Contest Results

The aquascaping contest results season is here, and hot on the heels of the IAPLC top 27 video is the results from CAPA, a French aquascaping contest (not quite sure what the acronym stands for, but I'd guess one of the A's is aquascaping). There are some repeats from the IAPLC 2009 top 27 results, but there are also some very nice tanks that we haven't seen yet (like the one above, I love the depth!). Like the AGA aquascaping contest, the CAPA is divided by tank size, so each class has a set of winners. You can view the top 3 of all classes, the Under 70L category, the 70-250L category, and the Over 250L category. Plenty of great aquascapes to spark your imagination!

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