Monday, March 24, 2008

Setting the Stage for Battle with the Diatoms

So I am in a pretty painful waiting situation here. The tank is absolutely covered in Green Dust Algae and Diatoms. I will try and post some pictures of it this week. I am currently intentionally letting the tank go to fight the Green Dust Algae (GDA). There seems to be some consensus that in order to defeat this stuff, it needs to live out its life cycle, as otherwise the spores just get knocked into the water and reattach themselves to the glass. I have been waiting about 15 days so far, so I should hopefully be getting close to the end of the life cycle, though I am not confident I am going to beat this one at this time.

The true target of my efforts is the diatoms (brown algae). I have been battling this stuff since day one, and I want it gone. Last week I ordered a reverse osmosis/ deionization (RO/DI) system with this purpose in mind. My water supply seems to be feeding loads of silicates to this stuff, as it is flourishing. As mentioned previously, I have altered my dosing regimes, spent 6 months doing water changes twice a week, added otocinclus catfsh (I currently have 12 plus the baby, who is actually looking pretty grown up now, which look like the picture to the left, which is not from my tank). They are fabulous little fish, but no match to the massive amounts of diatoms in my tank.

So the goal of the RO/DI system is that it will remove the hated silicates and thereafter remove the brown algae from my life. I can then focus on defeating the GDA that is in the tank. I have zero problems with any other types of algae, and the plant grown in my tank is good, so my hope is that this is a watershed moment.

But of course I have thought that of various other ideas I have had on dealing with the diatoms...

Pictures will come soon, as the thing looks too bad not to document at this point.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Changing the Focus of the Blog

Well, I figure it has been at least a year since I updated this thing. I have been spending a lot of time trying to get my planted freshwater aquarium right, and people have been telling me I should start blogging about it, so here it goes.

At the moment the aquarium is a disaster, though a controlled one. The biggest struggle I have faced is with diatoms (brown algae). I have tried just about everything I could think of to fix this problem to no avail. This includes changing dosing regimes, lighting intensity and periods, adding otocinclus catfish (I have 12 currently, not including the baby that is swimming around in there), and adding silicate/ phosphate absorbing material in the filter. None of these have really helped in any dramatic way.

So from here on out I am planning on documenting what I do, what the results are, and what my plans are.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

My Molly had Babies

Well, the title is absolutely true, except that the Molly in question is one of my fish and not the redhead. I was very surprised to come home one day and find a couple dozen fry in the tank. I was expecting that they would just all get eaten by the other fish, and would thus not become a problem, but alas, they are all still alive and eating and growing. I think that the tank may be planted heavily enough and be big enough that they are not an easy snack. So now when they mature I am going to have to take them to one of the local pet stores and donate them, since my tank cannot take another 2 dozen fish.

Hugo caused us to take our first trip to the veterinarian last week. He came down with conjunctivitis (a cold, goopy eyes and a mild ear infection), so we took both cats in. The technicians at the lab saw Hugo through the window and pretty much everybody came over to ohh and ahh over him, giving a passing scratch on the head to Sammy. But at least it is consistent that everybody just thinks that Hugo is gorgeous and Sammy kind of gets lost in the shuffle.

Not much else has been happening here. It is getting warmer out again, which is nice, though the humidity of summer here should be really bad.

Anyway, that is about it. Let me just end by saying that if we attack Iran, we are totally insane. There are anti-Iran commercials being played on TV out here, and it is a little scary. I can deal with the blowhards on Faux News pounding their war drums, but it seems somehow different and scarier to see people buying commercial time on other channels for the same purpose.

The black Balloon Molly is the one that recently had the babies.

Hugo and Sammy pretty much behaving how they always are (well, when they are not asleep).

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Kittens Settling In

Hi there all. Not much has really been going on here. The kittens have settled in nicely and are total sweethearts. They spend quite a lot of time jumping on each other's heads and chasing one another around the apartment, then Sammy collapses in a puddle of orange and white fur in one of our laps and Hugo curls up in a ball nearby.

The only real excitement was that our cat tree arrived on Tuesday, and they both seem to love it. Yesterday we went out and bought a cat carrier for them in case there is a fire alarm (which there hadn't been in a long time), and at 5am the alarm went off, so it was very good timing. Needless to say, neither of them were very happy with the alarm in the hallway. But they are very good in carriers since they have spent a lot of time in them going to adoption fairs in the past. So we stood outside at 5am in the cold until the fire department decided to let us back in. It was a very nice way to start the morning.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Additions to the Family

Well, it has been ages since I put anything up here, but the hope now is to use it to post some pictures of life out here, and to start that, here are some pictures of the newest additions to our family out here... Sammy and Hugo. Sammy is orange and white and Hugo is a dark, smoky Maine Coon mix, though it is expected that his colors will change, as the smokiness has been increasing over the last month. They are both about 5 months old and sweet as can be. We adopted them from a local rescue organization that gets them from local high-kill shelters.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Now, Some Pictures from Graduation

Graduation day. It was a lot of fun. The morning started with the administration putting out chests of Champaign for us to drink, then we went to the school-wide ceremony, where Lance Armstrong gave the commencement speech. Then on to the Flecther School graduation, more speeches, and then it was done. So in the picture it is me, Molly on the right, and Molly's first-year roommate in the middle.

Mom, dad, and Pat after a day of sight-seeing, waiting for a beer in downtown Boston before heading to the North End for an Italian dinner.

Molly, with Pat being cool in the background, on the Duck Boat tour of Boston.

My New Job

Hey there everybody that still on occasion checks this thing that is never updated. So Molly and I have moved to the DC area. We are in our place and getting settled as best we can. DC so far has been a lot of fun. We have a bunch of friends from school that are living in the area, so that has been really nice. There also has not been any shortage of things to do. Last weekend we went out for a bike ride on one of the nice trails in the area and met our friend to play disk golf (this site is just a random site I picked, but for those of you that have no idea what it is, this will give you a good idea). Paul and I had started playing on occasion last spring (he has played for years, but just got me interested), and it is nice to know there is a good course just a couple miles from my place.

Today Molly and I went to the Air and Space Museum, which was as cool as I remember, though we only made it through about two- thirds of the museum before I started losing interest. It is nice that it is only a short subway trip away.

Now for the big news that most all of you probably already know, and that is that I am working again. I was hired by Save the Children a month ago, and have been hard at work since August 7. My job title is “Program Development Officer,” and a lot of people have asked me what I actually do. This is difficult to explain concisely to people if they have no experience with US government funding mechanisms for non-profit organizations in development and humanitarian aid work.

Basically, I am part of the management and development team that supports the field offices around the world in pursuing large grants (the minimum I will ever be involved with is $1 million, and the one I just finished with this week was for $3 million). This means providing technical support in making sure things are done right, on time, working with partner organizations to put together joint proposals and stuff like that. As far as development work goes, it is far from the sexiest job. But it is the foundation of this whole field, and the skills I will perfect will be very useful in the future. So there you have it. I am sure that does not clear anything up, but that is the best I am going to do at the moment.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

School is Over!!!!

NOTE: There were supposed to be pictures with pretty much every section in here, but as Blogger is taking about 15 minutes to upload each image and I have lost three already when it uploads them then decides to delete them, I am giving up and will try and add them later.

Oif. So I have been told that it has been about 3 years since I updated my blog. Well, so much for being diligent about it. So school is over. I have graduated and am now a master. It is a rather nice feeling to be done at last, and to not have to worry about writing more papers and deadlines for class and stuff. Now I just have to worry about getting a job. So what has been going on for these last couple of months?

Well, for starters there was the Diplomats Ball, which is pretty much like prom for graduate students. It was a lot of fun and is a good opportunity to see everybody dressed up. Fletcher is a pretty casual place, so it is fairly rare to see some people looking good.

Then there was the trip that Molly and I took up to Maine to stay at a bed and breakfast up there. It was really wet while we were there. In the area we were in there was something like 13.5 inches of rain in the three days beforehand. During the same time there was about 8.5 inches here at my house in the Boston area. But the trip was nice and relaxing after the chaos of finals and the stress of getting everything done.

After that was graduation weekend. Mom, dad and Pat came out for it, as well as Molly’s mom, grandmother, and one of Molly’s friends from Montreal. It was a very nice weekend, though it was busy. We kept up the tradition of misbehaving at the Tufts-wide graduation ceremony. The legend there is that a few years ago the first Fletcher class was really loud during the ceremony, so the Tufts administration and board of trustees complained to the Fletcher administration and board of trustees about their behavior. The Fletcher people told them they would take care of the issue the next year and the issue was dropped. The next year the Fletcher administration started giving out lots and lots of Champaign at breakfast, Fletcher flags, and subtly telling us that they thought it was a great idea to show our enthusiasm at the ceremony. And Tufts has now pretty much decided to accept it.