October 2012 Meeting

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012 at 7:02 pm

Our October meeting featured DIY projects from GWAPA members.

Julie Weis was not able attend, but provided two detailed slides for the automatic water changing system on her 37 gallon tank. One slide shows how the system works, the other shows what parts are needed and where to get them. Julie’s tank is in her living room, and she has drilled through the living room wall into her garage.  To drain the tank, a valve is opened, and gravity carries water into her yard so she can water plants. The valve is then closed, a pump is turned on by remote starter, and the fill valve opened. Water is pumped into the tank from a reservoir in the garage. Julie’s slides have been posted on the forum at http://www.gwapa.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=5312&start=10.

Bob Bock spoke on the topic of making fish food. Bob doesn’t feed fresh food exclusively to his fish, but does rely on it for breeding and conditioning. Freshly made fish food can approximate live foods, can be customized with color enhancers and nutrients, and can be used to deliver medications.

Bob did not provide a specific recipe or precise amounts for ingredients (“I’m a cook who doesn’t use measurements”), but simply described his process and gave general guidelines to help us create our own recipes.

His method involves combining fresh ingredients (meat, fish, greens) with dry color enhancers (dried shrimp, vitamins) and binders (gelatin, egg yolk, agar). He begins by rehydrating gelatin, and bringing it to a boil.  While the gelatin cools, he chops the fresh ingredients in a food processor, and processes the dry ingredients in a coffee grinder. Agar is added to the dry ingredients, which are then combined with the fresh ingredients. Egg yolk and gelatin are added last of all. The mixture is spread into a shallow pan lined with parchment paper, and baked at 200 degrees for 20 minutes. After cooling in the refrigerator, the food can be cut into cubes and frozen.

Bob’s blog www.sonnysfishroom.com describes this process in more detail, and includes a link to a recipe developed by Kurt Johnston of the Aquarium Club of Lancaster County.

Sean Murphy explained how he set up his sump systems. Sumps are more common in reef aquariums, but also have benefits in a freshwater set-up. A sump can maintain the water level in the main tank, increase the total water volume, and provide a place for equipment out of sight. Sean places tank heaters in his sumps, and bubbles co2 in front of the return pump.  Instead of an overflow, a constant level siphon is used to drain water to the sump.

Kevin Lee shared a brief cautionary tale of “what not to do.”  He wanted to divide a tank to be able to keep more species in a single tank. He carefully divided the tank with custom cut panels of glass. Only after he started to fill the tank did he realize the risk of breakage from the pressure of the water on individual panels. He realized that he should have left a gap under each panel beneath the substrate.

Cavan Allen described his experience in building an LED fixture for his 40 breeder. He had become tired of the “roller coaster” of certain demanding plants doing well initially, only to show less color and poorer growth as his T5 bulb output decreased over time. He decided to construct a fixture using one of the Solderless LED Kits from www.RapidLED.com.

Cavan’s system is dimmable –he would not recommend buying or building a fixture without dimming capability. At full power, he has measured 150 micromols at the substrate in the center, 90 in the corners. The LEDs produce a good shimmer effect, and show off reds well.

The club plans a presentation or workshop with Rapid LED in the coming year, probably in June.