Monthly Archives: March, 2004

Dead fish

The cloaches have all died over the last couple of days. A couple of them started looked a little healthier – not so red around the gills etc as when we got them from Coburg – but the others didn’t, and they still looked too skinny. And then they started dying. James is very sad and keeps berating himself for being too impetuous and overly eager… we’re also thinking about not going to Coburg, since maybe we were too optimistic that seeing a few dead fish in their tanks wasn’t necessarily an enormous problem. Of course, we can’t shift all the blame. We did buy them, and maybe the tank wasn’t really ready.

The catfish have also gone. No idea why. Darn it.

And, bizarrely, I found another dead fish in the tank, which must have been a harlequin… except that the only colour on its entire body was an orange tip to its fins. No black or orange on the body. Very odd.

The plants are starting to do better. The Lizard Tongues have new leaves happening, which is very exciting, and the Java Fern has a runner!! I think this must be a good sign, after only a couple of weeks.

Started to do a water change today, but then realised that with water restrictions we actually shouldn’t have been, since it basically amounted to watering the plants what with the water going everywhere. So we’ll have to wait until dark. Considering daylight savings finishes tonight (which is sort of bad, but also good because I won’t be getting up before the sun again for a few more months), that won’t be too hard.

We bought some fish

The tank has been set up for a while, and James figured it needed a bit more life to it. So we went to Coburg. We bought 10 harlequin rasboras, hooray! It’s great having them back again. We were going to get a school of cherry barbs, but apparently they are aggressive; I had thought they were the non-aggressive ones, and the tigers were the nasty ones. Anyway. Figured we should actually listen to the sales person. We also got four little clown loaches. They look a bit emaciated; could be just that they are small. I know we ought to have quarantined these, but because there are so few fish in there at the moment we decided not to bother.

We also bought a couple of filters. Coburg has obviously decided not to carry Eheim anymore, because they were selling the filters half price!! So we bought a 2217 for $200, and an internal Eheim Powerball filter for the quarantine tank. It’s all very very exciting.

The plants still don’t look very good. Not sure what to do about that. The bloke at the shop suggested we raise the pH, so maybe I’ll do that after a few days so the new fish can settle in. We’re also putting off doing a water change for a few days.

So… babies…

More molly babies. What a surprise. There’s probably 25-30 of them. However, there is also a girl in one of my classes whose family has tropical fish (gouramis, silver dollars, angels…) who said she’d ask about taking some, and I’ve put a note on the staff notice board about it too. Surely there must be someone here who will take some!! And the interesting thing is, the qt is not filtered at the moment. We haven’t bothered to put the old internal filter back in, because we figured it did nothing at all anyway… James is talking about getting some other sort of internal filter, so hopefully that will happen this weekend.

The plants are not looking very happy in the main tank. The Lizard Tongue in particular is looking almost rusty, or something. Odd. Don’t know if this is just the tank getting established or what. Bit annoying.

We have moved, since the last entry

That was… entertaining… We moved the remaining fish to the qt, drained the main tank and spent a fair while cleaning the gravel, siphoning as much poo out as we could, cleaning the glass, etc. Generally trying to make it look good. Then, because we settled a week before we actually moved, we shifted the main tank before there was much in the house – didn’t want to ask the removalists to do that bit, and thankfully had friend Mark to help out. So it got moved. After a few days, with everything else in the house, we decided on a final position (not quite centre stage in the living room), put the gravel in and filled it up with water.

We had to move the qt as well, of course. Put some water from the tank in a bucket and then had fun catching all the fish to put them in there. The angel in particular didn’t really like that bit. Then we moved it, filled it up with water immediately and moved the fish in.

Unfortunately, the catfish and the angel did not survive the trip. The angel didn’t surprise me, although the catfish did; I was pretty sad, as you can imagine.

We moved the male mollies as soon as the main tank was up to temperature; finally we have managed to separate Miss Molly from the males! Hallelujah! They weren’t looking very happy in there… checked the ph: it was reading low 7, so chucked some pH Down in there, which seems to have settled it pretty well. Ammonia read 0 very quickly, which I guess means the filter moved very well. The tank was looking very bare… so I went to Coburg on my way home from work and bought some plants, and some liquid fertiliser. The most exciting, although smallest, plant is a little Amazon Sword; hopefully it will grow well. I also bought Lizard Tongue, which has big broad leaves, and Dragon Flame, which has leaves that are purple and green and long and thin. I’ve actually since found out that at least the Lizard Tongue is not a true aquatic, so it will be interesting to see exactly how long that lasts. I get a bit annoyed with fish places selling things like and not telling you.

A few days after I bought the plants, I noticed the tank was again doing the algae thing… so I gave in and bought two little bristlenose catfish, which are again terribly cute. Hope they do all right.

Science Fiction

Currently reading a critique of SF as a genre, from the New Cultural Idiom series. It’s quite interesting; the first chapter is an attempt at a definition of SF, and a survey of others’ definitions. I’m in the chapter on the history of the genre at the moment, and looking forward to the chapters on race, gender, and technology. It reminds me again that as a female I am quite an unusual reader of SF. It also talks about a lot of SF I’ve never heard of, let alone read, which is exciting if a little daunting – there’s quite a bit here I would like to try and find. I really appreciate a book like this that takes SF – perhaps the epitome, in some minds, of popular or pulp fiction – and treats it as a serious subject, worthy of analysis, and not just in terms of what it ‘lacks’. I got sick of this during a subject at uni called Popular Fiction, which often felt like a comparison between ‘literature’, which has ‘blah’, and ‘popular fiction’, which has not. It is always salutory to remember that Shakespeare was written for mass consumption, and the theatre was looked upon as a rather vulgar form of entertainment.

Anyway. Enough rant. SF is a valid form of fiction and says some fascinating things about the society that produces it. And it’s fun to read.

Guitar Highway Rose

GHR is the book I’m doing with my Yr9 class at the moment. I’d not read it before, but I was surprised and impressed when I read it – I like it a lot. Don’t know that much of the class does, at the moment, but that may be more of a factor that it’s a class text + they’re in Yr9 than a reflection on the book itself.

It’s Australian, which is nice – by a woman named Brigid Lowry – largely set in Perth. It’s written in a really interesting way, which I think is largely its appeal: you get the perspective of lots of different characters throughout the book; there are no chapters as such, just different sections with revealing titles. Asher, the main boy, writes his parts as a flow of consciousness; no punctuation, etc (much like an email, really…). The characters all go through interesting changes, and there are some rather interesting insights into teenage Aussie culture, I think (it was written almost a decade ago, so I wonder if it has lost/is losing some relevance?). Anyway – at the moment I’m trying to think of how to encourage the kids to engage with the themes etc, and I’m finding that particularly difficult

Historical romances

For a number of years, My Dear Friend Kate tried to convince me that historical romances were a good thing to read. For that same length of time, I tried to put on a distant smile and refuse to be drawn in. This was partly prejudice – I have never wanted to be seen as a reader of romance – and partly because she was so keen that I try them. Last year, however, Kate cottoned on to a means of basically forcing me to read them: she sent me four as a birthday present. I will now admit that I have read three of those (I am still holding out and not reading the one called The Bridal Bed), and a couple of others she has since given me. Some have had surprisingly good plot structures and interesting characters. The basic theme is always the same, of course – boy and girl meet and eventually end up together; girl is often described with words such as ‘wilful’ and ‘head-strong’, therefore making her a more interesting character and allowing for interesting adventures and devious wooing. Some of them have been fairly pedestrian. I think my favourite is Wings of the Storm, because it’s about a female historian ‘accidentally’ sent back to 12-century England. The love story was fairly humourous, but I also found it very interesting how the author got her character to deal with the change in time and scene (partly, she made her an avid member of an Historical Anachronism society).

Much to Kate’s disappointment and disgust, I am still not entirely hooked on this genre – I don’t think I’ll ever go out and actively look for them. I can concede that they are not all as bad as I had thought, though, which I think is a fairly big step.

How remiss

It has been a very long time since I have written anything about the books I’ve read. Recently I haven’t been reading much, because of work, but before that I read as much as always… My only excuse can be that I am slack. And sometimes I forgot that I had anywhere to report those insights/insults I had whilst perusing some tome. However, I have remembered, and now will make an effort to compile these thoughts for some other person’s edification, although exactly who I think will be reading this I am not sure.