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  1. One last post before leaving California for the summer. I've spent many of my office hours by the pond pounding on my laptop at a small card table, shifting to stay under the shade of a magnolia tree. I'm really going to miss this setup when I go back to New York. It's amazing being able to glance over to see the fish in the pond, the dragonflies perched on the lilies, and the hummingbirds dancing through the air. The white clouds are looking fat and happy, and counted 17 when I was feeding them so I think they'll do just fine. I'll be back in a couple of months, so I'm hoping to see a few more (unless the mosquitofish eat all the fry). No sight of the shrimp, but that's not unexpected. On a separate note, I set up a mini scape in an old 1.5 gallon vase in my dad's office (I caught him obsessing over the shrimp before I added them to the pond). I put a tiny 1w pump in there surrounded by coarse sponge and covered in a pile of pebbles. I had a couple of baby mosquitofish in there for several weeks, to help get the tank cycled with no problems. Last weekend I got half a dozen cherry shrimp, removed the fish (back into the pond with you!) and put the shrimp in there. They looked pretty happy, so I went to the bathroom to dump out the old water. When I returned, I found, to my horror, that most of the shrimp had somehow found their way past the sponge, into the intake and, sadly, through the impeller. My father now has a no-fert, no-filtration nano tank with anubias, hornwort, and two beautiful fire red cherry shrimp. We'll see how that goes. I think I may be haunted by the site of floating shrimp bits forever. Lesson number 1 - shrimp have a death wish. Lesson number 2 - maybe I should have siliconed the sponge around the intake. Thanks for reading, and hopefully everything will survive until Thanksgiving.
  2. Two week update: The white cloud are still there and seem to be having a good time. They mainly hang out underneath a little footbridge by the waterfall. Not sure if that's because that is where I released them, or if they're getting bullied by the mosquitofish (some of which are pretty massive). When I throw in some Fluval Bug Bites (every few days or so), they're not really interested in it, so I assume they're eating other stuff in the pond. The cherry shrimp are, predictably, nowhere to be seen. My niece claims to have seen one, but she also says she saw a mermaid in there, so her testimony is a bit suspect. I'm also thinking of putting some pond comets in there, but there are a few things giving me pause. My parents don't run the pump most of the time (although I just bought them a timer, so it should get a consistent few hours each day), so filtration will be mostly non-existent. Also, I don't know how often they'll feed the fish. I can easily see weeks or months going by without feeding. They're all about minimizing upkeep. So could I put half a dozen in there to see how they do? It's a pretty big pond and covered with water lillies, so biological filtration should be ok, but there won't be much aeration most of the time.
  3. Here are my adventures in stocking an outdoor pond in Northern California (South Bay). My parents have a ~4000 gallon pond in their backyard. I’m visiting them for the summer because of remote work (the one good thing about coronavirus; that and spending more time with my girls). We used to have some comets and goldfish in there when I was younger, but those got eaten by raccoons and herons, so now it’s just mosquito fish and tons of amazing water lilies. Since I’m around, I thought I spruce it up a bit for all the grandkids to enjoy. I ordered 20 golden white clouds (shout-out to Aqua Huna), which I added to the pond today, and I picked up two dozen red cherry shrimp from a local breeder on Craigslist which I will add tonight or tomorrow. I figure I’ll never see the shrimp unless they really thrive and reproduce into the thousands, but the white clouds are fantastic already, showing up like a beacon against the dark bottom. I’ll see if there is any increase over the next month and a half, but I’m really hoping to see a school of a hundred when I come back for Thanksgiving. And if I’m really lucky they’ll over-winter just fine and still be around next spring/summer. The local breeder keeps his shrimp in an outdoor tank all year round, and the winters here are mild enough (and the pond deep enough) that I’m hoping everything will cruise along. Just wanted to make a record of my experience, in case anyone else wants to give it a go.
  4. Here is my experience as a Manhattan apartment-dweller without a car: I ordered 3/32 inch polycarbonate from TAP plastics, which you can order cut to size. I have rimless tanks, so standard lid sizes don't really work for me. Make sure to measure the interior dimensions of the tank AND account for the rim clips (I did the former but not the latter, so I spent a significant amount of time trimming the lid to fit the clips). I used a rotary tool to cut out corners for intake/outflow/air lines. You can also use a box cutter or other sharp knife, but this takes a while at this thickness. I also cut a square out of one side and used a clear plastic hinge from Amazon and superglue to create a door for feeding. By leaving a small gap where the hinge is, the door protrudes just enough beyond the edge of the lid to rest on the edge of the tank, making it easy to lift up and also keeping it from falling into the water. I use clear suction cups for airline tubing as lid handles if I ever need to lift them up. As for bending, I have two 17 inch long pieces - one is slightly bowed and the other looks fine. You can always flip it periodically (well, not the one with the door; fortunately this piece is pretty flat still). I think for my next go, I'll order a 1/8 inch thick sheet. My 25cm cube tank covers are all perfectly flat. My pieces were not too expensive, I think $12-20 each.
  5. The metal valves are to reduce the flow, but only slightly. Maybe that's it, so I'll try running the two survivors fully open (although we'll see if this is too much air, if such a thing is possible). @GameCzarI think this is the way to go. I just ordered two on Amazon (since they're not in stock at the Co-op), and I previously had one in reserve but two of them failed in a short period. Luckily it's a heavily planted shrimp tank, so I'm not too worried about things (I just cut feeding waaaaay back).
  6. Hi Everyone, this is my first time posting here, but I've been really impressed by the quality of the discourse! I have a question about the USB Nano Air Pumps. These things are great and completely silent from 12 inches away (my tanks are, by necessity of living in a cramped NYC apartment, in my living room). The problem is that they fail on me way too often. I've purchased 5 of these over the years, and 3 have failed (one after about 3 months and two after about 9 months). I'm starting to wondering if I'm doing something wrong. I have (or had, rather) one running on each of three 4 gallon cubes. The pumps are placed on a shelf above the tanks, each driving an Aquarium Co-op nano sponge filter with a Ziss airstone. Each line has a metal valve plus a check valve. The pumps are plugged into the USB outlets of a Kasa Smart power strip, and the outlets are confirmed to be functional. The shelf is open, so I don't think it's a heat issue. I just want to make sure that I'm not causing all these premature deaths, or if it's just a function of small (presumably Chinese) electrics being of... questionable quality.
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