Sunday, November 28, 2010

End of November Update

I have some good news and some bad. The bad news is, on November the 18th, my gerbil Lewis died. I don't know the cause. Gerbils are supposed to live a fair amount longer than a year (most live 3-5 years) so there must have been something wrong with him. Now Clark is by himself and is very lonely. I am strongly considering getting another gerbil to keep him company (and soon) because gerbils don't like to be alone.
On a brighter note though, I finally got my under-tank heater for Gex and I also am setting up a 10 gallon reef tank, which is currently cycling. The contents of the 5 gallon (live-rock, polyps, mushroom coral, and all the equipment and sand) will go into the 10 once it is stable. I'll post pictures once there is something to post pictures of (right now it is pretty boring looking because all that is in the tank is sand, water, equipment, and 4 rocks) which will hopefully be soon. I am going to use (I have to order them) 2 Finnex 26watt power-compact screw in (regular socket) bulbs for the lighting.
For my saltwater tanks, I don't use protein skimmers at all because I think the natural method works better: you don't have to dose lots of elements back to the water daily (skimming removes them so you have to add them back), you don't remove the food that the corals eat, and there is less expense. My method involves doing monthly water changes of about 50% (to keep nitrates down), feeding Kent Marine Micro-Vert every day, feeding whatever fish are in the tank a very small amount of good quality food (usually frozen) doing filter maintenance every couple of weeks, and finally, realizing the limits of whatever tank it is (I don't even try to keep SPS corals because I know they are demanding in their water quality needs).
Smokey and Sunny have been extremely cuddly lately and have been (for the most part) sweet. Smokey has learned how to UNZIP stuff lately and has managed to do this twice! I had her in her carrier the other day and I turned around and there she was so I went upstairs (expecting a torn up carrier) and found out that she had unzipped it and gotten out! If I have to take her to the vet or anywhere else for whatever reason, I'll have to make sure she can't do that!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Cold Weather Comes (And Issues Arise)

Well, the cold weather is here now (we've had a freeze for three nights in a row now) and with that comes the need for heaters (for us, and the animals) and for most of my animals, the heaters are fine, HOWEVER, for my African fat-tailed gecko, the under-tank heater that I have had for several years quit working! I don't know what is wrong with it but it is so thin (paper thin) that there is not much you can do, so I went to our local pet store to get one (they are pretty common) and they had every heater but the one I needed. They had the Exo-Terra Rain forest heaters in every size, the Exo-Terra Desert heaters (the type I needed because the rain forest ones are half the wattage of the desert ones) in the larger sizes (medium, large, and X-large) but not the smaller ones (Small and X-small) so they said they would order it for me. Well, I went back a week later and asked about it and they said that it had been back ordered and should be there by Friday the 12th. So right now, I am waiting on the heater to come in, having to heat up a reusable hot/cold pack (you microwave it) every few hours and also using a heat lamp (only when I am here because it gets REALLY hot) on my fat-tailed gecko. Smokey and Sunny have taken to sleeping with me more because of the cold weather and I must say that having a kitty (or two kitties) to cuddle with at night and keep you warm is very nice! Fiona likes the cold weather (compared to summer anyway) but still gets cold at night sometimes. My gerbils (Lewis and Clark) get cold and cuddle together at night which is really cute but I give them bedding to stay warm with. The fish tanks are for the most part doing well. The reef tank is not doing as well as I would like (the only thing that is growing and thriving is the mushroom, the polyps are surviving but not growing) because the lighting is NOT strong enough (it is only two watts of PC where as I SHOULD have between four and eight) so I have to start working on that. My leopard gecko (Seze) is doing very well and has a HUGE appetite for crickets (doesn't like meal worms though)! I am trying to keep warm because I am NOT a cold weather person... Brrrr.