Friday, April 15, 2011

Water Changes Are Work

A busy evening tending the fishes.  Because I currently have fish in about 35 of my tanks, each of those tank gets a partial water change every week or two.  It's a lot of work, but keeps the tank and its inhabitants healthy.  Properly maintained aquariums almost never need to be taken down and set up again, which is a good thing because that's a lot of work.  When doing partial water changes I also siphon debris from the tank.  The planted tanks with gravel in them are vacuumed with a siphon that sucks the debris from the gravel.  The bare bottom tanks get vacuumed too, but it's a lot easier.   The water is siphoned into 5 gallon buckets and dumped into a tub with a sump pump that carries the water to the floor drain in my basement.  I'm thinking of trying a larger sump pump and longer hose this summer so I can use the water in my flower beds.

Because municipal water is treated with chemicals, and because the city of St. Paul artificially elevates the pH to protect all the lead pipes from corrosion, I age my tap water and add a product that removes the chloramines (a chlorine/ammonia combination) that would quickly kill the fish.  A few days of sitting in a barrel also drops the pH a bit.  Two large trash cans and a 50 gallon barrel hold almost enough water for changing all of the tanks.  One of the barrels is left "as is", while the other two get Epsom salts, baking soda and marine salt to create the "harder" preferred by many cichlids, and most livebearers.  Two 5 gallon buckets have much harder water for the Tanganyika cichlids, and a dilute sea water mixture for the brackish water fish (the mudskipper, and Edd my puffer).  Yep it's  lot of work!

Two of the water barrels have heaters in them as many of my fish are tropical and one barrel is left at room temperature for the fish that do best at room temperature. I have a trusty pump with a hose attached for pumping water back into the tanks.  If I had the money to do it, I'd have all my tanks plumbed and be able to do water changes with the flip of a switch - but not in this life!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Health Testing

Lucy's hips.

Because Lucy's owners want to breed her this year, she needs to have all her health testing completed.  The goal of Responsible Breeders (as opposed to "puppy raisers") is to produce the best puppies possible.  Although they are  hoping to get a few show potential pups from a litter, they also want to produce dogs with wonderful dispositions and excellent health potential.  There are a number of tests that can be done on dogs before the decision is made to breed them, tests that will maximize the chances of their offspring living long & healthy lives.  Health testing is one of the things that separate Responsible Breeders from commercial breeders (often referred to as puppy mills) and backyard breeders.

In Dals we test hearing, x-ray hips, and have eye checks done.  Additional testing includes elbow x-rays, thyroid testing, and cardiac tests.  Lucy was hearing tested (we call that BAER testing) along with her littermates when she was about 7 weeks old, so we know she hears in both ears.  Her hip and elbow x-rays yesterday looked great, but they were sent off to OFA (Orthopedic Foundation For Animals) for evaluation.  When Lucy goes to the National, she will have her eyes, thyroid and heart checked out.  IF she passes all these tests, she will be bred. 

To be continued . . .

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Happy Birthday Coral!

Coral has a smile for everyone.

The smiling brownie is 13 today!  Ch. Paisley Snowood Family Ties CGC ROM came to Paisleyland at 7 weeks of age, bred by our friend Meg but linebred on my beloved "Rob" and a granddaughter of my BiS "Morris".  Coral is one of the happiest, friendliest dogs I have ever owned, and definitely the smiliest.  She finished her championship with a nice record due to a lot of patience on Jess's part, since Coral assumed that all dog shows were social events arranged just for her.

Coral produced several fine litters for us and is the dam of our own Watson and grandma of Josie, who still share the sofa with her.  She has her Register Of Merit for producing 6 champions, and had a number of other quality offspring that no one got around to finishing.  Coral's kids consistently inherited her cheerful trustworthy personality.

Coral has been retired to housepet status for many years and is Ron's soulmate, just as her great-grandmother Eloise was long ago.

We're all celebrating with crockpot turkey meatloaf, sweet potatoes and ice cream tonight.  Happy Birthday, Coral!