First Day of School, First Day of School

If the purpose of this space is to talk about what is on my mind, what has been on my mind has been sending Aviendha to school.

Monday was her first day of Pre-K. Leading up to it I was a mess. I cried just about every day for two weeks. I shocked myself with how well I handled the morning. We got up, brushed our teeth (something she is doing on her own now) had breakfast, got dressed, and then my child took the biggest step that she has ever taken.

I can vividly remember that tiny face looking up at me in the hospital that morning. I remember how her eyes were almost black, and how I used eye-liner to draw a little scar on her head.

I held myself together pretty well Monday. I only really started to lose it when she moved her name tag from “Home” to “School” when she entered the class.

Academically, she is right where she should be. Starting to recognize letters, starting to write her name, she loves books and learning. She is excited about school. She has attacked this challenge like she has done every other hurdle she has faced. She masters the skill, be it walking, talking, or riding her bike, then she takes off running.

Parents are supposed to think their kids are the greatest in the world, the smartest, the best looking. I truly just hope that Avi continues to grow and learn.

I have done better with this transition than I orginally thought I would. Because I am a teacher, and I work with kids, I understand the profound effect that adults can have on children. To this point I have been one of the very few with the power to influence her. I have had a major hand in deciding what she learns, when and from who. Now, someone else has that power. And it scares the hell out of me.

Fish Tank Saga Continued…

We left off with a beautiful display tank (DT) and some fishies with Marine Ich… What we have now is an empty DT, and a Quarentine Tank (QT) with some fishies undergoing Hyposalinity Treatment.

What I had to do, due to the nature of the parasite, was remove all six fish from the DT and relocate them to a bare bottom QT with no invertebrates of any kind. I then reduced the salinity from about 35% (a specific gravity of 1.024) to about 14% (specific gravity of 1.009). The fish are able to tolerate this change for a few months with little negative consequences. The Ich however, cannot live in this hyposaline environment. Corals, snails, coralline algae and everything else that makes a reef a reef could not live in these conditions either.

I went out and a 55 gal aquarium (seen above) and introduced the fish to it, I used filter media from my old tank to help maintain the biological filter and a functioning nitrogen cycle. What I didn’t account for (a mistake I won’t be repeating) is that the hyposaline solution would kill off the beneficial bacteria in the filter, necessary for breaking down uneaten food from Ammonia to Nitrite to Nitrate. What I have now are dangerously high levels of Ammonia that are requiring obscene amounts of water changes (salt and deionized water are not cheap).

Aside from my ammonia spike, the fish seem to be doing well. The Hippo Tang (yes, the one that looks like Dori) was the only fish showing visible signs of infection (tangs are notorious for Ich), but any fish in the tank will be infected if even one fish is. She is no longer bearing any visible signs of the parasite.

From the time the parasite became visible (about two days after I purchased her) she started hiding anytime I was in the room (even if I peeked around a corner). Yesterday, she was showing no signs of white spots and continued to swim freely even with me in the room. I thought this was a really interesting observation. Something about the infection was causing her to hide almost all the time. Now that she looks to be recovering, she is swimming freely. Very cool.

The extended hyposalinity treatment (4-6 weeks…at least 4 weeks from the last white spot) will break the cycle of Ich in the QT. Because the parasite cannot survive without a fish host (shrimps, snails, crabs and live rock don’t count) the cycle will be broken in the DT as well, as it will be fishless for at least 4 more weeks.

The lesson learned here (one I should have learned years ago, but like I have state previously, I had the tank, but never did it right) is that I will never bring home a fish, invert, piece of live rock or anything else and place it immediately in the DT. Everything (even a snail, because the water is came in with could be carrying Ich) will go through a 4 week QT. Any fish will be run through hyposalinity. Any Inverts will go into QT with no fish (which could act as a host for parasites) for at least a month.

What this will do is slow down the process of adding to the tank, but will force me to be patient and careful with what I add. The tank has come a long way in a short period of time.

We Are…

I think Penn State is going to win on Saturday. I think they are going to win and I am not the only one who thinks so.

I realize I could be completely wrong about this. I realize The Tide my roll right over us and our true freshman QB and inexperienced D.

But, you know what, I don’t think they are going to. Honestly, I am not overly impressed with Alabama (or any SEC team this year). I think we have the ability to stretch the field with our experienced receivers. If Evan Royster can get any type of running game going, we are going to be in this thing.

The hard part for me, and lets get this out of the way early this year, is if Penn State loses, season over. With the ridiculous system we have, one loss (Hi Virginia Tech) or one big win (Boise State is not the third best team in the country) you make or break your season. The system sucks, and takes an ostrich like ability to place one’s head in the sand to be able to enjoy the sport that I love so much.

I could take a few minutes and link back to all my old posts about the need for a playoff and the B.S. that is the B.C.S, but I just don’t feel like it right now.

All I know is, at 7:00 pm on Saturday, I know where you can find me.

His Name is Robert Bolden

His name is Robert Bolden, and he is an athlete.

One of the hardest parts of being a College Football fan is getting to know the new faces every year. Another difficult part, is once you are stuck with a guy, chances are you are stuck with them for 2, 3 or 4 years. This was the case with interception machine Daryll Clark. I was never a fan, he was never Michael Robinson.

I am immediately impressed with Bolden (20-29 for 240, 2 TDs and 1 Int in his first every college action doesn’t hurt).

Yes I realize that Youngstown State is not Ohio State. But having said that, Evan Royster is supposed to be a Heisman Trophy contender, and could not get anything going Saturday, while Bolden was making plays all over the place with his arm. He looked polished and confident. He did not have to use his legs at all, which I am interested in seeing.

I am reasonable enough to realize that we are not going 12-0 and winning a BCS championship, I am also aware that Alabama will most likely roll us Saturday night. But, they might not. They too have an inexperienced QB and a great running game/defense. Maybe we can hang with them, maybe we have a QB who steps up in big games, unlike Mr. Clark, and the guy who proceded him, whose name I have already wiped from my memory.

All in all, great first weekend in College Football. How long can I keep the delusion going that I won’t just be disappointed at the end of the year?

Fish Tank Updates

The tank continues to undergo a major overhaul. I have had this tank up and running dating back to ’03. I had added fish here and there, but never really dedicated myself to it.

It is my habit, that when I undertake a hobby, I learn as much about it as possible. I never did that with the tank. I purchased my first (big) fish tank in college, it was 65 gallons, and took up about 2/3 of the room in my house.

Since upgrading to this one (75 Gal), I have never really done anything major with it. The tank basically ran itself for 2 or three years. I would occasionally change the water and feed the fish. Aside from that, I didn’t do much.

That all changed a few weeks ago, when I decided to really take an interest in the 4 foot thing dominating our dining room.

I have tried to do this right, adding the necessary pieces, prior to adding fish and eventually corals. I have only ever kept fish, so the step up to a full reef tank is a bit scary.

I added what is called a Sump under the tank. this is a reserve tank that acts as a filter for the system, while also increasing the overall volume (a problem with water quality is less of a problem spread across 100+ gallons than it is in 75).

I also added a Power Compact light fixture complete with LED moon lights that simulate the moons glow (you would be shocked to see how many little creatures live in this tank that are never seen).

I am slowly adding live rock (at $6.50 a pound it is a bit expensive).

The next step is to get everything stable and functioning correctly, so I can begin adding more livestock.