Friday, September 28, 2012

Angelfish Babies

About a month ago, maybe a little longer, the angelfish in my tropical tank laid a bunch of eggs on a plastic plant.  For the record I do have real plants in this tank.  In fact, about half the plants in there are real and I'm working towards increasing that amount.  The real plants are lush, healthy and on the complete opposite end of the tank from the filter, which is the safest area in the entire tank.  I only mention all of this so you can understand my consternation at my fish for deciding to lay their eggs as close to the filter as possible and on the spindliest plastic plant they could find.  As expected with a first batch of eggs, these were unfertilized and the parents ended up eating them within about two days.

Fast forward to a week or so ago and I discover another batch of eggs from my angelfish.  Of course, my fish didn't get any smarter in the interim and ended up laying them in almost the exact location.  I figured there would be about a 50/50 chance of these eggs not being fertile as well so I wasn't getting too excited about them.  But by the end of the first day I realized that none of the eggs was turning white (which would indicate they were infertile.)  Then I realized that if in fact any of the eggs actually managed to hatch into fry, I had nothing to feed them.  Which in turn caused me to make a panicked trip to various stores in the area only to find out that none of them carries brine shrimp eggs anymore.  What the heck? 

By the second day, still no white eggs and mom and dad are vigorously defending the nest.  I had given up finding any brine shrimp eggs locally and went online to order some.  It wasn't until after I hit the "buy" button that I realized that he delivery date wouldn't be until some time next week.  Awesome.  So back to the store I went to try and find something to tide my babies over on the off chance they actually hatched into something. 

By the end of day two I notice the eggs appear to be vibrating.  It's kind of cool to watch the entire batch shimmy, but I try to avoid doing it frequently as it gets the parents wound up.

By day three I'm seeing little tiny tails hanging out of the eggs.  They are still vibrating and shimmying and I can also see two little eyes on top of their heads.  I want to hug them they are so cute.

Yesterday I noticed a few of the babies starting to launch off of the leaf.  This sends mom (or dad, I honestly can't tell the difference) into a frenzy of sucking up the wayward baby and spitting them back onto the leaf.  Kind of like when you chase your kid out of the pantry and set them back in the room where all their toys are repeatedly.  Apparently kids of all species pull the same stunt.  Anyway, they're not completely free swimming at this point but I knew they would be by today.

I got up this morning to see a cloud of babies swimming around their parents.  I fed the other fish at the opposite end of the tank and then put a little fry food in over the babies.  They came right up and started eating, which was awesome and short lived.  Mom (or dad) decided I was trying to poison their babies and proceeded to swim around sucking up the babies and spitting them away from the food.  What the hell mom (or dad)?  Eventually they gave up and let the babies feed, but it's been a repeat of this same procedure each time I've fed them today.

I don't know if any of the babies will actually survive to adulthood.  Their chances are pretty slim considering they're in a tank with multiple members, all of whom have mouths big enough to fit a baby in.  But you never know, one or two might survive.  And in the meantime, it's pretty cool to watch the parenting of the adults. 

So I don't know which fish is mom and which is dad, but you can see they are both parenting the fry which I think is pretty cool.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Update Post (because you can never get enough of those)

So yeah, where the heck have I been?  Apparently not on here, updating all three of my followers who actually read this.  I will set that to rights immediately...

Master J:  Well, the child is his own worst enemy.  He's enjoying his new school and sixth grade immensely.  Homework however, is the bane of his existence.  If his grades were solely dependent on his test scores, he would be a straight A student.  Because they are at least 40% dependent on his homework, he has two Cs.  Which kind of sucks.  Because the kid is in 7th grade math and reads at a 12th grade level, but he struggles to get his homework turned in on time.  And the worst part?  It's not that he doesn't do the homework, it's that he doesn't remember to turn it in.  Yeah, my brilliant child can't pull it together long enough to turn in the homework he did so he takes a 25% deduction in the grade.  Part of the issue is he is visual like me, if he can't see it he doesn't think he has it.  So we're trying a new thing where instead of putting his completed homework into the "turn in" folder, we've paper clipped it to the outside of the folder.  Voila!  Friday's homework got turned in.  We'll see if it continues.

Mister C and I are trying to do a real estate deal with my parents.  We want to buy their home that sits on over an acre and sell them our home that's low maintenance and would be extremely cheap for them to live in once my dad retires in a few months.  It's a win-win for both of us, if it all works out (knock on wood.)

At this point we're just waiting for the appraisal to be returned in order to qualify for the loan.  I was really hoping to hear by Monday, but the lender sent Mister C an email yesterday saying she expects it around October 10th.  I'm not sure in what universe it requires a full three weeks to get an appraisal report back but that's her version of events. 

Our gardens from this most recent season worked out well in some respects, not so well in others.  I finally harvested the last of the cantaloupes and pulled the vines out.  It looks a lot bigger back there all of a sudden.  I got rid of the cucumbers a few weeks ago, they pretty much sucked.  I only got two cucumbers that were edible, the rest of them went huge and yellow almost from the moment they appeared.  The watermelons did well and produced quite a few melons, but the heat got to them and they started rotting on the vine before ripening.  I pulled them all out a few weeks ago, but one new plant has started coming back.  The cherry tomatoes did really well, and one of them even reseeded itself so we have a new plant growing.  The red and green peppers really took off once we removed the dying tomato plants.  So far we haven't had any harvest ready peppers but I'm hoping we will soon.  The strawberries got pretty well overwhelmed by the cantaloupe and stopped producing, but the plants themselves look good and are continuing to vine out and get stronger.  I'm hoping they'll start producing again soon.  Still no luck from the berry patch.  The blackberry plants look fantastic but they haven't produced but one actual berry.  The raspberry plants look less good, they've struggled the entire time they've been back there.  They did produce three rather sour berries that did not please Mister C.  The blueberry plants are mostly not robust.  I pulled one of them out and potted it in the hopes of saving it.  It seems to be surviving, but not thriving.  The two grape vines are growing like crazy, they're all the way up the trellis and starting to curve over the top of the pergola.  There are currently five tiny bunches of grapes on one of the vines.  They are so adorable I want to pinch them, but I suspect that will not be a good thing.  And finally, we went ahead and planted two apple trees and a peach tree.  They are too young yet to be producing anything but they seem strong and managed to survive our brutal summer so I have hope.

In anticipation of our next growing season down here, I have started a bunch of seeds in my kitchen.  I am highly disappointed with the green bean seeds I bought as they have yet to start growing.  Since it's been a few weeks, I'm pretty sure they're duds and I'm going to have to restart some different ones.  Having said that, everything else seems to be trying.  The peas are at least four inches tall and the spinach, romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes and onions are several inches high.  I have high hopes for a productive season.

The Jeep diet is still working, slowly but steadily.  I've now lost fourteen pounds and after sitting at a plateau for at least six weeks, I think I'm back on track.  I did a six week challenge of push ups, dips, squats and crunches that wrapped up about a month ago.  I was aiming to hit 100 push ups, 150 dips, 150 crunches and 200 squats.  The last day I did the challenge I managed 125 push ups, 175 dips, 175 crunches and 300 squats.  And then I went and whimpered about my hip hurting for the next two days.  I now try to incorporate a more moderate 25 of each exercise into at least three days a week.  And I've just started a couch to 5k running program.  It's ugly.  I suck at running big time, but I've found a walking trail that runs in the greenbelt and dead ends.  Nobody is ever on it because it doesn't go anywhere and all the houses that line it are one story.  So basically, nobody can see me dragging along and stumbling on air while I make my pathetic attempt at running (think zombie on meth and you have the general picture.)  I'm pretty sure the running will be a boost to my fitness quest, no matter how I look doing it.

I think that about wraps it up, I'm heading into get some breakfast.