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Posts Tagged ‘water’

Privet Hedge Maintenance (continued)

Monday, June 6th, 2011

More border clearing today, and tidying under the privet hedge, hopefully tomorrow, the new border will be complete, and I’ll be able to install the water irrigation system that arrived today! (and then it will probably rain!).

Hozelock Soaker Hose 15m

Hozelock Soaker Hose 15m

Hozelock Soaker Hose 15m - unpacked

Hozelock Soaker Hose 15m - unpacked

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Frozen Ballcocks!

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

What a morning and afternoon, Lindsey woke me up this morning at silly o’clock, complaining she couldn’t have a shower because there was no cold water!

If you look back in the archives, here, if you examine the photographs carefully and look towards the rear of the photographs, you can see some “loft insulation” that’s been used as lagging around the copper hot and cold water pipes, and also the hot and cold water header tanks.

It would appear that the temperature dropped overnight to something ridiculous which froze the ball cock in the cold water header tank, and also froze one of the pipes.

So, after taking off the cold water feed to the shower unit, and there was no water, putting a 3kWatt fan heater in the attic/loft to warm the loft up, which thawed out the frozen ball cock, eventually combination of fan heater and sun shine on the roof thawed out the pipework.

The only difficulty was connecting the pipe back up, with water coming out of it under pressure from the header tank, and no way to stop it, so I had to let the tank drain, before re-connecting, so I got a bit wet!

So it looks like loft insulation isn’t up to the job of insulating pipes!

That’s another DIY job sometime!

Merry #@!? Chrimbo!

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Test Your Aquarium Water

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

It’s important to test the quality of your aquarium water regularly if you care about your tropical, marine or coldwater fish. Remember fish do swim around in their urine and faeces in your aquarium, in the wild this wouldn’t be a problem, because the fish come from very large expanses of water, and the effects would be diluted many times, but YOU are responsible for the water (quality) at all times in the aquarium. People often ask me, oh you keep fish, and I often reply, well actually I manage water! If you manage your water (paramaters) correctly and well, your fish should flourish and breed (if you’ve got a male and a female - that’s another blog post one day!).

Yes, I know it’s a chore, but you owe it to your fish. And you should also be changing the water in the aquarium at least 25% each week with fresh suitable clean water , and that doesn’t mean out of the time either! (subject to water quality).

Here are the test results for the water in my new aquarium I’ve just set up. (click the image for more detailed view)

water testing with a test kit

water testing with a test kit

From left to right,

  • pH - offscale > 7.8
  • High pH - approx 8.0 - 8.2 (colour has been altered by flash!)
  • Nitrate - approx zero ppm
  • Nitrite - approx zero ppm
  • Ammonia  - approx zero ppm

The above is what I would expect on a new aquarium setup with an establish mature filter. (remember I stole, four mature sponge filters from existing mature filters!). My water is very hard, you could stand a spoon in it, it’s liquid rock coming out of the tap. My test kit comes with two test ranges 6.0 - 7.8, and 7.4 to 8.8 (I already know, my “treated” tap water is 8.0. So pH is acceptable, Nitrate levels will only peak, when Nitrite and Ammonia are broken down, high nitrate levels cause algae, as well as too much light and food, so more water changes are required. Farm fertilisers cause high Nitrate levels in tap water. In a mature aquarium, ammonia is oxidised by bacteria to form nitrites and nitrite is oxidised by bacteria to form nitrate. (Google Nitrogen Cycle!). But when I introduce fish, I’ll be regularly checking water by testing to check the filters are working correctly, and I don’t overload the filters.

When I “built” this tank, I used 100l of water from and existing aquarium in the fish house, and another 100l of treated water from my storage tank, this water is aerated, kept at 26 degrees C, and is mains filtered by a filter which removes debris, passed over carbon, and Heavy Metals, Chlorine, Chloramine and finally nitrate are removed, this process does not alter pH. (I also have Reverse Osmosis, but didn’t need this water for this tank). If you don’t have all this at your disposal, leaving water to stand overnight aerated will get rid of the chlorine killer, or use something like Tetra Aquasafe if you have a small tank.

water testing with a test kit and a ph Probe!

water testing with a test kit and a ph Probe!

I also have another gadget, a commercial eletronic digital pH probe, I use it as a “guide”, water temperature is very accurate, but the pH needs calibrating regularly, it’s currently reading pH - 7.89, which I think is too low, so I’ve got lots of calibration fluid, I’ll try and recalibrate it tomorrow, and see what value it gives then. So I prefer to use the test kit colour solution.

There are many Aquarium Test kits on the market, at very low cost, I use a wet Freshwater Master Test Kit by API, it’s cheap with many tanks, but if you’ve just got one tank, why not try the 5 in 1 Aquarium Test Strips, 25 tests for a tenner! No bottles, no mess, no mixing, shaking, or adding drops.

Why Not Treat Your Fish Today!

(you buy treats for the cat or dog, don’t you!)

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New Aquarium

Monday, August 31st, 2009

Three months ago, I reported all change in the fish house and removed 9 unsed fish tanks from the fish house and tried to replace them with a spare 48×18x12 - plans didn’t work well!, well it’s taken me three months to get the faulty aquarium replaced, and I’ve spent many hours this weekend installing the tank on it’s shelf. I’d previously removed the 2 x 24×12x15 and 18×18x18 cube from this shelf. So I just needed to slot this tank in place and wire-up heaters and filters.

Algarde Digi-Therm external stat

Algarde Digi-Therm external stat

I’ve used an Algarde Digi-Therm digital external thermostat connected to two heaters (200 and 300 watt) - this is rather an old combination of using external thermostat connected to internal heaters, the norm these days is to use, combined heater thermostats, but I still prefer this older, safer combination. I’ve had many combined heater stats jam on and heat up and kill the fish in the tank.

Hagen Bio-Life 55 internal filter with trickle filter

Hagen Bio-Life 55 internal filter with trickle filter

Filtration is provided by a Hagen Bio-Life 55, internal Wet ‘n’  Dry internal filter, and excellent internal filter - I’ve had to start this filter from new, so it’s not mature yet, and will take several weeks to mature and

homebrew tank hangers for biolife 55

homebrew tank hangers for biolife 55

I had to make some homebrew clips to secure the fish tank to the side of the tank, as this tank is 18″ deep, I’ve lost the suckers or bracket to stick to tank wall , I was going to use a Dennerle C400 internal filter, but I prefer this filter because it has an internal trickle filter (they were all the rage, once upon a time). I’ve also installed an air-driven

Algarde Bio-foam 200 sponge filter

Algarde Bio-foam 200 sponge filter

Algarde Bio-Foam 200 internal foam filter using four foams, this was easy to mature, because I just stole a foam from other tanks in the fish house which are already mature, as most tanks in the fish house have air-driven Algarde Bio-Foam 200 internal foam filter using two foams - so I ust removed one foam and replaced with a new, and made sure the mature foam was pre-washed in old aquarium water. I’m hoping that this speeds up maturation of the aquarium. I’ve also installed a sand filter,

Lifegard FB300 Fluidized Sand Filter (fully Fluidized!)

Lifegard FB300 Fluidized Sand Filter (fully Fluidized!)

a Lifegard FB300 driven by a Maxijet PH600 powerhead. I don’t think you can ever “over-filter” a tank. I had a small issue with this filter, because after filling it with media (sand), the powerhead wouldn’t drive it correctly, even after testing it correcly before filling, so I had to empty the sand into a bucket, re-connect the filter, run the powerhead, and re-fill the filter with a 5ml spoon of sand at a time to prevent clogging, it took a while re-filling the filter with sand, a few spoonfuls!

top of tank showing water movement

top of tank showing water movement

Tank water looks a bit cloudy at present, but give it a week, and I’m sure this will clear, as the bacteria start to work their magic.

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Rainwater Harvesting

Saturday, August 1st, 2009

There’s only one drainpipe that drains the water off the roof ofg the house at the front when it rains, and because we don’t have any drains, it just soaks away. I’ve had a few issues with the flatpack water butts from Rainmate, they leaked, but after some recplacement internal liners they sent me, and I’ve eventually replaced and installed them, I’ve now completed my rainwater harvesting project, I use alot of mains water in the fish house already, so it’s good to use rainwater in the garden.

Three Rainmate Water Butts

Three Rainmate Water Butts

It was raining alot when I took these pictures, so you can see the flow of water running into the water butt. I have three water butts linked together, so when the first one fills, it overflows into the next and so on. Each water butt holds 200 litres of water, and with the recent rain we’ve been having in Yorkshire only takes minutes to fill all three water butts. There’s also an overflow, so when all three are filled, the water flows back to drain, (soak away) eventually I’ll connect this to some soakaway housepipe and embed it in the border under the hedgerow.

Three Rainmate Water Butts

Three Rainmate Water Butts connected with Eheim aquarium tubing!

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eaga ShowerSmart - Get yours FREE and Save the Planet!

Friday, July 3rd, 2009

eaga ShowerSmart unit

eaga ShowerSmart unit

I’ve just done some quick DIY (5 minutes)  in the bathroom and fitted an eaga ShowerSmart, and the good news is they are free of charge to UK householders. I applied for mine so long ago, I forgot about it!

It’s a small metal unit, which restricts the flow of water through your shower head, saving water and energy.

Read and apply for one here at http://www.shower-smart.co.uk/

The eaga ShowerSmart is suitable for use with non-electric mixer showers or bath/shower mixer taps, provided they run off the mains water pressure.

It’s supplied with two washers, good instructions, and a small plastic bag which you use to check if your shower is in-efficient.

eaga shower unit fitted on our old shower!

eaga shower unit fitted on our old shower!

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Automated Water Irrigation System

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

I had hoped to plant-out my tomatoe plants today, but I spent much of the hot afternoon installing my Hozelock automatic water irrigation system, now that the frosts have gone (fingers crossed), I don’t leave them out all year, and store them in the shed, after October to protect from frosts.

 

Hozelock AC4 and AC1+ Garden Water Timers

Hozelock AC4 and AC1+ Garden Water Timers

The Hozelock AC4 and AC1+ have since been discontinued, (probably available new and used from eBay.), but newer models are available which do the same thing. I have two different models which automatically water the plants at the top and bottom (greenhouse), early morning at 7am and late evening 8pm for an hour. It takes me a while to setup, because I have to drape the water dripper pipe around the base of the blue berry and goji berry bushes. I use two drippers per 18″ pot for my blueberry bushes, I’ve noticed that blueberry bushes “drink” alot, and it’s very important to keep the plants moist in this hot weather to avoid crop loss.

 

Hozelock 4mm pipe around the base of blueberry bush

Hozelock 4mm pipe around the base of blueberry bush

The new style Hozelock, quick water irrigation system is much easier to install with potted plants, I also have three of them. I’ll post some pictures, when I set them up, in the greenhouse.

 

Hozelock 4mm pipe around the base of blueberry bush

Hozelock 4mm pipe around the base of blueberry bush

You can see the drippers in this photograph.

 

Hozelock 4mm pipe around the base of tomatoe plants

Hozelock 4mm pipe around the base of tomatoe plants

I’ve used a John Guest on/off ball valve (yes, John Guest fittings work on this pipe as well!), to turn off the water if I need to. Oh I think these tomatoe plants have had it, I planted them out early under glass cloches, only problem is over the last two days, with the heat, I think it’s killed them!

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