Journey from dining room to fish room.

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that famous banjo
Loll, That one, I'm stealing for sure !

Yes, Patina is a better word to express it... You're lucky the places I could get some is always polished and strange forms... It's called scrap for a reason.
Picture of 10 gallon tank Linda is getting ready to receive Molly fry currently in a nursery basket. She has added a background to the tank since the photo was taken. The tank is currently ready to receive fry later today.
Also, for my pleasure, Linda surprised me with ....

A lovely halfmoon Betta that I had both pitied and admired at a local Petsmart. She aquired him about a week ago and the handsome fella seems happy and healthy.
Been a few days since I have been here.

The weather has turned nasty so we have suspended the pond work for now. We did roughly lay out the marble chunks. It was quite a jigsaw puzzle. The oval pieces will be steppingstones and the irregular rectangles will provide an interesting floor under the soon to be pergola. The "cracks between stones will be filled with stone dust which hardens to a semi concrete. There will also be a 2 inch layer of stone duct underneath the stones after putting down an EDPM barrier over the current dirt. I have enough rough cut 2 by 4's on hand to accomplish this on the next sunny day.

Two doctor appointments on Tuesday so it was a lost day as far as work goes. One doctor is is close by, about 4 miles, the second is about 25 miles distant. All is well thankfully. After the second appointment we went to the not really local fish store we discovered a week back. I tried to get a handle on filtration with the owner, it is still really confusing to me as to the system we want. Linda scouted various fish for the future tanks. I have surrendered the selection to her.

We have settled on the tanks for the room, or at least the initial set-up. This was important because of electrical outlet placement. Two 20 amp circuits for tanks.

North wall -- 10 feet 8 inches long. Centered in the wall at the pass through will be a 44-gallon Seapora. To the left a 29 gallon and to the right a 10 gallon tank for my betta and a 54-gallon Aqueon corner tank.

East wall is 14 feet and 3 inches. In the center of that wall will be a 30" closet that will be recessed into the laundry room. The closet will hold the plumbing and all the paraphenalia that Linda wants out of sight. That will leave 67 inches to either side of the closet, half of which will be filled by the 54 Aqueon corner tanks,. To the doors left and right of the doors 20-gallon long tanks on a lower level and above them 22 gallon Lifeguard Aquatics tanks. The corner will be filled with a second 54 corner tank.

The south wall is 14 foot 6 inches long. It will be centered with the current 37 and the left end will have the 54 corner. Between those two tanks a a 40-gallon breeder tank and to the right a 75-gallon tank and a 20 tall to be used as QT.

Fourteen tanks in all.

I began the part of the wiring I am comfortable doing. That basically amounts to stringing wire from the main box to junction boxes below the fish room. Today is another miserable day outside so I will stretch a third 20-amp circuit from the box to north wall of the basement that will be used to feed the pond and future gazebo as well as some yet to be determined lighting. Chris will be here in another week or so to do wiring and I want everything to be ready so that he can make actual connections. The weather is supposed to be uncomfortable through Sunday so I should also be able to rough the plumbing in.

Linda will be pricing necessary tanks later today and I have strongly suggested she purchase as many as she can from the not so local fish store to build a relationship. It is most likely not feasible to buy all from them though.

I am hesitant at this stage to start tearing up the carpet and walls because as soon as the weather turns, we have probably 8 to 10 weeks of work at the pond, perhaps more depending on our stamina. I do not want to live in a bunch of under construction, and more importantly neither does Linda, so I need to take care in how I schedule everything. Most of the dining room to fish room work will likely be done in the fall. My goal at this time is to be finished no later than end of year. We will see.

Things I need to figure out are filtration, I do not want a sump because it would take over too much of the laundry room. I am leaning toward a central air system connected to faom filters but truthfully do not know at this time if that is something that is even functional. Fact is I know too little about filtration beyond haning a filter on a tank. I will learn though.

I will begin taking progress photos as soon as we actually begin construction of the room.

Anyway, the actual planning has been done, the lumber is at the kiln, electrical scheduled, plumbing a simple job, and tanks will soon be acquired. That is a pretty good start.
Chris will arrive for lunch after which I will put him to work while Laura and Linda do whatever it is they do. The wire is largely in place and Chris just needs to connect to the entrance and the subfeeds. He will also run a wire to the outside basement entry wall which is wood being above the ground. I have decided that is sufficient for the pond area and will use exterior rated lead chords until the Gazebo up and running. AFter that will bury a line to the gazebo with an waterproof outlet for the pond.

Spent yester day recovering from cleaning up snow in the pathways Linda uses for her bird gardens. They are extensive and more than I care to remember was done with the banjo. Linda is happy because her feeders are once again full.

Next week the snow should be pretty much gone between the temps and intermittent rain so I plan to re do the waterfall, making it about a foot higher with two steps and small puddles. Will also put solar lights behind the steps to add evening drama.

Also on tap is some minor hiking to the wetland area. These are not on my property but I have permission from the neighbor to explore. The goal is to find bog plants such as cattails, horsetail, rush and whatever else looks controllable and interesting. The cattails spread easily so those will be potted before being sunk into the bog. No plans to dig yet just want to know where to go for what we want.

Linda pulled several plants from the pond edge that are annuals. She has kept them alive, and the Cana has actually tripled in size. We will order creeping myrtle and moss plugs soon and that will hopefully take care of the plants. Well, that is my hope. Linda seems to always find a reason to add more to her gardens.

Two more issues have arisen that I must figure out for the fish room. The first I am reading about a bit at night and that is sponge filters. My idea is to have a central air pump that powers all the tanks along the lines of the pneumatics in my garage. Seems more efficient and cost efficient than a bunch of individual pumps. Will likely float a question in the forums soon.

The second and more costly is temperature control in the fish room. The room is on the same heating zone as the kitchen and TV room. The thermostat is located in the room with tanks and even now we have noticed the kitchen and TV room are a bit cool. Seems the heat and humidity are throwing off the balance. This made me wonder what will happen in the summer. We do not have central air instead using individual room A/C strategically located. The three rooms are all south facing a unattended get very warm in the summer. There is no efficient method to actually cool the dining room due to being attached to the front enclosed porch. I tried a room air one year and the porch became unusable due to the heat of the exhaust. This will mean the need for a remote A/C unit which is likely beyond my skill level and therefore a potential large unplanned expense. That will be the second large unplanned cost, the floor being the first. Not sure as yet how to handle the issue.
Chris finished the electric for me. We now have three 20A ground fault circuits in the room and a third at the North basement wall for the pond area. Linda allowed me to cut wall and put the necessary boxes in so long as they were covered with blank plates, brown wood grain that resembles the paneling. These were left exposed by a little to account for the water-resistant panels that will go up in the future. Two of the new outlets are wired with outlets side by side so that in the event one circuit goes "down: I can easily plug into the second circuit while awaiting repair. The utility area was also wired with a third circuit for a 115V water heater that will be pigtailed for a plug. Should have sufficient power to do everything.

The room has come along faster than anticipated due to the weather that precludes any real outside work being done. This week will also be potentially miserable, Wednesday - Thursday we are in for heavy wings and depending on which weather magician I listen to will be snowy or rainy. Temps will be about 10F below normal meaning low 40's or high 30" and bordering on freezing at night. The bright side is last week's major storm is all but melted so I can likely finish the gazebo and pergola layouts tomorrow and on Tuesday perhaps beginning the leveling and other prep. Linda did do some plant pruning around the pond and used the fork to turn the bog. It stunk like a bog should when rolled. That is good she thinks. I will defer to her judgement.

Had planned to go to the Burlington Fish Show Saturday but had to demur. The accident caused a bit more damage than I realized. The electronics in the door are not functioning and the wheel alignment is a bit out of kilter. Drivable around town but I do not want to have abnormal wear on the tires from the alignment issue. Just paid a Midas fortune for four new ones a month ago. Linda's Jimmy is in the shop for some routine maintenance so Burlington was out. One truck out and one truck in on Monday or Tuesday.

Did 30% or so water changes on all four tanks yesterday. Also added Fluval sponge filters and Seachem into the HOB in place of charcoal bags.

Hope we all have a pleasant Easter Sunday. We have daughter, SIL, 91-year-old mother, and a couple of grands coming over after church. Hope everyone else gets to enjoy family today.
Decent weather on tap today so the pond will become the workshop. I have the waterfall half destroyed and will bigin the rebuild with grandsons assistance(?). Last year it was about 4 feet above the waterline and basically a chute to the pond with some rocks to create ripples. Going to rebuild it a little higher, maybe 5.5 feet above the surface and create at least one and hopefully two small pools to create some steps. Linda purchased a larger pump for this purpose during the winter, I believe at 5 foot of head it delivers 4500 GPH. This will be an increase of about 1000 - 1500 GPH which should result in some nifty turbulence. Last years pump handled both the waterfall and an alligator and frog spitter, both rather large. We were not that happy with the volume of the spittle and I think we asked too much of the pump. That same pump will now be used strictly for the spitters we have plus a third as yet to be determined. I want a dog with lifted leg but Linda is not amused and is leaning toward a mermaid on a rock. Guess which one will be ordered this week. I would offer three guesses but only one is required.

Anyway, the rebuild will require a tum on the banjo,

Should be able to finish the project in two of my work days, 4-5 hours each. THEN, if the weather holds, possible snow Wednesday/Thursday, we will begin building out the pergola and walkway to it. The walkway is short only about 8 feet long but requires more of the banjo song for leveling a good paver base. When finished the pergola will offer a nice lengthwise view of the pond to one side and is close enough to the firepit to feel the fire on a chilly evening at the front.

Took my grandchildren on a hike yesterday to the wetlands. Surprisingly there was a bug hatch, I did not look to closely but believe it was likely midges. A few years ago that would have excited me as it foretold a good early trout season, today is opening day. I no longer wade these early spring streams though. The balance and knee/hip strength has waned somewhat. The younglings dug a few arrow and cattails that we laid into a protected wet trench along the brook for later planting in the bog.

Breakfast is being called. A hard-working man requires a hearty breakfast.
Waterfall rebuild not going well. The hill is frozen unlike the ground around the pond. Spent a lot of energy prying rocks then chinking out the fill. Knocked the top 24 inches or so down then spread the debris on black landscape fabric. Today I went out and crumbled it. Beat the rain.

Linda is scraping the 20 gallon. Debarked a large lilac top root and I brought her some cherry that was dead standing and several rocks. It is now all boiling away. When she finishes we will glue the wood to some slate that can be buried beneath the gravel. Hope to finish the basics today.
Gold Fish in the pond were active as a group for the first time in a while yesterday. Linda fed them some low protein pellets that they attacked like they had not been fed since late fall. Actually, that is exactly the case. They looked excellent and all five were accounted for. They grew a bit during the winter which surprised us. They must have found the winter algae tasty.

Started the fire pit with some cherry and hickory wood, built a big bed of coals, added some green hickory, inserted the fire grate and grilled some steaks over a flaring and smoky fire. Bellies felt like summer, rest of us felt like late fall.

I did not neglect my work. The waterfall rebuild is well started. The lower level is complete. It has a small pool with a shelf overhanging the pond surface about 15 inches. Need a warm day for foam sealing before beginning the upper pool. These are small pools about 18 by inches and about 6 inches deep. They should enhance the sound as well as the appearance. Anyway, snow and rain this afternoon and tomorrow so this project will be on hold once again. Hoping against hope to finish over the weekend.

We are looking forward to Monday's eclipse/ It will be about 90% overhead. We are debating a drive to Tupper Lake area, about 90 minutes away where we have friends and the event will be nearly 100%.The issue I wrestle with is the drive home. Am at an age where my night vision is not what it used to be and would be impolite to leave directly after the event. Was told I need cataract removal at my last eye doctor visit, last fall. Chose to wait till after the holidays so I guess the time is near. Not a biggie I am told by many.
Was told I need cataract removal at my last eye doctor visit, last fall. Chose to wait till after the holidays so I guess the time is near. Not a biggie I am told by many.
Actually it is a biggy - in a good way. It was only after the first eye was done that I realised just how bad my sight had become. The before/after difference was amazing. I couldn't wait to have the second eye done :) But you'll be told not to lift anything for a few weeks afterwards so get the heavy work done first, or Linda will have to do it ;)
Actually it is a biggy - in a good way. It was only after the first eye was done that I realised just how bad my sight had become. The before/after difference was amazing. I couldn't wait to have the second eye done :) But you'll be told not to lift anything for a few weeks afterwards so get the heavy work done first, or Linda will have to do it ;)
Yes, Linda will need to do it!!! :yahoo:
As Essjay pointed out after the cataract removal I will be limited for a couple weeks or so. She is more than competant so I have no worry. She participates in every aspect of this hobby already. BUT

I do not want Linda lifting marble stones, digging out forms, or hauling stone dust regardless of her willingness to do so. Therefore, tomorrow and next week will be spent on the layouts and setting of the marble stones at the future pergola and walks. The last storm of snow, about 7 inches is nearly melted and should be gone by the end of this warm, kind of, day.


The pavers are not exactly positioned just set out so I have an idea of where and how much leveling I need to do. Probably will remove about 1.5 yards of soil and then backfill about a yard of stone dust. The pavers will be set into a base of the dust and the cracks filled with compost. The compost Linda will handle while I repeat the process for the walkways. Then while she fille the cracks in the walkways I will try to finish the waterfall rebuild and get the features, biofilter, and uv hooked back up and operating.

This is where I am at with the waterfall. Need to add some more girth and height with a small puddle on top for the first fall. Hoping for at least one warm day so that I can foam the rocks when the labor is done.


My friend Jim sent this picture. Taken at our get together. We were at about 96% I was told.

At the beginning of the eclipse the bird garden became relatively quite and the pond fish went into the hidey spots. After the eclipse the birds sang again and the goldfish reappeared looking for attention. It was interesting to watch and hear the reaction. The only exception was a loan Downey woodpecker who continued to peck at fat oblivious to it all.

Tuesday I felt a need to get involved with the tree guy. He was avoiding the three main trees that led to our agreement, namely one over the garage, a second over the drive, and a third over both. A maple and two ash. They also threatened the power line into the house. I spent most of the day assisting there removal which although heavy labor was uneventful, thankfully. This led to a Wednesday where my infirmaries were painfully apparent. Did do water changes and a gravel vacuum though.

It is now pouring rain and I am getting behind on the pond improvements. I am very upset with the tree guy because he cost me a perfect day and had I wanted to do tree removal I would not have gifted him some rather valuable trees. I think he is now back on course.

The 20 has now tested two days at 0=0 Ammonia and Nitrites. Nitrates are at 5 so I am thinking the tank can now accept the month-old guppies, somewhere north of 20 of them, all growing nicely. Going to do this tomorrow after a fifty percent water change in the morning. Their current 10 gallon will hopefully be ready to accept a herd of Celestial Danios on Saturday or Sunday, whichever day has miserable weather. The not so LFS has them in stock as does a private seller. I believe a solid relationship with a reputable fish place is important so will likely purchase from it. Not entirely sure yet.

Anyway another day of pouring rain in front of me so not much can be accomplished short of some puttering. The dining room soon to be a fish room has been taken as far as reasonable until the dry kiln calls to tell me the wood is ready. If the weather keeps up I will probably wind up building the cabinet frames as modules in my workshop so that is all I will need to do is the tops and facings. I do prefer building them in place though.

My heating guy is coming either today or tomorrow to discuss my fish room options for air conditioning and summer dehumidification. Because the room will not be fully functional this summer, I told him it will likely be a midwinter job, but I need to have an idea of cost. Between that and the floor I am busting the budget which is not something I normally do.

I think Linda and I have turned this into an expensive hobby, but we are loving it.
I am beginning to believe the Asian monsoon season has moved to my corner of the world. The bog now looks like just another puddle, the skill is well over its banks, what was an island that did not exist is now ready for rice, and my porch roof has developed a drip. As a bonus the rain catchment systems are both overflowing, one right into the ohd of my workshop.

The only bonus …. Hmmm cannot think of one.

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