NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphate

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Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

Postby Kmuda » Wed Dec 12, 2012 9:19 am

I'll get some photos up soon. I moved the NP Pearls down to the sump with the outflow going through a massive 100 Micron filter sock. While I need to better rig this component of the setup, it's functional and gives me what I was looking for..... quick access to the primary mechanical filter for easy cleaning/harvesting of the bacteria and their byproducts.

I believe I am already seeing some results as the nitrates were a lighter shade of orange. Still in the "10" range, but not as solid as previously noted. I still think I am two weeks away from any potential significant results. One thing is for certain, my 100 Micron filter clogged up sooner than normal, reducing flow.
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Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

Postby Kmuda » Thu Dec 13, 2012 10:20 pm

Well.... this is promising. After only 5 days in the tank, I pulled the filter sock. I was amazed at what had been collected. The interior of the sock was covered in a brown slime..... obviously the "promised" bacterial slime resulting from the activity of the NP-Active Pearls.

Allow me to clarify one point. The reactor is in my sump. All water that hits the sump goes through fine mechanical filtration. I have dams on my overflow that prevents pellets or flakes from getting into the overflow, let alone the sump. Also in the sump are two large sponge filters rated at 75 gallons each, along with a Magnum HOT that I only clean once or twice per year and even then, that's for giggles because it doesn't need it. Point is, there is nothing to mechanically filter in the sump. Until now.

The outflow of the Pearl reactor is rich in the bacteria and bacterial slime resulting from the removal of nitrates and phosphates. Surprisingly so. On a freshwater tank, I would not even try this unless the outflow can go straight into a filter sock otherwise you will wind up with a slime coating on everything.

I am still registering nitrate, although there is little doubt this weeks creep will be less than last weeks. I am also still registering phosphate, which I was worried about. If you run out of phosphate, the process stops.

Regardless, a couple of photos for emphasis. First, the filter sock. You can see the slime that it is accumulating. Let me emphasis, SLIME, in the most definitive sense of the word.
Image

Compare that against what the filter sock looks like before it went into the sump 5 days ago.
Image

A pics of some of what came out of the sock. It's unlike anything I've pulled from mechanical filtration before.

Image

This weekend I'll get some photos and videos of the setup. Too dark underneath the tank for it tonight.

There can be little doubt this is doing something. We'll see what the end results wind up as. It looks like the sock will need to be cleaned at least a couple of times per week. I think I'll get several more so that I can just replace them, cleaning the old ones for subsequent reuse.
100g- Red Oscar Fish, Male Convict, 3 SDs - 20 gallon sump
55g - 21 Year Old Kissing Gourami + friends
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Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

Postby Kmuda » Sun Dec 16, 2012 2:34 pm

I'm a bit disappointed but not necessarily surprised, no measurable reduction in nitrates this week despite the slime that has been accumulating. First off, it's still early, so we'll see were we get in the coming weeks. Secondly, I believe this is going to require a cleaning (harvesting) of the mechanical filter media at least every other day, so I'm going to get aggressive with it this week and perform a daily cleaning.

To expedite this, I have redneck engineered something to simply cleaning. I've created a mechanical filter using a standard plastic flower box. The bottom layer of the box is a 200 Micron pad. On top of the Micron pad is basic filter floss and on top of that is two layers of blue bonded padding. I am hopeful I can clean the blue bonded padding daily, replacing the filter floss as needed, and clean the 200 micron pad weekly. We'll make those discoveries this week.

Something else I am hoping for is that with the excess bacteria and bacterial byproduct dumping into the external trickle fitler, that as it breaks down not as much of the nitrates will be released back into the tank. So I'm closer to what a protein skimmer provides in a saltwater tank in that removal is closer to "real time", not once per week or even once per day. Although water flow will carry some of the nitrate back into the tank, at least the bacteria will not be breaking down while soaking in tank water.

A few photos and a video. First up, the epitome of redneck engineering, my "flower box mechanical trickle filter". I'm currently using a spraybar from an Eheim 2217 but will eventually modify this to run the length of the flower box.

Image

Image

And a short video of the setup to give you some idea of how it all works. It's very important that the NP Active Pearls remain in motion. Otherwise they will get clogged up, packed together, and start creating either hydrogen sulfide or nitrIte. This is another advantage of the "trickle filter" concept. If it starts creating hydrogen sulfide, hopefully most of it will escape before entering the water. That and I should be able to detect the odor. Another point of emphasis, I had the entire process basically stop sometime between Thursday evening and Saturday morning. The reactor I am using has little round course sponges that are used at the top and bottom of the reactor. I had not removed these and the "slime" had coated the top sponge so badly it shut down water flow. I have subsequently removed the top sponge from the reactor.

100g- Red Oscar Fish, Male Convict, 3 SDs - 20 gallon sump
55g - 21 Year Old Kissing Gourami + friends
55g - Angelfish - 29g Livebearer Community
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Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

Postby Kmuda » Mon Dec 17, 2012 8:08 pm

Even with the 200 Micron filter sock, my 100 Micron Whole House filter is getting clogged in about 5 days. :shock: It can normally make it a month before it starts to become clogged enough to interfere with the flow.

Today's cleaning revealed that the blue bonded padding and filter floss has not collected much but the 200 Micro pad is already turning brown. So I have ordered some additional (and different type) filter padding from Doctors Foster and Smith. The bottom layer of the Flow Box filter will be a 50 Micron 1/8" pad. On top of that 2 layers of 1/8" 100 Micron pads, on top of that 2 layers of 1/8" 200 Micron pads, on top of that a 2" "Super Fine" pad, on top of that a 2" "Fine" pad, with a final layer of blue bonded padding.
100g- Red Oscar Fish, Male Convict, 3 SDs - 20 gallon sump
55g - 21 Year Old Kissing Gourami + friends
55g - Angelfish - 29g Livebearer Community
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Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

Postby ~RuSh~ » Tue Dec 18, 2012 11:22 am

At some point K, you may as well just consider this filtration system a RODI unit. :lol: :lol:
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Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

Postby Kmuda » Tue Dec 18, 2012 6:21 pm

This went into overdrive over night. During today's cleaning, evidence of brown slime on the blue bonded padding, filter floss, and the 200 Micron pad. So I consider that progress. It's so much easier to clean the blue bonded padding than it is the 200 Micron pad.

I was cleaning filters today and replaced the top pad in my Eheim 2217s. I've taken the used pad, rinsed it clean and boiled it, and these are now the top layer. I've simplified the cleaning as much as possible but if this going to be an every day thing, it will have to become easier.

The plan is to continue with daily cleanings until I get results and then scale back the cleanings to see how long between them I can go without impacting the results. If I don't get results then I'll remove the Pearls from the equation. At least I built a monster mechanical filter. When done, this thing will even remove Ich from the water. :lol:

The new type padding will be in on Friday. I'll reconfigure everything this weekend.
100g- Red Oscar Fish, Male Convict, 3 SDs - 20 gallon sump
55g - 21 Year Old Kissing Gourami + friends
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Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

Postby ~RuSh~ » Wed Dec 19, 2012 11:51 am

You are a machine dude. :lthumb:
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Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

Postby Kmuda » Wed Dec 19, 2012 6:02 pm

~RuSh~ wrote:You are a machine dude. :lthumb:


I took some vacation this week (burning unused days) and need something to occupy my mind. :roll: :lol:

Today's update, I cleaned all filters on this tank. It's the first time I've cracked open a canister since I added the Pearls. What I found I consider interesting.

C-360: Sponges and biomedia were as clean as usual. The Eheim Ehfilav, used primarily as a mechanical screen, was no more dirty than normal. The blue bonded padding, however, which is on top of the Ehfilav, as well as the polishing pad, which is is the very top layer, were caked with brown stuff. I replaced the polishing pad on the last cleaning, which was a little less than 4 weeks ago, and I can normally get 2 months before I consider replacing it instead of cleaning it, but this go-round it was as dirty as I've ever seen it. The really odd part is that it rinsed perfectly clean using a dish sprayer. Normally, when this pad gets dirty, you can never really get it clean and it needs replaced. This time, despite being much dirtier than normal, it rinsed perfectly clean. This tells me the particle size of the gunk dirtying up the pad were smaller than is normal.

Eheim 2217: All aspects of this filter were normal, excluding the final layer fine filter pad. I use the stock Eheim filter pads, normally getting two months use from them. I replaced it because it was so dirty and cleaning these pads to this extent destroys them.

Eheim 2215: Same as the 2217 except in this filter I have a dense 1" filter pad on top the Sponge, with the biomedia on top of this dense sponge. I also use two layers of blue bonded padding on top the biomedia, before the stock fine filter pad. This bottom dense pad was caked with the gunk but subsequent pads, including the blue bonded pad and top layer Eheim filter pad were normal. RInsed them and reused them.

Penguin 350: I use cartridge clamshells with blue bonded padding and the sponges that come with the cartridges, with four cartridges configured in this fashion. Each of the blue bonded pads and sponge were extremely dirty. Much more so than is normal.

So what does all of this mean? What I don't know is how much of this "extra" gunk made it into the filters in the week I ran the Pearls with no filter sock and the week I ran with the filter sock, before constructing my flower box filter. My gut instinct is I need to get the mechanical filter trickle down to at least 100 micron and probably need to get the bottom layer at 50 Microns, to keep this gunk out of my filter systems. The good news is the stuff is small enough of a particle size that it appears to have bypassed the courser mechanical media as well as the biomedia, getting caught up in the finer mechanical filter pads, although I have no way of knowing how much of the microscopic pores within the biomedia are now filled with the results of NP Pearl activity.
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Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

Postby Kmuda » Thu Dec 20, 2012 3:50 pm

A small update. Phosphates have declined from 2ppm (after water change on Saturday) to 1ppm or possibly lower (today.) I have not witnessed a decline in nitrates, nor is the tank currently experiencing nitrate creep. It's held steady for the last 7 days, registering somewhere between 5ppm and 10ppm.

I'd call this progress. :lthumb:
100g- Red Oscar Fish, Male Convict, 3 SDs - 20 gallon sump
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Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

Postby Kmuda » Sun Dec 23, 2012 11:35 am

The Flowerbox filter has been reconfigured with the new filter media. I've now stepped this down to 100 Microns and hope I don't need to go to 50 microns. I've also added the final quantity of NP Active Pearls to the tank.

I've discovered Sera Filter Wool. I've been using filter wool in some shape or form for 30 years and I finally found one that makes sense. Not that it's any different than other filter wools, it's how it is packaged. Most filter wools are wads of stuff jammed into a bag. Sera is in a stacked roll. It pulls out in a perfectly formed "pad". Makes perfect sense. It's the only way this stuff should be packaged.

Here is a snapshot in time, day after water changes, of nitrate and phosphate on this tank.

Image

I really don't know where the phosphate fits on the color chart. :huh:
Image
100g- Red Oscar Fish, Male Convict, 3 SDs - 20 gallon sump
55g - 21 Year Old Kissing Gourami + friends
55g - Angelfish - 29g Livebearer Community
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Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

Postby Kmuda » Mon Dec 24, 2012 11:28 am

Today..... registered the first drop in Nitrate. :lthumb:

This is getting interesting.
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Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

Postby Kmuda » Tue Dec 25, 2012 10:30 am

Day two of nitrates declining. Nearing "virtual zero" levels (below the levels of the API Test Kit to detect them).

Performed a full cleaning of the flowerbox filter this morning (what a better way to spend Christmas morning :lol: ). The bottom layer of 100 Micron padding is getting some of the brown stains. I also had to replace my 100 Micron Filter Cartridge, which is only making it about 8 days before it is so clogged water flow slows to a trickle. As a result, I will be adding the 50 Micron felt pad to the flowerbox filter.
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Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

Postby Kmuda » Sat Dec 29, 2012 11:01 am

Week 4 Results. Does Dr. Tim's NP-Active Pearls actually reduce Nitrate and does it do it in freshwater? See the results for yourself:

Image

The last water change was the Saturday (day before) the Sunday test identified to the far left. You can't really tell from the photo, but Wednesday was an actual "virtual zero" (below the ability to the test kit to measure, matches tap water control) while subsequent days there is some measure of nitrate but it is closer to 0ppm than 5ppm.

Nitrate creep on this tank is well measured at around 10ppm. Below is an example of standard nitrate creep on this tank, following a 100% water change, before Dr. Tim's NP-Active Pearls were added:

Image

This weeks cleanings consisted of cleaning (or replacing) the top layer filter floss daily, with a single full flowerbox filter rinsing of all media occuring of Wednesday. There are two remaining questions to provide answers to:

1. Are the daily cleanings necessary or can this be scaled back to weekly?
2. What is the best method of cleaning the micron pads?

I also need to validate phosphate. My phosphate test kit is registering the same thing regardless of what is being tested, even if I add phosphate to the tube. I've ordered a new test kit and will post the results.

At the moment, I am experimenting with OxyClean as the product used for cleaning. After rinsing some of the filter wool and one of tbe blue bonded pads with a dish sprayer, I filled a 2 gallon bucket with hot water and 1 scoop of OxyClean, allowing it to sit overnight. It appears to have done the job. The bad odor has been removed and the brown stains are gone. The next question is can I add this back to my tank without killing my fish..... after rinsing it about 200 times. :lol:

Folks... this is monumental. Real denitrification, simple denitrification, practically safe denitrification (just don't let the Pearls stop tumbling), that anyone can do.
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Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

Postby Kmuda » Tue Jan 01, 2013 10:59 am

Made a mistake today. We'll see how hardy these denitrification bacteria are. I did not like how the Pearls were moving in my reactor so I pulled it out with the intention of cleaning the top strainer (so much bacterial slime is created that the top strainer can get clogged). End result, I boo-booed and ended up having to dump all of the pearls into a bowl and add them back to the reactor.

On a side note, I'm a bit flabbergasted by the lack of interest in this. I have this thread, one on cichlid-forum, and another on MFK, as well as regular tweets with updates. Between the three forums (and twitter), the number of responses or questions to achieving zero nitrate creep = ZERO. I thought there would be some interest out there. Guess not. :huh:

I will continue with the updates regardless. This is great stuff.
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Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

Postby ~RuSh~ » Wed Jan 02, 2013 3:53 pm

This is good stuff K. I think part of the lack of "interest" is simple timing. Other folks I'm sure are out on vacation and away from tanks, fish and computers. Give it a little time.

I too need to read the last few posts more closely to really understand how the pearls are working. Regardless it's effective, and that is what counts. :lthumb:
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Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

Postby ~RuSh~ » Wed Jan 02, 2013 5:09 pm

So what size pump do you have driving the NP pearl reactor? Is the pump going from your sump to the reactor into the flower box? Where is the micron filter needed? After the reactor?
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Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

Postby Kmuda » Wed Jan 02, 2013 6:25 pm

I'm using a 500gph pump to drive the Phosban Reactor. With a better reactor, I would go with a higher volume pump but 500gph is all I felt comfortable using with the Phosban.

The pump pulls water from the sump, through the reactor, into the flowbox filter, back into the sump. The heavy mechanical (and Micron filtration) is in the flowerbox, after the reactor.
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Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

Postby Lilly » Wed Jan 02, 2013 8:33 pm

Hi Kmuda,

I have been following your posts and would like to try this on my salt tank. Where can I purchase it?
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Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

Postby ~RuSh~ » Wed Jan 02, 2013 11:14 pm

I'm sure foster and smith has it.
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Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

Postby Kmuda » Thu Jan 03, 2013 9:10 pm

To give you folks an idea of how much bacterial slime this process creates, the below image is of the Sera Filter Wool after 36 hours. This is the top layer of media in the flowerbox filter.

Image

I should add that odor is an issue.
100g- Red Oscar Fish, Male Convict, 3 SDs - 20 gallon sump
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Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

Postby plowkill » Fri Jan 04, 2013 1:49 pm

Kmuda wrote: On a side note, I'm a bit flabbergasted by the lack of interest in this. I have this thread, one on cichlid-forum, and another on MFK, as well as regular tweets with updates. Between the three forums (and twitter), the number of responses or questions to achieving zero nitrate creep = ZERO. I thought there would be some interest out there. Guess not. :huh:


I follow this thread regularly; I’m waiting to see if you find a better way to deal with the slime. Right now it sounds more complicated and tedious than just doing regular water changes. But I find your experiment and setup very interesting.
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Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

Postby Kmuda » Fri Jan 04, 2013 2:15 pm

It's not about reducing water changes. It's about reducing, or even eliminating, nitrate creep. I continue with weekly water changes. The goal is to eliminate nitrates as a potential cause of reduced life expectancy. To provide a constantly pristine environment instead of one that is pristine after water changes on Saturday and then declines over the week.

Although I would agree with you that if you are not one of us that enjoys getting their hands dirty with the hobby, being hands on with equipment and such, this is not for you. That said, it's not quite as tedious as I've made it sound. I've gotten it down to an every other day rinsing of the top layer of Sera Filter Floss and replacing all media in the flowerbox filter once per week, with the old media being cleaned (rinsed with a dishsprayer and then soaked for 24 hours in an OxyClean solution) and recycled for use.
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Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

Postby Lilly » Fri Jan 04, 2013 9:49 pm

Hi Kmuda,

Is the OxyClean safe for the fish? What is it made of?
65g - 1 tiny BP , 5 baby Silver Dollars
125g - I albino tiger O- 3yrs ,2 BP's,1 baby vieltail O
45g - reef, mixed corals, 2 nemos,1 bicolored angel,1 dersa clam,1sand sifting star fish,1 cleaner shrimp, various cleanup crew
26g Q tank -1 BP
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Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

Postby Kmuda » Fri Jan 04, 2013 10:50 pm

Lilly wrote: Is the OxyClean safe for the fish? What is it made of?


That's a very good question Lilly. The correct answer is almost certainly no... it is not safe for fish. But neither is bleach and I've used it for some things aquaria related. I am hopeful that with the proper precautions, I can make it safe following the Oxyclean soak by a monster amount of rinsing (hope Monster Energy does not sue me for using the word Monster) followed by a clean soak, more rinsing, more clean soak, more rinsing, followed by a final soak with Prime laced water.

The primary ingredient in Oxyclean is Sodium percarbonate. When Sodium percarbonate comes into contact with water it converts to Hydrogen Peroxide and sodium carbonate (think mixing hydrogen peroxide and sodium bicarbonate). The resulting bubbling action (oxidizes) works miracles on organic stains. I need something that not just stains the material white, like bleach. I need something that actually removes/dissolves the bacteria from the material. Oxyclean does that. The bad part is it also contains a detergent (surfactant). While the sodium percabonate is harmless (once activated and does it's thing, it's gone, basically converted to oxygen) the detergent is not and this is what I need to make certain I can eliminate from the material before reuse.

That reminds me, my father used to make rockets out of Coke bottles, using Hydrogen Peroxide and Baking Soda. Had enough force to chip the concrete where he launched them. :lol:

I have found a product I would like to use but it is not available locally. It's called Bio-Kleen Bac-Out Stain and Odor Remover. This is a product that works via use of enzymes that remove the bacteria from the media without any potential harmful residues. But I don't want to have to rely on special order. So I am going to try the Oxyclean. I've confirmed it cleans what I need cleaned (removes the bacteria from the media). Now I just need to determine if it is safe. To do this, I will use some livebearers in a 10 gallon tank as Guinea pigs. Add some of the cleaned material to a filter on a 10 gallon tank, move over some livebearers, and cross my fingers.

But before I clean any more material with Oxyclean I am going to run across town (actually a town over) to a local hippy store (seriously, the women that runs it is an old hippy, has not yet realized the 60's were long ago) that sales nothing but organic, green, renewable products and see what they have to offer. They may have some type of tree root and flower mixture blessed by an Cherokee Medicine Man on peyote that may do the trick. :lol: I need a refill on honey anyway and they make their own, straight from the hive. My wife also needs some new hemp soap. :ugeek:

I remain open to suggestions on how best to clean this stuff. :mrgreen:
100g- Red Oscar Fish, Male Convict, 3 SDs - 20 gallon sump
55g - 21 Year Old Kissing Gourami + friends
55g - Angelfish - 29g Livebearer Community
4 Cats, 2 Shelties, 1 wife, 1 old lady, and one of the sub-adults broke back in.
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Kmuda
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Location: Fort Smith, Arkansas

Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

Postby Kmuda » Sun Jan 06, 2013 12:14 pm

Slight setback this week, specifically the Saturday test, which does indicate nitrate creep back into the 5ppm range, perhaps higher. I'm not sure if this has anything to do with decreased media cleaning , the break-down I caused on Wednesday, or exhaustion of phosphate. Regardless, the week is still considered a success. I will likely increase the frequency of cleaning this week to see if I can re-establish "virtual zero" creep.

Image

Water change scaled back this week to about 50%, which for me is a small water change. The phosphate test kit I ordered will be in early next week so I'll be able to determine that variable in subsequent weeks.
100g- Red Oscar Fish, Male Convict, 3 SDs - 20 gallon sump
55g - 21 Year Old Kissing Gourami + friends
55g - Angelfish - 29g Livebearer Community
4 Cats, 2 Shelties, 1 wife, 1 old lady, and one of the sub-adults broke back in.
User avatar
Kmuda
Mad Scientist
Mad Scientist
 
Posts: 16556
Joined: Sat Mar 18, 2006 8:13 pm
Location: Fort Smith, Arkansas

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