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January 17th, 2008
01:08 am
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Being poor and eating well
After work tonight, I came home with an organic zucchini to feed Boing for the next three days. It cost me $1.45, which emptied my wallet* and got me to thinking.

  [Baxil] [Boing] [Boy]
Diet Boxed pasta, chili, frozen pizzas, ramen Organic zucchini Staples from international relief efforts
Daily food costs (actual) ~$5.00 $0.48 ~$0.50[1]
Weight 86 kg 0.2 kg ~15 kg
DAILY FOOD COSTS (weight-adjusted**) $5.00 $206.40 (!) $2.75


... Boing, you're lucky you're so damn cute.

--
* Literally; I was eight cents short and had to cash in some serious penny-jar karma. I'm awfully broke this month. The forced time off during the holidays destroyed our income, and vet bills plus what little gift shopping we did destroyed our budget.
** Normalized to 86 kg so as to allow direct comparison.

Current Mood: hungryhungry
Current Music: po, "electric clouds": www.vgmix.com
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(23 comments | Leave a comment)

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[User Picture]
From:natetg
Date:January 17th, 2008 02:07 pm (UTC)
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You could always try keeping a pet pymgy shrew.
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From:baxil
Date:January 19th, 2008 02:25 am (UTC)
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I could always go buy a pet that eats plecos.

Eats organic-zucchini-fed plecos.

When I crunch the numbers on that one, I'll need a bigger calculator.
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From:natetg
Date:January 19th, 2008 02:49 am (UTC)
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Pygmy Shrews have very fast metabolisms - they have to eat something like three times their own body weight per day or starve.
From:r_monoxide
Date:January 17th, 2008 06:22 pm (UTC)
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can you stock up on organic zucchini in season and freeze it or dehydrate it or something? Not that this would be useful for you right now...
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From:baxil
Date:January 18th, 2008 06:37 am (UTC)
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Probably not in a way that would keep it useful for Boing. Both freezing and dehydration turn vegetables to mush when you deploy them in water.

I'm not limited to zucchini necessarily. It just seems to be the easiest standby. It doesn't clog up the tank filters much, and he seems to like the taste.
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From:tailypo
Date:January 17th, 2008 08:03 pm (UTC)
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OMG PLECO. :D :D I didn't know you had fishes. *is fish obsessed*
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From:firestrike
Date:January 17th, 2008 09:29 pm (UTC)
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Oh, yes. They have fish. Feel free to come help wrangle the darling little Osteichthyes bastards the next time that Bax has to move.
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From:luna_torquill
Date:January 18th, 2008 04:33 am (UTC)
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I have helped move a plecostomus before. It was approximately a foot long, took heavy rubber gloves to handle (those spines are fierce!) and fought like the devil. The moving was done in a trash bin lined with very tough plastic. It weathered the experience fine... better than we did moving it.
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From:baxil
Date:January 18th, 2008 06:40 am (UTC)
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We decided discretion was the better part of valor and left about an inch of water in the tank. What I didn't realize until afterwards is that "one inch of water" is something like 80 lbs.

Our flat has stairs.
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From:tailypo
Date:January 18th, 2008 07:58 am (UTC)
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The guy who runs Monster Fish Rescue is a member of the fish board I help moderate, and wrestles giant fish several times a week! He has videos and pictures from it which he often shares. He rescues the tank-busters that people buy without planning ahead from stores like WalMart, and then don't know what to do with.
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From:baxil
Date:January 18th, 2008 08:58 am (UTC)
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Ooh, thanks for the link. I picked some good pleco feeding tips up from their forums.
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From:baxil
Date:January 18th, 2008 06:44 am (UTC)
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Yep! 40-gallon tank, and Boing is undisputed king and master (since he's three times the size of his next largest neighbor).

Also clown loache5, neon te7ras and gupp33s. More pics here. :)
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From:tailypo
Date:January 18th, 2008 07:46 am (UTC)
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Sounds like you need a bigger tank! :> Is the betta no more?
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From:baxil
Date:January 18th, 2008 07:50 am (UTC)
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Sadly, yes. The betta died about a year ago. We didn't replace him because he wasn't being as social in the community tank as we originally thought (when we were young and dumb and buying fish on the basis of "Ooh, this one looks pretty").
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From:tailypo
Date:January 18th, 2008 08:08 am (UTC)
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He was a pretty boy -- pastel! Unfortunately, bettas really don't do well as community members, despite what some uninformed pet store employees insist. There are a very few species I'll recommend to experienced betta keepers, but not every betta is suited to any "friends" and it tends to stress them out, anyway. Flashy fish like guppies arouse their fighting instinct, and tetras tend to be fin-nippers. SOME bettas do okay with white cloud mountain minnows, cories, or otos. Other bettas, such as my crowntail, would be way too stressed out and try to kill them, so it takes a more experienced betta keeper to ascertain an individual's personality.

Bettas are one of my favorite fishes, obviously! I'm working on a betta caresheet (well, I already have one up at Ultimate Bettas, but I need to format it in HTML to put it on my site), and slowly building my fish disease treatment sheet library on my page, from a betta keeping angle.

I smell like fishtank right now. I just did a major overhaul of my B. macrostoma tank.
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From:baxil
Date:January 18th, 2008 08:15 am (UTC)
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Yeah, bettas aren't too great as social fish -- we ran into both of the problems you mentioned. We've learned a little along the way about how our fish interact, but mostly it's just been beginner's luck (and knowing when to stop buying new types of fish).

Our tank has pretty much stabilized in population -- except for the constantly breeding guppies, of course. Which is actually a nice perk, because every time I need to get fish supplies I simply sell another batch of 'em back to the store. ;-) I'm not sure what I'm going to do once the loaches get big enough to eat the gups, though. They're starting to get there.

I tend not to smell like fishtank too often, because one of the soaring joys of a planted tank is the ability to be more lax about tank maintenance. ;-)
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From:tailypo
Date:January 18th, 2008 08:26 am (UTC)
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Both my tanks are natural planted tanks. It was actually plant maintenance I did today -- weeding and pruning, as well as some algae control. :> I'm just about to set up a new tank, as my macs are getting big; I'm trying to decide whether to go high tech or low tech planting for this one. I can't be without plants though. They make life so much easier. o_o

How many inches are your loaches and your pleco now? Some day I will have monster fish. Some day. :> Honah says I have two many tanks as it is now. >_>
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From:baxil
Date:January 18th, 2008 09:04 am (UTC)
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None of them are cooperating with the measuring tape right now, but Boing's a minimum of 9 inches (the 40 gallon tank is going to be too small for him soon ... :( ) and I'd say the largest of the clown loaches is getting up there toward 3.5"-4".

Someday when I have money again, I'll get a nice big shallow tank and move the big boys over there. I can keep the 40-gal as a guppy breeder and let Boing and the loaches lurk around on their own.
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From:joysweeper
Date:January 19th, 2008 01:02 am (UTC)
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*butts in*

We kept a betta male in a community fishtank with goldfish and a couple gourami. He did well enough, I think. It's been a while. I probably wouldn't have noticed...

We used to have two bettas before that, one in a fairly large, shallow bowl. Then my mom poured him into the community tank before we went on vacation. You can just guess how _that_ turned out.

I liked how the bettas ate. They don't have kissy-lips like the other fish we had; they actively lunged at food. Do plants really make a big difference? I'd like to get a dorm fish, but I'm kind of leery about it.
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From:baxil
Date:January 19th, 2008 02:30 am (UTC)
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> Do plants really make a big difference?

Oh, my, yes. Fish pee ammonia (toxic!), which is transformed by nitrifying bacteria into nitrites (toxic!), which is further transformed by bacteria into nitrates (plant food in small quantities, toxic in large quantities).

Nitrates will build up and build up and build up in the water if there's nothing there to use 'em. You have to change the water on a very regular schedule to keep levels safe for fish. Of course, algae, being photosynthetic, will kick the levels down some -- but then you have to scrub lots to keep the glass clean, and change the water out anyway to clear the algae out!

I vacuum my planted tank maybe twice a month to remove excess Boing-poop (and change the filters a little more regularly), and that's the only regular maintenance I do. The plants take care of the rest. I'll occasionally check the nitrate level in the water, but the plants have grown so much that they'll suck it all away -- I usually can't detect nitrates at all.
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From:joysweeper
Date:January 19th, 2008 03:19 am (UTC)
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Huh. That makes sense. Thanks!

Still thinking about a fish. I hear that bowls are bad for various reasons, not least of them stale water and no swimming-space. It's something to mull over, at any rate. I doubt I'll pick up a pet any time soon.
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From:elynne
Date:January 19th, 2008 10:22 am (UTC)
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panzerwalt has officially taken over my interest in fishtanks in the household; he has - three (I'm pretty sure it's three; living room, laundry room, his room, yep three) running now, all of which have plants. And he has the two-bin fountain-thing with plants in the back yard, and he's got a rock garden thing in the front.

I have a plant. It is still alive. I consider that a win. :D Also, this post and the comments to it made me giggle hysterically.
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From:summer_jackel
Date:January 21st, 2008 04:41 am (UTC)
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Yay Boing!!! Fishy love. :D
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