February 18

How to Choose Solar Landscape Lights?

You are thinking about installing solar landscaping lights in your garden. But, finding the right ones is harder than you might think. This is because of the large variety of lights that you can purchase.

How to Choose Solar Landscape Lights?

This is why you need to make sure that you know how to choose the right solar landscape lights for you. This will make sure that you not only make the right decision about the lights but also so that you know that you won’t waste money on purchasing something that you won’t use.

This is the complete guide on how to choose the right solar landscape lights for your personal needs.

Why Do You Want to Install the Solar Landscape Lights?

Install the solar landscape lights

This is something that you need to make sure about before you can start looking for your solar lights. Why do you want to install these solar lights? Is there a certain purpose for the lights, or is this just to make your garden look beautiful at night as well?

Some lights are designed for giving light, while other lights are designed for enhancing the garden, patio, or walking path. You should consider the reason why you want the lights before you start looking to purchase the lights.

Your Budget

Now, you need to consider your budget. How much you have available to purchase the solar landscape lights. And, remember in most cases you will need to purchase more than one light to get the right effect. So, you need to be careful with your budget.

Many people don’t consider their budget, and they are spending more money per light than they would. Meaning that they are ending up spending more on the lights, or not having enough money to purchase the right amount of lights.

The Quality of the Solar Panels on the Lights

Because you are purchasing solar landscaping lights, each light has its own solar panel. Some of these solar panels are really cheap and don’t last very long.

This is something that you need to consider when buying the lights. You should make sure that the quality of the solar panels is just as great as the light itself. And, that the panels will last a long time before you need to replace them.

Types of Solar Landscape Lights

Another thing you need to know. The different solar landscape lights available on the market. There is a different type of lights that you can purchase like solar garden lights, path lights, and spotlights. You can choose the best one here.

Some are lower to the ground than other lights. Some are modern while others are the more classic style lights. What will fit better with your landscaping and with your personal style?

You should also remember that the type of light will also have an effect on the budget that you have for the lights. Especially if you want to purchase a couple of them. It also might be a great idea to do some research to ensure that you know what type of light will fit best for your landscaping.

The Strength of the Light that You Need

The last thing that you need to consider is the strength of the light. How strong should the light shine at night? Do you want to have a light that is shining brightly and give light to a huge area, or do you just want to give a small amount of light to a small area of your landscaping?

There are different strength lights for a solar landscape light. You need to choose the strength that you want and need. This is to ensure that you are purchasing a light that will be perfect for the purpose of why you want the light in the first place. You should also make sure that the light will be weatherproof because not all landscape lights are completely weatherproof.

Buying solar landscaping lights isn’t hard. But, there are a couple of things that you need to know in order for you to find the right light for your personal needs. This is why this is important to remember this buying guide for purchasing the best solar landscaping light.

You need to consider the type of lights you need, the strength of the lights, and the purpose of the lights. Then, you need to make sure that you are considering your budget and the number of lights that you need in order for you to get the right effect. This will all ensure that you are going to get the best solar landscaping lights and that you are going to enjoy your garden or patio at night.

January 10

How to Install a Pond Pump?

For some people, it will be easy to install a pond pump. However, if you are a beginner and you are creating your pond for the first time, then you might not know exactly how to install your pump.

How to Install a Pond Pump?

This can lead to other problems if you are not installing it correctly. This is why it is important to know exactly how to install the pond pump, remember the other information that you might need in order to install the pump correctly.

Choosing the Right Size Pump

Before you can install your pond pump, you need to make sure that you are choosing the best pond pump in the first place.

Buying the right size filter isn’t the only thing that you should consider before installing the pump. You need to make sure that you are purchasing the right size pump as well.

The size of the pump really does matter. The larger the pond, the larger the pump should be. If you don’t know if your pump is the right size, talk to a professional. He will give you the right advice.

Making a Filter Box

The other thing that you need to make sure about before you can install your pond pump, is to make a filter box.

Many people are purchasing one, and this isn’t necessary. With a bit of creativity, you can create a filter box, that is safe from getting wet, but that will be hidden.

You can make the box so that it looks like rocks. Or, you can cover the box with normal plants, to hide the box. There are even people that don’t hide the filter box and keep it visible and easy to access.

The choice is yours, but you need to make sure that your filter box is secure from getting wet or water onto the cables and wires.

Installing the Pump

Now, you are installing the pump. First of all, you should add a bit of water to the pond. Not too much at first. Secure the pump in the pond, making sure that there isn’t anything that will be in the way of the water flowing correctly.

Then, you can fill the pond up with water. Making sure that the pump is staying secure and that there aren’t any air bubbles in the tubes and pipes where the water should go to the filter. You can also follow the instructions that are coming with the pump.

Let It Run for at Least 24 Hours

If you think that you can now add our fish and live plants into the pond, you are wrong. There is still one important thing that you should do first. You should run the pump and filter for at least 24 hours.

This is to make sure that the pump is working correctly and that the filter is filtrating water, making the water safe for the fish and the water plants.

People think that this is unnecessary. However, so many people have fish that died within the first day or two after installing the pond pump. And, they can’t understand why.

Most of the time, it is because they have forgotten about this step. Letting the pump and filter run for 24 hours before adding the fish.

Adding the Fish and Plants into the Pump

Now, after the pump has run for 24 hours, now you can start adding your fish and plants to the pond. Remember, that the pump should always be running.

When you are adding the fish, make sure that they have adjusted to the pond water, before releasing them from their airbags. This is an important step to aquarium fish, and it is important to pond fish as well.

Buying and installing a pond pump isn’t as hard as you might think. However, you still need to make sure that everything is installed correctly before you can start adding your fish.

If the pump isn’t working correctly, and the filter doesn’t fit correctly onto the pump, you might have dyeing fish, before you realize it. With all this information and installation guide, you will know for sure that you are going to have healthy fish that are happy in their new environment. Your fish pond.

November 15

How Accurate are Soil pH Meters?

There are many people that are familiar with the soil pH meters that you can use to test your soil before you plant any seeds.

However, is this also something that you can use to test the soil in your aquarium?

This is a question that many people are asking. With this article, you will get to know soil pH meters and you will learn if they are great to use in aquariums as well.

And, then you can get to know some of the topsoil meters that you can purchase for your aquarium.

How Accurate are Soil pH Meters?

How Accurate are Soil pH Meters?

Before you can start using these soil meters, you need to know how accurate they are. The last thing that you want to do is to use something that is giving you the wrong readings.

To know how accurate they are, you need to make sure that you are aware of their features and reviews. Some meters are going to be better than other meters.

If you are purchasing a high-quality pH meter, you will have accurate readings. However, if you are purchasing cheap soil pH meters, you need to know that their readings can’t be trusted.

Is this Something that You can Use in your Aquarium?

In most cases, the soil pH meter can be used in your aquarium. Especially, if you have a plant aquarium. However, if you have water in your aquarium, you just need to make sure that the meter is waterproof.

There are a couple of soil meters that you can use without any problems in your aquarium. The thing is that you should not only rely on these readings.

You should test the water as well for the pH levels. This is to make sure that you are going to get the readings that you can trust.

Purchasing the One that will be Best for Aquarium

There are a couple of things that you need to make sure about, before purchasing your soil pH meter for your aquarium.

pH meter

The first thing is that the meter should be waterproof and designed for aquariums. There are different meters, and finding the right one for an aquarium can be a challenge.

The price of the meter is also important. The cheaper the meter, the higher the chance that the meter will give inaccurate readings. Something that you don’t want with an aquarium.

It is also a great idea to make sure that you are reading reviews. This is a great way to see if the soil pH meter is going to be the best one for your aquarium.

Top Soil pH Meters that You Can Buy

To make things easier, we are naming some of the best soil pH meters that you can use for your aquarium. They will give the best readings and comes highly recommended by aquarium owners.

These are the top meters that you can choose without any problems.

  • Bluelab combo
  • Cover 3 in 1
  • Gain express
  • Fix it

There are other types of meters that you can purchase as well, these are just the top 4 soil pH meters that you can purchase for your aquarium as well.

Many aquarium owners are considering using soil pH meters to make sure that the aquarium has the right pH levels. But, they aren’t sure if it will give accurate readings and if this is something that you can use in your aquarium.

The good news is that this is something that you can use, but you should just make sure that you are purchasing one that is able to test the soil within the water.

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October 20

How to Build a Pond Filter Box?

You know that you need to have a pond filter box, but buying one can be really expensive. Did you ever think about building your own pond filter box?

Yes, this is possible to build your own box, if you just know that it needs to be the right size for your pond.

Here are a couple of things that you should consider and tips when you are thinking about building your own pond filter box. Making it easier to make your own filter box.

How to Build a Pond Filter Box?

Different, creative ways on how you can build your own filter box

The good news is that there are different, creative ways on how you can build your own filter box. However, before you can start building your box, you need to know a couple of things.

The first thing that you need to know is how a filter box is working. If you don’t know how a filter box works, you will not be able to create your own one.

You also might want to do research to ensure that you see different filter boxes that other people have built themselves. This will give you a great idea about how you can build your own one, that will be working correctly.

Know the size that the filter box needs to be

You might know this already, but you need to make sure about the size of the filter box that you are going to build. It needs to be in line with the size of the pond that you have.

The larger the pond, the larger the filter box needs to be. The other thing that you need to consider, is that the filter cannot be too large as well. You don’t want half of the pond water in the filtration system.

Hide the filter box from your pond

When you are building your own filter box, the one thing that you should consider is that you want to hide the filter box from your pond.

Hiding a pond filter box

You don’t want to have a filter box that is making your pond look ugly. There are different ways on how you can hide the filter box so that it will blend with the pond and the area.

Many people are making use of rocks or plants to cover up the filter box. But, you need to know that you should be able to access the filter box, for cleaning it as well.

Building your own filter box is really possible. You don’t need to purchase one, that is normally expensive. There are many different ways on how you can make your own pond filter box, you should just be creative and know exactly how a filter box works.

There are many different ways on how you can create your own filter box online. Some are really easy to make, while others might be harder to make. The only thing that you should make sure about, is that the size is in line with the size of your pond. With these things in mind, you will have a great filter box that will save you a lot of money.

February 21

How to Make a Betta Filter?

A filter is something that is really important to any fish tank. However, this is even more important to a betta fish tank.

But, because the filters are so expensive, it is hard for people to purchase the right filter. Or, they don’t really know what type of filter to purchase. This can make people frustrated or they might not start their own aquarium.

Filter for Betta Fish

But, there is a cheaper, better way to get your hands on a betta filter. By making one yourself. And, the best part is that this isn’t expensive either. All that you need, is to have a couple of tools, equipment and some time. And, you will have a filter that is working the same as the more expensive ones that you purchase in the store. These are the steps on how to make your own betta filter:

A plastic tube that fits onto your pump

The first thing that you should do is to purchase a plastic tube like a PVC pipe. You can’t just purchase any pipe, you need to make sure that it fits onto your pump of the powerhead’s intake valve.

If you don’t use the right tube, the process will not work correctly. It is important that the pipe is fitted completely on the intake valve, and that you are purchasing the right pipe. These are pipes that you normally can find in hardware stores.

Buying a filter sponge

The second thing that you should do is to buy a filter sponge. You can’t just use any sponge, because it isn’t suitable for an aquarium. With the right filter sponge, you should cut it to the right length. The length of the sponge will depend on the size of the aquarium. You should not have the sponge too large or too small.

This is an important part of the filter, and this is the part that you should make correctly. Otherwise, your filter will not work correctly. You will be able to find the right filter sponge at a fish store, or pet store.

Marking the tube and making holes

You place the sponge next to the tube and make sure that you are marking the tube, where the sponge go. The marking of the sponge should be at the top of the sponge when you are putting the tube next to the sponge.

With this done, you should make holes underneath that mark. This is going to be the part that is going through the sponge later on, and you need to make sure that you have enough holes in the PVC pipe. If you aren’t doing this step, your filter will not work, and you might even burn out your powerhead.

The bottom of the tube

The bottom part of the tube should be plugged. The water should go through the holes you were making, and not through the bottom of the tube. Many people are forgetting about this step, and if their filter doesn’t work correctly, they will not really understand why their filter isn’t working.

Just remember that the plug should be aquarium safe. Fish can die if you are using the wrong items in the fish tank.

Making a hole in the sponge

In the middle of the sponge, you are making a whole. The hole should be big enough for the PVC pipe to go through. You can make the whole with your finger, or any other tool that you might have.

You can force the pipe through the sponge, but there is no guarantee that this will work with your sponge. It is better to make the whole and to ensure that all the pieces are removed from the tank.

Connect the rubber airline tube

The only thing that is left to do, is to connect the rubber airline tube to the powerhead. This is the part that is flushing the water out of the filter again. The rubber airline tube can be any size, but it should still fit completely on the powerhead to get the most out of your filter.

Now, the only thing that you should do, is to switch on the powerhead to see if the filter is working correctly. You should also make sure that you are cleaning the filter on a regular basis. Otherwise, the sponge will not absorb the filth of the water and tank anymore.

Yes, you can make this betta filter to ensure that your water is cleaned. Filters are expensive but necessary. And, if you can’t afford one, this method will ensure that you can make your own one. A filter that is really going to work and that will make sure that you are going to save lots of money. The only thing that you should consider, is that the filter needs to be made correctly in order for it to work just like a bought betta filter.

August 16

Themed Tanks & Light for Diablo

Themed Tanks

I did some redecorating for my three tanks and came up with some themes for two of them. I love playing around with the decorations! (Hope my fishies enjoy the scenery as well!)

My favorite one is Diablo’s 2.5-gallon tank. It’s a zen themed tank … also green-themed. Very green in there. Diablo seems to enjoy having the vines to swim around now. (I also got a brighter clip-on light; the reading light was actually bugging me a lot).

This is my Spongebob Squarepants themed tank. Very colorful! I should have picked up more characters!! I wish I did, but all I have right now is Spongebob and Patrick. It does kind of look like a mess of decorations, but I also think it’s got a “wild” and cartoon look to it!

Last but not least is this 5.5-gallon tank that Ernie lives in. It doesn’t really have a theme per se (kind of looks like a pond … pond themed?) but I like the way the decorations all kind of came together. If I had a more natural colored gravel I think it would look even better.

Light for Diablo

My 5.5-gallon tank (the one that Ernie lives in) had its lightbulb die recently, so I went to purchase a new one. It also occurred to me I should probably stop putting off getting some sort of light device for Diablo, who lives in the 2.5 gallons. His tank is often very dark, even in the daytime because he doesn’t have any lights in his tank.

I recently got a bonus $5 off “coupon” thing to my Indigo/Chapters membership, so I figured I should use it to buy a light for Diablo. I knew Chapters sells clip on reading lights, so I thought that would be perfect for Diablo’s tank, since it is a small tank. Also, I don’t really have any more room in the wall socket for another thing to plug into (even with the extra-sockets plug I put in), so a clip-on light would be perfect since they use batteries. I found this one at Chapters, it was on sale for $10, and with my coupon, I got it for $5! I was pretty pleased with myself. I like how it can split into two lights, I thought it would be a nice way to distribute the light better in Diablo’s tank.

It clips on great, but as you can see, it is NOWHERE as bright as a proper aquarium light. However, keep in mind: I took this photo with my camera phone, so the photo *is* a little darker than real life; and also, the room is dark with no lights on right now. Normally the room light will be on as well, so it’ll be a *little* brighter still. However, despite all that, it’s a little on the dim side. It didn’t occur to me that a reading light is obviously not going to be as bright as a proper aquarium light.

On the other hand, with no light at all, this is how Diablo has been spending the last few months. It’s definitely an improvement, albeit a small one. I’m okay with the new light for now. Obviously, I would have loved it if its brighter, but that is, unfortunately, already the brightest setting. Diablo’s not going to DIE without a light fixture though, so I’m not really worried. I am hoping in the future I can upgrade Diablo to a tank the same size as his neighbour’s, but we shall see ….

I just want to add, this light appears to be a kickass reading light though, I did try clipping it to an actual book.

August 16

Why You Should Use the Reverse Osmosis System for Aquarium

Reverse Osmosis system for aquarium

When you have an aquarium, you might want to know why you should invest in the reverse osmosis system. There are so many different systems that you can buy and install in your aquarium so that you can have healthy fish, that it can be hard to know which one is the best to buy.

These are some of the most important reasons why you should consider the reverse osmosis system for your aquarium:

Reverse Osmosis system for aquarium

Getting softer water

The first reason and the most essential reason for using the reverse osmosis system for an aquarium are the facts that you are going to give fresh, clean water. However, you are also going to ensure that you add soft water to your aquarium.

There are some really negative things that can happen when you are going to add hard water to your aquarium instead of soft water. Many people think that you don’t need to add a specific type of water to your tank, but at the end of the day, the fish in the tank will be much healthier.

Get rid of toxins and chemicals out of the water

Tap water might be drinkable for you, but this doesn’t mean that it is going to be safe for your fish. There are many toxins and chemicals in the water that can be dangerous for your fish, and even for you.

This is where the reverse osmosis system comes in. This system is ensuring that you are going to get the cleanest water that doesn’t have any toxins and chemicals that can harm the fish in any way. Something that you can’t be sure of when you are using normal tap water.

It is easy to install

There are some of these water purifying systems that you can purchase for your aquariums, but not all of them are really easy to install and to use. So many of them are hard to install and you might even need to hire someone to get it installed in your fish tank.

However, this isn’t going to be the case with the reverse osmosis system. The system is easy to install and you will not struggle for a long period before you are getting the system working on your aquarium.

It is great for all fish and plants

The reverse osmosis system is great for all fish and plants. It doesn’t really matter what type of fish or water plants you have in the aquarium, using this system is going to be great and healthy for all of them.

When you are purchasing and installing the reverse osmosis system into your aquarium, you are going to make sure that you have the healthiest fish and plants. This is only one of the benefits that you can have with using this system with your aquarium. There are many other benefits of this system for your fish and for you with the maintenance of the aquarium. With this system, you will not worry again about the water quality that, you are going to pour into the tank.

January 13

How often to clean canister filters?

Even if you purchased the best canister filter, you should still know that you should clean it regularly. There are many things that you should know about cleaning your canister filter, and when you actually should clean it. Many people have questions about cleaning the canister filter, and here is some information to answer these questions.

When you should clean your canister filter

Clean canister filter

Many people are wondering how frequently they should clean the canister filter. The answer is quite simple for most people: You should clean your filter when you can visibly see that the filter is filthy and needs cleaning.

However, you should know that you should only clean the filter after you have cleaned the fish tank. It is recommended that you do not clean the filter the same day as the fish tank. You should wait for a couple of days, or even better, a week before you start cleaning the filter.

Things you should remember when cleaning the filter

You should remember a couple of things when you are cleaning your canister filter. Especially, if this is the first time that you have this type of filter.

You should be making sure about the cleaning method that you should use for cleaning your type of canister filter. Different filters require different cleaning methods. This means that you should read the package of the filter and the instructions really carefully. This is the only way to ensure that you are cleaning the filter correctly.

The mechanical canister filter

If you have the mechanical canister filter, you will see that there is a sponge or pad inside. This is the thing that you should be cleaning from the canister. You should use the fish tank water to clean the sponge or pad. Do not use tap water, this isn’t going to be healthy for your fish.

Canister Filter

This type of filter does not need, as much cleaning as what you might think, so do not clean this filter every week.  You should also look for when the sponge and the pad might need replacement.

Chemical cleaners

Most people prefer the chemical cleaners, because it cleans a lot easier than the mechanical filers. You only should replace the carbon on a regular basis. It is recommended that you should clean the carbon weekly or when the water is getting cloudy. It depends on which one of these is happening first.

There is not any other cleaning involved with the chemical canister cleaner. It is essential to remember to clean the carbon regularly; otherwise, you might end up with sick and dying fish.

There are many things that you might want to know about cleaning the best canister filters. There are not many things that you should know, because canister filters are easy to clean. You should clean the filters when you can see that the filters are filthy. You should also remember to use fish tank water to clean out your canister filters so that you can protect your fish and to keep them healthy. With this guidance, you will have a fish tank that is clean and that are prolonging the life of the fish.

July 1

Betta Care: Set Up & Costs

Hi! I’m starting something of a series on basic betta care. This first post will be about setting up your tank and keeping costs low.

Can you afford a betta and a tank?

A lot of people like to get betta fish because they don’t require a gigantic tank and are relatively low maintenance pets. Also, fish are pretty cheap to keep as the only maintenance costs you’ll pay throughout your fish’s life is their food and tap water conditioner (both of which are inexpensive — food is usually around $3-6 and tap water conditioner (500mL) is usually around $10.

Both last a long, long time before you run out, too). The most expensive part of keeping betta is the initial set up costs. I hope this post will help you be economical with your purchases, while also providing the best for your new betta!

The standard equipment that you will need for a happy and healthy betta fish are:

  • A tank (of course!)
    • Please do not fall into the trap of thinking a betta likes small tanks. They like lots of plants and hiding places, which I guess started the myth that betta likes small spaces. There’s some debate about the minimum size, with some saying as low as 1 gallon. Most people will say 2.5 gallons, with 5 being much more ideal. If you can get 10, even better! Those little betta cube tanks simply don’t cut it.
    • You might ask, can a betta be in a gigantic tank? Like 20 gallons, or 30 or whatever? Yes they can, I’m sure they’ll love the room! Just be sure to fill it up with plants to swim around and caves to hide in. Also, be aware, that bettas do much better in long/wide tanks, as opposed to tall vertical tanks.
  • A heater + thermometer
    • Bettas are tropical fish and require their water to be around 78 degrees Fahrenheit (give or take). If you live somewhere warm where the water can stay around that temperature without a heater year-round, then you just need a thermometer. I live in Canada and need a heater during the winter, but my tanks stay warm without the heater turned on in the summer months. The thermometer is in case your heater goes crazy and breaks or something, without you knowing — and it DOES happen!
  • A filter
    • Bettas like still water, so try to get one that isn’t too powerful. Look up ‘how to make a water baffle’ on Youtube if your filter is creating too much water movement. In very small tanks, some say you don’t even really need to use the best fish tank filter, but you would have to do more water changes.

Other things that aren’t TOTALLY necessary but of course, would make your betta happy and be more aesthetically pleasing:

      • Gravel
      • Decorations
        • With decorations, keep in mind that bettas like to swim around the surface a lot, as they get air from there, so tall plants that reach the surface water are great. Also, try to avoid pointy plastic plants (find silk plants, if you are using fake plants) as they can tear your betta’s fins (although, I must admit, I have several plastic plants in my tanks and my bettas have never torn their fins on the decorations … but still, err on the side of caution).
      • Aquarium light

A lot of people sell their used aquarium tanks on Craigslist, so if you want to keep costs low, I suggest checking out your local Craigslist postings. Most of the time, these are people who are upgrading their tanks to bigger ones and getting rid of their smaller 2.5, 5, or 10-gallon tanks, which are perfect for bettas. I have seen many posts where people will include a filter, decorations, and sometimes a heater as well. You can looking for the best led aquarium lighting here.

After setting up your tank and filling it with water, please note you should preferably cycle your tank before you add any fish. If you do not know what that means, check out this web page, it does an amazing job of explaining it simply!

My Own Set Ups + Costs

Here are my own betta setups and approximately how much I spent on the items (all prices are in Canadian dollars). I hope this will help give you a rough idea of how much you may need to spend, and whether getting a betta as a pet is a realistic financial decision for you. Please keep in mind that I do tend to overspend on my tanks. I also want to note, everything I bought was brand new. If you get second-hand items, I am sure you will spend a lot less.
This is my smallest tank, at 2.5 gallons, which houses one crown tail betta, Diablo. It’s great for me because it doesn’t take up a lot of room. This tank I do not have a filter. It is very small so a nitrogen cycle probably wouldn’t even start in it. A filter would also cause too much water movement for the betta. I have to do more water changes for this tank.

– 2.5-gallon tank ~$17 from PetSmart
– Mini aquarium heater (not adjustable) ~$15 from PetSmart
– Thermometer ~$3 from Wal-Mart
– Clip-on aquarium light ~$30 from Petland (I feel like I got ripped off though)
– Gravel ~$7
– Decorations ~ approximately $25 worth in this tank, from various places such as PetSmart, Petland, Wal-Mart, etc.
– Betta ~ $12 from Petland
– Approximate total for this tank set up:  $109
This is my medium-sized tank, at 5.5 gallons. It was an aquarium starter kit from Pet Smart that included a filter, hood, and lights. This is also a nice sized tank as it is not too large, but gives your betta plenty of room to swim around. I do want to add that this aquarium kit was a birthday gift, so I didn’t spend that much.

– 5.5-gallon aquarium starter kit (included lights and filter) ~ was a gift, so I don’t know the cost, but I think it was maybe ~$40, from PetSmart
– Adjustable glass heater ~$30 from PetSmart
– Thermometer ~$3 from Wal-Mart
– Gravel ~$14
– Decorations ~ approximately $45 worth in this tank (the log cost like, half that amount), from various places such as PetSmart, Petland, Wal-Mart, etc.
– Betta ~$4 from PetSmart
– Approximate total for this tank set up: $131
This is my largest tank, at 10 gallons. I also bought it as an aquarium starter kit from Pet Smart, and it included a filter, hood, and lights. However, I replaced the filter with a different one, because I hated the one it came with. This tank houses my 5 betta girls (called a sorority). A betta sorority requires lots of plants and decor for the fish to hide from one another, so I got more decorations than I normally would. This is by far my most expensive tank for sure.

– 10-gallon aquarium starter kit (included lights and filter) ~ $45 (was on sale) from PetSmart
– New filter ~ $12 from PetSmart
– Adjustable glass heater ~$30 from PetSmart- Thermometer ~$3 from Wal-Mart
– Gravel ~$20 (I think? I can’t remember)
– Decorations ~$120 (I think, hard to remember all the costs!), from various places such as PetSmart, Petland, Wal-Mart, etc.
– Bettas: 3 were from PetSmart, $3 each, and 2 were from Aquarium West, $8 each. Betta total is ~$25
– Approximate total for this tank set up: $255

That was really scary, calculating the costs. Anyway, betta set up costs certainly have a large range, and as you can see, I have spent a LOT more on decor than is strictly needed (well, to be honest, I just LOVE decorating my tanks too), which ballooned my costs. I am sure there are many ways to cut costs (for example … useless decorations, haha), but please, please, please, do not cut corners by getting a crappy 0.5-gallon cube or deciding not to get a heater! Here is a cheap set up that I think is totally feasible:

Cheap Set Up
– 2.5-gallon tank from PetSmart ~$17
– Nonadjustable mini heater ~$15
– Gravel ~$7
– Decorations: A $6 plant, and a $1 terra cotta pot from the dollar store for a total of $6
– Betta: $4 from PetSmart
– Approximate total for this tank set up: $50

And of course, if you buy second hand from Craigslist or wherever, you can probably set it up for even less than $49 CDN.

Best of luck!

May 2

How to Avoid Rotating Emergency Water

I have done a ton of research over the past few months about water storage.

(Did you know that, in case of an emergency, you should have a two week supply of water for each member of your family?  One gallon per person per day is the general recommendation.)

Okay, so here’s the problem with storing water.  There are all these RULES about it.  Like, you have to use food-grade containers.  That’s a no brainer.  Things that are number one plastic should be avoided because they’re meant for one-time use and then they leach things into your water that you don’t want to be drinking (though it’d be fine for cleaning, flushing toilets, etc.).  You should purify your water with a few drops of bleach when you first store it to kill any possible bacteria in it and prevent them from growing.  And you shouldn’t store your water right on the cement of your garage or basement, because chemicals are absorbed through the plastic into the water.  Rules rules rules.  So many to keep track of.  And the one that I hate the most?  Rotate your water every 6-12 months.  SERIOUSLY?  We have like 75 gallons in our garage.  That is a lot of work.  The last time I did it, it took me two days of dumping water, refilling, relabeling the date, etc.  A lot of work.  A lot of water.  I did not enjoy it.

So then I heard that there are filters you can buy, and then you don’t have to rotate nearly as often (like every 10 years if at all).  Automatically my ears perked up.  And so I researched and researched like crazy.  There are SO many options.  I read tons of good things about Berkley systems, but those are like $230 if you get a good deal!  This is just for an emergency that might never happen.  Obviously, I want something, but I don’t want to break the bank getting something.  And so many of them had filters that only filtered a certain amount of water (like 20 gallons) before needing to be replaced, or some of them expired just with time due to shelf life.  I was really trying to find the best bang for my buck.

And I’m here to report what I ended up getting and all of the reasons WHY in case you’re sick of doing lots of research too, or in case you never even thought of this before but are so happy because now you don’t even have to do ANY research!

I got the Sawyer Point One Emergency Water Filtration Kit.

This is why:

  • It NEVER needs a new filter.  They guarantee a million gallons.  That’s a lot of stinkin’ water.  You do have to rinse the filter with clean, filtered water when using really dirty water, but that’s better than buying replacement filters.
  • It filters fast, up to 500 gallons per day.  Some filters only did like one gallon an hour.  I don’t want to have to be waiting around for water to be ready.
  • It’s super small and easy to store, and it’s lightweight too (the filter weighs 3oz).  The whole box with everything in it is like 6″ x 3″ x 3″.  That I can do.
  • It only cost $58 and never expires.
  • It has awesome reviews from every reviewer I could find online.  Five stars across the board.
  • The kit contains a variety of adapters:
    • There’s a pouch that you can fill with contaminated water, and it has a pop-up cap that you can drink straight from.
    • It can screw right into a water bottle or soda bottle and you can drink right from the pop-up cap.
    • It can connect to a faucet with an included adapter so you could use it during international travel or during times where you’re told to boil your city water.
 (I can’t find a picture of this.  Boo.)
    • There’s a bucket adapter kit so you could fill one bucket with dirty water and have it filter through to a clean water bucket beneath.
  • They use this kit in tons of third world countries where people are constantly dying (every 20 seconds!) due to the lack of access to clean drinking water.  People can literally fill buckets from the river, filter it through, and drink it.  You can find more information about the company and this outreach program HERE.
  • It filters and purifies water, removing sediment, bacteria, protozoa, cysts, and other contaminants.  Some only filter and some only purify.  This does both.

They also make a Sawyer Point Zero Two Filter that does the same thing, but it filters out viruses as well.  That one runs about $129 on Amazon.  I decided against it because I’m hoping to avoid using river water in case of an emergency.  Hopefully, the water that I have stored will be sufficient.

Have I actually used it yet?  No.  But I trust user reviews, I like the features, and I loved that it didn’t empty my bank account.  If you’re stressing yourself out doing research over a water filter, I hope you can benefit from the hours that I put into it!