i returned to petsmart early this afternoon to buy some more plants for my aquarium. after much comparison shopping, i've discovered that petsmart actually has the best prices on plants, most of them around $2/each. i got a corkscrew vallisneria, 2 mondo grass, and 2 ambulias. i also got some charcoal inserts for the water filter. i never knew this, but there's essentially three different inserts for a filter system: a mechanical filter (traps free-floating debris), which consists of a sponge, a chemical filter (to remove water impurities and odors), which comes in a form of a carbon packet, and then a biological filter (reduces ammonia and nitrate levels). since there's no fish just yet i don't need a biological filter but the water this morning was still a bit cloudy and i was hoping the charcoal packet would clear it up.

there was nothing left on my agenda today other than to finally go for a run. i bumped into my next door neighbor renee and got held up chatting then i gave her a tour of my place because she wanted some ideas for her own house. by the time she left, it was already 3:40pm, which meant that if i went out for a run, it'd be dark by the time i got back, but i was determined to get some exercise so i changed into my running clothes, put on my contacts, and went out. i got a cramp in my side which reduced me to a walk for the start of the run but i ignored the pain and pushed forward. after every run, despite the pain, i always feel like i've increased my life expectancy a little bit - which is one of the reasons why i keep on doing it.

in the evening julie came by and i made vodka sauce penne. after american next top model there wasn't anything else good on television and julie entertained herself with my collection of handwriting analysis books.

after i did the dishes, i checked my aquarium and noticed the vallisneria plant seemed a little tattered, which i didn't notice before. earlier i saw there was a small snail hitchhiking on one of the plants. i didn't bother to remove it because i figured maybe it could be an algae eater, but instead i now realized it's actually eating the plants. so after some searching i finally found it eating a new hole on a leaf. i promptly removed it from the tank.

i'm also doing a lot of research on carbon dioxide injection. plants need three things to thrive: sunlight, fertilizer, and carbon dioxide. sunlight isn't a problem; besides the natural light that comes into the tank, i also have an artifical light. once i get some fish, fertilizer won't be an issue either. the only thing left is carbon dioxide, and it looks like i might have to buy some sort of system or at least partially make one (using yeast) if i want accelerated plant growth. the downside with injecting carbon dioxide into the water is i can't run my filtration system anymore because it disturbs the water enough that any CO2 would quickly escape into the air. however, a large population of plants will naturally supply enough oxygen back into the water.