(l-r) pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate

my aquarium stuff from doctors foster and smith arrived today. i didn't realize it until the end of the day, when i looked outside and saw a box waiting for me. just so happens i was doing a water chemistry test on the cycling 5 minibow. pH 7.0, ammonia 0 ppm, nitrite 5.0 ppm, and nitrate 5.0 ppm. i believe i'm at the cycling point where the nitrite-eating bacteria is converting it into nitrate. without any fish in the aquarium or a steady supply of ammonia, there's really no point in running the tank because the nitrogen cycle will never successfully establish itself. i then tested the guppy tank with the KH/GH test: KH 1°, dH 22°. i don't know why the carbonate hardness (KH) is so low, but it's no surprise to find that the water is hard (GH general hardness). i'll test the other tanks tomorrow. guppies like a high GH but tetras prefer a low GH; that's ironic, because my tetras have been doing very well while i've already lost 2 guppies. i find it weird that i've turned the simple act of keeping an aquarium into this very complicated venture. i wonder if other fishkeepers are as chemistry-oriented as i am.

most of the other aquarium stuff i bought were maintenance supplies and conditioning chemicals. the penguin bio-wheel 100 was a lot larger than i realized: from the photo it looked like a tiny little thing, but it's actually the biggest filter i currently own (in terms of physical size). just one problem: i don't really need a filter at this time. i think i may take out the whisper filter and replace it with this one. it can't be any worse, the whisper is pretty noisy. the bio-wheel offers better biological filtration (it's designed for a 20 gallon tank) and once all my guppies are living in this aquarium, i'll need all the filtration i can get.

word from client B is i'm tentatively scheduled to leave for arizona-nevada next wednesday night. i only hope the weather will be cold and dry here in boston for the two days that i'll be gone, so i won't miss the salamander migration if i hasn't happened yet by the time i leave. rest of the day i alternated between work for client N and client S. well ahead of any deadlines, i went through the day at a casual pace.

in the evening julie came over and made chicken tikka masala for dinner. we watched dateline: to catch a predator, followed by two law & order repeats.