i woke up today and the first thing i did was to go down to the community garden with my tray of vegetables for planting. there was so much space left over, i may have to get some more things to grow. i watered everything before returning home. i went out again to visit a new pet store. you have your petcos and petsmarts, but i recently discovered another franchise pet supplier by the name of pet supplies plus. i located one in medford and made my way there. i found a desolate strip mall but didn't see the PSP. i cashed a check at the ATM and just when i was about to leave i finally saw the inconspicuous-looking storefront. although PSP isn't as flashy as the other large pet stores, what it lacks in style it makes up for in substance and savings. they had a tremendous selection of fish keeping supplies, from tanks (all-glass) to stands, from filters to lights, from medicine to aquarium decoration. they even had some fish for sale, but nothing out of the ordinary. to top it off, prices were the cheapest i've ever seen. it was like visiting aquarium supply heaven or something. i bought a glass cover (to replace the slightly broken used one) and some activated carbon so i can roll my own filter inserts.
after PSP i went to petsmart to buy some aquatic plants. unlike the tranquility and orderliness of PSP, petsmart was a madhouse. the place was crowded, the staff seemed strained from the rude customers, and the aisles and the shelves were a mess. i ended up buying just an unknown sword plant ($4).
the part of an aquarium power filter that needs periodic replacement is the cartridge that contains the activated carbon granules. the filter itself just circulates the water; it needs the carbon to remove foul odors, discoloration, and other impurities. this is the same carbon that you find in your filter water pitcher. over time constantly buying cartridges can add up, so i decided to roll my own carbon insert. currently the only power filter i own that can accommodate self-made inserts is the hagen aquaclear that's running on my minibow 7. so after i performed a water change, i threw out the old carbon insert and put in my own, which is just a small mesh bag filled with carbon granules. i'll see how it performs in a few days when i check if the water still has a slight fishy smell to it. (after some online research, some people have said that carbon isn't actually required in the filter, that frequent water change is just as effective).
my parents came over to my place for dinner in the evening, fired up some barbecue ribs in the oven, cooked some instant rice over the stove.