i rode down to commonwealth avenue in newton for a craig's list transaction this morning. i was buying a still-in-the-box aquaclear mini (20) aquarium filter for $10. the best online deal for a new filter goes for around $30 (with shipping cost factored in). i was overdressed for the occasion, didn't realize the temperature would peak into the 60's today. when i got to my seller, he actually told me he had another aquaclear mini if i was interested. i thought about it for a few seconds and agreed to buy both. "did you walk here?" my seller asked me, baffled by the lack of a car parked outside. "no, i came here on that," i said, pointing to my motorcycle through the screen door.

what i like about the aquaclear filter is the ability to roll your own filtration medium. the one thing that needs to be periodically replaced for any aquarium filter is the activated carbon insert, which is the stuff that removes impurities from the water (it's the same technology used in brita pitchers). constantly replacing the activated carbon insert can be expensive because most brands have specially designed proprietary inserts that will only fit their filtration system. this isn't the case in the aquaclear filters, because you can roll your own insert, you just need a small mesh bag and a container of activated carbon you can buy from any pet store.

on my way to and from newton, occasionally i did some utility pole spotting (when it wasn't dangerous to do so). didn't see any glass insulators in watertown nor newton. i noticed they took down the air raid siren in watertown center, which was my favorite thing about that place. returning to cambridge via mt.auburn street, i saw some blue glass insulators on aberdeen avenue.

i went to the pet supply outlet store, which recently moved to a better space in belmont on blanchard road (it used to be in fresh pond). i got a sponge insert for the spare aquaclear filter, and two packs of biomax inserts. i took a peek at nearby blair pond, a hidden piece of natural real estate besides the fresh pond animal hospital, before going back home.

after having some leftover pasta for lunch, i left in the afternoon for belmont. the verizon FIOS installation guy is coming tomorrow morning, and i needed to clean up his work area in the basement. they told me the installation would take 8 hours, which i think is a gross over-estimation. i'm hoping it'll just take an hour or two, then i can go do my own thing, instead of having to stay in belmont. they already came by during the week to bury some new wires and put in a fiber optic drop zone near the house after spray painting the hell out of the sidewalk and lawn.

all this recent activity surrounding aquariums has gotten me interested in the hobby again. i'm still waiting for my guppies to die but once that tank is clear i think i may try something new. i still never successfully built a self-sustainable aquatic garden. i'll have to start thinking about carbon dioxide injections and finding a high wattage strip light.