this morning it was time for water chemistry, after digging out my test kit a few days ago (which i bought a decade ago). i ran the 4 tests on my aquarium water: pH 7.0, nitrite 0.0, ammonia 0.0, and nitrate 5.0 mg/L. the bit of nitrate is normal, most likely from rotting vegetation. it makes sense that there's nitrate since algae continues to grow every 2-3 days. everything looks good, can't be sure if the tank has cycled correctly, but i'm ready to get some fish tomorrow. i've decided to get 10 neon tetras (at $1/fish), which follows the rule of 1 inch of fish per gallon (i have a 10 gallon tank).

i also did a water change, 2 buckets worth, 4 gallons. i hope this won't throw off whatever delicate cycling equilibrium was in the tank, but my 250mL of seachem prime water conditioner ($8.18) arrived saturday night and i added 1mL of prime to the tank to neutralize the chlorine and chloramine. in preparation for the fish, i also needed a heater. i dug out a few, didn't realize i had some fancy heaters. i ended up using the marineland one because it was more compact. finally, i filled the 10 gallon plastic trash can with tap water and neutralized it with some seachem prime; this is the treated water i'll use whenever i do a water change in my aquarium.

good news on the solar panel installation front: naveo approved my parents' mass solar loan. they actually approved it friday night, but neither my father nor i checked his e-mails figuring they wouldn't make a decision over the weekend. one of their requirements was that my parents had to join their credit union, paperwork to be submitted no later than wednesday.

i went to the 99 supermarket on the border of malden-revere to look for tapioca balls for my parents. they went to two different supermarkets in chinatown yesterday afternoon and none of them carried it. it was a hot and humid day, my motorcycle was nearly out of fuel, and it took me 25 minutes to ride the nearly 6 miles it takes to get there. unfortunately they only have had color tapioca pearls at most, so i left empty-handed, not even picking up some snacks for myself. i did see a sign for a possibly new flaming grill & buffet restaurant opening up in that strip mall in the near future.

i then went to the fellsway plaza, first to OSJL to look for some yarn for my mother (as well as some darjeeling tea and some panda licorice for myself), then to aldi for cheap groceries: a bag of yellow onions ($1.49), bag of carrots (99¢), 5lbs of baking potatoes ($1.99), 2 lbs. of red grapes ($1.78), 2 lbs. of honeycrisp apples ($2.99), stick of peppered salami ($3.79). i was also looking for 30 oz. insulated bottles that were supposed to be on sale last week for $4.99 but i didn't see them.

i planned on going home, but decided to take a quick stop at the cafe to drop off my mother's yarn. my father had just returned from talking with a roofer about replacing the roof to their house before the solar installation work. they'd chopped up a chinese cabbage and was about to refill the paocai jar. they added some more brine using salt and bottled water, then sprinkled some sichuan peppercorn my 2nd aunt had given them, but one smell and i knew they were very fresh (even my 10+ year old peppercorn smells better than this). i left a bit before 5pm.

for dinner i finished the leftover chinese food i brought home yesterday while watching the vietnam war documentary on PBS. li didn't get back home until after 11pm. i thought maybe he went out with his former roommates again but he was actually just in the office.