An interlude for the fish. We've got all but one of the adult fish and a tolerably increasing number of baby fish in the stock tank in the basement. And while the ammonia level was annoyingly stable for a while, we got a couple extra bags of zeolite crystals from the pet store and overnight the level dropped to ``zero, or near enough so'', and stayed there. This promised to make for as good a winter as we could hope, if we could get the last adult fish in and nothing more went wrong.
So that's when we realized that the tank was indeed leaking, and not just a tiny bit, but appreciably much. It turns out that the brand of tank we get has a plug that's notoriously bad, that's prone to leaking if you ever open it up and try to re-seal it and what do you suppose we did when we opened it to drain the tank last spring and then closed it up to refill this fall? Replacement plugs are available and rather cheap but that leaves the problem of what to do with the fish since we can't go putting them back in the pond this time of year. Well, since we don't have to fund any amusement park visits in the next couple months we went out and got a replacement tank, and some plugs that are presumably not awful. On the new tank I could see what the manufacturer's plug looks like and its threads are just awful, to the point it's amazing it ever holds water, never mind being a sieve once it's opened up.
We set up the new tank with a replacement, not-awful plug, and set some water (no fish) in to test it. This turns out to still leak a little bit, though very much less than the first tank with manufacturer's plug. But we would like the leak to be nearer zero and so bought an O-ring, and we're testing whether that reduces the leak rate to tolerable amounts. If it doesn't, we're going to use some silicone epoxy and come as near we can to welding the plug shut, and deal with draining the tank when we need to.
And yeah, I particularly feel like an idiot buying a new tank when, if we'd run a leak test in midsummer, we might've fixed the problem way ahead of time. But the second tub is probably not an extravagance: if the fish have a summer of 2015 anything like this year's was, we're likely to need a second tank for next winter.
Trivia: In Fall 1867 the brokers Fisk & Hatch assured the public that the Central Pacific's gross earnings for the previous quarter had been $487,579.64, and operating expenses $84,548.47, or, ``at the rate of about two millions per annum, of which more than three-fourths are net profit, upon less than 100 miles worked''. Source: Empire Express: Building The First Transcontinental Railroad, David Haward Bain.
Currently Reading: They Satisfy: The Cigarette In American Life, Robert Sobel.