We had a very gentle autumn. Warm, pleasant. Rainy, too. In one early-October rainstorm we got so much water in so short a time that it washed into the goldfish pond the rocks that line the waterfall. Let me put that clearly: it rained so hard it washed our waterfall away. This gave me the impulse to wade into the pond and dredge rocks out of it, to the bewilderment of our goldfish. Reassembled the waterfall into something picturesque and bubbling, and got to shore up the supply of larger rocks lining the pond.
Still, in early October we started transporting goldfish inside. The pond's not really deep enough for them to winter over safely, and we figured we've never said we had too much time to bring in all 54-or-so goldfish. Trapping went extremely well; we got about 20 of them the first day, and another ten or so the day after. Within a week it amounted to minor clean-up detail, checking the trap each day to see if one or two stragglers had decided to join their mates. In all we got 52 in, which might just be as many as were left in the pond. We are rather sure at least one of the 54 we believed ourselves to have disappeared, probably died, over the summer. And I had the trap out and waiting for over a month without any sign of another fish in the trap or in the pond at all. Possibly we lost one to causes without noticing.
What was unsettling is we lost one fish inside, before we were even done catching everyone outside. No idea why or what the cause was. More unsettling came a couple weeks ago when another died and we had other fish looking very sluggish and ... dopey.
It turned out that the water in the tanks was too high in nitrate. We didn't notice the buildup since, well, nitrate's never been a problem before. Ammonia has been the trouble in the past, and that was so spectacularly stable at zero that it was easy to think we had licked the problem of keeping goldfish in the basement tubs.
There's things to do about excess nitrates. One is to cut back on feeding the goldfish. (There's not really any goldfish problem that isn't ameliorated by cutting back on feeding them.) Another is to change the water. So we got five-gallon buckets, some of them decommissioned from their roles as squirrel or bird-seed containers, to hold water. This has become part of the morning ritual, taking five or ten gallons out of each of the tanks and putting as much water back in. It can't be more often because the water needs time to dissipate the chloramines that purify the tap water but would poison the goldfish. Also there's a potion to pour into the tanks that's supposed to dissipate nitrates, albeit at the cost of reducing the oxygen level in the water. So it's not something to pour too much in, except in a crisis.
A week in and things seem better. I'm not as good reading the nitrate test as I am at the ammonia test, but it definitely looks like the nitrates are lessened.
bunny_hugger noticed another problem: the air pump was bubbling less air. There wasn't any obvious reason for this weakness. Turning the pump over helped some, getting the bubbling back up to full vigor. But that is mysterious. So we got a second air pump and set that up. If the older pump, turned upside-down, turns out to be repairable, then great. I would feel much better having redundant oxygenation sources for our water.
Trivia: By 1848 Britain produced more iron than the rest of the world combined did. Source: Coal: A Human History, Barbara Freese.
Currently Reading: The Day The World Discovered The Sun: An Extraordinary Story of Scientific Adventure and the Race to Track the Transit of Venus, Mark Anderson.
PS: more of Six Flags over Texas.
The Hall of Justice, giving in mostly to nostalgic remembrances of the 70s superfriends while having just enough touches of what I assume are the modern stylings of the Justice League to satisfy comics readers born this millennium. Also I really dig Batman's look at being hugged here.
Six Flags Over Texas started as a theme park, with the six (Western) nations whose flags arguably flew over the territory as the themes. Here's the France-themed area.
Also in that area among the pictures of the park gone by: this old park map from at or pretty near the opening. Many of the buildings are still present, some of the rides still are, and you can make out the trace of the various national themed areas, although for example the United States has mostly given over to Batman, which is true.