Converting my tank to rain water

With the huge storm last night I’ve been collecting rain water in buckets.

I need to lower the TDS and pH of my shrimp tank as it’s healthier for them. The rain had a pH of 6.2 and TDS of less than 20.

To acclimatise my shrimp I am trying the same technique as introducing new shrimp to tank water – dripping in the water through an enema bag at a rate of about 2-3 drops per second.

Today I took out water then drip added about 1/6th of my tank for its water change. Tomorrow I will do the same again.


My Anubias flowered yesterday.

My favourite plant in my tank is Anubias var. nana bonsai. i.e. A small Anubias.

Without algae it is bright green and started off, looking like this 4 months ago.


It’s classed as a slow grower but mine has taken off like crazy. They don’t need much light and because they are a rhizome plant, you don’t put them under the soil. Mine are held down by a stone and hairnet on too of the substrate. The rhizome is the main stem and it then sends roots into the soil. The rhizome has a growing tip which will push along and from it new leaves will form.


It soon loses it’s bright green when hair algae attached to it – but it’s hard to keep them clean and shrimp like browsing the algae.

This is the flower that shot up in about a week.


I have a hole on one leaf which is a sign of rich organic material around the rhizome ( so a water, filter change or a hoover).

There is also a thought that breaking a leaf at the rhizome releases toxins into an aquarium but many say this is a myth.

No Sh*t Sherlock – Researching the obvious.

Four months ago I participated in the following research…

“A questionnaire study examining how psychological factors impact on quality of life and mood in people with muscle conditions”

Firstly, it’s about time that people stopped focusing on the physical part of living with dystrophy and looked at the emotional impact. Mental well being is terribly overlooked. I thought to myself, this was finally being taken seriously.

However, a number of participants have been less than impressed by this research and fear it may turn into a report that merely states the obvious.



Here was one particular ridiculous question.

1) Let me think – is my life ideal? Yes is probably as good as it can be given the extent that MD affects me. However, is my life ideal? No, because it would be far better without MD!

2) Same as the above – define ‘excellent’ life conditions. If I wake up alive I consider it a good day and a most excellent start. Generally though, having MD does not make any day ‘excellent’ – I wouldn’t recommend it.

3) Am I satisfied with life? Ehm, in what sense? What does it mean to be satisfied? I’m warm, happy, content, not in continuous pain, loved, live in a nice place, fed and watered and in communication with the world around me – that’s pretty good?

4) I wouldn’t change anything about life if I could do it again?

This is a huge philosophical question. Would the said replaying of life still mean I had MD – or can I change my life starting from when I inherited MD at the point of conception? If I had to live it again with MD – would my life still be in the same country, to the same family, with the same education, forming the same friendships etc?

I can think of people I’d rather not have known, who have been a bad influence – but without future vision, I wouldn’t know it at the time and might still be acquainted with them – or do I get to delete them from my second life?

If I knew the NHS was going to be crap …. I could have started saving earlier for private treatment or equipment. I would have started applying for a wheelchair and profiling bed 3 years before I needed one so it arrived on time.

Are we talking more about a parallel universe with infinite combinations of my life?

Surely we could all think of some things to change if we started again and see if it was any better (not that you’d know unless your remembered life number 1)? A lot of how good life is depends on luck, chance, random influences - or maybe even faith in a path already planned to some extent? Ground Hog Day is proof of what can happen with just one day slightly tweaked!  Opportunities might be worse the second time around? Life is full of ‘should have, could have’ …. change one thing and everything after it could be altered for better or worse.

The fact is, I have the life I have. There is no option to live it again … so why bother even thinking about it! In fact, thinking about it only wastes the time I do have.

So, I’m probably thinking too deeply about this – but that’s just me. I couldn’t pick an answer.

I came to the conclusion that I would change ‘having MD’ to ‘not having MD’ for my second attempt at life – if only to avoid filling out stupid questionnaires like this one!


Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve

A lovely afternoon here and it’s right off the main road – so easy to get to.

Clocked up 2 miles following a straight path walk by some of the lakes. We got close to some bunnies, saw some busy bees nesting at the side of a bird hide and quite a few butterflies, dragonflies and damsel flies.




A short video of the reserve.








The paths were pretty good but you do need binoculars to see the water birds.  There are accessible toilets and smooth car park spaces. The Grebe Hide has a ramp to one of the windows but you can’t see the bird feeders or anything through the side windows. Kevin did the bee video for me to see what they were doing.







New Forest Reptile and Amphibian Centre

At the weekend we went down to Southampton for 3 nights. The main aim was to see if we could still manage to go on holiday as I haven’t slept in a normal bed since my specialist profiling bed arrived last year. The fact that I can blog about our weekend means we survived… and not only that but the two things we were trying (inflatable things to hold my position in bed and a portable hair washing sink) worked very well. Just got to figure out how I can use the toilet now.

Anyway, our second day was lovely – we are more forest people than townies. Give us a forest and some animals and we are very happy.

We went to the New Forest – to a newish reptile and amphibian centre. It was free and consists of several ‘pens’ with netting over them, in which you can see most native and settled UK reptiles and amphibians. We spent the whole afternoon staring into the pens trying to catch a glimpse of shy and camouflaged lizards and snakes.

We thought that snakes liked to sunbathe – but apparently temperatures like we had (above 15 degrees C) and they start to burn and look for shelter. We saw elusive smooth snakes and adders and Kevin did eventually glimpse two types of lizard. I couldn’t see the lizards as the height of the pen walls blocked of a good view.


The Marsh Frogs were very vocal – a species settled over here from Europe. They were doing their Budweiser call lol. The noise was amazing – but apparently not as loud as the Natterjack toad which is the loudest in Europe. Mr Toad wasn’t in the mood for talking though.

Their is a forest trail which we wandered up (not so bumpy unlike the horrific drive into the carpark where I lost my head even with my neck braced). When we came back, people were packing up but I spent a while trying to photograph birds. Their is a RSPB hut with information and hands on creepy crawlies, and they feed the birds so you can view or photograph them. They also had a web cam on a goshawk nest with chicks in.  I saw my first nuthatch and lots of birds we just don’t get in our garden. All in all, well worth the visit.