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Retirement and forum shutdown (17 Jan 2022)

Hi,

John Howell who has managed the forum for years is getting on and wishes to retire from the role of managing it.
Over the years, he has managed the forum through good days and bad days and he has always been fair.
He has managed to bring his passion for fish keeping to the forum and keep it going for so long.

I wish to thank John for his hard work in keeping the forum going.

With John wishing to "retire" from the role of managing the forum and the forum receiving very little traffic, I think we must agree that forum has come to a natural conclusion and it's time to put it to rest.

I am proposing that the forum be made read-only from March 2022 onwards and that no new users or content be created. The website is still registered for several more years, so the content will still be accessible but no new topics or replies will be allowed.

If there is interest from the ITFS or other fish keeping clubs, we may redirect traffic to them or to a Facebook group but will not actively manage it.

I'd like to thank everyone over the years who helped with forum, posted a reply, started a new topic, ask a question and helped a newbie in fish keeping. And thank you to the sponsors who helped us along the away. Hopefully it made the hobby stronger.

I'd especially like to thank John Howell and Valerie Rousseau for all of their contributions, without them the forum would have never been has successful.

Thank you
Darragh Sherwin

yahoo...nitrates down to 1ppm

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27 Jan 2007 03:16 #1 by lampeye (lampeye)
just tested my water and my nitrates are down to 1ppm. a few weeks back it was 25ppm....
there has been a bloom of seaweed/macroalgae in the tank so im guessing that this is eating up the nitrates...sweet!#
my kh however is dropping. it was 8 three weeks ago and now its 7.4. whats the best way to raise it? i was thinking of adding bread soda but have no idea how much.

lampeye

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27 Jan 2007 04:09 #2 by Sean (Fr. Jack)
That's great your N03 is virtually zero, will all would like to know what filter you have size of tanks fish/inverts and stocking densities, and number of times you feed them. I have not bought a NO3 since at east 19 years, so I cannot give you much input on that. The most important test kits in order of importance is a thermometer then a N02 test kits any thing else is a luxury. Don't turn you back on the biotic test kit, this sounds very scientific, but really its very simple. If you have a fresh water stream and upstream there has been a dead cow in the stream for 2 months the NH3 (ammonia) will be high. If yesterday a farmer took it out and today you went to that stream with your NH3 test kit, it would show zero, even though last week it had a high reading, but you dont know that as you were not there last week.
This is the point where you can think I am going really completely mad, or may be I am not:
A Jedi knight or even better some one from the dark side of the force will sense the ammonia reading today even though there is no reading!!
How can this been done without dressing up with black ropes?
Yes your are right the biotic test, one would look at the species of plants and crustacean that are living upstream of the dead cow and down stream, obviously up stream will be class one, on down stream you swill find plants and crustacean that are associated with a polluted stream.
So what in the hell is this got to do with a marine tank?
Everything, if you have red algae growing even a little bit this is you polluted stream (biotic test), if you have little feather dusters growing on the side walls this is up stream this is up stream.

About the buffering just get coral gravel and wearing a pair of sun glasses smash it up with a hammer and put it into a stocking and put into the filter chamber and repeat the exerise ever couple of months.

That would be a ecumenical matter!!!

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27 Jan 2007 06:12 #3 by lampeye (lampeye)
ok didnt really understand all of that. i will get some coral gravel. re red algae. one small section of the substrate has orangey colour...10cm x 10cm where there isnt much flow. i do have loads of tiny feather dusters coming out of the rocks...and even one coming out of what used to be a hermit crabs home (small shell) . so how does this compare to your crazy darth vader test?!!

re flitration,

the HIPPY method..... i have 66 lbs or 30 kilos of Live rock, a protein skimmer, flow of 5,000 lph from powerheads, and an internal filter with only carbon in it (no biomedia).

re stocking,
low...its only set up 5 months. so far there is 2 clownfish, 3 cleaner shrimp, 12 turbo snails, 6 hermit crabs, 1 feather duster and a few mushroom corals.

feeding,
3-4 times a day. not a huge amount but high protein pellets soaked in garlic or multivitamins (kent Zoe).

(its a 240 l tank)

lampeye

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27 Jan 2007 07:25 #4 by Sean (Fr. Jack)
I guess your were going to post this, this i.e a saltwater equivalent of a freshwater tanks full of plants with 3 or 4 harlequin tetras, and its only 5 months old, so you are bound to not have much nitrate, this system would breakdown pretty quick if you had a fish only (highly stocked) system using only the living rock to remove the NH3 and NO2, in summary there is nothing wrong with your tank if you want a invert only and just slip a couple of clowns in.

The biotic test is very simple, red algae, poor water quality, green algae good water quality***, no algae, and inverts breeding good water quality and low nitrates.



*** for fish when not worrying about NO3 or inverts (i.e fish only)

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27 Jan 2007 07:31 #5 by lampeye (lampeye)
my planned fish stock list is

-the 2 clowns
-firefish goby
-blennie
-neon gobies
-mandrin after a year
-maybe another type of gobie

lampeye

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27 Jan 2007 07:40 #6 by Sean (Fr. Jack)
You wont find this info in a hobbyist book but maderines are bad news for the rest of the inmates, so bad, that in the Philippines, rather than hold them in the central system with the rest of the fish thay are kept in basins in high numbers with slimy foam on the surface and they still survive, they are hardy as nails, and can live in rock pools but release toxins into the water, freshwater corys are kept the same way for the same reasons (wholesale)

If you are going to add more fish I would add a trickle filter, but leave the living rock as they are, whats the point of having less than 10ppm NO3 if
you are going to get NH3 spikes 20 minutes after feeding?

That would be a ecumenical matter!!!

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27 Jan 2007 12:39 #7 by lampeye (lampeye)

If you are going to add more fish I would add a trickle filter, but leave the living rock as they are, whats the point of having less than 10ppm NO3 if
you are going to get NH3 spikes 20 minutes after feeding?


i will test my water 20 mins after feeding to see if there s a noticible spike.
re adding more fish....i wouldnt say that the fish list would make the tank overspiked so i doubt ill add a filter. ....."if it aint broke...!"

in the meantime i found this calculator which looks good.(if it works)

home.comcast.net/~jdieck1/chemcalc.html

lampeye

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27 Jan 2007 12:57 #8 by Sean (Fr. Jack)
Your live rock filter is taking all the O2 consumption from below the water line, hence 80% of the total consumption is just for the filter, *fish inverts just get the other 20%(as oppose to a trickle filter which takes all the O2 from the air, you system works ,and as its not broken dont take the rocks out,as but a ice cream
box in the hood is like putting a window vent into a lift full of people after some has just let off after eating an Indian and a few pints.

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27 Jan 2007 13:40 #9 by lampeye (lampeye)
is all the the algae consuming co2 and releasing oxygen?

lampeye

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28 Jan 2007 01:42 #10 by Sean (Fr. Jack)
A small percentage, and doing the opposite at night time,
put a plastic bag over your head with a in door plant inside it, go out side to give the plant light and see how long you live, may be 2mins without the plant ans 2 minutes and 10 sec with it.

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28 Jan 2007 03:19 #11 by lampeye (lampeye)
i get what your saying ..... however there are thousands...millions of reef systems thriving without trickle filters. all my livestock seem really happy, colourful etc so i dont see the need for a triclke filter.

i am curious about them though since you rant at the =m every chance u get :wink:

so i'll have to read up on them

fran

lampeye

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28 Jan 2007 04:47 #12 by Sean (Fr. Jack)
Hi Fran,
I am not critasing you tank, in fact if you add only a couple more fish, there is nothing wrong, its just if you highly stock the tank, I could not see how this works, and eventually after 3 or 4 years the substrate would be supersaturated with fish faces even with low stocking levels it would have to be stripped, which would never happen if there was only a sprinkling of coral sand (almost bear bottom). I am open to new ideas, I have a over stocked fish only tank.
Qes. would you recommend this system to me.
Qes. How many successfully over stock fish only system you can show a reference to?
Qes. You will be buying more fish, if/when they get disease, what treatment are you going to give them, and will this effect the inverts?
Regards
Sean

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28 Jan 2007 06:20 #13 by lampeye (lampeye)

Hi Fran,
Qes. would you recommend this system to me.
Qes. How many successfully over stock fish only system you can show a reference to?
Qes. You will be buying more fish, if/when they get disease, what treatment are you going to give them, and will this effect the inverts?
Regards
Sean


first off im a novice when it comes to Marines. i have done a fair bit of reading but have very little practical experience. most of the info ive learned is from browseing reefcentral.com and reading books by Robert M.Fenner.

1. yes i would recommend this system for a fish and invert/coral system...but not for a highly stocked fish only system. fish are much more hardy and forgiving than inverts...and so can handle the high nitrates produced by cannister or trickle filters that are needed to support their huge bioload. for a system which includes inverts and corals however id def reccommend it. i personally like small fish and like them to have a lot of room anyway.

2. none..(as i said novice) ..i wouldnt like to overstock or recommend overstocking any tank marine or otherwise for water quality and aggression reasons.

3. every fish i buy will be QT in a 10 gallon for a month and treated if necessary before being added to the show tank. if a fish falls ill i will remove him to the QT for treatment/recovery. if i keep the water in good shape and feed a well balanced, vitimin enriched diet, and they are not bullied, they should (fingers crossed) stay healthy.

going on what i have read trickle filters in fish only systems are great at gas exchange and oxygenation and have as u said the ability to speed up the nitogen cycle rapidly and so can handle overstocking ....but the problem with a trickle filter is that they are too good at their job, which leads to a build up in nitrates....and its this problem that has made most reefkeepers to move on to the liverock and live sand system. you have said that u created a denitratefying section of the filter....but u also said u havent tested for nitrates in 19 years.

The current reoccuring view in books and on reef forums worldwide is that by letting the nitrogen cycle happen more slowly in live rock gives anaerobic bacteria a better chance to keep up with the nitrate production...turning out nitrogen gas as the end product. This natural method is now what the trickle filter was to the 80s (welcome to the next century sean!! :wink: )

for it you need:

1-2 lbs of live rock per gallon.

strong protein skimming
(u said these arent vital but when u see the scum the remove it makes sense)

a fairly deep live sand bed 2-3 inchs (which can be in a sump if u have one)

some sort of chemical filtration eg. carbon

regarding the way you only do a water change every 2 years (madness i tell ye!):

the quality of water decreases with age. it accumilates biological wastes and by-products, looses its buffering capacity and trace minerals. a 10pecent weekly change is so easy that there is no good reason for not doing it.

fran

lampeye

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28 Jan 2007 06:50 #14 by lampeye (lampeye)

Hi Fran,
I could not see how this works, and eventually after 3 or 4 years the substrate would be supersaturated with fish faces even with low stocking levels it would have to be stripped, which would never happen if there was only a sprinkling of coral sand (almost bear bottom).


IMO the deeper live sand bed of 2 inchs would be much more benificial for bacteria and critters. i use the slowly dissolving argonite....which is less likely to get loads of fish waste stuck under it than coral gravel and which requires only a light vacuming of the top layer. overstocked fish only systems i suppose would require aggressive gravel vacuming and so for your purpose i can understand why u went for a thin layer. IMO substrate would not have to be stipped but it might be benificial for buffering reasons to replace 25 per cent or so, periodicly.

lampeye

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28 Jan 2007 15:13 #15 by Sean (Fr. Jack)
Hi Fran,
a long time ago in a far off galaxy there was a real good looking guy that did all the R&D work for marines, he told is boss about the new concept of using live rock, but that person wanted to promote the sale of the rock in Manila Aquatics.

www.tampabaysaltwater.com/about/tbs1.html


This Huck of a guy 10 years latter wrote a book call Professional Marine Aquarium from collecting to breeding, he talks about the advantages of trickle filters but deals wit NO3 build up to it got a bad review in PFK, it was to technical and aimed at the Public aquarium and wholeasalers. One day I will use my contacts to get him to email you. In the mean time keep posting!!!

That would be a ecumenical matter!!!

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28 Jan 2007 16:29 #16 by lampeye (lampeye)
was that someone related to pierse brosnan?

lampeye

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28 Jan 2007 17:24 #17 by Sean (Fr. Jack)

[leads to a build up in nitrates....and its this problem that has made most reefkeepers to move on to the liverock and live sand system. you have said that u created a denitratefying section of the filter....but u also said u havent tested for nitrates in 19 years.


regarding the way you only do a water change every 2 years (madness i tell ye!):

the quality of water decreases with age. it accumilates biological wastes and by-products, looses its buffering capacity and trace minerals. a 10pecent weekly change is so easy that there is no good reason for not doing it.

fran


Fran,
If I was losing fish, I would be the first to look in to why, and one would check all the parameters including NO3, the biotic index is use through out the world, in the deep mines they have canaries, in my tank the clowns still bread so why would I want to confirm that they are living in good water, when the fish are telling me that any way?
If you system is so good at keeping NO3 low, why do you have to do so many water changes, just image in a 10,000L reef tank in Chicago public aquarium which is over 2 hours flight to sea, how do they keep their NO3 low?

P.S Converting NH3 to NO2 and then to NO3 reduces the pH (cause by the bacteria)
When you de nitrate i.e convert NO3 to N2 (nitrogen gas) this type of bacteria does the opposite (i.e cancels out the pH drop)


NH3= Ammonia
NO2= Nitrite
NO3= Nitrate

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29 Jan 2007 03:07 #18 by lampeye (lampeye)

If I was losing fish, I would be the first to look in to why, and one would check all the parameters including NO3, in my tank the clowns still bread so why would I want to confirm that they are living in good water, when the fish are telling me that any way?


im sure if u have abuild up of high nitrates your fish get used to it, as for clownfish apparently tank bred ones are bombproof! convict cichlids would breed in your toilet (ok bad comparison).i think the nitrates could shock a new arrival. as you have demonstrated this works for fish only systems but what about reef aquariums with inverts?

If you system is so good at keeping NO3 low, why do you have to do so many water changes


Because regular water changes are the single most important way to reduce the inevitable process of captive life causing a loss of water quality in a closed system. it is also a good opportunity to siphon out crap from the holes of live rock, or use a small phead to clean it, and vacum dirt off the substrate.

just image in a 10,000L reef tank in Chicago public aquarium which is over 2 hours flight to sea, how do they keep their NO3 low?

im sure they have a range of processes...im also sure one of these is a regular water change with a synthetic saltwater mix. some aquairiums even do this when they are beside the ocean.

lampeye

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29 Jan 2007 03:39 #19 by Sean (Fr. Jack)
Hi Fran,
this is an email I have just sent to Dynasty Marine Associate the only commercial marine breeding centre in continental U.S, I one worked there once, and I would consider Forrest one of the best in the world, lets wait to his reply. In the meantime, the hippy system seems to be o.k if the tank is predominately invert.
Sean

copy of email


Hi Forest,

Long time no see, I just was looking at your web site, it looks very professional, sorry to hear about the death of one of your divers.

2 things an Australian owned Public aquarium is opening this Spring in Spain near where I live and will need to be stocked with every thing, you can say I told you about it, they know me as I did the satellite and TV system for the owners, I finally got out of fish and set up my own business. www.oceanpalma.com The name of the aquarium is Palma Aquarium www.palmaaquarium.com .

I am in a fish forum (as a hobby) and keep coming up against the rather hippy system of 3 inch of live sand substrate and live rock with a skimmer and a mechanical filter, they say its great for keeping NO3 low, as I was brought up with the trickle filter age, I find this hard to accept, what change has there been since the mid 90s and what do you think?
best regards

Sean Connolly

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29 Jan 2007 03:43 #20 by lampeye (lampeye)
cool...u might ask him what he thinks of doing a wc every two years aswell.

lampeye

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29 Jan 2007 11:12 #21 by Sean (Fr. Jack)
Sorry Fran,
I made a few calls to the top dogs in the U.S as well as this email,
no one is impress with reefcentral, live sand is good you can keep it to help keep the NO3 down, but hot rod the main bio filter with a trickle filter, and you will have the best of both worlds.
Regards
sean


Hi Sean,

Thanks for your message. Good to hear from you. Sorry you are out of fishes but I understand. It surely is not the way to financial freedom, done right it is a living and not a lot more and we have been lucky.

Now that you are another generation you'll find that there is always some new thing that makes the previous seem obsolete. This is my fifth or sixth evolution, I don't pay attention anymore.

I have not heard anything about the project in Spain. If you can put me in direct contact that would be better than coming in cold from the website. That't all form here. Stay well my frined.

Best Regards,

F.
Original Message
From: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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30 Jan 2007 01:58 #22 by Sean (Fr. Jack)
O.K, now I have the results, Fran, you writing skills are very good, and, I must admit you put some doubt in my mind, about the whole issue of trickle filters being nitrate factory, even if you now accept that trickle filter are the best way of removing ammonia and nitrite, hell in my office 20 minute after feeding you can actually smell a seat smell which is a by product of the over efficient ammonia removal. Perhaps on their own the are nitrate factory's, mine is design differently only the top part is exposed to the air, the bottom half is underwater, the the flow leaves the unit laterally, i.e it does not really pas through the submerge section, but leave side ways, looking at the submerge section through the glass of the camera, one can see methene bubbles.
I admit, even though I have be keeping marines since 1983, and breading them since the mid 80`s. I never was paranoid enough in the last 19 years to read the nitrate level, you have made me a bit paranoid, so I went out and bought on e yesterday evening, and tested on small clown fish tanks, which I have posted has not had a water change since 2 years, my wife as just reminded me that 2 days after I bought a new car, which will be 3 years this February I went to collect live rock and go my car stuck on the sand, and now recall bring the live rock under water almost ruining my car, so its not 2 years, its almost 3 years, I was expecting the nitrate to be with 20-50ppm, but was sup prise to see it had a zero reading, I also tested an african freshwater tank that Had's a 50 %water change last summer followed 2 years previous with a 50% water change, and it had a reading of 80ppm (its full of volcanic rock which has de nitrating capabilities deep inside as opposed to heavy normal rock), I am not happy with the african tank from a suspend solid point of view, but I am very happy of the marine tank, it does not have a skimmer, and the pH is 8.2pH; you got to bear in mind that the normal 80% of the oxygen use in a tank is just for the filter, and the other 20% is for the fish and inverts, in my system 100% is for the inhabitants, also the methane gas (farts) the nitrate filter produces goes STRAIGHT out as opposed to passing by the fish.
You have to look at he history of filter, first U/G the trickle, (better) the fluidized sand bed, (not as good as trickle) even though it came AFTER!, and now this live rock system. Not that you system is anything new Graham Lundagard in 1983 wrote an article about a sterile system which did not work, your system, which did work providing it was mainly inverts (in the trade the reef central system is not know as the hippy system, that my words!, but instead in lawn engine mower system.
Changing the subject Public aquarium to waste thousands of euros doing water changes with synthetic salt, if the are at the coast the shock treat the water with chlorine, a long time ago I use to sell adult brine shrimps to the shops in Dublin, and I use to use the shock treatment then neutralise the water with dechlorinator (sodium thiosulphate), the vats and valves are still in a location in Bray Co. wicklow if any one ones them for free, especially if thou live in Cork!!

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30 Jan 2007 03:15 #23 by lampeye (lampeye)
Thats great news!

thats really incredible about your nitrates... but what was the reading in your overstocked fish only system ?

either way you have obviously mastered the trickle.....but id be curious about the fish only highly stocked one.

i read that the Aquarium in Baltimore uses the synthetic salt water for its water changes. maybe ill send them an email!!!!!

either way i am glad you got a nitrate test kit :lol: and i still think its very lazy doing a water change every 2-3 years :lol: but you so something which i havent heard of, ie submerge half of the trickle for denitrification. so this has turned out to be a very interesting thread.

Test your fish only sysytem and post the results.....

all the best

fran

lampeye

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30 Jan 2007 06:17 #24 by Sean (Fr. Jack)
Fran, there is an old saying, a company is only as good as the worst employee. The saying is true for aquatics, you are only as good as the worst book, you beleive in, most of the books, are wrote by people that live outside the sub tropics, that only have experience in a fish shops or a modest size wholesalers, there is only a limit budget for their R&D, and most is copied from other books, and twicked, there is something new about modified trickle filters, its just not in the books your are reading, the email I sent to Forrest Young, has a twist, as Forrest worked under Maritn Moe, in the late 70´s, Martin Moes book "the beginner to bread er 1992 revised addition has the basic blocks of Forrest believes, and mine as I worked under Forrest to. I am glad I did not dive for him as last year they lost one of them at sea.

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01 Feb 2007 08:46 #25 by lampeye (lampeye)
... but what was the reading in your overstocked fish only system ?

Test your fish only sysytem and post the results.....

all the best

fran

lampeye

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01 Feb 2007 12:08 #26 by Sean (Fr. Jack)

... but what was the reading in your overstocked fish only system ?

Test your fish only sysytem and post the results.....

all the best

fran


I have just tested to day, this over stocked tank was set up in my old office, which is no just an warehouse now which I visit once a week (auto feeder)I have it filmed on video, I might bring it to next ITFS meeting, its a bit personnel as it has a member of my family, its dreadfully highly stock (approx 80% as bad a the crazy German discus discus photos Holger posted from a forum in German, the only interesting thing in my filming apart from filming my son at 2 metres away and sandwiched between the 2 metres is the tank, which at the very same time you see a pair of clown fish spawning!!), anyway I am embarrassed to say this tank has never had a water change, as its too big and too much hassle to do w/c (no inverts) it was design by me a long time ago when I made trickle filters above water, plus a camera below water level but ALL the water goes through this medium, as oppose to a small modern tank I have at home which also has a pair of breeding clowns, (I will bring this on film too), which as the sean 2001 filter system i.e dead area where not water pass through, except passive (like a live sand bottom), any way I am avoiding the answer, the No3 is as red as father chrismas coat!!!! about 130ppm, but you have to bear in mind this tank has never had a water change and is very higly overstocked without a skimmer, and has a old design of trickle. Luckly beside the chammer where the pump is, is not used so I could easily DROP IN a ice cream container with fine sand, and run an experiment to see if I can get it down to say 30ppm, without doing F all, whats the hurry to do a water change the pH is 8.2pH

I am a grave doggging 39 to day so dont expect more post till tomorrrow, its only once a year your birthday :)

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01 Feb 2007 12:35 #27 by lampeye (lampeye)
HAPPY BIRTHDAY SEAN!

(do a water change u lazy man!)

lampeye

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02 Feb 2007 01:54 #28 by Sean (Fr. Jack)
I bought anew Toyota Previa almost 3 years ago with the good wheels, not sure whats the technical name but you see the break pads, as they dont have hup caps I have never clean it, I have no flowers in my garden so I never have to replace them, basically I am lazy, I am in no way endorsing not doing water changes, if you have the time to do them do, them.

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