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Showing posts from January, 2019

Plecos - An Overview

Keeping Plecos in the Aquarium

Plecos are tropical fish.  They will also grow to about a foot long.  Some individual fish have grow to about 2 feet.  This should be kept in mind before purchasing the fish.
Plecos require a large tank about 55 gallons.  They are pretty hardy fish.  It is easy to care for them.
A pH of 6.5 to 7.5 is ideal.  The temperature can be between 23 and 30 degree Celsius.

Provide plenty of hiding places such as rock overhangs, driftwood and plants for the pleco to rest during the day time. 

Plecos are nocturnal fish and they are most active at night.

Plecos are highly territorial.  They require at least 75 gallons per individual.  While they get along well with fish of other species, they become aggressive and hostile with members of their own species.  Hence, it is not advisable to have plecos together.

Having More than one Pleco
Besides, plecos have a high bioload. 

They are voracious eaters and produce copious amounts of waste.  The water in the tank can get dirty wit…

Guppies - An overview


Common Name: Guppy

Scientific Name: Poecilia reticulata

Native Range: Northern South America from western Venezuela to Guyana

Size: Males: 2.5 cms; Females up to 6 cms

Food: Guppies eat a wide range of food. From home made grain based food to flaked foods. They can also eat Daphnia, bloodworms and Brine Shrimp

Life Expectance: 2 to 3 years

Temperament: Peaceful

pH: 6.8 to 7.8

Temperature : Guppies are tropical fish. The recommended temperature range is 22 to 26 degrees Celsius.

Reproduction: Viviparous (Live bearers)

Sexing: Male guppies are brightly colored with markings all over the body. Females are have dull colored bodies with colored tails.

How do we distinguish between male and female guppies ?

Male Guppies are bright in color and have markings all over their bodies. Female guppies have markings only on the tail. The body is dull colored, often semi-transparent. Females tend to be larger than the males.

In addition, male guppies have a gonapodium, a modification of the anal…

Selecting Fish and Plants for the Aquarium

The centerpiece of your aquarium are your fish.  Hence, it is important to select the type and the number of fishes carefully.

Select Fish which are sturdy and adaptable.

As a beginner who is yet to get a hang of maintaining an aquarium, it is prudent to go for species which can withstand adverse conditions.  Selecting species which are sensitive to temperature and water quality can result in death.  Species such as guppies, platys and mollies are good to start with.

Select Cheap Ones

Budgeting is important in maintaining an aquarium.  You need money to buy aquarium equipment like filters, aerators, etc.  Hence, as a beginner you can opt for fish which are inexpensive.  As a beginner it is better to spend more money on aquarium equipment which will contribute to the long term health of your aquarium.

Choose species which are not aggressive

Fishes which are aggressive can attack other fishes, get into fights and injure other fish and themselves.  You will end up with injured fish or even dea…

Aquarium - Benefits and Maintenance

An Aquarium can be a very beautiful and engaging addition to your home. The principle reason why people want to have an aquarium in their home is for aesthetics. Aquarium add to the beauty of the home.

The graceful movement of fish relaxes the mind. It lowers stress levels and is proven to improve health and wellness in peoples.

Patients who have been made to view aquariums have been known to recover faster.

An aquarium also teaches us about harmony. Within the closed environment of the aquarium are complex biological and chemical processes. We understand how everything in nature is related. A slice of a natural water body such as a pond or a river is brought into our homes.

Interacting with fish helps people build empathy and compassion towards animals and people. The fact that a totally helpless animal is entirely dependent on you brings a sense of responsibility and helps people develop a caring nature.

Checking water parameters of your Aquarium

Water quality is extremely important.  Fis…

Stamp Exhibitions and Philately Clubs

Stamp Exhibitions

Stamp exhibitions, also known as philatelic exhibitions are held in regional, national and international level to show the world some of the best stamp collections made by philatelists from all over the world. They also serve the purpose of creating awareness about stamp collections and also help stamp dealers and post offices sell stamps and related antiquities and other philatelic items.

What happens in a stamp exhibition?

A philatelic exhibition facilitates the study of stamps, their history and various facts surrounding them. Stamp auctioning and display of various rare stamps give an unforgettable experience to any avid stamp collector.

Stamp collectors compete for medals and are judged upon by qualified judges with a profound knowledge of philately.

Stamp exhibitions mostly happen as regular events conducted by well-known philatelic societies.

Types of exhibition

Exhibitions may be of international, national or regional scope and have a target audience correspondingly…

Stamp Collection - Preservation - Antique value of stamps

Stamp collection is a fulfilling hobby taken up by people world over. But acquiring stamps is not the only requisition of stamp collection. After collecting the stamps, care should be taken to preserve them. A slight careless attitude can prove troublesome. Below are a few pointers that will ensure that your hard work do not go waste.

There are easy peel hinges available in the market to stick the stamps on album pages. There is a fixative on the back of these hinges which make it easier to remove the stamps when you need to study them or maintain them.

Stamp mounts which are made of clear plastic sleeves should be used to store the brand new stamps or precious stamps. These mounts help to conserve the adhesive on the back of the stamp that is there originally when the stamp is made. While using such mounts, stamps can be slid into the transparent sleeves of the mount and placed in the album.

Once you have mounted the stamps, you should place them in a stamp album. The stamp albums are u…

How to arrange the Stamps in Your Collection. Tools to be used.

Stamp collection is not just about finding new stamps for your collection. A stamp collection is more about organization and management. Philately deals with finding ways on the basis of which different stamps stand different and unique.

There are a lot of ways by which one can arrange the stamps. Let’s figure out the most popular ones!

This is the easiest way to arrange the stamps. This also makes the cataloging process easy along with simplified future references.

Release date
Arranging stamps on the basis of the year in which they were issued is another simple way to arrange the stamps and make a catalog for them.

Theme based
Another widespread method of arranging the stamps in a collection is to arrange them according to the theme on the stamps.

For example, stamps with world renowned people on them, stamps with world famous monuments, stamps with animals, stamps with birds etc.

You can also arrange the stamp in your collection based on the value that is printed on…

Philately - the Hobby of collecting stamps

Getting Your First Stamps

Stamp collection is considered to be one of the most famous hobbies around the world. Choosing the very first stamp for your collection is special and hence requires some basic knowledge about this hobby, type of stamps and tools required. So, let’s get started.

Used or mint?

Many collectors decide and collect used stamps, meaning, they pull out or clip out stamps from envelops and add them to their collection or album. While there are others who go for unused or mint stamps which can be bought locally from post offices or from auctions. But that doesn’t limit the option of collecting both. Of course one can collect both kinds of stamps and make a beautiful album.

For used stamps, first clip them from envelop. Next, soak them in warm water to remove them from the paper. Give a quick soak in clean water. After rinsing, air dry your stamps and flatten them by putting under a heavy book, and the stamps are ready to become a part of your collection.

Local or Global?


Charts, Apps and Magazines for Amateur Astronomy

Getting your Sky Chart for Astronomy

A sky chart is a map of the night sky over a period of time. Most sky maps are dated over months. Astronomical magazines and websites publish maps of the night sky every month. Sky charts are different for different places on the earth.

There are charts on the Northern Hemisphere, the Southern Hemisphere and the Equatorial Regions. Sky charts also list down the different objects which can be seen with the naked eye, with binoculars and with telescopes.

Skycharts today are available for free download at many internet sites.

Following are some of the sites which publish free monthly sky charts.

Mobile Apps for Astronomy

With the advent of the smartphone, astronomy has become easier than ever. Special software which can be downloaded to your phone identifies your location through GPS and generates the nights…

Telescopes - An Overview

Getting your first telescope

Once you are able to identify the most common objects in the night sky with your naked eye and with binoculars, it is time to get you first telescope. This is an important step in your road to becoming an amateur astronomer.

The telescope will help you look further into the night sky. Telescopes can magnify distant objects which cannot be seen with the naked eye or even with a binocular.
When you are getting your first telescope, it is better to invest more and get a good quality one. There are many professional telescopes. A telescope with a big aperture will have greater clarity and will cost more. It will also be more difficult to handle as it would be heavy.

All beginner telescopes today have in built computer tracking systems. The user will have to enter the name of the object and the telescopes automatically aligns itself to it. This helps the beginner traverse the night sky easily.

It is also necessary to get a good tripod with the telescope to get stead…