Showing posts from August 31, 2014


I use all AquaClear (AC) filters, as after a period of initial noisiness the impeller and well become sufficiently coated with biofilm* to run silently and well without reductions in performance, as long as care is taken with them and worn parts are replaced on the rare occasion the need arises. The design is simple, making them easier to repair thanks to fewer moving parts. Extra pipes are easily added so the filter pulls water from the deepest parts of the tank where nitrates can otherwise settle. They are, however, not self-starting, requiring a cup or two of tank water to be poured into the body before plugging them in. I've tried several other filter brands and keep those on hand as spares - with seasoned media stored where it will retain its population of beneficial bacteria - but always end up coming back to the ACs as my filters of choice. I run multiple filters per tank, an AC20 and AC30 on the twenty-gallon long (20G-L), and two AC30s and an AC50 on the fifty-five-gallo

September - from the 'Year at Robie Creek' series

Originally published in the: The time of late-season harvest is upon us, has been for the last couple weeks. Summer started winding down in mid-August and it’s time to get things trimmed and ready for next year. Time to remove summer growth from plants that aren’t where we want to see them and spread seeds where we want them to be. Roots have spent their energy, and plants are old enough to distinguish one from another, even the little ones that popped up late for a run at another season. Removing all the foliage requires the plant to regrow it and leaves any roots weaker when winter arrives, while trimming only upper and outer foliage and seedheads from what we want to have thrive allows it to continue to produce fuel as it sets second and third crops as well as building heartier roots for next year before they go dormant. Carrying the clippings around in my basket or box as I go spreads the seeds without exhausting them. Some will shake off and many will remain on the plan