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Wah! I lost a post. I’d written this, I know I had, and when I brought it up, there was only:

Wednesday. Aquatic Dreams day.

That’ll teach me to try and work ahead. Of course, had I remembered to post some time in the last several days, I’d have discovered this sooner. My only excuse is, I’ve been working on covers…and been seriously into them. Staying up way late and getting on them as soon as I wake up. I’ll have some more slide shows soon, though none as cool as the Groundties and UpLink ones, because these are more and more from scratch and the layers aren’t near as developmentally cool.

Anyway…Wednesday. Aquatic Dreams.

We bundled up the “dead” bulbs ( hoping Kevin would have a way to test them) and headed for Spokane Valley. Have I mentioned AD was five minutes from our last apartment? That would make it half an hour from our place! Glug. Think about all these trips we’ve made!

I was right. There was still life left in the bulbs. Which meant…dead ballast. We bought said ballast, and Kevin explained how it went into the fixture…and here we have another lesson in life. Both Carolyn and I had the same reaction: But isn’t the ballast that heavy thing that resides under the tank? But did either of us say anything? Nooooo, of course not. Now, usually I’m about as quick to question instructions as anybody you’ll meet. But not this time.

The bulbs, however, were decidedly dim, which meant our main metal-halide bulb was probably dying as well, so we head home with new bulbs, new ballast…and new fish. A one-spot rabbit fish, guaranteed to do in that nasty caulerpa weed.This would be our fifth attempt to find something that would eat this stuff. We stood there in the store, staring at him like idiots, waiting until we saw him eating it. Which he did. Rather like a kid eating spaghetti a strand at a time, but it disappeared down his little gullet, so he came home with us. (You’ve no idea the hours we’ve spent hand weeding this stuff!)

Home. Rabbit fish in tank…and The Yellow Terror (the yellow tang) hates him. Chase, chase, chase. But every time I corral TYT, Mr. Rabbit immediately headed after the caulerpa…So guess who’s getting taken back to the store? But catching him involved taking down the water in the main tank and pulling all the specimens (fish are exceedingly good at hiding from nets) so Mr. Rabbit would just have to make do until the morning.

Meanwhile…the lights.

Down on the floor, screw driver, compressed air bottle and paper towels and cleaner in hand, I begin to take apart the light, taking the opportunity to clean every piece as it come out. This unit has an inflow fan on one end and an outflow fan on the other. This means dust collects inside, and especially on the fans. I get it all taken apart…pull the final silver reflector shield…and guess what? No ballast.

Now, I’d be kicking myself in the head for not checking that Heavy Unit Under the Tank first, but I was already dizzy from kicking myself for not questioning Kevin in the first place. I mean, the lad sells tons of lights. How was he to know which one we had?

Ah, well. Into the HUUtT…there it was. (Though I make getting into the Unit sound easy. It’d been bolted together using some serious power tools, and getting an angle on the interior bolts was its own exercise in gymnastics.) Anyway I looked the brand up on the internet and discovered I could indeed order one. However…we had to go back to AD dreams tomorrow anyway, and hopefully Kevin would have one of these as well.

Meantime, I put the whole thing back together, sans actinic ballast, and give the fishies at least their new metal-halide bulb for a few hours. (These things run really hot and bright and you have to use them gingerly at first until they “break in”) It was a new brand of bulb and while it smelled a little odd, the color was great.

As I say…m-h bulbs have to break in. But you should remember that smell…

Ja ne!

Ja ne!

5 comments to NaM…day…seven?

  • Pence

    The kettledrums slowly thump DOOMMMMMMMMM……………………….

  • Sandor

    But remember: when drums stop, very very bad!

  • Sandor


    I’m having ballast issues with my workshop light as well – luckily I know where the ballast is in that one and it is actually cheaper and easier to replace the whole unit. Would that it were the case for tank lights – even with as many aquariums out there, serious tank lights seem to be a seriously specialty area. No volume discounts there 🙁

    Good luck

    – S

    • Jane

      Fortunately, it was a very easy and relatively cheap fix. The right ballast was about 1/2 the cost of the wrong one! And if I’d had the sense gawd gave a newt, I’d have trusted my instincts and checked those HUUtT first. Aw, well…this way the fans stopped making racket!

      Fate, I tell you. Fate.

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