Welcome to PB DESIGNS! On this Webpage, you'll find detailed information and opinions about the USDA's National Organic Program and help in designing your garden, landscape or home interior. We are located in NJ, Pennsylvania. "To be the agent whose touch changes nature from a wild force to a work of art is inspiration of the highest order." -Bob Rodale, 1962
Choosing Your First Fish Aquarium?
Aquarium fish are fantastic pets and it’s a real joy to have them in your home aquarium. It’s important to select the right aquarium, setting it up properly and preserving it to be sure you supply the fishes a clean and healthy environment to live in. There are many variations of aquariums you can pick from but freshwater aquariums are the most common choice these days.
Here are a few aspects to remember when selecting your first aquarium:
In terms of size or gallons, a basic 15-40 gallon tank should fit well. However, smaller tanks, below 50 gallons, need more maintenance and care. Water quality improvements can take place more quickly and they can get messy much faster, which requires more cleaning and water changes more often. One more factor to look at is gallonitus. Gallonitus is a term of a tank size disorder that most aquarium keepers get when they always find they want something even bigger!
Also, you can pretty much calculate the size of your tank with the quantity of fish you’re planning to get. It’s roughly 1 inch of fish per gallon size of the tank. For instance, in a 10-gallon tank you could have five 2″ fish, or ten little 1″ fish.
Don’t forget electric outlets! They need to be close enough that you can plug in aquarium accessories such as a pump, without using an annoying extension cable. The added cords are not only a stumbling hazard but a tangle of equipment cords is a critical electrical hazard. Also try to set your aquarium close to kitchen sink, or any water supply to make necessary water changes and other aquarium servicing easier.
One essential (but often neglected) accessory is an aquarium stand. You can pick a stand that will fit the style and spot of your home, just make sure it is durable and tough enough to hold your fish tank as steady as possible.
You will also need an aquarium tank canopy. Yes, these come in different materials, from plastic, the least expensive, to glass, to wood, the most costly. They can vary in respect to quality, so pick out the one that you can purchase and will give you the best cover for your water.
Fish? It may seem unreasonable to pick your aquarium fish before getting a tank, but doing this will enable you to figure out the proper tank size. If you prepare to fill your tank with small community fish like tetras and guppies you should not need anything bigger than a 20 or 30 gallon tank. Larger fish, yet, like cichlids and many saltwater fish demand even 50 gallons of tank size. When finding out the suitable size for your tank, examine the full-grown size of your fish – not the size at that you plan to buy them. If you are just beginning, remain to the rule of getting one inch of fish per one gallon of tank volume. As stated above, this principle will help to avoid overcrowding in your tank
Using Compost and Mulch
What is Mulch?
Mulch is any type of content that is distributed or laid over the surface of the soil as a coating. It is widely used to keep moisture in the soil, reduce weeds, hold the soil cool and make the garden bed look more appealing. Organic mulches also support bettering the soil’s fertility, as they decompose.
Compost and composted manure can be used at any place, given that they are fairly well composted and free of weed. You can put them in good use as a layer of mulch or just side dress plants with them during the spring and summer, to insulate and give an increase of slowly freed nutrients.
Compost tea indicates a liquid matter produced by the compost. Usually, compost creates the tea in a natural way, but you can also create your own compost tea by soaking a shovel full of compost in a 3-6 gallon container for a couple of days. When it is finished, just dump it on the flowers or plants you want to have it on. If you would like to keep the compost separated from the liquid, place the compost into a bag when you soak it into the water.
Shredded Leaves are nature’s treasured mulch. They can be used as mulch nearly anywhere you can think of and have the extra advantage of being totally free. As soon as you have your shredded leaves, you can put them in your garden as mulch right away. However, do not put too much mulch straight on the crowns of herbaceous perennial flowers. This is not needed, and it can cause roots to go rotten. If you’re not using uncomposted shredded leaves as mulch in your backyard, you must add some slow release nitrogen manure/compost in the spring, since the progression of leaf decomposition may reduce the soil from nitrogen.