Fish are Dating in my Aquarium

I was looking at the Golden White Cloud Minnows, and some of them were looking lumpy. I was worried, so I looked up fish diseases, vaguely remembering fish can get something called dropsy where they swell up. But it isn’t, and they all look perfectly healthy, just lumpy around the stomach.

So they are just full of eggs. Way more than half of them. It’s hard to tell because they school so skillfully that I can’t get a count. Or even be sure of their gender – the egg-packed ones are females, but are the others males, or just immature females? Are there any males? Well, it would simplify things a bit if they were all females, but it seems a bit much to hope for.

I thought that I’d checked it out and the minnows were not all that easy to breed before I bought them. There was a lot about raising temperatures and then dropping them to imitate seasons. Soft water. Lots of details. It should have been really difficult to get it all started. I don’t want a population explosion.  But here we are, a whole little band of egg-packing minnows. Apparently when they finally get around to it, they will spawn on top of some plants. At that point, probably the snails or the other fish will nom on the eggs and hatchlings, I hope efficiently.

At least, so far I’m not seeing courting behavior among the non-swollen-with-eggs fish. The boys are supposed to start displaying to each other, and showing off. In fact, all I see is the lumpy females playing chase with each other. Who knows what’s going on. Maybe I have a lesbian minnow commune here. Who knows?

Probably they shouldn’t use particle board for SUPPORT BEAMS

I wouldn’t live in ANY of the new Berkeley construction, not for free, not if they paid me.–Not-For-Our-Kids-Not-in-Our-Backyard–Becky-O-Malley

How To Make Your Own Relentlessly Gay Yard Lights

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So here’s the math

So here’s the official word on the “overloading” of the balcony:

Questions have also been raised about whether the deck, which measures about 4.5 feet by 8.9 feet (4’-5¾” x 8’-10¾”), was overcrowded and that, perhaps, the weight of the young people on it contributed to its collapse.The deck was constructed to 1988 code standards, which required it to hold 60 pounds per square foot, according to Chakko. That meant the balcony should have been able to support at least 2,391 pounds, which is more than the 13 students standing on it would have weighed, assuming an average weight of 150 pounds (total of 1,950 pounds).

It has no bearing on the tragedy

“Segue Construction, the Library Gardens general contractor, was involved in two San Francisco Bay Area lawsuits in recent years involving allegations of dry rot and substandard balconies at condo and apartment projects in Millbrae and San Jose. Among other things, Segue was accused of improperly waterproofing balconies.

Both cases were settled in 2013 with Segue, developers and other parties agreeing to pay millions of dollars.

Segue spokesman Sam Singer said such litigation is common on large projects and “has no bearing on the tragedy” in Berkeley.”

Six dead kids, and life-threatening injuries in others

I heard the noise it made, last night, and the sirens. I’m balanced on that awful edge between horror and anger. The fuckers. the damned corrupt fuckers, they’ve managed to kill six kids. For stupid bloody profit, a quick buck. As you can see here, the folks that built this travesty took their money and ran long ago:–By-Richard-Brenneman

So now it’s corporate shell game time! Trace the money, Lay the blame! Find the culprit! The original developer here:

“DeClercq said a top-notch contractor built Library Gardens and used “the best steel guy in California.” DeClercq couldn’t immediately remember the name of the contractor (he was in shock) but said the company was located in Point Richmond and used union labor.”It was a reputable local general contractor. They hired the best steel and concrete subcontractors. It was a very strong team.””

I’m not really sure where those best steel and concrete workers did their thing, though, since the photos of the fallen balcony show rotted wooden beams that simply broke off. It shouldn’t have been built like that; it should have been better maintained, but, heck, our Planning and Permit department is funded solely by developer fees, and this thing made a lot of money for a lot of people. The guy who headed Planning when this went through retired, and he now contracts with developers to “help” them get their projects okayed by the city. The only rein on development here is citizen outrage, and the city is pretty good at ignoring that. Enforcement is a joke: there’s an unpermitted, uninspected, and totally illegal wooden rooftop deck atop a three-story house a block from here that zoning knows all about. It’s been there about four years now. I hope it doesn’t just slide off one of these days – and that builder is working on literally a half-dozen other projects – Planning loves his stuff. It’s the wild west.

The comment sections on the news articles – god help us – abound in blame for the silly students. Thirteen of them out on a balcony, obviously just asking for it. Welp, the thing was 5 X 10, according to the BBC, and it had French doors opening out onto it. Silly them thinking it was solid and meant to be used. Guess that’ll learn ’em! Because, god knows, an eight-year-old balcony in an EXPENSIVE building can’t be expected to hold anything more than a stored bike, I guess.

Some of the comments also assume the students were dancing or jumping – though I think most likely they were out there smoking. Yes, the building manager did say he thought perhaps the balcony had fallen because maybe the kids had been jumping or something. But that was just an idea he had. He wasn’t there; he saw and heard nothing; he knew nothing. I mean, he is a paid manager, and there was a party there loud enough that the police were called, but he hadn’t gone to deal with it. He had no special knowledge of what was happening before the thing fell. Because lousy management is a complete package – all complaints – noise, maintenance – are equally ignored. That guy was just talking through his hat, trying to imagine what could have made a piece of his building fall off. He might as well have said sunspots. But just tons and tons of comments blaming the kids. People just suck sometimes.

Our fearless leader mayor hasn’t made any comment yet, not even a simple condolence. I guess it is all difficult, given that he is totally committed to making Berkeley more like Manhattan – what a great idea! He’s announced a news conference for later today, but for now he’s been busy with other concerns:

Berkeley city officials have shut down access to public records regarding the construction of the apartment complex, which was completed in January, 2007. Normally, they would be viewable upon request but zoning office staff cited a pending police investigation and request by the Berkeley city manager that the records not be made immediately available.” [L.A. Times]

The guy’s gotta have priorities, you know. Quick, a broom! Lift the rug! We should be able to cover up all this crap if we get right on it. I mean, what the hell did they build this thing from anyway? A neighbor remembers seeing the OCB supplies sitting out in the (pre-drought) rain, and being concerned that they were going in already waterlogged. Now I’m wondering whether the whole thing will just collapse into a pile of sludge if we ever get regular rains again. I guess that’s why the developers sell these things as fast as they can – hot potato time – cash out before it falls apart! Dang, these things make the 1960 crackerbox buildings look solid by comparison. The thing is, they’ve been throwing up dozens of these crappy buildings all over town – hundreds and hundreds of units. And lots of the buildings have pretty little balconies and other decorative outcroppings.  I’m wondering how many deathtraps are out there right now.

And now there are fish in it!

It’s still a work in progress. I’m still fiddling around with the lights – there’s a fancy programable light coming Friday, so it will turn on and off on its own. And maybe more plants. But the bones of it are set, and probably this is it for fish.

full tank

So that’s the tank, with the golden minnows and the neons hanging out up in the clear top space. That’s pretty much what these guys do. Mostly they clump in schools by kind, but sometimes they all swim together in one big pack. And there are these guys:

2 gourami

That’s a pair of dwarf blue gouramis, two males. They are said to be gentle with other fish, but get aggressive and territorial with each other. I crossed my fingers, though, and got two. After all, the tank is pretty big, and all planted up, and it seems to be okay. At first they did a little fancy displaying at each other, and a couple of times one of them shoved the other. But since then they’ve taken to the opposite sides of the tank. They make the occasional quick foray into each other’s bit, and sometimes they meet each other in the middle, when there is food to be chased after. But all they do is swim about a bit, then settle into their respective corners. So here one is escorting the other back across the middle of the tank. Mostly they just sit in their own plants and swirl around.

And this is the best shot I can get of the corys. Silly things are always either zipping around really fast, or sleeping under the plants.


Here they are turning about, getting ready for another dash across the tank. They bop about in groups – I’ve seen as many as nine of the twelve of them in a pack. Or else they just sit on the bottom, making me me think maybe they’ve died. One or the other. This lot are babies, and rather adorable. They’ll be about twice as big when they’re grown.

So that’s the tank. Still being ignored by cats.


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