Hobbies and Interests

Alastair Agutter Founder Tropical Fish Keeping in our Hobbies and Interests section of the web site

Tropical Fish Keeping and the Cost of Living Crisis 'Energy'

Alastair R Agutter (Publisher and Founder) 18th December 2022

Hi Folks, Like many of you in Blighty and elsewhere I am not too happy with the "Cost of Living", namely energy costs..... And I know this will be having a major impact on some of our fellow Aquarists and Tropical Fish Hobbyists. And I say to those Folk, who are struggling, how very sorry I am. For none of this should be happening, and why is it? Well, it's as a result of one nasty little man in Russia, Vladimir Putin. Who wants to cling onto power through fear and

conquest. Resulting in the War between Russia and Ukraine. And Putin weaponizing Oil and Gas, that powers still many energy plants to generate electricity that we desperately need for Tropical Fish in colder regional climates of the World. Now I know today, many of our bright young minds will tell Folk, oh not to look back into the past, just look forward. But just sometimes, history can be a wise old friend and companion. Why, you may rightly ask? Well, being an old hand, taking up Tropical Fish Keeping back in 1967, a few years later in the early 1970's, with the Conservative Heath Government, we went through the Miners Strikes and Power Cuts. This was a very harrowing, and a critical time when keeping, and looking after Tropical Fish. And again in 1987, with the 'Big Storm', that hit the British Isles, we were without power for three weeks, due to power lines being down. And so I know it may not seem to be any comfort these comments, but I promise you by reading on, and learning from history, I can provide you with some solutions, as it is now reported in the News today, there could well be power cuts coming. I hope not, but we need to be ready and prepared.

Alastair Agutter picture of one of his community aquariums

Power Cuts Coming, Being Ready and Prepared

Without getting too political, I have always maintained that in a time of State crisis and War, we must always have secure under state ownership state assets, these being; Energy, Water, transport etc. Like many in the early 1980's I stood up for our Folk, writing articles and protesting when Margaret Thatcher and her cronies privatized State Assets. It was a tough time for many of us, having phones bugged, threatened by bent coppers, the list goes on! I knew then, as I know now, I was always on the right side of history, for the events in Europe today with Putin's Russia and Ukraine at War, and energy taken as hostage, these very tragic events that affect us all, only further endorses our peaceful actions and endeavours back then, fighting to keep our State Assets. Sadly today, we are paying the price of

willful negligence by a sitting Conservative Government, and not for the first time as pointed out. Now, even on another matter of concern that is now very relevant and critical is; specie preservation. Back in the 1980's when writing my first book, I warned of deforestation in South America, and the consequence of pollution, and the impact to Folk when great flooding to regions took place as a result. But also just as importantly, today in these days and times of madness, chaos, and gross irresponsible behaviour by political leaders, we have to also consider the grave protection of Marine Life Species in some of our aquariums, for they could well be the last of the species in existence.

Alastair Agutter picture of one of his community aquariums and showing some South American Tetras

In South America, and the Great River Amazon Region, believe it or not, there are over 11,500 tropical fish species in danger and under threat from deforestation, and climate change. It is so bad today, many species we have come to love and know are already extinct in the Wild. And the only reason why we enjoy certain tropical fish species today originating from South America in our aquariums, is thanks to wholesaler breeders in America, Europe, and Asia.

The adjoining picture, shows some of my Red Nose Tetras, Cardinal Tetras, and Neon Tetras in one of my Naturally Planted Aquariums. And also showing in the picture, one of my invented Poly-atomic biological filtration systems, using an inverted flower pot as part of the filtration operation, for crystal clear oxygenated water.

Fortunately, these Tetras were successfully bred in Holland in Europe. The Dutch are one of the leading Nation's of the World when it comes to breeding Tropical Fish, but even so, nothing is written in stone today, and as a small

Nation, using low lying reclaimed land, flooding in these uncertain times is almost guaranteed. And so every location, every tropical fish home with an aquarium, and every tropical fish specie itself from South America, regardless of where a specie is located today, is of cause for concern and needs protecting. To say I am sad and angry, regarding events today, is an understatement. 50 years ago I was warning of reckless political leadership, deforestation, and climate change.

Thermos Flasks available on Amazon in the event of a power cut and the need to keep Tropical Fish Aquariums warm

Retaining a Water Temperature in a Power Cut

In the storm of 1987 in England, when we were without power for three weeks, fortunately I had the foresight to go down and hire a generator, to power electric in our home, and to our Fish House. But not everyone will have that opportunity or the luxury of getting a generator, and normally within 24 hours of such an event, like a power outage, and power cut. All hiring shops tend to normally be out of generators completely. And so this leads me onto the action I had to take, back in the 1970's, with the Heath Government power cuts.

And so when power was on, or you had a gas appliance, I use to boil hot water and put the liquid into Thermos Flasks. And so when the temperature started to drop in my aquarium from the power cuts, I would siphon some of the water out of my aquarium, and then replace this water taken, with hot water from my Thermos Flask. This enabled me to keep a reasonable warm temperature in my aquarium(s) over the duration of the power cuts, and sometimes these

were very for long periods, and went on for several hours each time, and over a duration of many weeks. I took a look on Amazon when writing this article for you all, and I found out that you can get Thermos Flasks that could store around a gallon of water, 3 to 5 Litres approx. And so, subject to ones budget, buying several of these flasks and keeping them topped up with hot water, will hopefully help you get through the emergency. Now, if you have more than one aquarium, but all your species are mainly communal, it is worth considering moving all your fish to one, or two aquariums. These are only suggestions remember, to help get you through the crisis and out of a jam. I hope this article and feature gets Folk creatively thinking of ways to get by. It maybe the case, even in the middle of Winter that you will have to get the barbecue out, to heat up water , if all appliances are electric in the home, and affected by the power cuts. Remember to top up the aquariums carefully, to avoid damaging, or burning your tropical fish from the hot water. Maybe put a little food on the other side of the aquarium, as you carry out this process safely.

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Gardening Image in our Hobbies and Interests Section by Alastair Agutter

Up the Garden What's Planned for All of Us Next Year in 2023

In the final years of my Grandfathers Gardening exploits of the 1960's and 1970's, he and fellow Gardeners would share their ideas and seeds for the coming year, deciding on what plants and crops to grow. But sadly today, with the advent of Climate Change, it seems no longer can we plan, as our Weather in Blighty seems to change on a daily basis, even on an hourly basis in some instances from beautiful raging Sun, to sudden downpours of torrential rain. In the past two seasons in Spring I have seen fruit tree blossom destroyed from extreme frosts and winter weather. I even

lost my colony of Bees from the bad Weather, shortly after pollinating the blossom of the fruit trees. But as always we have to try and stay positive, yet I know how difficult this can be, especially when you see all your hard work dashed and ruined, from the harsh ravages of Mother Nature. It is without question, as we witness more extreme weather events around the world, and something many of us warned about for decades. Until our leaders collectively get a grip and come together, to tackle Climate Change now and head on, I think any plans we have will be in vain for decades to come! Read More in Gardening >>

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