Well, all sorts of stuff has been going on. A group of us from Lander went to the Enactus National Competition. It was fun! Our presentation started out a bit rough and I screwed up my first line of, "Lander University is located in Greenwood, South Carolina," by saying, "Greenwood, South Carolina is located in..." I stopped there and restarted. It was a rough day. At least the rest of the team wasn't too hard me for it. It was fun though! We got to visit the career fair and see all sorts of different companies job opportunities. They weren't ready for me though. I wasn't expecting them to be ready either. They're looking for rising Seniors and Graduating students. I'm a rising Junior. Next year, they'll be interested and so will I. It will also help that I'll have a couple graphics and business classes under me by then too. I'm looking forward to that. Anyway, we didn't win anything, but it was still a great learning experience.

In other news, when I returned I found that my reef tank's filtration system wasn't running correctly. When it overflows three days in a row with increasing severity, the system needs to be redone. So, the tank has been drained and now I need to clean it, drill it and plumb it. That will take a week. So I'm starting the process. Thankfully Mrs. Judy has been nice enough to loan me a tank to house my livestock until I get this fixed. One of the many reasons fish keepers need to be very good friends with their local fish stores. I adore Mrs. Judy regardless though, she always gets me some awesome fish that I don't have to worry about healthwise.

The other thing I came back to, and noticed this morning, was Cinnabon, my Cinnamon Clownfish being covered in little white, fluffy specs. I panicked as that is what took out my 10 gallon tank and gobies. What is this fluffy killer? Marine Velvet. So, I pulled my corals out, added my mini UV sterilizer to the tank, freshwater dipped Cinnabon, ordered a copper test kit and started treating the tank. The UV will kill any free swimming protozoas before they attack my fish. The freshwater dip will remove most of the attached monsters and let me throw them out. Copper poisons the protozoas. It's not a recommended treatment as it also poisons your fish. It just kills the protozoas at a certain level without killing your fish, just shortening their lifespan. Not something I would dare use with older fish as they may drop over dead, but with my youngsters and terror of this thing, I'm in. Which bring about why I ordered the copper test kit. Just an fyi to any fish keepers out there: NEVER ADD ANYTHING TO YOUR TANK YOU CAN'T TEST FOR! Okay, not really just an fyi, but it's a very important rule that everyone with fish should follow. Most don't, but those of us who are experienced with fish, know that it's best to not play around with chemicals and aquaria.

By the way, I have been hired by Petsmart! :D Yes, I'm super excited! I LOVE my job! I literally have the greatest job in the world. I mean, I get to play with and care for animals all day! Just as amazingly, I get to help new pet parents find solutions to their problems. It's a lot of fun explaining things I don't think too much about doing anymore and it's really helping me realizing that not everyone in the world knows 95% of what I think they do. So yeah, I'm figuring out exactly how much I get to teach people. For instance, never skimp on the essential equipment for your tank: heater, filter, and tank. People will want to buy the cheapest things we have in stock and I'll explain to them where they're more than welcome to save some money and where it's in their best interests not to. Filters for instance, cut to size filter pads are great so long as you follow good stocking practice. Those cheap filters on the other hand, may last you a year, whereas for $10 more, you can get a good quality filter than can last you upwards of 5 years. I'm still using a couple that I've had 10 years.

So yes, I love my job. I'm learning alot about animals I haven't dealt with either. Did you know that Chinese Water Dragons are really sweet? They'll run off really easy, but they're really relaxed critters. Oh and Sand Boas, stay pretty small and are very unlikely to bite you. Bearded Dragons are extremely curious about people. They're perfectly happy to hang out with you, but they should have access to a heat lamp at all times. We also have some hamsters that throw parties every night and gerbils will fight with each other, it's a fact.

Then there are the birds, I'm not a big parakeet fan. They're interesting and we have a couple that are pretty relaxed and on mornings I open I mess with them to see about getting them hand tame, but they bite hard! They have really sharp beaks and don't want to make one of them angry.

On the other hand, finches are awesome. They're so curious about people! They want you to talk to them and they'll 'meep' back to you, they'll try to sing along with music and are just really cool. They just don't like being handled and need a flight cage and specialized diets to stay healthy. I'm in love with the zebras though. They come in all kinds of colors and unlike other birds, don't need bird gravel as they don't eat the seed hulls. We had a really pretty chestnut flanked white in the store. He sold before I left for Nationals, but I can't say I'm surprised!

Those who know me can clearly see where this is going. I bought a finch. His name is Kinta and he escaped. So if you see a male, grey zebra finch pictured above, please let me know or contact the humane society, I've alerted them as well. This was after I had ordered Kinta a friend who came in this morning. So now I have 'Meep', or so I'm currently calling him. He's pictured below. He's a baby. I'd guess no more than 3 months old. His beak isn't dark red yet, he hasn't learned to sing, and his coloring is still darker and duller than the adults. So yes, 'Meep' is adjusting well so far, the cats are banned from my room at the moment as I don't want them messing with the baby. He move around well though and he is eating! That is super important. No, I have not told my parents yet. They may suspect as much as I have been defending finches when they talk about how messy birds are. Finches really aren't that messy. Well, 'Meep' is messier than Kinta, but I think that's mostly due to his young age. Cats are more interested in him than Kinta as 'Meep' is much more active. He's finally starting to doze off now. He's been jumping around since I released him from his box at 11 a.m. So yes, I'm quite happy to see him settling down a bit.

Like my perches? I made them. Apparently crape myrtles are safe for birds, so I pruned the trees, washed them thoroughly, baked them in the oven, removed the bark, washed and baked them again, then put them in my cage. It's a little small for two finches, so I want to build something bigger, but that is a later project. Right now, I have tanks to fix.

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