Category Archives: Fish and Aquaria

Fish aren’t vegetables, are they?


This is my own work, Photo by Gila Brand. Bask...

Many changes have been made to taxonomy since I was a schoolboy and had a basic grasp of what went in what kingdom, phylum, class, order, family and genus, but when I last checked, fish STILL weren’t vegetables.

I don’t want to get unduly Aristotelian, Linnean, Cladistic or othewise dogmatic about it, but I think it stands to reason that vegetables include many things, but rather not fish.

I understand that you can debate about whether a tomato is fruit or a vegetable.  Or that a mushroom is a fungus rather than a vegetable, and also that nori is made of algae and green drinks from spirogyra so even these things are not really “vegetables” either, so one has to be a bit flexible with the definition of what is a vegetable when following a vegetarian diet. Basically, though, if something can move around at will, an individual going from place to place, it’s highly likely that it isn’t a vegetable. There are some corals which don’t get out much, and are still animals, but there aren’t really any vegetables which go walkies – not outside the novels of John Wyndham like the Triffids, anyhow.

So why, then, am I continually being offered things like tuna and herrings when I say that I am a vegetarian in Poland? Do people here genuinely believe that fish are vegetables? Do they think that tuna and herrings photosynthesise and put down roots or something? What’s up with these phoney fish vegetables people give offering me here?

Old Usenetposts Gallery #4 Pineapple Pleco


Gallery Page 4 – Pineapple Pleco

English: Pseudorinelepis genibarbis (Valencien...

Image via Wikipedia

(As you can see from the insert, this photo was also given by me to Wikipedia and remains there to this day.)
Here’s one of my two pineapple plecos – Pseudorinelepis sp. I don’t find it easy to take fish photos, as invariably either a piece of algae gets in the way or they swim off or turn round and look at me, or I get a reflection, but this for me is a relatively good shot. The fish is a true delight, very elegant swimmers, relatively peaceful, needing to supplement their diet with bogwood The piece you see in the photograph has been diminished in size by their occasional nibblings. (The rock to the left is jasper, by the way, a very good aquarium rock). They have gradually learned to compete for surface food by swimming upside-down and grazing the surface, which looks very odd, and I have never seen this behaviour in a large plecostomid before.

Pseudorinelepis sp., called the Pineapple pleco, is one of the loricarids known to science under an ‘L’ number – in this case L152 – as there are too many to sort out

They are called ‘pineapple plecos’ for the pineapple skin appearance of their armour. These armoured fishes, of which there are so many, are the ideal creature to be found in the fossil record, and yet very few have been found, one of many facts consistent with a major catastrophic flood, but not millions of years of evolution.

Stay with the tour for more natural history photos, and numerous other topics….

Quanta Squalia – What Big Sharks!


Playout date: 21st March 2011 (Made August 2010)
Camera: Creative Vado
Post Production: CyberLink Power Director 8
Location: Sealife Centre, Great Yarmouth
Other people featured: Sophie
Genre: Zoo and Aquarium showcasing
Music used: Quanta Qualia by Hayley Westenra

Hayley Westenra Paradiso

Hayley

Languages used: Russian, Ukrainian
Animals featured: Nurse sharks, zebra shark, reef sharks, green sea turtle, Monodactylus fishes

A film showing the beauty and intelligence of aquarium sharks. The nurse sharks and zebra shark showcased here are a beautiful thing to observe at close range. These are not dangerous attackers in the main for human swimmers, as you will see that the size and form of the mouth is not similar to that of the notorious great whites, etc. Even these smaller fishes like the monos, and also the sea turtle sharing the aquarium are relatively safe from being attacked by the big sharks. The smaller sharks, the reef sharks, are ironically more risky than the big ones, but they are not really large enough to damage a turtle.

The zebra shark (Stegosoma fasciatum) has a long tail which it uses to thrash through schools of larger fishes to stun or kill by impact and then it can turn and eat what it has hit. The monos here are even too small to be impacted by that, and they fly under the zebra shark’s radar – as long as it is kept well-fed!

Enjoy the pure tones of Hayley Westenra, and my atrocious pun in the title that you need to know Italian to be able to get.

Diary of a New Decade #3 – 10th January 2011 – Mummers and Pappers


Mummers in Exeter, Devon, UK, 1994.

Mummers in Exeter, Devon, UK, 1994. Image via Wikipedia

Well it’s been a week since I did a post in this particular series, the DND series. Not much has transpired in that time. I went to Tczew and came back again, and there was a holiday on Thursday 6th January for Epiphany. That may be the best thing to talk about. The other thing probably worth talking about is the controversy around the large scale die offs of blackbirds and drumfish and turtledoves, which I looked into a bit at the weekend.

Language-wise I did some Czech and some Japanese, and I finished the Michel Thomas Advanced Japanese course, which I can recommend well enough as a course, but I have to say that calling it advanced is nothing short of laughable. There are a heap of structures that still need to be learned. The neutral forms of the verb and the bases were not even touched upon and the past tense and negative pasts of -i adjectives were not used. Moreover, the difference between na adjectives and -i adjectives before a noun were not looked at at all. I can only hope that there will be a so-called vocabulary course – the way the new Michel Thomas language series describes the third lot of rather dear CDs.

I read some rather negative reviews of the Advanced Japanese course on the UK Amazon – more pleasant ones on the US Amazon including one by a friend of mine whom it was a pleasure to bump into by chance reading Amazon reviews. My own view is that I can see where some of the negative comments were coming from but they are exaggerated. It is very good material, and a lot is packed into the hours you can physically get onto 4 audio CDs, if that has to be the constraint. Only don’t go calling it Advanced Japanese, especially bearing in mind not one single kanji and not one single kana has been explained and not even the issues surrounding syllabification and also the series and how shi, chi, tsu and fu appear instead of what you might expect in the sounds tables.

These are really basic things needed if you want to get at real Japanese. The person finishing the Michel Thomas course will discover they will have to go right back to the start again if ever they want to be anything more than functionally illiterate in Japanese. I’ve started now the Michel Thomas Greek course and that is really making strides at a faster pace. Again, nothing really about the alphabet, so a person relying on that won’t be able to read anything, but maybe in Greek that is easier to overcome.

I also have major misgivings about a few things in the Michel Thomas method. I do think that it has advantages over a lot of other methods, even Pimsleur, as far as being an audio-only course goes. But I do feel as if it is building so much in a short time that it rely pushes the short term memory. I wonder whether the students who did those course on the recordings actually retained it all for more than two weeks afterwards. I should say not more than 30% of it. But you can get round that as a learner by doing the course and then coming back to it again after letting the knowledge lie fallow for more than 2 weeks, and reactivating it all again. Rinse and repeat a few more times.

I was going to talk about Epiphany or Twelfth Night as a holiday. I noticed that people were regarding it as a Church holiday even though the Bible does not say which day this ‘showing’ of Jesus Christ was, whether it was the eighth day (which was traditional for the circumcision) or the twelfth day, who can say? But what we can say is that in pre-Christian Europe there were two twelve day long festivals, one around the winter solstice and the other around the Summer solstice. In the older calendar the final or twelfth night in the winter one of these fell on New Years and was a general party and carousal, with people dressing up.  This was simply carried over into the Church by an act of syncretism.

Generally speaking Roman Catholicism is happy to soak up and “christianise” just about anything the Pagans threw at them. It was so with turning men into saints, it was so with the goddess worship with Mary being placed into the role of Gaia/Isis/Diana, it was the same with the placing of the date of Christmas (at least there was more guidance over the celebration of His death and resurrection because the Jews still celebrate Peshach, but why did they give this time the entirely Pagan name of Easter?) So this is just another example of the way Polish Roman Catholics are ready to place religious holidays at every single one of the Pagan dates that have been syncretised into the so-called church calendar (including the non-biblical Assumption of Mary on 15th August – the date which coincides with many Pagan devil-worshipping dates worldwide such as O-Bon, the time when the Japanese believe that for 33 years (notice the significance?) after a person’s death, they come and spend three days (August 13th to August 16th) with their old families. This strange reversal of some of the beliefs about Jesus Christ’s life and death almost appears to be diabolical mockery. Doesn’t stop Roman Catholics from revelling in it, though, and choosing it as their time of year to go on Hajj to their various mariolatric meccas, trudging sometimes hundreds of miles in the searing heat to please God doing something He never once commands in scripture, whilst many of the explicit commands are overlooked, like not having graven images, like calling no man father, like not forbidding to marry, and many more.

And how the Devil, who manipulates people to do these things, laughs.

There’s nothing intrinsically Christian about 6th January. There is something intrinsically pagan about twelfth night, and there is some astrological thing that goes on that I don’t even want to remember or understand, but which you can look up if you like. The carry over of the baccanalia from that time into the mumming of the Christian era is clear even from the traditional costumes worn by the mummers, which follow those used in the pre-Christian era.

Anyway, we’ve all been forced by the Catholic Church to participate in this pagan holiday.

I used quite a bit of it having a walk with my son, and I also gave him a walk on Saturday and a really big one on Sunday, when we took a taxi to the old town and walked back. Those three times in total gave us about 14 km over those three days worth of walking, and I do feel that it’s done me some good. The good thing about my son is that he walks about the same pace and just enjoys the walk, he doesn’t run off. And then he is well behaved after as he has been able to use his energy up, although generally speaking he is not as tired as me.

As there is not that much conversation going on I can also listen a bit to the Michel Thomas courses during the walk. All in all a good way to spend time, but it was cold on Thursday and only gradually got a bit warmer over the weekend. At about 5-6 degrees Celsius most of the snow started to melt, but there are large puddles everywhere and of course the contributions to society made by the communion of dog-owners comes much to the fore, all melting in the water and mixing in with the sand that is laid down so that you can tell sometimes where the sand starts and the canine detritus finishes.

I was also going to talk about these big die-offs reported in the Internet and a bit in mainstream media. But perhaps it can wait for a later post. I will come to that, though.

Aquarium in Hotel Irbis Moscow


 
  
 
 

Video number in my collection 74
Production date:    3 September 2006
Playout date:    7 September 2006
Camera:    Fuji Finepix
Post Production:    Windows Movie Maker – slight use
Location:    Hotel Irbis, near VDNKh, Moscow
Other people featured: None
Genre: Fish
Soundtrack info:    Oy, tvetyot kalina (The snowball tree in blossom) V. Golovtsova
Languages used:    Russian 
Animals featured:    Leporinus, Notopterus, Labeo, Scatophagus, Monodactylus, Ancistrus, Puntius
Date added here: 16 October 2010
Number of days this video was up at time of posting: 1 500
Number of views at time of posting: 2 560
Number of views per day: 1,7
Number of comments at time of posting (don’t forget to click through to read the comments!): 11
Comments per thousand views: 4,3
Likes at time of posting: 4
Dislikes at time of posting: 2
Likes to dislikes ratio: 2,0
Votes per thousand views: 2,3
Ratio of comments to votes: 183%

 

 The hotel I stayed in last weekend had this fishtank in the lobby. It had many technical things wrong with it, being overstocked, underfiltered, underlit, and with many issues in the mix of fish, but quite a pleasant film came out of it, with the vocal efforts of V. Gotovtseva singing “Oh snowball tree in blossom” as a makeshift soundtrack, mixed with the sounds from the lobby bar.
 
 The Irbis Hotel in Moscow is quite well placed, and was quite cheap. I used it just for the one night after getting back from the Russian Far East. I was getting pressured to fly straight on, back to back to Warsaw to go to the baptism of my old boss’s new child, but I would have been ridiculously tired after the trip back from the far east and I wanted to go into Moscow and debrief the colleagues on the audit anyway, so this hotel was just the place.
 
 “This tank is doomed” comments quite rightly one commentator you can click through to see. It is a text book example of people buying fishes and not understanding what they are doing. Some of these fishes will become seriously large, and they will be the only ones left.
 

Convicts in Love


  
 

Video number in my collection 69
Production date:    24 July 2006
Playout date:    24 July 2006
Camera:    Fuji Finepix
Post Production:    Windows Movie Maker – slight use
Location:    Home, George’s Room
Genre: Fishkeeping
Soundtrack info:    “Here, there and everywhere” by Paul McCartney – karaoke version.
Languages used:    Russian
Animals featured:    Convict cichlids, Archocentrus nigrofasciatus
Date added here: 26 September 2010
Number of days this video was up at time of posting: 1 525
Number of views at time of posting: 4 990
Number of views per day: 3,3
Number of comments at time of posting (don’t forget to click through to read the comments!): 22
Comments per thousand views: 4,4
Likes at time of posting: 6
Dislikes at time of posting: 2
Likes to dislikes ratio: 3,0
Votes per thousand views: 1,6
Ratio of comments to votes: 275%

 

I can’t watch this and other films of fishes who have since passed on – which in the main they do eventually, without a mixed set of feelings. On the one hand I’m sad that they are no longer here, but on the other the video means that in a sense they live forever.
 
 This was a rogue couple of convicts in the end. Despite the usual claims of good brood care, this pair got to a small clutch of fry about 5 times and on each occasion shortly afterwards ate the lot.
 
 In the first case, I had bought the convict thinking it was a female as my female sajica had died and I couldn’t find a female sajica, but the male sajica will mate with a female nigrofasciatus as they are both Archocentrus. However, despite what the fish-shop owner said (sometimes the bigger expert they seem the more they are making it up as they go along) the convict turned out to be male. He ended up being punished badly by the sajica, so I put him half-dead into another tank with goldfish in. He recovered and killed most of the goldfish before we were even aware of it. So I had to put him back with the sajica. This time, after having had the practice, he killed the sajica. After that I needed to find him a female, which took a long time to do. Here you see the introduction. The pair lived together for a year happily, but George started to get into the tank. It was summer, so we put their tank outside. They were happy in the sunshine too, but one day got too hot for them – which I never expected to happen. They are, after all, from Costa Rica. A sad end, but at least I’ll know to do things differently next time.

On the Power of Love and the Weakness of Money


A karaoke box in a skyscraper in Shinjuku, Tok...

Karaoke Building, Shinjuku

Production date: 6 July 2006
Playout date: 6/7/2006
Camera: Logitech webcam
Post Production: None
Location: Jazdow Office
Soundtrack notes: “The Power of Love”, karaoke version mp3.

This is the video where, inspired by the Russian Proverb “Don’t have 100 roubles, but have 100 friends”, in order to get one hundred subscribers (which seemed a tall order at the time, but there are 32 times that number now!) Viktor dropped a hundred rouble note in the fish tank and the fish ate it. He then goes on to sing the Power of Love, but gets interrupted as ever by a phone call.

Unfortunately the voice was too loud for the microphone settings.

Now I like to think Huliganov.TV is a place people can come to get all the “insider secrets” on my films, and so here’s a couple for this film.

1. It was not 100 Russian roubles (worth about 4 dollars) it was 100 Belarusian roubles (worth a few cents) I put in the tank,

2. The fish didn’t actually consume the note, I fished it out again afterwards. This was just to prevent the printers inks from contaminating the water.

Moscow Zoo Aquarium



This was my first ever of what I’ll call my “gallery” videos. Basically that’s a slideshow, like the old “gallery” in Vision On with Tony Hart. Here the music is Moscow Nights. Here on HTV there should also be a categorising of background music used in these films. I’ll be trying to include that here too.

All these photos were taken by me in the Moscow Zoo aquarium with the stills function of my mini DV cam. I haven’t been able to transfer the video footage as yet from that, but I’ll no doubt get to it one day…

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