Oversized plastic syringe - very useful for aquaria
Amongst the parapheralia that I collect and use for my aquaria hobby is an oversized plastic syringe (also called turkey baster). I got it at the recent K-Mart closing down sale at 70% discount together with some fish food items like freeze-dried blood worms, shrimp pellets and flakes. I do not think that you can find such plastic syringes at the fish shops. You should be able to find them in the household products section of supermarkets or at your neighbourhood shop which sells plastic pails, basins, etc. The cost should be under $3. The plastic syringe has a translucent hollow plastic tube tapering to a blunt point. At the other end is a rubber pump which you can squeeze in order to suck up liquids, etc. My use of the plastic syringe includes:- 1. To surgically remove uneaten food and other wastes from the fish fry's tank without removing too much water. This includes floating wastes such as brine shrimp egg shells which the fish fry will not touch. Using this syringe intead of a siphon allows more control, and less water being pumped out during frequent partial water changes in the fry's basin or tank. Fish fry requires clean water to thrive. 2. To surgically remove fish fry from the community tank. My second batch of molly fry was born in the community tank, and I had to use a combination of net, siphon and plastic syringe to remove all of them, including a few elsuive ones that I caught late at night or early dawn when they were sleeping near the surface of the tank. 3. To suck up baby brine shrimps (nauplii) for feeding to fish fry. Please see my upcoming post on my method of hatching brine shrimps. 4. To mix salt water for the brine shrimp culture. Just pumping the syringe to mix the rock salt crystals in the solution enables faster mixing of the salt solution, instead of using air tube or air stone to furiously aerate the water. 5. To mix the yeast culture for feeding the brine shrimp culture. The yeast solution should be mixed to a milky solution before a few drops are put into the brine shrimp culture. The yeast will settle between use. 6. To use it to start a air tube siphon going, instead of using the mouth to suck. The end of the air tubing can just fit into the plastic syringe. I use air tubing with a hard plastic wand (obtainable from fish shop at less than $1 per metre) attached at one end to remove wastes from the fry's tank so that my hand does not need to be inside the tank to guide the tube towards the fish waste. In this way, I can do frequent partial 5 - 10% water changes for the fish fry's tank, taking care not to suck up the fry and getting more wastes out of the tank. 7. To direct shrimp pellets to where I want to place them, whether it is for bottom feeders like my mini-lobster, or into a sunken brandy glass for feeding my molly fishes, so that I can see whether they are eaten completely and to prevent the crumbs from polluting the substrate. 8. To suck up a ration of daphnia for feeding to the fishes. Or mosquito larvae (heaven forbids) in case they are found in your flower pot bases. The adult fishes will enjoy eating the larvae. 9. To mix flake food with water in a small container before feeding the fry with it. I find that floating fish flakes often get stuck on the floating plants, and I use the syringe to direct the flake solution to the bottom of the fry tank (no substrate) and away from the box filter. The above are the multiple uses that I have for my oversized plastic syringe. I am glad to share the information with all of you, as I believe that certain things can be done efficiently and cheaply in our aquaria hobby.