The Aquarium Wiki:General chat

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Stop Censorship

The SOPA bill making its way through the US congress is a big deal for us. It would essentially allow anyone to shutdown our site by claiming we are illegally using their images. While those pushing the bill through are mostly the movie and music industry, the powers created in this bill do pose a threat to the internet as a whole, and more specifically us. While our audience isn't huge we still see a few thousand a visitors day. On Jan 18th many websites are going to 'black out' for the day in protest, I may choose to participate. I know this will cause you withdraw Cat, sorry. Your site won't be included. --Brian 06:45, 13 January 2012 (CST)

How would they put that through when the internet is worldwide? Did the US forget they are not the whole world? Le sigh! --Cat 15:29, 14 January 2012 (CST)
I'm not sure you have been paying attention for the past 10 years? Anyway this is a push from various industry groups and is happening in many countries in europe as well.--Brian 06:25, 16 January 2012 (CST)

New Editor

There is a new editor Wikipedia is trying out. See: Looks excellent. I wonder how it will work with templates. --Brian 07:24, 14 December 2011 (CST)

It seems to need a lot of work still. I don't see any text cursor when I'm typing with FF 8.0 and the right-hand side icons are a mystery to me. Call me old-fashioned. But I'd like a Save page icon too. ;) --Quatermass 03:02, 15 December 2011 (CST)
+1 for a distinct Save button. I see a cursor with FF8... odd. Anyway they will be working on it for a while. But I would certainly like it for those quick typo fixes. --Brian 07:05, 15 December 2011 (CST)


I'm running pywikipedia bot looking for broken web-links. The bot will report the links as broken if they remain broken for at least as week. Don't forget to perodically disable the hide bots on the recent changes

Right now I will run the bot nightly and I'll eventually enable some other bot checks.

--Brian 20:56, 1 May 2011 (CDT)


Alright I've increased the anal retentativeness off the abuse filter. The following edits will be blocked, but the user won't be banned

  • Repeating characters 'Ahhhhhhhhhhh'
  • A summary that many of the bots use, which is a single word without spaces.
  • Blanking the page.

If your in the auto-confirmed status (registered, we can set this to a number of edits or age if we need to) you are exempt from the rules. --Brian 07:12, 25 April 2011 (CDT)

Sweeeet, thanks! Hopefully that will stem the tide a little! --Cat 08:00, 25 April 2011 (CDT)
Beh, back, we may need to disallow unregistered from removing more then 100 characters or something. --Brian 20:49, 1 May 2011 (CDT)

Server move of 2011

Alright if you are seeing this you are on the new server! I am going to make a series of test edits (this being the first) to ensure everything has moved. Hopefully

I ran into a few problems, and its 1:30 so VC and is still on the old box... I will try to get it tomorrow since I have the bugs ironed out now. Let me know how the speed is, and if you find any bugs. --Brian 00:41, 24 April 2011 (CDT)

Um the first edit failed, just making sure it works well the second time. --Brian 00:42, 24 April 2011 (CDT)
I didn't enable analytics for the new server until just a few minutes ago so I could track how many people are using the new server. Since only 16 people visited the old site yesterday I am going to assume the new IP is resolving world-wide now. --Brian 07:19, 25 April 2011 (CDT)
Nice work on the tech end! Huw Powell 01:04, 26 April 2011 (CDT)
Thanks. I'm not going to transfer the so some images may be broken, if you notice them we can still get the images from Eventually I'll take it down as well. Oh BTW VC should be moved over.--Brian 21:00, 26 April 2011 (CDT)
Sweeet! I'll keep an eye out for broken piccies. --Cat 06:50, 27 April 2011 (CDT) seems to not be working at the moment, I was going to move over some more pictures. --Cat 07:05, 28 April 2011 (CDT)
Fixed --Brian 20:48, 1 May 2011 (CDT)

Initiation, name, and forum demise issue

I am starting this. We need a place to talk about the site, policies, and issues besides our user talk pages. For instance, I note the forum link is now dead (I barely joined!). Needs fix. Please feel free to rename this page with a more humorous name! Huw Powell 00:24, 18 February 2011 (EST)

I'm looking at moving the site to a new location and we had been talking over e-mail to get some speed tests in new datacetners. Since Q and Cat are from across the pond (from my POV), international speed is a large deciding factor in where we get moved. We discussed shutting them down on here and I just got around to it today. Our fourms were never really active, and it sours our relationships with other communities because their administrators see us as competition. I would rather see us get a single fourm on another (or multiple) site as it would increase visibility. If you've got friends in high places any any other fishy forums let us know :) --Brian 08:08, 18 February 2011 (EST)
Eh, this is the only place I really started interacting as I started back into this, googling random stuff. I friends with excellent wiki-fu (writing extensions and such), though this place seems to be well-stocked with such skills. Although RW's up-and-down voting toy might be nice for reviews, etc. Feedback on speed - here in NH USA, this site has always loaded very quickly for me. Huw Powell 23:04, 18 February 2011 (EST)
Whats RW's? --Brian 07:48, 21 February 2011 (EST)
Sorry, Huw Powell 23:21, 23 February 2011 (EST)

Interesting project

As some of you might remember, I am getting back into this as of 12/31/10 with a 75g tank. In my neighborhood, we have frequent power outages, some for quite some time. While I have a generator to back things up in emergencies, it is manually operated, meaning that if the power goes out while I am asleep (or away), the tank power goes down. My brother runs an e-waste operation, and as such has steady access to UPS systems with dead batteries.

So I had him ship me one. The plan is to hook it up to a much bigger battery (about 55 aH) so it could run all night if necessary.

Also, inspired by Marineland's fish store tank banks "feed" button - it turns off the filter(s) for about five minutes - I have looked into using a 555 timer IC to turn "off" a NC relay and will be getting parts to build shortly.

The cool thing is how these two projects will work together - removing the little 1.8 aH battery from the UPS leaves big space. The 555 IC and relay, etc. will be happy running on 12 volts. So I will build the final version into the empty space in the UPS, and power it from the battery/12v rail. The UPS I have does about 250w, so it can run my filters and a smaller, backup heater. I plan to replace the "master" pair of outlets on the back with a GFCI, and let the filter timeout relay control the "slave" pair.

Lights are not essential short-term, especially while I sleep, so they will not be on the system. Thoughts? Huw Powell 22:37, 30 March 2011 (EDT)

I have thought about a similar project, my MS is in EE (but I'm not an electronics guy) so I'm thinking about stuff like this all the time. I however just use a souped up UPS to run the pump during a power outage. Like you said, lights are supplemental, I only run the main return pump from the sump, the protein skimmer and supplemental water flow devices get turned off.
Since the 55ah battery won't be in the UPS you are right that you will have a very nice place put your DIY gizmos. Take lots of pictures and make a log for the rest of us to see. I love DIY projects. --Brian 09:01, 31 March 2011 (EDT)
Most UPS devices are designed to only keep a mains supply going for ~20mins max. and then switch off. So best to check this!
Far better I think is to use a car/leisure battery and an inverter to give you mains out. This way a typical car battery of say 55AH will give you 660W of power for 1 hour or 7 hours of ~100W with no time limit if you connect it to your car.
Radio Shack and Maplin sell complete devices for this purpose.
I get a couple of power cuts a year. They typically last 2-5 hours.
Large tanks take hours to drop in temperature in the average home. But each house is unique and needs to be tested.
My setup is a portable 200W battery inverter and as my filters only consume 50W, this has covered me.
--Quatermass 13:18, 31 March 2011 (EDT)
Indeed, hence my replacing the (dead) 1.7 aH battery in the UPS with a 55 aH (traffic light backup!) unit. It can get cold here - very cold, so I will want at least a supplemental heater on the UPS. In the news... today the power went out for 4.5 hours, while I slept, but the tank did not suffer. But it is still loaded very lightly (40 small fish in 75g). I will indeed take pictures and upload schematics and part numbers etc. when I get this thing rolling! Huw Powell 23:00, 1 April 2011 (EDT)
In my private chats with Dr. Tim Hovanec he told me the old wifes tale of the bacteria in your filter dying off in a couple of hours is incorrect. They go into a suspended state and some start consuming nitrate instead of oxygen. Sure a small portion goes off. But the majority survive when the filter turns back on after 4+ hours. :) --Quatermass 15:09, 2 April 2011 (EDT)
Indeed, especially in fresh water, it takes a while for a catastrophic die-off to occur. However, there are two other issues - heat (it can get very cold in these parts), and especially when the tank is loaded more heavily, circulation for oxygenation. I'd rather be safe than sorry on these issues, and starting with a "free" (dead battery) UPS makes it fairly affordable.
I was also curious where the best place to put articles on such DIY hardware would be. Mainspace with appropriate title? I expect to be working on both these projects in about a week or so when my Digikey order is in, and whenever my battery turns up. Thanks! Huw Powell 19:55, 3 April 2011 (EDT)
PS, Do you have a way for your inverter to activate automatically? Or does it require a manual changeover? Huw Powell 19:55, 3 April 2011 (EDT)
That was pretty easy.
The battery/inverter is on constant trickle charge. Ready for use.
I used a Mains powered relay that is connected to the real Mains 24/7. The relay is a 2 pole double throw affair in a plastic box with a mains socket on top. So the real Mains is feed through to a Mains socket I wired via the relay contacts.
When the Mains fails, the relay contacts drop and the Mains socket gets its power from the output of the inverter.
There is a momentary lose of power. But with a couple of surge protector components across the lines to protect against back EMF. It's been fine so far.
(Alternatively, power your essential pumps on inverter power constantly with the Mains charging the battery and powering the inverter. Then use a DC 12V relay energised 24/7 by the 12V to switch the inverter from 12V to battery feed when the Mains goes. Most UPS devices work this way. But it has obvious longterm disadvantages).
The only thing we have to watch is the current surge as filter motors start up. But if we over rate the inverter there shouldn't be a problem.
Also some cheap inverters give out a non-perfect Mains sinewave. This may cause some AC motors in pumps re-starting or running issues. My filters pumps all sound fine when on my inverter. But any odd sounds should be acted upon. --Quatermass 03:11, 4 April 2011 (EDT)
Most or all inverters and UPSs have very high levels of harmonic distortion. Can you write an article on your setup? I will be adding a couple-three DIY ones soon... would prefer to follow your lead as to style and naming. Huw Powell 03:20, 7 April 2011 (EDT)
By the way, I also have a generator, so in protracted outages, or ones when I am awake, are taken care of manually. Huw Powell 03:25, 7 April 2011 (EDT)
Would titles such as this be appropriate: DIY water change diffuser, DIY power backup system, DIY timed filter shutdown? Sadly, I hate all the phrasing I just used, but can't think of nuthin' better. The first one has been built and works and I am ready to write it. The other two await delivery from Digikey and Interstate Batteries for finalization. Huw Powell 20:51, 10 April 2011 (EDT)
Sounds as good as any other name to me, put em in a Articles -> DIY category. --Brian 12:07, 11 April 2011 (EDT)
Thanks, I will, soon. Obviously the people who run this place are free to move them if my titles suck. Huw Powell 03:47, 12 April 2011 (EDT)

And, doh, Q, I misread the part about your relay five times. Got it now. Your system is "hands free". Huw Powell 02:06, 20 April 2011 (EDT)

Thanks for writing yours up, Q! DIY_Emergency Power Backup - having two routes to contemplate is so much better. I guess I should put some battery sizing and such math on mine too. Useful for USAians... Huw Powell 20:50, 9 May 2011 (CDT)

CO2 and beer

Has anyone here heard of dual-hobbyists using beer production to deliver CO2 to planted tanks? The idea sounds like a win-win to me, but are there drawbacks? Huw Powell 02:07, 20 April 2011 (EDT)

I can't really speak to how effect it is, but I essentially did that for my planted tank back in the day. I wouldn't drink the swill it produced tho. Yeast + Sugar = Alcohol after-all. The main issue I see is that it is not a constant delivery amount. But you will have so much fun consuming the end product you may not care. --Brian 06:54, 25 April 2011 (CDT)
Well, that's the thing... CO2 can be done two ways - a tank from the welding supply place, or making it yourself with sugar and yeast. It occurred to me that the beer (or wine or cider...) making process releases CO2 just as well and the swill making process, so why not get something "useful" as a by-product? Oh, and the problem isn't so much a lack of "constant delivery" amount, as the difficulty in turning it "off" at night, which is trivial with a tank-based supply. But yeah, one wonders how much CO2 the beer produces, and I guess a solenoid valve or two could route the gas to a catch bottle at night or simply the atmosphere... Huw Powell 22:32, 26 April 2011 (CDT)

Two issues

One, the pictures I uploaded have a weird subst that doesn't seem to work right for the copyright.

Two, can I get you folks to put a link to this page on the main page, perhaps?

Best regards, Huw Powell 21:44, 11 May 2011 (CDT)

Ah, that's because Brian hasn't made the routine for that particular subst. Sure I can do that link. --Quatermass 03:09, 12 May 2011 (CDT)

The license selector is a copy from, I'm not sure why the subst: name isn't working, it should be built into MediaWiki. --Brian 09:07, 12 May 2011 (CDT)


Alright I've gone ahead and enabled the forms, on top of every fish page there should be a "Edit with form" tab. It will take a while to convert every page... but I have faith in Cat :) I'm running a bot right now to convert all the 1's to Yes so they work. --Brian 21:02, 7 August 2011 (CDT)

Multi-selector properties

So the semantic forms comes with the a nice arraymap function, so some properties allow multiple values. This only works in the Plant Data template for things like placement. Separate them by with a comma and they will both be there. Anything else we should let allow multiple values? --Brian 21:02, 7 August 2011 (CDT)

Diet? --Quatermass 17:23, 8 August 2011 (CDT)

I thought about using it for the Flake/Pellet/Other etc, but the conversion from Yes/No would be a pain. Or did you mean Piscavore/Carnivore/Herbivore/Omnivore, except piscavore they are exclusive. --Brian 19:21, 8 August 2011 (CDT)

New Users

Is it just me or is anyone else uneasy about all these new accounts being created. But not one of them is actually creating or altering content? Not even a single letter alteration or creating their own user page?

How do we know they aren't just Bots?  :) --Quatermass 14:58, 17 November 2011 (CST)

I am 100% certain they are. If you look at the logs for the abuse filter ( most of them are hitting the link spamming filter and the edits are getting blocked. --Brian 15:03, 17 November 2011 (CST)

Ah.. I'd forgotten about the Abuse Filter Log. Wow, it's taking a hammering isn't it? Makes rather interesting reading. I guess it's the price of being popular! Nice one Brian. :) --Quatermass 15:49, 17 November 2011 (CST)

Yep, if we can't stop them from signing up (I really hate uber difficult captchas), at least make it so we don't have to revert masses of edits. --Brian 07:59, 21 November 2011 (CST)
If they are trying very often to upload links and the site is busy defending itself in the background, this could be very hard on CPU cycles... I've just been doing a little editing and such and have been getting a "this site has a problem" message as often as not - could be related? Huw Powell 18:03, 17 December 2011 (CST)

The custom species header thing

I don't know what it's called, but the trick that turns Vallisneria gigantea into "Giant Vals (Vallisneria gigantea)" for example should be made to italicise the scientific name, shouldn't it? Oh, and hi folks, it's been a while since I dropped by! Huw Powell 18:03, 17 December 2011 (CST)

Correct. Changes will propagate shortly. --Brian 10:47, 19 December 2011 (CST)

Database errors

Don't know if its just me, but I've had a few database errors on the site over the last few days. --Cat 04:16, 21 December 2011 (CST)

I was receiving "500 Internal Server error" for several minutes about 30 minutes ago Brian Low 17:46, 6 January 2012 (CST)

The site is slow. At the moment roughly 8 seconds to view a page I've been to before. 20 seconds to view a Random Page. Brian Low 17:46, 6 January 2012 (CST)

Just received "(Can't contact the database server: User thefishw_wiki already has more than 'max_user_connections' active connections (localhost))" Brian Low 14:25, 7 January 2012 (CST)

Same error again. Searching the wiki is take between 2 - 15 seconds. The main page is taking 1 - 5 seconds to load. Brian Low 21:43, 8 January 2012 (CST)

Sorry about all the problems guys. I tried utilizing CloudFlare to manage our static content and reduce the server load but it just isn't helping much IMHO. The site is just to big for shared hosting (as you can see we are hitting out DB connection limit. I am probably going to have to move us out to a VPS (Managed this time). I'll contact the hosts to get stuff started asap --Brian 17:28, 9 January 2012 (CST)
If you see this your on the new server! Welcome back! --Brian 07:50, 12 January 2012 (CST)
No need to apologize for providing a free service to the community. Looks better. Common pages are taking about a full second and random pages are taking 2 - 4 seconds. Brian Low 23:25, 12 January 2012 (CST)
Have you considered a MediaWiki hosting service that is dedicated and specialized to ensuring the wiki is available, patched, secure, performant, backed up, etc...? Brian Low 23:29, 12 January 2012 (CST)
Keeping it updated isn't really difficult. I typically only update when they have added cool new features. The new editor looks promising for quick touch-ups, spelling, etc. I your referring to places like Wikia, they approached us and asked us to move but we weren't really interested. We (I) do toy with internals for fun and do enjoy keeping the box. Not to mention I share the hosting with my own personal stuff, and I have run a lot of sites off-and-on. I think I will try a varnish cache again when I have time, but we need to let the new box settle in first. --Brian 06:51, 16 January 2012 (CST)
Good to hear. The new visual editor does look good. Brian Low 01:16, 24 January 2012 (CST)

How do we request pages deletions?

I'd like to remove ( I tried the wikipedia delete template. Thanks. Brian Low 14:27, 7 January 2012 (CST)

Hi Brian, wikipedia templates won't work here as we run a different wiki database. If you want something deleted leave a message for me or Quatermass/PsiPro and we'll do the deed, happy editing! --Cat 15:11, 7 January 2012 (CST)
Thanks! Brian Low 01:09, 8 January 2012 (CST)