BB Gun Dreams and Christmas Aquariums

Ralphie checking out his brand new Red Ryder BB gun on Christmas morningBack in the sixth grade, I had my sights set on a BB gun for Christmas. No, it didn’t necessarily have to be the Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action, Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle so famously coveted by Ralphie in A Christmas Story. Make and model were of no consequence. Besides, that popular holiday film hadn’t even gone into production yet. I just needed something to keep up with my good friend, Dan Rogers, who was already duly armed with a pump-action Daisy. Dan and I spent many of our waking hours (and more than a few of what were supposed to be sleeping hours) exploring the vast (it seemed back then) ravine behind his house, and there were definitely things lurking in the forbidden recesses of that ravine that needed shooting—like old beer cans and…older beer cans. So any time we weren’t building campfires, fighting each other with makeshift quarterstaffs on fallen logs, or detonating firecrackers, we could be found picking cans off any level horizontal surface with BBs

More Holiday Gift Ideas for the Reefkeeper in Your Life

Let’s face it, if we marine aquarists had our way, every gift we received during the holiday season would be hobby-related. Trouble is, ours is such a specialized pastime that few, if any, of our loved ones really understand it or have any idea what sort of item would be appropriate to buy—that is, of course, unless we sneakily supplant those visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads with some good gift ideas.Last year at this time, we posted a list of items that most marine aquarium hobbyists would be happy to discover under the tree come Christmas morning, including sea salt, aquarium tools, a refractometer, fish food, water parameter test kits, and reference books. This year we’d like to expand upon this list with a few more great ideas. Now, to help your non-hobbyist family members and friends “discover” this list, you might need to print it out and hang it on your refrigerator, tape it to your computer, tuck it into the pages of Look Magazine, or simply leave it lying out in the open somewhere that the targeted gift giver is likely to happen upon it. So, here in no particular order is this year’s list. Note that if you want to surprise the reekfeeper on your list with any of these items, you may need to do a bit of sleuthing or ask a few seemingly innocent questions ahead of time to determine exactly what to buy. #1 RO/DI replacement components If your hobbyist loved one uses an RO/DI system to purify tap water, he or she will most assuredly appreciate receiving some extra carbon blocks, sediment filters, a deionization cartridge, or an RO membrane (if you can find out whether the membrane currently in use is nearing the end of its serviceable life). You may even be able to purchase all the replacement components for the system in a single cost-effective kit.