Quick Tips!

Getting Around NYC Better With Bus Time

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The MTA has made many recent improvements and one of the best in my opinion are the Alerts and Timers in Train stations.  Not all stations have them yet, but I am always glad to see the clocks in stations that have them.  It lets me know how much longer I need to wait and my anxiety level goes down.  Just knowing this fact makes my commute easier.  If you are taking a bus route in NYC, you now have Bus Time to help keep you posted to when your next bus will come.

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I've only started using the mobile Bus Time site for a few months, and these few months have been much more convenient than prior to having this.  I can now see how many buses are on their way and how many stops away they are.  Even if I have to wait another 20 minutes, just knowing the fact that one is on the way helps.  You can even run to the nearest grocery store and grab a drink or snack while waiting without worrying about the bus leaving without you.

To use Bus Time, just type http://bustime.mta.info/ into your smartphone and you're all set.  Choose the Route you are taking and you get a map of all the stops along with where the bus is.  If you are one of the few who don't have a smartphone or don't have a data plan, you can even send a text to 511123 and you'll end up with a quick list of your bus and how far away they are.

You can get detailed instructions for texting Bus Time here.  I've tried it and it works well.  Not as much detail as the full site, but enough information to get you through the wait.  If you're not from NYC, and are here for a visit, get to know this system if you plan on using mass transit.  It will make your travels easier.

Have you used Bus Time?  Do you find it has improved your commute to an extent?  Leave your thoughts in the comments.

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Is A Filter Necessary For A Small Goldfish?

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Lately, I've had an obsession with learning to take care of our goldfish.  I've learned so much in the last year both from reading, watching videos and taking care of our pet fish.  Looking back to when I first started, I've come a long way.  I'll start posting all the resources I've used in the near future.  The photo is a shot of three of our fish swimming by as they play and hunt for food.  Two fancy and a common.

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The short answer to the title of this post is YES, you should have a filter for a goldfish tank.  I got away with not having one in the beginning because the fish were very small and I had a big enough tank to keep them in.  Never keep Goldfish in a one gallon fishbowl, unless you want to see them die.  If you change the water often enough and you only have a small fish or two, then you don't necessary need a filter in the beginning.

When we first purchased our two fantail goldfish from Petland, we had a 20 Gallon tank filled with water from the day before, that was it.  I didn't have any other tools or decorations for them.  I settled them in the water, while they were in the bag, to get the water temperature in the bag to come to equilibrium with the water in the tank.  Never change water temperature too quickly, this will stress the fish and get them sick.

Once in the water, they swam away whenever I got near them.  The next day, I put a little decoration in for them to hide behind.  I fed them tiny Aqueon Goldfish Granules that a friend had given us along with the tank.  We had some minor problems with the two fish, which I'll about next time.  I had no idea about the Nitrogen cycle, so the tank was not cycled during beginning.  Lucky for me, the fish survived the first few weeks.

So we had the two fantail goldfish without a proper filter for over a week.  Yes they can survive, but you will have to do lots of water changes if you don't get a filter.  In this time, I changed the water several times.  Each time, it was a 30-50% water change, just as I read in all the online articles.  I think changing the water often was good for the fish and kept them healthy.  I always used water that sat at room temperature overnight, even to this day.  I don't put any chemicals in the water.

If you are thinking about getting a Goldfish for a pet, I urge you to get as big a tank as you can afford (both money and space wise) and get a good filter.  An HOB filter to start would be good.  If you have goldfish of your own, I'd love to hear your thoughts.  Please leave a comment if you've read this far. :)

In a future post, I'll write about what I've learned about the nitrogen cycle and how it works in my own experience.  I'll also explain how a simple filter works - I recently made my own and it works fairly well as a secondary filter - for very little cost from things you probably already have.

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