Cheap Tricks: Yes, Duct Tape

Michael Marcotrigiano - New England Fancy Guppy Association
first published in the IFGA eBulletin
All rights reserved

The water at my house is not good for raising guppies. So my solution, common to many of us, is to use "aged in barrel" water that has been treated. My water has no buffering capacity and is so soft it makes a babies butt feel like sand paper. To remedy this I use a combination of baking soda and Instant Ocean salts. Inside my barrel I have a submersible pump so that when the time comes I can add water to my tanks using a remote extension cord and the clear hose attached to the pump. When I first mix up a batch of water it is very cold (in the winter my cold tap water comes out of the faucet at about 42 degrees!). If I think the water will stay too cold before it's time to do a water change, I turn on a 200 watt submersible aquarium heater which takes a few hours to get the 55 gallons of water in my Coke syrup barrel to about 75 degrees. So what's this got to do with duct tape? It's a funny story. Nearly everyone with aquariums has a horror story about a huge water spill associated with one of those "oops" moments. They are worse when the basement doubles as the laundry room and is occupied by both adults in the household. One member in our club (who shall remain nameless) has had the big flood more than once. We can tell when it happens because, rather than some exquisite food at our meetings at his house, we have store-bought grinders. His water spills do not go over well with his spouse who generally prepares food for the club. What other punishment he suffers "remains in Vegas".

Things on the "spill front" were going well with me for over a year until one day, while my water was circulating in the drum and I was not around, the hose decided to wiggle free from its clamp and was leaning against the wall. Nearly all of water was pumped onto the basement floor. I am a luckier guy than most. My wife had just bought a 24-roll mega box of paper towels at a discount box store and she placed it on the basement floor at the low point (lucky me). When I came down into the basement and saw the hose leaning on the wall and an unusually dark cardboard box in front of me I started to think about which sheets would best fit the couch. Remarkably, the paper towels, even in the cellophane wrap, had soaked up nearly all of the water! Of course the box weighed about 400 pounds. I carefully opened it up and carried each roll (with a tray under it) out to the asphalt driveway and placed them vertically in the sun. Within 2 or 3 days they were dry. Although not suitable for human use, we had just gotten a puppy. I stuck the dry but stained rolls in the garage knowing that training a dog could consume lots of paper towels. It turns out you can train a dog using just under a case of paper towels so the entire incident had a happy ending without much waste or retribution.

Not wanting this to happen again, I brought out my handy roll of duct tape and swirling away created a thick barrier to hose slippage that has worked flawlessly to this day. It is pictured below. The duct tape is a permanent part of the hose and now the hose can not slide past its clamp. I guess this was a long story with a happy ending. I'm letting you know that 6 feet of duct tape may save your marriage. And that's a good thing!