Archive for the ‘Salt Water Aquarium’ Category

Salt Water Reef Aquarium: A Special Kind of Real Estate!

Monday, July 26th, 2010

Standard homes in the Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and Edmonton region are not the only real estate I deal with!  Here are a few of the inhabitants of my salt water reef aquarium.

 Salt Water Reef Aquarium:  A Special Kind of Real Estate! |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry Twynam

The deep blue fish on the left is known as the Achilles Tang Hybrid, a rare and special fish.  “It is a quark [sic] of nature where an Achilles Tang and a Goldrim Tang have merged together during conception. It is one of the few reef fishes in Hawaiian waters known to hybridize.”   (from the website   The long nosed fish on the right is a Copperband Butterfly fish.  I bought this fish because it has a highly specialized diet; it loves eating an aquarium pest known as Aiptaisa Anemones.  These pesky sea anemones are known to take over a saltwater aquarium.  The problem with Copperbands is that once they have eaten all the Aiptaisa, they will sometimes starve to death because they are such finicky eaters.  I have managed to get my Copperband to eat frozen brine shrimp (which I feed to all my fish).  Occasionally I find a rock with Aiptaisa growing on it in my quarantine tank.  Once I move the rock to my main tank, my Copperband will hunt down all the Aiptaisa and make a meal of it in very short order.

Salt Water Reef Aquarium:  A Special Kind of Real Estate! |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry Twynam

This is a photo of my starfish.  It is currently wrapped around my blasto coral from Australia.  It always amazes me how gentle this creature is.  It never damages or knocks over any of the corals.  My wife Paulette calls him Gumby.

 Salt Water Reef Aquarium:  A Special Kind of Real Estate! |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry Twynam

These are some of my favorite corals, the Australian Acans.  These corals are fully extended out with their feeder tentacles exposed.  This is the sign of a happy and healthy Acan.

Salt Water Reef Aquarium:  A Special Kind of Real Estate! |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry Twynam

This is a photo of my main tank which I started in the fall of 2008.  It is now fully matured (this can take 6 plus months).  The photo shows most of the fish in my tank, along with my black and white clown fish.  Just below them is a living giant clam, which my clown fish have decided to “host”.  Clown fish, also known as anemonefish, usually host an anemone in the wild.  I can only describe this as a love affair between these two creatures.  Because having a poisonous anemone can be extremely detrimental to a reef tank, I choose not to have one.  So my clown fish have taken to hosting my giant clam, claiming it and defending it as their territory.  They are never very far away from this clam.  They nudge it in the morning to wake it up, sleep on it at night and do not like anything coming close to their clam, including my hand when I try to clean the inside glass.

Salt Water Reef Aquarium:  A Special Kind of Real Estate! |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry Twynam

Another picture from my main tank.  Pretty much everything you can see in this aquarium is alive:  the corals and fish, of course, but there is even life in the sand and rocks.  The rock, referred to as “live rock”, serves many purposes, and is probably the most popular material used for natural biological filtration in saltwater aquariums.  What surprises most people is how alive the corals are.  They expand and contract, react to touch, light and food.  What people may not know is that many corals are carnivorous, and many have long stinging tentacles used to protect their territory.  The winner of any coral conflict is usually determined by which coral produces the strongest poison.  Fortunately for us, human skin is too thick for most corals to penetrate. Although there is a lot going on in a reef aquarium during the day, plenty of interesting things happen after the lights are turned out at night.  A flashlight will expose the many night creatures and add a whole new dimension to a reef system.

Are you looking for a special kind of real estate?  I’d love to help you find your dream home.  Phone me at 780-910-9669, email me at, or contact me here.

Hobbies and Your Home

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

Hobbies and Your Home |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamWherever we live, Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or elsewhere, most of us have things we collect or activities we like to do in our leisure time.  These collections and activities often spill over into our homes, even if they are usually done elsewhere.  Without proper planning, this can sometimes be disastrous.  Think, for example, of current popular television programs on hoarding and decluttering.

If you have any sort of hobby, and you are in the market for a new home, it’s a good idea to give some thought about how that hobby will fit into the physical confines of the houses you look at, and what modifications you might have to make to a house in order to accommodate your hobby.

Let’s say you enjoy hiking and camping, or similar sports or activities that you normally practice away from home.  Where and how are you going to store the gear needed for these activities?

Maybe you are a serious collector of… well, almost anything!  Books, coins, model cars, sports memorabilia, dolls, antique furniture, teapots, clocks, insects….   More than three objects in any of these categories could rightly be called a collection.  The question for your home is where and how are you going to store and display your collection?

Or, maybe your hobby is some activity or craft you do, which may or may not result in a physical endproduct.  Some hobbies are fairly easy to fit into everyday life.  Gourmet cooking?  Your kitchen may be a little better equipped than the average but usually no major changes need to be made.  Enjoy reading, doing crossword puzzles, blogging, or watching vintage movies?  Again, easy to do at home without disrupting daily life.  Scrapbooking or sewing?  A table and a few storage containers in the corner of a guest bedroom will often be enough.

But suppose your hobby requires

  • a great deal of space (think model trains or weaving or woodworking or restoring old vehicles)
  • the use of toxic chemicals (oil painting or furniture refinishing)
  • structural changes to your home (pottery making with a home kiln, perhaps, where special wiring might be needed, or collecting wine, where special lighting and temperature controls may be required)

Can hobbies of this type be accommodated in your home?  Yes, with a little forethought and planning.  A good rule to follow is to do what you must but always keep the end in mind.  That is, consider what you will need to do to return your home to its original condition should you give up the hobby or when it is time to sell your home.

I recently developed the basement of our Spruce Grove home.  I thought this would be a good opportunity to incorporate a salt water aquarium into our home.  There is just something about the choice of fish and corals and all the colours available in a salt water reef system.  A fragile system that does not forgive neglect or ignorance, it has very specific needs that include water temperature, lighting, chemical control (e.g. calcium, PH balance, ammonia, nitrates, magnesium, etc.), water flow, salinity, and more.  There can be costly lessons during the learning curve.  But if one is passionate about a hobby, the work and expense are eventually well worth it.

Hobbies and Your Home |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamI brought in someone who is an expert in salt water systems and had him advise me on what was needed.  He suggested we add two dedicated electrical circuits to accommodate all the equipment, and a sink with hot and cold running water.  We built the tank into the wall so that it can be viewed from the family room.  All the equipment is located behind the main tank in an oversized closet just off the exercise room.  The system was installed so that it could easily be converted back to what the average home buyer would expect to find.  All that we need to do is remove the equipment, frame the opening where the display tank is, mount and finish some drywall, and no one would ever know there ever was an aquarium there. Except for maybe plumbing in the wall and a humidistat hooked up to an exhaust fan.

Hobbies and Your Home |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry Twynam

 It is worth remembering that when you modify your home to accommodate your hobby or business, you may have to remove all evidence of it ever having been there as it may be viewed as a deterrent or expense to prospective buyers.   

For most people, hobbies and interests are a special but integral part of their lives and need to be considered when shopping for a new home.

Comments or questions about this article or about Spruce Grove Real Estate?  Email me at, phone me at 780-910-9669, or contact me here.

Barry Twynam, Realty Executives Leading
#1 14 McLeod Avenue, Spruce Grove, Alberta, T7X 3X3
Tel: 780-962-9696 Cell: 780-910-9669 Fax: 780-962-9699
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