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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was just wondering what you all do in your spare time ?
Personally I have one active hobby and one inactive one and both have to do with fish.

I have always had a fascination for fish and have had many aquariums through the years, culminating eight years ago, when I had my car garage professionally altered to accomodate 105 tanks of varying sizes.

At its peak, there were over 3000 fish in the tanks and I was able to sell/trade stock to local pet shops which kept the cost of equipment and electricity down.

In December 2008, I went on a four day holiday with my family leaving the fishwith electrical fish feeders and timers, as their only company. Unfortunately while away from home, parts ofthe town, which included my home,had a major power cut resulting in the fuse for the garage tripping.

When I arrived back home, the tanks were all frozen with ice and every fish with the exception of a tank containing "cold water" fish, were dead. I thereafter lost interest and sold all my tanks and equipment.

Just last week, I got the bug back and have purchased my first tank and that is currently "working" away, ready for the introduction of fish in the next few days. I am not certain at the moment what variety I want to introduce but I am leaning towards Malawi chichlids.

My other "fish" hobby is fishing itself but not sea and most certainly not fly. My preference is "ledgering" where I can sit on the bank with my rod in the water and just watch the world go by or read a book. However at the moment I cannot do this due to a back problem.
 

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I've always liked the look of a well stocked tank, especially the larger sized tanks. When I lived in London a few years ago, my neighbour had one whole wall of his living room set up with very large tanks filled with large colourful fish.

I did think about having a tank myself a while back, but when I looked into it, it seemed a lot of work. Another factor against getting a tank was I had to move around every 2 or 3 years with my work, and having a fish tank didn't seem the best idea at the time.

As for my own hobbies. After I gave up my photography business, photography has remained a hobby through the rest of my life. Sometimes I've got a bit obsessed by it and at other times I've taken a bit of a rest from it. It is something I just find very enjoyable.

When I retired I took up a few hobbies that I'd had a passing interest in over the years.

I like gardening, but I wouldn't really call it a hobby. My disability prevents me from getting to enthusiastic about it, but I do enjoy cutting the grass on my little ride on mower.

I had a go at a bit of woodworking. I was always a bit of a dunce at woodworking at school, so I decided to see if I could make anything worthwhile.

Amongst other things, I made this grandfather style clock.



I then went onto a bit of astronomy. I bought a telescope and built an observatory for it in the back garden. I used to have some great nights with it and loved to take pictures through the telescope.

Here's some of the pics I took.

Here's the observatory I built.



The Apennnine Mountains on the Moon.



The Pegasus Star Cluster.



A Comet passing the Andromeda Galaxy.



Running alongside all those hobbies, I was also into computers. I used to build my own and loved tinkering with them to try to get the most out of them for the least money. Although I'm not doing much building these days, I still have a house full of old computers and cupboards full of obsolete computer parts that I just can't bare to throw out.

Last but by no means least, since I retired, I do like a good drive around the countryside now and again. Having the new Antara has spurred me on to find a few new places to visit.

So there is plenty of stuff to keep an "old git" occupied in his old age, and long may it continue.
Edited by: Inchindown
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Wow Wow Wow Inchindown

Well where do I begin ?

You are obviously a man of many talents and you have responded in exactly the manner that I had hoped in as far we can all now get to form a picture of the man/woman and what rocks their boat, rather than just having a name.


Like you I was awful at woodwork, in fact I was awful at all the technical stuff. Your clock looks stunning, so hat's off to you my friend.

Astronomy is something that I have always had an interest in ever since the days of Patrick More and his show, "The Sky at Night". I read with interest the capablities of the newly built and opened Paranal Observatory in Chile and was blown away by some of the early images that produced.

I have to say that I am equally blown away by your own


I bought a telescope for my son a few years ago but I suppose you do only get what you pay for, despite the scope costing over £150. It was terrible and you could see better with your naked eye.

I suppose that living in the area where I am doesn't help either as there are very few clear skies. If I may, can I ask what type of telescope that you use to get such remarkable pictures.
 

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Antarius said:
If I may, can I ask what type of telescope that you use to get such remarkable pictures.
Thanks for the kind words.

I used to have two telescopes.

The first was an 8 inch Celestron Schmidt Cassegrain Reflector. It was quite hard to use as it needed a manual alignment when setting up at night.

The second was was the larger 11 inch Celestron Nexstar. This was also a Schmidt Cassegrain Reflector. It was fully automated and you could attach it to a laptop and just point and click at a celestial object in a star charting program and the scope would automatically centre the object in the view finder. This telescope was the reason I built the observatory. It was just too heavy to lift in and out of the house each night.

As for the cameras used for the photos.

The moon and the comet were taken with a Nikon D70 camera attached to the older non-automated scope.

The star cluster was taken using a specialised astrophotography camera made by a company called Starlight Xpress.

I also used the automated scope for imaging , but it really came into it's own when just doing plain old visual observing.

I sold the 11 inch scope some time ago, but still have the older one just for a bit of visual sky watching from time to time. I suppose I mainly just use binoculars these days.

This picture shows the 11 inch scope mounted inside the observatory.

 

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Wow again Mr Inchindown you are a man of many talents and expensive hobbies.

But then again you know the old saying the only difference between the men and the boys are the price of their toys.

Love the observatory that's taking hobbies to a new level.

As for me I enjoy doing the usual stuff I must admit I'm a gadget and tech freak and when I get involved it usually costs me Money.

I already mentioned I like music and used to spend a fortune of audio equipment and CDs etc but that ended with the arrival of a family!!!


Over the years I have dabbled with photography. When I was in my teens I bought myself an SLR camera a Canon AE1 program to be precise (George will know it I'm sure) I even had a brief fling with developing and dark rooms but gave that up due to the expense and then not having the space or time but I'm not a pro photographer I just enjoy it. I did give up on it for a while due to not having the time with family etc. A couple of years ago I decided to buy myself a digital SLR camera so I now have a Nikon D90 which is fantastic even though 90% of the time I don't use it to its full potential and leave it on the auto setting.

That leads me onto my other hobby like George im a pc buff and have been building fixing pcs etc for the last 15-20 years. I was into pc gaming for a number of years, playing online so my pc was always kept up to date and had way too much money spent on it. Theses days I'm too busy with work so I hardly ever play online and if i do its usually on the Xbox.These days i spend more time on my ipad or nexus7 so the main use for my pc is for business or printing photographs. I haven't built a new pc for nearly 2 years but its still as good if not better than most of the pc on sale just now due to the fact that I don't build them on the cheap.

Other than that I'm not big on gardening but I do like DIY and working on cars. My Dad was a joiner so unlike you guys something must have passed on from him because I can turn my hand to woodwork etc. in fact in our last house we built an extension and I did all the internal work myself including plumbing, wiring woodwork etc. it was a long six months but it was worth it in the end to see it finished and to say I had done most of it myself with a little bit help from my Dad.

Work keeps me fairly busy these days so I don't get much time to do things that I would like so my biggest hobby just now is chilling out in front if the tv watching movies or sky.

Oh and I nearly forgot its not so much a hobby but as of two weeks ago we now have a white German shepherd puppy and he takes up any other spare time I might have had before.



 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Inchindown said:
Antarius said:
If I may, can I ask what type of telescope that you use to get such remarkable pictures.
I suppose I mainly just use binoculars these days.
Hi Inchindown, you have peaked my interest with your remark about using binoculars to scour the skies.

I have never understood what determines a good set of binoculars from a poorer binocular, probably not helped by all the information provided with the coding that explains things like the magnification and lens diameters etc etc, which is great to those in the "know" but a real problem to the layperson like me.

Since a telescope is a virtual none starter for me, what type of binocular should I be looking for if I wanted to view the heavens. I appreciate that binoculars don't work as well as a telescope but if I were to go down that route in the future, what make and/or model or what dimensional sets of figures should I be looking out for.

Using your set of binoculars, what can you see on a clear starry night ?

Many thanks again

John
 

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Antarius said:
Inchindown said:
Antarius said:
If I may, can I ask what type of telescope that you use to get such remarkable pictures.
I suppose I mainly just use binoculars these days.

Using your set of binoculars, what can you see on a clear starry night ?

Many thanks again

John
Oh aye that old chestnut any excuse to go out at night with a pair of Binoculars. Honest officer I'm looking at the stars.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Grumps said:
Antarius said:
Inchindown said:
Antarius said:
If I may, can I ask what type of telescope that you use to get such remarkable pictures.
I suppose I mainly just use binoculars these days.

Using your set of binoculars, what can you see on a clear starry night ?

Many thanks again

John
Oh aye that old chestnut any excuse to go out at night with a pair of Binoculars. Honest officer I'm looking at the stars.
Well Well Well......What's going on here then ?

Are you trying to infer something my friend ?
 

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Antarius said:
Inchindown said:
Antarius said:
If I may, can I ask what type of telescope that you use to get such remarkable pictures.
I suppose I mainly just use binoculars these days.
Hi Inchindown, you have peaked my interest with your remark about using binoculars to scour the skies.

I have never understood what determines a good set of binoculars from a poorer binocular, probably not helped by all the information provided with the coding that explains things like the magnification and lens diameters etc etc, which is great to those in the "know" but a real problem to the layperson like me.

Since a telescope is a virtual none starter for me, what type of binocular should I be looking for if I wanted to view the heavens. I appreciate that binoculars don't work as well as a telescope but if I were to go down that route in the future, what make and/or model or what dimensional sets of figures should I be looking out for.

Using your set of binoculars, what can you see on a clear starry night ?

Many thanks again

John
The mistake most people make is to think the more powerful the binoculars the better. For the most part that simply isn't the case. The reason being is the more powerful the binoculars the heavier they will be. This makes them very difficult to hold steady in your hands and usually mean you need some sort of tripod to support them

Binoculars are normally described as 8x25 or 10x50 etc.

The first number indicates the magnification factor and the second number gives the diameter of the front glass lens of the bins.

For hand held observing I would not want to go above 10x50, but even those can be heavy and lead to a shaky view of the sky. I would say 7x50 are the best for unaided hand held observing. You can go more powerful than this if you go for image stabilised bins. I use a pair of 18x50 Canon image stabilised bins. They are expensive though. The pair I've got would cost around £800 on eBay or even £1k on Amazon, although they were cheaper than that when I bought mine.

It's hard to say what makes a good pair of bins. My view is you get what you pay for with optics. Buying really cheap will just be a false economy. There are thousands of brands about, but if you try looking at those made by well known optical firms such as Canon, Nikon, Meade, Olympus, etc. you wont go far wrong. Check out the astronomy retailer websites as they will sell all the main brands. If you can, make sure you can get to try them out before you buy. Even if it is just going outside the shop and looking up and down the street. Make sure they fit your eyes and that the dioptre adjustment can be set for you quality of sight.

As for what you can see. To some extent that depends on where you stay. If you have lots of light pollution it will be more difficult to see some of the fainter object.

If you have dark skies, you will have no problem with the moon. It looks great in the bins, and it's surprising how much detail you can see. You will see most details when the moon is not full as that is the time when the shadows on the moon are longer, and this helps to throw the surface details into relief.

You will also be able to see most of the planets, although they are not all visible in the sky all the time. You can see Venus as a very bright ball of light, and you will see it also appears with phases like the moon. Mercury will only appear as a very small dot of light.
Mars will be seen a small red ball,

You should also be able to see Jupiter and Saturn. You wont see any detail on the these planets, but you will see 4 of Jupiter's moons in orbit around the plant. You might just be able to make out that Saturn has a couple of ears either side of the central ball, but you wont be able to resolve the rings. You might see some colour in Saturn.

As for things farther afield, you will be able to see some galaxies, although not very much detail. Andromeda is the easiest to see. In fact you can see Andromeda with the naked eye from a dark site. Not far from Andromeda is the Pinwheel Galaxy.



A little bit of trivia here. The Andromeda Galaxy is the farthest thing you can see from earth with the naked eye. It is about 2 million light years away and wee will crash into it in a few billion years time.

You can see star clusters like the one I showed above.

There are some nebulae like the Great Orion Nebula.



Then there are always the unexpected things like comets, asteroids and satellites.

If you really want to take this subject a little more seriously, then you should get hold of a book on star gazing with binoculars.

Hope this helped.Edited by: Inchindown
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Once again, many thanks for your information and assistance.

Again I am totally gobsmacked with the latest set of images that you have kindly uploaded. I can only imagine the excitement and contentment that you must get from finding, photographing and then reproducing your subject matter.

You actually nailed it perfectly when you mentioned about the mistake that most ill informed people like me make, as I would have thought that the bigger the magnification the better without giving the weight a second's thought.

When I do decide to get myself a "good" set of binoculars I will take on board all your suggestions with regards to the weight and magnification of the unit that I buy. Somehow I don't think that I will be spending anywhere near the amount that you did but I will get the best that I can afford.

I will also have a look on Amazon and see what is on offer on there.

Cheers

John

ps get a book of your photographs published.....I for one could look at your images all day long
 

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Antarius said:
Grumps said:
Antarius said:
Inchindown said:
Antarius said:
If I may, can I ask what type of telescope that you use to get such remarkable pictures.
I suppose I mainly just use binoculars these days.

Using your set of binoculars, what can you see on a clear starry night ?

Many thanks again

John
Oh aye that old chestnut any excuse to go out at night with a pair of Binoculars. Honest officer I'm looking at the stars.
Well Well Well......What's going on here then ?



Are you trying to infer something my friend ?

Just make sure when your out with your binoculars WATCHING the sky your not wearing your dirty old mack or some might get the wrong idea
 

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Antarius said:
Once again, many thanks for your information and assistance.

Again I am totally gobsmacked with the latest set of images that you have kindly uploaded. I can only imagine the excitement and contentment that you must get from finding, photographing and then reproducing your subject matter.

You actually nailed it perfectly when you mentioned about the mistake that most ill informed people like me make, as I would have thought that the bigger the magnification the better without giving the weight a second's thought.

When I do decide to get myself a "good" set of binoculars I will take on board all your suggestions with regards to the weight and magnification of the unit that I buy. Somehow I don't think that I will be spending anywhere near the amount that you did but I will get the best that I can afford.

I will also have a look on Amazon and see what is on offer on there.

Cheers

John

ps get a book of your photographs published.....I for one could look at your images all day long
Just a word of caution before you start star gazing. The view you see through binoculars will not look like what you see through the Hubble telescope, or even my humble efforts at astrophotography.

You will not see mush detail on anything except the moon and the most you will normally see is a shape or a fuzzy ball. There isn't much colour when seeing through bins.

You can see different coloured stars such as slightly red for very large old stars or slightly blue for very young very hot stars, but for the most part the night sky is black and white when viewed through binoculars. The colour you see in space photographs is only there due to the long exposures you have to take, and even then, some of the colour you see in the Hubble images, for instance, is not real.
 

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I also have 2 hobbies.i race rc buggies at club national and international level.have a asortment of planes and my other hobby is i keep marine salt water fish and corals
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
smino said:
I also have 2 hobbies.i race rc buggies at club national and international level.have a asortment of planes and my other hobby is i keep marine salt water fish and corals
Cool hobbies smino


Do you do much traveling taking part in your remote controlled buggy racing ?

I am particularly interested in your salt water tank and how you managed to get the setup working to the optimum salinity.

I have attempted on at least three occasions to setup a marine tank in my house over a period of 12-18 months a few years ago. I read book after book on the subject but despite following expert guides to the letter and in doing so spent a fortune in equipment, I was never able to keep the salinity down to the safe levels for the long term keeping of fish.

I had set up a 100 gallon tank to which I added a metal halide lamps instead of the fluorescent variety, a really expensive protein skimmer, heater, substrate and "live" rock. I was so unsuccessful that I even bought and added a "chiller" to the set up as I feared that the sun coming through the french door glass was warming the tank too much through the day. I don't recall the name of the skimmer but it was expensive and produced an incredible flow which circulated water to all parts of the tank.

I also purchased a really expensive sea salt and purified the water with a Reverse Osmosis (RO)
DeIonization Filter but even after the introduction of a few "cheaper" marine fish and with the addition of sea snails and crabs to assist in waste removal, the salinity levels always crept up past 1.026. Even trying to bare bottom the tank didn't help.

Have you any tips that you could pass on ?
 

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smino said:
I also have 2 hobbies.i race rc buggies at club national and international level.have a asortment of planes and my other hobby is i keep marine salt water fish and corals
Wow a pro racer another expensive hobby.

I love RC Cars. I have never raced them but sort if collected a few years ago. Not so much racing RC Cars I'm the mid 80's I bought a tamiya boomerang which I still have. I then bought a Kyosho Lazer ZXR and then I bought a Yokomo dogfighter.

None of them ever raced except against a mate who also had a few RC Cars.

I keep the Boomerang as a collectors item and a few years ago bought some new parts to restore it but haven't got round to doing it yet.

I always fancied getting into planes or helicopters but never had the time. As a kid my best friends Dad used to build and fly planes from scratch. Everything was hand built. I used to love watching him building and flying them
 

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Hi yes i do a fair bit of traveling but nothing like i used to.most often approx 1000/1200 miles a day.my tank is a red sea max 130d i have changed the basic and upgraded things like the skimmer extra powerhead.i have kept them since 1997.i buy my water already made when doing water changes.my salinity is a bit high as i find the xenia likes it higher.all the rest is done via a bottle.also added a 30 ltr external filter imsted of a sump.will try to upload some pics soon.not as costly to run as the buggies tho.i race 1/10 and my son races micro 1/14.i do it mostly for the set up side of it like castor angles camber toe in out ect.motor timings and batteries have come along way with lipos now having 90c discharge rates
 

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motorbikes and fish keeping
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
smino said:
Hi yes i do a fair bit of traveling but nothing like i used to.most often approx 1000/1200 miles a day.my tank is a red sea max 130d i have changed the basic and upgraded things like the skimmer extra powerhead.i have kept them since 1997.i buy my water already made when doing water changes.my salinity is a bit high as i find the xenia likes it higher.all the rest is done via a bottle.also added a 30 ltr external filter imsted of a sump.will try to upload some pics soon.not as costly to run as the buggies tho.i race 1/10 and my son races micro 1/14.i do it mostly for the set up side of it like castor angles camber toe in out ect.motor timings and batteries have come along way with lipos now having 90c discharge rates

Well, I was following your post up to the last three lines when you started writing in a different language



Seriously though I look forward to you uploading some images of your tank
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
bronze said:
motorbikes and fish keeping

Hi Bronze, could you put some meat on the bones



There are some keen fish keepers and motorcycle enthusiasts (myself included) who would be interested in the type of fish and the type of bike.


Cheers


//John
 

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Antarius said:
bronze said:
motorbikes and fish keeping

Hi Bronze, could you put some meat on the bones


certainly john


currently have a 1163ltr tank (72"x30"x30")with sump holding about 65 malawi cichlids ,3 bristlenose plecs and 2 catfish whose name i,ve forgotten.

currently have a mk2 bandit 1200,and a mk1 1200 special, have had busa,s gsxrs, etc and i,m now currently looking for a triumph rocket 3
, but 1 bandit will have to go
 
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