Make Your Freshwater Aquarium Maintenance Fun

Keeping Your Aquarium Clean

A Lot owners find that setting up their freshwater aquarium was the easy part, the maintenance to keep it running is the challenge! They have it up, but oh my, there are problems presenting themselves that they just didn’t expect!

Junk Floating In Your Aquarium?

Tired of dirty water? Well believe me, your fish don’t care for it either!
If you want low maintenance, consider a power filter, it does a great job removing drifting particles. Using chemicals, a good power filter will also reduce common impurities, discoloration and smells.

Aside from swapping out the filter cartridges every 3-4 weeks, which should take about 5 minutes, you will need to take an extra 10-15 minutes every few months on a detail cleaning of the filter interior. With the filter cartridges normally being throw away, all the tedious cleaning is eliminated.


Very little will mar a gorgeous tank faster than green algae growing in, on and around everything inside your aquarium.
If you’re looking for a quick solution, consider a Plecostomus. At best, this fish could be considered “handsome”, but it can put a dent in your algae growth. On the plus side, the Plecostomus has a fantastic personality!

Of course, you can always remove the algae by hand. Even if you do have algae eaters in your tank, there will inevitably be some amount of hand cleanup required. There are some great tools on the market today that will aid you in this endeavor.

Remember that algae thrives in sunlight! You can get away with placing your aquarium by a widow with daylight exposure, just not sunlight; unless of course you are intending to grow algae.

Strong Scents?

Powerful smells emanating from your tank are dangerous to your fish, clean your filter more often if this is an issue. They simply can’t live in that sort of environment.

Unclear Water?

There can be many reasons for this, overfeeding is the usual culprit. Your fish ought to be fed no more than 2-3 times each day, adjust the quantity being fed so that it is consumed in 3-5 minutes. This should eliminate the problem.
If it does not, try using bottled drinking water or distilled water. Look in your neighborhood grocery store, you should find it for around 50-70 cents per gallon.

Prepare for Your Water Changes

Every two weeks is fine if you are not having water quality problems, if you have a heavy fish load, plan on removing 20% of your water every week with a siphon or gravel cleaner. Any clean hose will work but we prefer gravel cleaners since you can remove detritus from the bottom of your tank while siphoning off the water.

Once your hose is primed, put one end in a bucket, only fill about 3/4 full.
Once you have your 20% removed, just fill the tank back up with prepared water. Depending on the size and setup of your tank, you will need an extra 45-60 minutes once a month to do some extra cleaning, one of the less glamorous chores.

The interior walls of the tank will need to be gently scrubbed, you can pick up sponges and scrapers at your pet supply store, just be sure you get ones that are safe for your tank.

Periodically remove your decorations and soak them in hot water with a bit of salt, then scrub them with a sponge until clean. Caution! Do not use any type of soap on any object used in or on your aquarium! The residue will kill your fish very quickly.

Using a gravel vacuum for your water changes is a great way to get rid of the buildup of dirt and uneaten food. Select a gravel vacuum that is sized for your tank and read the users guide before using your new vacuum for the first time.

Putting Water Back In Your Tank

Any time you are adding water to your tank, whether it is is to replenish evaporation or refill after a water change, the temperature and pH levels need to be the same as what is currently in the aquarium. A great way to put water back in your tank is to use a garden hose attachment connected to your utility faucet. If the pH matches your tanks, get the temperature just right and run a hose direct to your tank. Sure beats sloshing buckets of water on your hardwood floors!

Tap water was not intended for freshwater fish tanks, be sure to check your chemistry BEFORE putting it in. If your having problems with your tank water, you might find that heating a 5-10 gallon container of distilled or bottled water is a better option.•


How can walking provide a worthwhile workout, and how well does walking burn calories? These and many other walking-related issues are explored in this review, which highlights research understandings on calorie burning and presents several evidence-based ideas for incorporating newer strategies in your walking exercise program designs.
Traditional walking strategies are not for everyone. They may not provide enough challenge for people of above-average fitness, or they may be too difficult for those who suffer from ambulatory physical limitations. Still, walking is excellent exercise for a broad cross-section of the population. The following seven questions address key topics about walking.

1. What Is an Adult’s Natural Walking Pace, and Why?

Most healthy adults tend to naturally select a walking pace of approximately 2.8 miles per hour . Researchers hypothesize that the central nervous system selects a preferred walking speed to lessen the body’s energy expenditure . Another theory is that preferred walking speed reflects changes in fuel use: In most adults, fat is the primary fuel source at speeds up to 2.8 mph, which serves as a metabolic walking threshold speed . Above this speed, carbohydrate oxidation (breakdown) increases rapidly, resulting in a perception of greater effort because carbohydrates are a limited fuel source compared with fat. As a result, preferred walking speed appears to happen naturally, as the body seeks out the most economical fuel conditions in the muscle when fat oxidation is the primary fuel source.
Aging and inactivity often diminish the musculoskeletal functioning of the lower-body gait muscles. This may require the body to recruit additional motor units and perhaps a higher proportion of less-economical fast-twitch muscle fibers (which are fueled predominantly by carbohydrate) in order to generate the force required for walking. This is why the elderly see a decline in walking speed and a change in gait characteristics.

2. What Is “Brisk” Walking?

Exercisers are often urged to take a “brisk” walk, but the idea of a “brisk” pace is open to interpretation. A brisk walk for some is a leisurely stroll for others.
A good starting point is the American College of Sports Medicine’s (ACSM 2014) recommendation that most adults accumulate 30–60 minutes a day of moderate-intensity exercise at least 5 days a week, or 20–60 minutes a day of vigorous-intensity exercise at least 3 days a week—or a combination of the two.
How do walking exercisers determine whether their moderate-intensity walk meets ACSM guidelines? Scientifically, walking at an intensity of 3–6 METs (metabolic equivalent of task is a physiological measure expressing the energy cost of physical activities) is considered moderate-intensity exercise.
Counting steps is another practical way to measure intensity. Marshall et al. (2009) determined that walking at approximately 100 steps per minute is moderate-intensity exercise. At 100 steps per minute, a walker can meet current recommendations for moderate-intensity physical activity by walking at least 3,000 steps in 30 minutes at least 5 days a week. This can easily be tracked with any pedometer or pedometer app on a smartphone. A walker could also accumulate three daily walks of 1,000 steps in 10 minutes on 5 days each week.
Murtagh, Boreham & Murphy (2002) examined 82 recreational walkers who selected their own perceptions of a “brisk” walking pace. Overall, the subjects walked at an average of about 3.5 mph and were able to accurately reach moderate-intensity exercise levels by self-selecting their pace. Older adults (aged 60–85 years) had an average self-selected walking pace of 3.3–3.5 mph (Parise et al. 2004). So there you have it: “Brisk” is an accurate description of a moderate-intensity walk, although the actual pace may vary depending on age and individual fitness level.

3. Does Wearing a Weighted Vest While Walking Burn More Calories?

Weighted vests are gaining attention from exercise professionals and fitness enthusiasts. The vests (typically equal to 5%–20% of a person’s body weight) can be used in many types of workouts, and most vests can be adjusted to add or subtract weight as desired. Further, weighted vests are worn over the shoulders, making them a more natural addition to an exerciser’s center of gravity.
In a 2006 study, Puthoff et al. examined walking energy expenditure at incremental treadmill speeds ranging from 2.0 to 4.0 mph and vest weights ranging from 10% to 20% of body mass. The researchers found that energy expenditure increased as vest weight and walking speed increased; however, the relationship between vest weight and walking speed was not entirely linear. As walking speed increased, wearing a weighted vest had a more pronounced impact on energy expenditure.
These findings have many practical implications in the design of walking programs. For instance, walking at slow speeds may require the exerciser to use a heavier vest to achieve the desired increases in energy expenditure, while walking at faster speeds will produce a more pronounced increase in energy expenditure with less weight needed to generate the increase.
Additionally, walking with a weighted vest may be beneficial for those who cannot walk briskly, as adding just 10% of body mass at a slower walking speed (~2 mph) may produce relative exercise intensity similar to walking faster without added mass.
RESEARCHED BY : KÁTIA C. ROWLANDS – Pilates Instructor & Personal Trainer – 082 513 4256 •

Can you trust your Trust?

The perception which exists that once your family trust has been registered with the Master of the High Court it is valid, is wrong! Even though the Master is considered being the ‘watch dog’ over trusts, it is not the Master’s duty to check the validity of the trust deed upon the “registration” of the trust or the validity of subsequent amendments to the deed. The validity is usually only challenged when the trust enters into a dispute with, for example, a party contracting with the trust. Furthermore, due to the fact that a trust is considered to be “a creature of document”, a trust can only be as good as the document in which it is founded, allows it to be. From the legal audits done on trust deeds at our firm, an alarming 85% plus of trust deeds from all over South Africa may not stand the test of validity. In more than 60% of trusts, the parties to the trust could have been structured better. It may be worth the while to do a DIY basic check on your own family trust deed, and if any of the following does occur, it may be more than wise to urgently seek professional advice:

The power (also called a general power of appointment) given to the trustees to select (at random) beneficiaries from outside a defined group or class of beneficiaries. This can cause the object of the trust to become too vague which is a ground for invalidity.
The power (another form of a general power of appointment) given to the trustees to create new or “roll over” trusts on terms and conditions as they (the trustees) may decide upon and without any indication who the trustees of this new or “roll over” trust should be.
A unilateral act by the founder when creating the trust or no agreement between the founder and the trustees when the trust is created.
No divesting of his/her property by the founder when the trust is created. The trust deed should explicitly state that the founder creates the trust by donating a specific amount to the trustees of the trust for the benefit of the beneficiaries.
When the trust deed is amended, it is now since a recent Supreme Court of Appeal judgment, compulsory that all beneficiaries who have accepted benefits from the trust (from its origin until the amendment) be made a party to such an amendment, otherwise the amendment will be invalid. This can cause many amendments to trust deeds where for instance beneficiaries were added or removed and where beneficiaries who have accepted benefits were not a party to the variation, to be invalid.
Excessive powers such as the power to “hire and fire” trustees, veto rights, testamentary reservation, etc. can all have negative implications with regard to tax, divorce and insolvency matters and caution should be taken when exercising these powers.
The reference in the trust deed to those “related by blood or affinity” as part of the beneficiaries can cause an amendment of the deed by agreement between the trustees and the “beneficiaries” to become impossible without a much more expensive court application.

Therefore, prevention is always better than cure. Rather establish beforehand whether your trust was indeed validly created or amended and whether it gives adequate powers and discretion to the trustees to utilise the trust effectively, than to discover the deficiencies when a dispute ensues or a specific power is needed by the trustees to act. This can be done by way of a legal audit which entails inter alia the checking of the validity of the trust, tax and other implications thereof, protection of beneficiaries against financial and other risks as well as the protection of the trust assets and beneficiaries in the event of divorce, as well as to what extent the rights of the beneficiaries may be affected by a possible amendment of the trust, to name only a few aspects.

Mosdel Parma & Cox
044 533 1101



The Born in Africa and Masizame golf day was a huge success, with over 90 participants, on a beautifully sunny day in Plettenberg Bay! Thank you to everyone who took part and made it such an enjoyable event, with lots of laughs and many great prizes awarded. Our sincere appreciation goes out to Peter Adams for organizing the event, as well as to Toralf Nordbotten, Remi de Backer and Brenda Wall for their help in making the event a such a lovely success. Thank you to the following sponsors of prizes: Alan & Faith Tubbs, Bramon Wines, Enrico’s, Face to Face beauty, Golf 4 Balls, Goose Valley Club House, Goose Valley ProShop, Goose Valley Restaurant, Kingswood, Le Fournil, Le Med, Metamorphis, Personal Trust, Pezula, PNA, Robberg Seafood (Ernie & Janice Adams), Simola Golf Club, St. Francis Links, The Peppermill, Val & Brian King, Wimpy. And to our hole sponsors: Chas Everitt, Leroys garden services, I-build, Sanlam private investment, Plett medicine depot, Old Nicks.


The Born in Africa Learn to Swim Program has come to a close for 33 Wittedrift Primary students, each having received 12 lessons. Over the years, we have been able to teach more than 650 children to swim, starting with the basics of holding your breath under water and floating, to water safety and swimming strokes. This year lessons took place at Adventure Land and the learners absolutely loved every moment they could spend in the water. The program ended with a celebratory visit to the beach, where they were given a tour of the Sea Rescue base and operations, listened to a short talk and demonstration by local lifeguards and finally enjoyed the sand and sea.

Pet Odor And Hair The Only Solution For Both

If you’ve ever visited someone whose house smelled of pet odor, you know that the first whiff of air you smelled made an impression that you still remember. And if you took off the clothes you wore and found hair all over them, you probably made up your mind not to visit again. If you are a pet lover and your home has pet odor and hair issues, here’s a solution that will work. Even if your house and your pets are meticulous, pet smell, hair, and fur can really make people stand-offish about visiting your home. Even if you clean daily, pet hair and odor are continuous issues, and even when you’re not cleaning, these particles and smells are being generated. So the best solution is something that will clean up both these pollutants as fast as they are generated.

The answer is to clean the air with a purifier designed to remove both particulates and odors. Let’s deal with the particles first. Not only are fur and hair an issues if you have a warm-blooded pet such as a dog, cat, bunny, bird or ferret, but dander is as well. The hair and fur are visible, but the dander is not. However, the protein in these small flakes of dead skin is a highly potent allergen and can make your home intolerable for those who are allergic to it. And prolonged exposure to all of these particles can create sensitivity where none previously existed. The best type of air cleaner for particles is a HEPA (abbreviated as high efficiency particle arresting). To receive this designation, it must be able to remove 99,997 out of every 10,000 airborne particles that are.3 microns or greater. This type of filter easily traps pet hair, dander, and fur as well as other household particles such as dust, dust mites, mold and mildew spores, pollen, bacteria and viruses.

Now let’s talk about the odor. Pet odor, particularly urine, can be tenacious and seemingly impossible to control. If you are used to cleaning up after accidents happen, this puts you behind the eight-ball in terms of how your home smells. And even if you are able to completely clean the area, it will still take a while for the smell to dissipate, and meanwhile the way your home smells is not good. Again, using an air cleaner that can continuously filter out the pet smells, especially urine, keeps your air smelling fresh all the time, even when mistakes have happened.

Carbon filters are well known for their ability to eliminate gaseous pollutants. A carbon-based filter with an additive especially designed to eliminate pet urine smell is the only solution that you can count on to work. Since particles and gases are two different types of matter, your air purifier should be able to eliminate both odors and particles. This means selecting a purifier that contains filters that can remove both.

Using an air purifier that can work 24 hours every day to clean the air means less hair, fur, and dander to clean from surfaces and vacuum from the floor. And it means that each time you open the door to your home you can be confident that your air smells fresh and clean.•

What are 5 foods that people think are healthy (but aren’t)? ( Part 2)


To salt or not to salt? That is the question. Sea salt is often an ingredient that generates a great deal of confusion, as many of us are led to believe that because sea salt is more natural than regular table salt, it must be healthier. However, Gina Crome, MPH, RD who is also an certified personal trainer, clarified that “sea salt and regular table salt are fairly identical nutritionally,” so essentially they have the same amount of sodium. “Because sea salt crystals are bigger than table salt crystals however, the same volume of sea salt doesn’t take up as much room as the table salt would, and thus, has a little less sodium,” said Miller. But as Crome has seen firsthand, the false belief that sea salt is “healthier” than table salt often leads people to use it more liberally, and thereby consume more total sodium.

Healthy Swap: RD Recommends The bottom line is, use salt — whether sea salt or table salt — sparingly. As a general recommendation, Crome referred to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which states that people should strive to limit sodium intake to no more than 2300mg/day; or no more than 1500mg/day for those who are either over 51 years of age and those (regardless of age) who are of African-American descent or have hypertension, chronic kidney disease or diabetes. Want to add flavor to your food without the salt? Miller recommended seasoning foods with healthy, flavorful items like citrus juices, herbs, spices and flavored vinegars.

FRUIT JUICE When it comes to fruit juice, 100 percent fruit juice may not be as healthy as you think. Michelle Murphy Zive, MS, RD, said “even with ‘only’ fruit juice, there is usually added sugar in the form of fructose (fruit sugar). “For instance, apple and grape juices – which can be the ‘only’ juice or added  to 100% fruit punch – have higher amounts of fructose than other fruit,” she said. Healthy Swap: RD Recommends Zive recommended stepping away from 100% fruit juice and instead, try making your own juice with a juicer. Or simply reach for a piece of whole fruit!


Ever taken the time to read the ingredient list on a protein bar or protein shake? If so, you may have noticed a laundry list of words that look like they are more suitable in a chemistry textbook instead of a food label. The bars are usually 200 calories each with around 10-15 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat, 5 grams of fiber and 20+ grams of sugar. Julie Burks, MS, RD, CSSD, Semper Fit Dietitian and  Lifestyle and Weight Management Coach, stated that while the average protein bar or shake doesn’t sound so bad at first glance, these products are processed and contain stabilizers, preservatives, and other ingredients that may not support health. (She cautioned that the second and third ingredients are usually some form of sugar).

Healthy Swap: RD Recommends While these products are certainly okay on occasion, “opt for real, fresh food that not only contains a similar number of calories, protein, fat and fiber, but also disease-fighting antioxidants and phytochemicals; and less sugar,” said Burks. Think you can’t eat healthy on the go? Think again! Burks offered a slew of examples of quick, healthy, ready-to-eat foods (not exhaustive): nuts, trail mix, peanut butter (not low-fat), apples, berries, raw carrots, cherry tomatoes, cottage cheese, hard-boiled eggs and 100% whole grain crackers. She mentioned that these foods can easily be mixed and matched for quick, healthy, on-the-go energy anytime! Researched by KATIA C. ROWLANDS – PILATES INSTRUCTOR & PERSONAL TRAINER – 082 513 4256 •

As jy groot en sterk wil wees . . . moet jy slim wees!

Danie praat inheems

In ons inheemse woude is daar intensiewe kompetisie tussen bome en struike vir sonlig, voedingstowwe en spasie.  Ek wil graag die volgende “slim planne” wat hulle gebruik om hul oorlewing te verseker, noem. Meeste van die Suid-Kaapse woudbome is immergroen wat ‘n voordeel bo bladwisselende bome is omdat hulle minder voedingstowwe verloor omdat hulle nie telkens weer nuwe blare hoef te vorm nie.  Sommige bome se harde was-of leeragtige blare verhoed dat hulle nie te veel vog deur transpirasie te verloor nie bv die Witpeer. Die bome met groot krone het ‘n probleem wanneer dit reën want hul krone word skielik letterlik tonne swaarder met “onderskepping”.  Die bome word topswaar en as die wind opkom, kan hulle makliker omwaai en takke kan afbreek.  Daarom het sommige gepunte blare (“drip tips”) om afdrup vinniger te laat plaasvind.  Geelhoutbome se fyner afhangende smal blare verseker ook vinnige afloop. (Vergelyk die foto.)  ‘n Ou inwoner het geglo dat eers nadat dit 15 mm gereën het, die reënwater die woudvloer bereik. Kroondakspesies soos Ysterhout, Geelhoutspesies en ‘n paar ander het lang, reguit stamme om hul krone ten beste aan sonlig bloot te stel vir fotosintese – soos sonpanele.  Daar word beweer dat minder as 3% sonlig die woudvloer bereik en daarom is laer bome en struike se blare  groter en donkerder om soveel moontlik sonlig op te vang.  Omdat blom- en vrugvorming baie energie verg, blom meeste woudbome slegs elke tweede jaar of met langer tussenposes.  Die boomleeftye van dikwels honderde jare bring ook mee dat nie baie “afstammelinge” benodig word nie. Loeries, ape, bobbejane, vrugtevlermuise en bosvarke eet die sappige ryp vrugte maar die pitte is so hard dat dit nie stukkend gekou kan word nie en die diere dra dit ‘n ent weg om later uitgewerp te word.  Dit fasiliteer die verspeiding van ‘n spesie.  Dit is nog ‘n raaisel hoekom hoë bome se krone meestal nie aan mekaar raak nie. Dalk verhoed dit dat ruspes en ander peste en plae nie omringende bome besmet nie? Woudbome dra massas blomme en vrugte wat terselfdertyd ryp word om te verseker dat sommige vrugte darem die aanslag van die diere kan oorleef en later kan ontkiem.  Dit is interessant dat geelhoutbome op windbestuiwing moet staatmaak aangesien die vroulike en manlike blomme op verskillende bome is.  Daarenteen lok die Wildegranaat in die onderbos wat nie op wind kan staatmaak nie , met sy helderrooi blomme suikerbekkies vir saadoordrag. Woudbome vorm ‘n vlak mat van fyn wortels om voedingstowwe in die dun lagie grond vinnig te kan absorbeer.  Hierdie wortels kan nie die swaar bome genoegsaam anker nie en sommige bome ontwikkel groot stutwortels (“buttress roots”) bv Stinkhout en Ysterhout. ‘n Groot kroondakboom verloor elke dag honderde liter water.  Dit veroorsaak negatiewe druk bo in die boom met die gevolg dat water en voedingstowwe deur die wortels en die kapillere vate in die stam boontoe gesuig word.  Die lang stamme is met lignien versterk om die enorme druk en gewig te kan weerstaan.  Die sterk stamme van Ysterhoutbome is ‘n goeie voorbeeld hiervan.

Kontak Danie by: Selfoon 082 320 1833 of 044 531 6790 E-pos Hy woon in Nature’s Valley in die “Oupa Daan” – Huis in St George’s laan 245.


POPI: Are you all set?

The protection of privacy in South Africa has undergone intense investigation over the last decade. In late 2005 the South African Law Reform Commission found that there wasn’t adequate protection and that a new, separate piece of legislation was needed for the proper protection of one’s personal information. This paved the way for the long process which is now finally coming to an end with the Protection of Personal Information Act (“POPI”) recently passed by the National Assembly and now awaiting enactment.

POPI will have as its main aim the protection of personal information. It has been stated that POPI has been designed to protect personal information given the fact that in today’s digital age there are serious implications in how this type of information is handled. Should an organisation or “responsible party” as named by POPI, request your personal information, they can only capture and use it with your consent. Organisations will further have to ensure that it is kept up to date and that they have put in place, reasonable security measures which are in line with industry standards. This in itself can be quite a tall order for many organisations that handle personal information of their clients. As soon as POPI is signed into law all public and private organisations that process personal information will have a transition period of one year to address their compliance. The onus rests on the organisation to comply and compliance failure cannot only bring about reputational damage but can also lead to fines of up to R10 million or imprisonment of up to 10 years. POPI restricts how personal information can be collected and used and to this end sets out eight principles of compliance for organisations:

1. Accountability

All responsible parties which range from the man on the street to corporate giants must adhere to all of POPI’s principles.

2. Processing limitation

Lawfulness is key. The method of information collection must be lawful and not infringe on one’s right to privacy. Processing must be adequate, relevant, not excessive, relative to the purpose for which the processing was undertaken and only done with the consent of the individual (barring a few exceptions). Personal information must always be collected directly from the data subject, unless the POPI provides otherwise.

3. Purpose specification

Collection of personal information must be for a specific, explicitly defined and lawful purpose of which the individual must be aware. The purpose for which your information is going to be used must be explicitly stated and only kept until the desired result for which it was collected has been achieved.

4. Further processing limitation

Further processing of the information must be in accordance or compatible with the purpose for which it was originally collected.

5. Information quality

The organisation must take all reasonable steps to safeguard personal information while making sure it is accurate, complete, not misleading and updated whenever it so demands. When taking these steps, regard must be had as to the purpose for which the information was gathered or would be used for further processing.

6. Openness

The responsible party must at all times disclose to the individual all reasons behind the collection of their personal information. This includes for example the source, application and the individual’s rights in respect of such information and who will have access to the information.

7. Security safeguards

A responsible party must secure the integrity and confidentiality of personal information in its possession or under its control by taking appropriate, reasonable technical and organisational measures to prevent loss of, damage to or unlawful access to personal information.

8. Data subject participation

An individual can at any time, free of charge request from an organisation whether they hold any of their private information. Upon provision thereof, the individual may demand correction or deletion of information that is inaccurate, out of date, misleading or that was obtained illegally. Organisations need to take note of these principles and assess to what extent these principles will apply to them. Proactively obtain help to assess the compliance of your business and start putting measures in place to ensure your compliance with POPI as compliance will not be an overnight exercise and will require planning and understanding on your part. •

Mosdel Parma & Cox 044 533 1101