If you want to set up your first aquarium, you might be wondering which species to adopt. Here are five colorful suggestions that are great for beginners.
1. Cape Lopez lyretail
These speckled orange fish live in pairs, and a small aquarium with plenty of plants to hide among will suit them well. Just make sure the tank has a lid because they love to jump.
These fish come in a variety of colors and can thrive in a modest-sized bowl with warm water. Also known as Siamese fighting fish, you should only have one of these species in an aquarium.
4. Cardinal tetra
These active and vibrant fish can live peacefully in a community aquarium. In fact, it’s recommended to have at least 10 of these schooling species in a tank.
Also known as danio rerio, this is a robust species that live in schools. Although they’re content in room temperature water, zebrafish require a tank volume of at least 52 gallons.
To make sure you choose the right quantity and species of fish for your aquarium, speak with a sales associate at your local pet store.
7 ways to make the most of your basement
Are you thinking about finishing your basement? While this can be an expensive project, you’ll increase both your living space and property value. Plus, you can easily adapt to this versatile space to suit your family’s needs over time. Here are seven types of basement conversions.
1. Workshop. Whether you enjoy sewing, woodworking, scrapbooking, or winemaking, you’ll have the space you need to store all your supplies and tools.
2. Home office. You’ll probably find it easier to concentrate in a room that’s cut off from the rest of the house. Plus, you’re less likely to be disturbed during conference calls.
3. Guest bedroom. This is an ideal way to offer your visitors more privacy. And if there’s enough room to fit in a bathroom, all the better.
4. Cellar. Whether you want to store wine, root vegetables, or canned goods, make sure space is well ventilated and the humidity level is controlled.
5. Personal gym. For this to be a practical option, the ceiling should be high enough to accommodate stretching and jumping jacks.
6. Playroom. Give your kids plenty of space to run around and store their toys without cluttering the main living areas of the house.
7. Laundry room. In addition to freeing up space in the bathroom, you’ll finally have the room you need to fold and iron clothes.
Keep in mind that natural light is limited in a basement. Therefore, you’ll want to opt for an open-concept design or glass doors and partitions if possible.
5 fun Thanksgiving games
If you’re looking for a festive way to spend time with your family over Thanksgiving, here are five fun games that will get everyone moving.
1. Turkey tag
Transform clothespins into turkeys using feathers, googly eyes, and other craft supplies, then clip them on to the back of each player’s shirt. When the game begins, try to unpin other players’ turkeys without losing your own. The last person with a pin on their back wins.
2. Sweet potato race
3. Thanksgiving charades
On individual pieces of paper, write down holiday-themed phrases such as marching in a parade, carving the turkey, setting the table, baking pumpkin pie, and playing football. Take turns picking a phrase and silently acting it out while other players try to guess.
4. Gratitude pick-up sticks
Use a multi-color set or make your own by painting wooden skewers. Assign a category (person, place, food, thing) to each color. When a player picks up that color stick, they have to say something they’re thankful for in that category.
5. Turkey waddle
This is a great game to play outdoors. Each player holds a balloon between their legs, and the first person to waddle across the finish line with their balloon still in place wins. For larger groups, create teams and make it a relay race.
Additionally, you can search online for Thanksgiving trivia, riddles, and jokes to liven up your dinner table discussions.
Tips for buying energy-efficient appliances
In addition to being eco-friendly, energy-efficient appliances can save you money on your utility bills. Here are some tips for choosing the best energy-efficient appliances for your home.
Look at the labels
Most large appliances sold in the United States are required to have a bright yellow EnergyGuide label. This sticker displays the appliance’s annual energy consumption and indicates how it performs relative to other models in its class. Always consult the EnergyGuide label to learn more about the appliance before you buy it.
You should also look for the Energy Star logo, which indicates that the product meets strict standards for energy efficiency.
Consider the size
It’s often important to determine what size you need your appliances to be, especially when it comes to HVAC systems. If your unit is too small for your house, it will operate at peak capacity for long periods of time, which isn’t energy efficient. An oversized appliance isn’t ideal either, as it costs more upfront and is more expensive to operate.
Size is also an important factor when buying refrigerators, washers, dryers, furnaces, and boilers.
Make a “smart” purchase
Smart appliances are products you can sync up with a smartphone or home energy management system. This provides you with greater control over the way the appliance operates as well as real-time data about its energy usage.
In addition, many smart appliances, such as refrigerators, laundry machines, and HVAC systems, can be programmed to operate when electricity rates are lowest, saving you money.
Finally, once you’ve selected your new appliance, make sure to get it installed by the right professional. A faulty installation can impede your appliance’s energy efficiency and even cause it to break down.
5 weeks before Christmas: The countdown begins
With several weeks to go until Christmas, now’s the time to sit down and create your game plan for the holidays. Here are a few tasks to get you started.
• Determine your budget for the holidays including for gifts, food, and drinks, new outfits and decorations
• Write a list of the people you want to buy gifts for, and start to jot down ideas
• Begin to plan your holiday menu, taking into account any of your guests’ allergies or diet restrictions
• Sort through and test out your decorations, and set aside any broken or defective items
• Decide whether you want to host a themed event such as a tropical Christmas party
• Create and send out save-the-date invitations, with more details to follow in the coming weeks
• Organize a gift exchange among friends, family members, or co-workers (set a price limit and pick names)
• Schedule appointments with your hairdresser, manicurist, and other beauticians
What’s the best material to frame your windows?
If it’s time to replace the windows in your home, you’ll need to choose a material for the frames. Here are the most common options and what you should know about them.
Made of PVC and often supported with a metal interior, this material is easy to maintain, an effective insulator, and resistant to moisture and corrosion. It’s also the most affordable window frame option. Over time, however, fluctuating temperatures can cause the corner seams to fail.
This timeless, warm, and recyclable material is both an eco-friendly and aesthetically pleasing option. However, it requires meticulous care to protect it from water damage and rot. Alternatively, hybrid window frames include a layer of aluminum or fiberglass to shield the wood from the elements.
While not as affordable as vinyl, this low-cost option offers the strongest window frame structure. It’s also resistant to temperature fluctuations and moisture. Fiberglass tends to discolor in the sun, but it can easily be repainted. Plus, the material won’t deteriorate.
All of these window frame varieties have an average lifespan of 20 to 30 years. However, if properly cared for, wood frames can last much longer.
5 eco-friendly laundry habits to adopt
Washers and dryers consume an excessive amount of energy and water. Here are five habits you can adopt to conserve resources and make laundry day better for the environment.
1. Only wash what’s dirty
If you wear a shirt for only an hour or two on a cool morning, for example, it doesn’t necessarily need to be washed before it can be worn again.
2. Wait for a full load
3. Use cold water
Up to 90 percent of the energy used by your washer goes toward heating the water. Plus, cool water can effectively clean clothes and is actually better for some fabrics than warm or hot water.
4. Favor green products
Look for biodegradable, phosphate-free laundry detergents and fabric softeners, preferably products sold in recyclable packaging or in bulk.
5. Air-dry when possible
Dryers consume a massive amount of energy. Whenever possible, opt for eco-friendly alternatives like a clothesline or drying rack.
In addition, make sure to maintain your washer. You should clean it a few times a year to remove lime deposits and other residues that can reduce your appliance’s efficacy.
If you need to replace your washing machine, opt for a front-load rather than a top-load model since it will use less water. Plus, the spin cycle tends to be faster, which removes more moisture and shortens the drying time. For optimal efficiency, choose Energy Star certified products.