I've had a seriously-disorientating morning thus far! Brain is frazzled and I'm not sure it's capable of coping with my plans for the rest of the day.
I woke up, now in Tier 4, to Mrs.V! trying to sort out arrangements that we had in place for Christmas. I suspect that she may be imposing a solution that nobody else wants, but also suspect that my intervening would make things far worse in terms of emotions etc.
Then I discovered we have what appears to be a smart squirrel - it had apparently worked out how to nick the peanut butter out of the trap without triggering its mechanism. Mrs. V! had watched it go halfway into the trap and emerge with the bait. As she reported this, I saw it sitting smugly on the back fence cleaning its whiskers. I will have to try to adjust the trap's sensitivity (there's a screw that enables that) without necessitating a trip to A&E - which is probably inaccessible at the moment anyway.
At last I was able to turn my attention to the bucket.
After dosing with ammonia and nitrite solutions yesterday, I had removed a small jar-full (jarfull? jarful? - I think I need Wishafish to come along and adjudicate again!) of bucket-water so that this morning I could test ammonia and nitrite and compare it with those parameters in the bucket. The plan was to get a rough idea of the action (if any) of the nitrifying microblighters (if any) that may be in suspension rather than adhered to surfaces.
At initial inspection this morning, there did appear to have been activity of some sort in the jar - whether physical, chemical or biological :
So I set about testing it. I'll say what I found ammonia/nitrite-wise in a second. After I'd done these tests I thought I'd better just check conductivity and pH in the jar. Conductivity was reported as 20.2uS (originally 267!) but even more puzzlingly, my multi-function meter refused to give me any sort of pH reading whatsoever (it's supposed to read the whole scale from 0-14). It refused to reset ; and refused to recalibrate. This instrument has been behaving perfectly for several months (earlier in the year I'd had to return two or three faulty replacement meters). In the end I gave up on pH and will see if Pass Ltd. will once again replace the meter ; either that or offer me favourable terms for returning to separate EC and pH meters. Anyway ..
Total Ammonia in the jar was reported as 0mg/l (in the bucket it was 0.36mg/l) ; nitrite was reported as 0.007mg/l (in the bucket it was 0.006mg/l). As I say, my brain was well frazzled by that point ; but if those results are anything near true, they're at least noteworthy! Concerned that I might have, for some reason, made a mistake when withdrawing the 'jar' sample from the bucket, I decided to repeat the exercise, as detailed below in my daily bucket report.