My aquarist rant

  • Get the NEW AquariaCentral iOS app --> http://itunes.apple.com/app/id1227181058 // Android version will be out soon!

Windy

AC Members
May 30, 2007
439
3
18
47
Theed Palace on Naboo
Real Name
Lazaro
But each time I looked at that empty bowl, my resolve strengthened. Finally, the Gods of all things Timex relented and Saturday dawned. I was at Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy's front door immediately after breakfast (Cocopuffs, this time). It had taken a few minutes of struggle to get the "mower" next door; its movement being hampered by a healthy coating of rust and the fact that the handles were level with the top of my head.

Six hours later, I finished the front yard...sort of...mostly. Mr. Kennedy said I could come back tomorrow to do the back yard. I was able to drag the wretched thing back home...just. Everything hurt and I'd lost about five pounds. As I went in to eat lunch, I didn't hear Mr. Kennedy's own mower fire up behind me next door.

Sunday afternoon I finished the back yard and Mrs. Kennedy said I did such a good job! She gave me a whole dollar! Mom said she was proud of me and we'd go to Fins and Feathers after she got home from work Monday. Now we add another adjustment to the space/time continuum; the thousands of hours between when mom says we can go to the pet store and the actual trip to get a new fish. No one understands the patience required of 8-year-olds! Well...the Dalai Lama, maybe...

Monday at school was interminable...and I got in trouble and had to stand in the corner. Mrs. Golightly felt that approximately two dozen interruptions during the morning to tell the whole class about the upcoming trip to the pet shop was a tolerable maximum. Two dozen and one, wasn't.

By the time mom parked in front of Fins and Feathers I was positively manic. Whose Idea was it to put all those stupid stop lights up, anyway?! Walking into that store was like entering the front gate at Disneyland. Immediately the ears are assaulted by squeaks and squawks and chirps and...wow! There were hundreds of aquariums(actually around 30) with millions of different kinds of fish (again, the reality was far fewer). There were birds and hamsters and even snakes! This was the coolest place ever! As I turned in a slow circle, mouth open, a man came over and introduced himself. He was Mr. Peterson and he and his wife owned the shop. Mom explained that we were there to buy a fish and about Mr. Goldfinger's recent demise. Mr. Peterson asked if we'd used dechlorinator when we'd filled Mr. Goldfinger's bowl. Mom's negative reply, accompanied by a blank expression, prompted Mr. Peterson to explain about chlorine in the water and the necessity for its removal.


Mrs. Golightl Her last name was Golightly. That name inspires funny thoughts.
 

Windy

AC Members
May 30, 2007
439
3
18
47
Theed Palace on Naboo
Real Name
Lazaro
Unknown to us, I'd doomed Mr. Goldfinger the second I opened the valve on the kitchen faucet the afternoon we'd brought him home from the fair. We followed Mr. Peterson over to a shelf from which he plucked a small, plastic bottle. After determining from mom's description that our bowl was about a half gallon, he said we needed to put a couple of drops of this dechlorinator in the bowl as we filled it. "Swirl it around in the water with your finger," he said, "then give it a minute or two to work. Then you can put your fish in." The price on the bottle was $.59 cents. Yikes! Over half my money gone and we didn't have a fish yet!

Then Mr. Peterson picked up a small can from another shelf with the words 'Tropical Flakes' on the label. He told us that we should feed a very small pinch of this once a day. Once a day!! Everybody knew that you had to have three meals a day. My opinion of Mr. Peterson fell a couple notches. He was still high on a pedestal for being the owner of the coolest place ever; just on a slightly shorter pedestal. I saw the price tag on the food... $.99 cents! Vision tunneling again. Mom didn't say anything as she added the small can so I kept my lip buttoned.

Mr. Peterson then led us to the biggest aquarium I'd ever seen. It must have been hundreds of gallons (a standard 55, actually). It rested on the floor beneath shelves which held smaller tanks and contained hundreds of small, orange fish. A small sign taped to the front glass read, 'FEEDER COMETS $.05 ea.' I was both encouraged and disappointed by this 8 1/2" by 11" declaration. I was happy that the fish were being fed but dismayed by the fact that he took us to the wrong fish. We wanted a goldfish, not a comet. *sigh* Down another peg, Mr. Peterson. As Politely as I could, I began to explain to Mr. Peterson that I wanted a goldfish, not a comet. He smiled and told me that comets are goldfish. I was dubious. They didn't look like Mr. Goldfinger. They were orange, not his flashy, metallic gold. But mom said she thought they'd be fine. He quickly netted and bagged one. At checkout I found myself almost a dollar in arrears. Mom smiled, added a dollar to the one I'd laid on the counter. On the way out she said I'd make it up to her. I found out later that settling a debt with mom involved washing a 1959 Ford Galaxy 500 station wagon; then washing it again when she'd declared that I didn't do a good enough job the first time. Lesson learned.

But shortly after arriving home, Comet was swimming happily in his new home. Mom had taken charge of feeding. I'd named him Comet because, really, a fish called a comet named itself. Plus it fit in with my waxing interest in the Apollo space program and astronomy.

As I sat there appreciating my new best friend, my little sister walked into my room, dragging her latest doll behind her by one leg. "It's just a stupid fish," she declared after a few moments, "and besides, I heard Mommy tell Daddy that you killed the other one cuz you didn't put the klormamater in the water". With that she turned and flounced out. I let her live. Honestly, there are few things as irritating as little sisters, and most of those require salves or lotions with the word 'soothing' somewhere on the label.





As I sat there appreciating my new best friend, my little sister walked into my room, dragging her latest doll behind her by one leg. "It's just a stupid fish," she declared after a few moments, "and besides, I heard Mommy tell Daddy that you killed the other one cuz you didn't put the klormamater in the water". With that she turned and flounced out.

LOLOLOL, your little sister reminds me of Angelica from The Rug Rats cartoon.
 

Windy

AC Members
May 30, 2007
439
3
18
47
Theed Palace on Naboo
Real Name
Lazaro
He lived with us for a little over two months. The next time we had to visit Fins and Feathers Mr. Peterson explained about water changes.

Over the course of the next four years we learned from Mr. Peterson. Our bowl graduated to a larger bowl and, finally, to a metal-framed, slate-bottomed 20 gallon with its own top and a blue incandescent light bulb. Financed by a burgeoning lawn business, our tank's inhabitants changed also. Stocking went from heavy to overstocked to,"Hey! If all of y'all swim in that direction at the same time, I can shoehorn a couple more fish in there." Fish deaths were a regular occurrence and I'd learned to accept them as a normal concomitant of having an aquarium.

Water changes were performed in the same way as the bowls, just not as frequently. We didn't need frequent cleaning. We had a filter; a little plastic box filled with floss that sat in the corner and bubbled. When the layer of black gunk resting atop and within the multicolored gravel got too thick, I'd dip a couple cups of water into one of mom's Tupperware bowls, net the fish out (that's right, I had my own net now) and syphon all the water out into the yard. This was followed by the removal of all gravel and tank decorations. Tank and accoutrements were scrubbed clean and new floss replaced the black floss in the filter. The tank was refilled with fresh water and the conscientious addition of dechlorinator drops. The fish were returned to their sparkling clean home. Deaths inevitably followed.


Mr. Peterson had never detailed a partial water change regimen for us as we'd never asked for complete step by step instructions. We were doing what we'd done since the early days of Comet's successors.

The years passed. By my senior year in high school in 1977 we lived in Texas and had a 55 gallon on a stand in the den which housed a huge plecostomus and a tiger Oscar named Cassius. He'd grown into a massive 12" bruiser on a diet of feeder comets (yeah, I'd finally learned what that sign meant and why they were so cheap) and something called cichlid pellets. Usually, Cassius ate just the comets and the pleco ate the pellets. By then, we'd learned about partial water changes. I'd become an expert at syphoning and usually managed not to swallow too much water.

I'd also compiled a pretty complete, or so I thought, library of aquarium books. Among them was Axelrod's 'Handbook of Tropical Aquarium Fishes' and William T. Innes' 'Exotic Aquarium Fishes'. I was officially a fish geek.


I'd become an expert at syphoning and usually managed not to swallow too much water.
Ewwww LOLOLOL
 

sumthin fishy

I eat spam
Aug 22, 2005
1,968
46
51
37
central california
Real Name
mike
On the hi/lo tech thing. My friends dad worked for microsoft, had a SW setup back in the 80's. It was state of the art, pretty sure it was DOS based. I mean, it had the motorized t5Ho bank of 8 lights perpendicular to the front of the tank that staged and moved parallel across the tank to simulate the sun. Sensors that monitored all kinds of levels and adjusted things to make it perfect. And he controlled it all from his computer in another room. Talking to him the other day, he said he still had it in storage and would love to give it to me. For a planted FW at least I could use the CO2, O2, PH, and temp sensors. Not sure what else it will do but it would be cool to set up.
 

Lady JinglyJones

AC Members
Sep 30, 2015
57
11
8
Coast of Coromandel
Real Name
Emily
Camera Used
Ma Galaxy S4.
Man, it's taken me, like, four days to finish reading this thread... but worth it! Learned lots.

Also, I've made up a spread sheet to see if the water change calculator predicts accurately the course of my nitrate tests' readings for the next month. They (the readings for nitrates) got mad-crazy high, and I'm using a mix of daily (though I'll miss some days) 10% and weekly 20% water changes to graaaaaadually lower TDS & not upset my critters. It'll be fun for me to track results. :D

Thanks for all the great info & story!

Emily
 
  • Like
Reactions: Jade.Crusader

Tifftastic

"With your powers combined . . ."
Sep 9, 2008
1,769
344
92
32
Glasgow, Scotland
Real Name
Tiff
Man, it's taken me, like, four days to finish reading this thread... but worth it! Learned lots.

Also, I've made up a spread sheet to see if the water change calculator predicts accurately the course of my nitrate tests' readings for the next month. They (the readings for nitrates) got mad-crazy high, and I'm using a mix of daily (though I'll miss some days) 10% and weekly 20% water changes to graaaaaadually lower TDS & not upset my critters. It'll be fun for me to track results. :D

Thanks for all the great info & story!

Emily
I'd acactually be interested to see a post on this. Interested to know how it drops as you go, starting parameters and tank specs and stuff.
 

Lady JinglyJones

AC Members
Sep 30, 2015
57
11
8
Coast of Coromandel
Real Name
Emily
Camera Used
Ma Galaxy S4.
I'd acactually be interested to see a post on this. Interested to know how it drops as you go, starting parameters and tank specs and stuff.
Really? Cool, then I'll make it happen! Stay tuned for a post on the Great Nitrate Saga. I mean, not right away, but soon-ish, like.

Emily
 

Wisegy84

Brunettes not fighter jets!
Aug 21, 2007
270
3
18
35
Suisun City, CA
Real Name
Don
Just finished reading through the whole thread and it is awesome. Would love to see more.

Maybe I'll add some more myself once I get back in front of a computer instead of being on a mobile device.
 

Jade.Crusader

AC Members
Jul 4, 2013
85
7
8
32
NE Oregon
Real Name
Green Shiva
This post really needs to be pinned. Your story was amazing! I laughed; I cried. No exaggeration. And to top it off: I learned things! I just rebooted our 20 gallon after it failed before we moved and it was subsequently set in a relative's house for a year for them to take care of while we transitioned. And by failed, I mean that I did all the wrong things and there was moss and yellow water and snails, snails, and snails, oh my! It was a mess. And fish kept dying over and over. Yet somehow, miraculously, the remaining inhabitants still lived for a whole year with the relatives who did absolutely nothing but feed them every day in that same ruined water. Survivors, these guys! Finally we get our tank back and it took some money and serious work but everyone is happy and in shiny new digs :) . I'm telling you this because I believe reading this thread has saved me from making the same mistakes I made before. I had "ah ha!" moments over and over again and I am super grateful for that :). I have plans to set up a 125, 55, and a 10 (for QT), and it would have all been a failed mess if it weren't for reading this.
 
zoomed.com
hikariusa.com
aqaimports.com
Store