My aquarist rant

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wesleydnunder

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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.
Would love to see your input. Hope you can get to a computer soon.

Mark
 

wesleydnunder

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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.
Very glad you found some useful info. Thank you for sharing your own experience. Please keep us updated on the progress of your new tanks as you set them up.

Mark
 
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jimv8673

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The Aquarium hobby is like life, as we trudge along, we have success and failures. Hopefully we learn from those mistakes, and gradually become less and less likely to fall in the same holes twice.

If you have been keeping fishes for something over 30 years like myself, you learn what the outer limits are and how to control almost any aspect of keeping wayyyy too many fish in a small tank etc.

The real object i think is to pass those lessons learned on to the next generation, in hopes that the real benefactors of our failures (the livestock) are suffering less each time a newby makes a trip to the LFS.
 
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Wisegy84

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The Aquarium hobby is like life, as we trudge along, we have success and failures. Hopefully we learn from those mistakes, and gradually become less and less likely to fall in the same holes twice.
I agree with this. Mistakes have and will happen to all of us, but those are opportunities to learn.

I first started getting into the hobby about 10 years ago. I'd had some carnival/fair goldfish when I was very young, but my mom kept them in a very tiny "tank" that must have been less than a gallon. We simply didn't know any better. We had never actually gone to a store to buy fish. It was always fish that we won somewhere. As I was growing up we just didn't have any fish (or any pets at all, for that matter).

Once I was an adult I decided I wanted to have fish as pets. Specifically freshwater tropical fish. Bettas had been growing in popularity for some time. So the first tank I bought was a little 5 gallon tank that came with a divider so you could keep 2 male bettas in one tank. I feel dumb now for not doing hardly any research. At least I knew enough to get some water conditioner. I thought water changes required taking the fish out and emptying the tank completely. I don't think that "tank" even had a heater and I think the filter was a cheap under-gravel thing. I did indeed keep 2 male bettas in there, with the divider. They lived for a while, but I know now that they never thrived the way they might have if they were in proper set-ups.

By the time we next moved I didn't have those fish any more. But since we were in a bigger place I decided I wanted to give fish as pets another try. I found a good deal at Petco for a 38 gallon tank with stand, filter, heater, light/hood. I did a bit of research, but not nearly enough. I still was unaware of the nitrogen cycle. I brought the tank home, filled it up, got the heater and filter going and that same day went back to the store for multiple fish (some of which I wouldn't keep together now, but surprisingly all ones that would be OK in a tank that size, at least with different stocking configurations). Things did not go well, as you might have guessed. After losing several fish I finally did the necessary research. I'm so sorry for the fish lives that were lost because of my ignorance/laziness.

I finally figured some things out and was able to get some fish in there that worked, though I was still overstocked. I still had occasional deaths, but I was trying to learn. Eventually we moved again, and I didn't have any fish at that time, but I was planning on setting up the tank in our new house. I did more research, and I used Dr. Tim's Nitrifying Bacteria to quickly cycle the tank (I kept a log of results here on AC, I'll try to dig up the link, here is the link) and things went well. I even picked up a couple more tanks (a 10 and a 20H) from a co-worker who no longer needed them. I kept a lot of different fish over the next couple years, gave plants a try, but eventually I lost all the fish. Some to disease, others I'm not sure. That was 2010 and after that I didn't keep any fish until just a month or so ago.

The main reason for me taking a break was that my wife became pregnant with our first daughter in 2010. That daughter just turned 5 last month and her big gift was me setting up the 20H for her and getting her a few fish. She picked an Opaline Gourami (I plan on setting up a couple larger tanks in the near future and he will likely be rehomed to one of them as I know the 20H is not ideal long term) and some Panda cories. I was a bit reluctant about the cories as I have had bad luck with them in the past, but they're so freaking adorable!

Unfortunately, out of 6 cories total we now only have 2 left. The 4 that died didn't all go at once, but over time. They would seem to have a bit of fin rot (or possibly were nipped by the gourami), then become listless and finally die. This was over the course of several days. The remaining two seem OK for now (and I would prefer them to be in a larger group, but I want to make sure they're healthy first). If these last two die I likely won't be going with cories again for a while, or at least not the Panda variety as they seem to be extra sensitive. I'm not sure what caused the deaths as water parameters were good. The gourami does seem be a bit of a jerk to the cories come feeding time, but I haven't actually seen any nipping. Could be he just stressed them out, or could be they came from weak stock. The gourami is doing well, though, so there's that.

It sucks to still lose fish and to feel like you're doing something wrong. I believe I'm fairly knowledgeable and I've done quite a bit of research, but I know there is always more to learn. Could be I'm doing something wrong with this tank, and I know 20 gallons is a bit small and smaller tanks are harder to maintain. I'm thinking once I rehome the gourami in a larger tank I will put just a betta into the 20 gallon. I'm sure he'd appreciate so much space. A betta sorority sounds neat, too, though.

I also just received a 50 gallon tank (technically 48.6) for free, along with a stand, filter and heater. So that's pretty exciting. Need to make some room in the house for that first, though. The dimensions on it are not that of a standard 50 gallon. It's 48x18x13. I'll probably make a post looking for stocking suggestions.

Wow, this turned out way longer than I intended it to be when I first started. It was nice to write all this out, though, and this seems like a good thread for it. I didn't really do any ranting, though. Maybe some of that later.
 

wesleydnunder

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Thanks for your input, Don. Looking forward to watching the 50 progress.

Mark
 

evil wizard

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Dang, you leave for about a month and suddenly the rant has 20 pages!! I gotta catch up on reading!
 

Wisegy84

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Thanks for your input, Don. Looking forward to watching the 50 progress.

Mark
Thanks, I'm looking forward to it, too. It was in use until just a couple days ago, so I'm fairly confident there are no leaks to worry about, but it is in need of a very thorough cleaning.
 

Lady JinglyJones

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Try corys again when the tank is better established - sometimes older set ups do better.
 
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