Catching The Fish “Bug”

I had never had a fish tank when I grew up. I always heard stories from other pals at school who had them. They used to talk about their guppies, having babies and either the parents eating them, or Mom doing the “white porcelain tank number” on them. Lynda, my wife, talked to me about the possibility of getting a tank for my birthday last year. She had had a couple of tanks before but was not prepared to help with the general maintenance. But she knew that with me being an “anal-retentive” type, I would do a nice job in setting up and keeping a tank. Oops, she was not only right about the setting up a nice tank but forgot that I also dive into anything I do with a flurry!

Off we went and bought a twenty-gallon starter kit, hoping it would be big enough, and we thought that if I didn’t do well then we hadn’t spent a lot of money that we could not somehow recoup. Of course I went through the general ich syndrome as well as the water cycle, loosing fish left, right, and center. And when you approach a pet store to ask questions all they want to do is sell, sell, and sell you more stuff. Thank God for the Internet and books, which is where I found out about CAS. Soon I had everything under control, understanding water quality, diseases and parasites. Of course one also has troubles with what kind of fish to start with: male or female, let alone what species of fish. What is compatible with what, whom eats whom, and whom kicks the h-ll out of everyone else in your tank? The list never ends, as you well know. Then again you find certain fish do get along if they are raised together, even though the pet stores say different.

So I started with the mollies, platies, gouramis, and tetras. But I still had eyes for some of the other colorful fish and more aggressive types.

Hence tank number two. I found as my gouramis grew, the more aggressive they became. So they went into my second twenty-gallon tank. Well this tank was to be decorative, and I had to to set up the color of the rocks for a pleasing effect etc., so by the time we landed on our feet again we had spent $500.

The survival rate of the fish started to come together, and I was even having a few babies appearing now and again. OK, so what do we do with the babies? A small two-gallon baby/hospital tank came on the scene much to my wife’s delight, because being a mother herself … you know the story.

I still had eyes though for the aggressive types and wanted to “expand”. Discussions went back and forth as to what size tank to get next… I decided on a fifty-five gallon. I was going to get a 48-inch stand put the two twenty-gallon tanks on the bottom with the fifty-five gallon on top. After still wrestling with the types of fish (Africans and South Americans), Lynda came up with the wonderful idea of two, count ‘em, two, more twenty-gallon tanks so I could get into both. That would mean four tanks total. I am now really starting to believe the love and support my wife has for me. More fish came into the house, as Lynda and her son Mike rolled their eyes everyday… no more… PLEASE! Little did they know I had noticed a really nice forty-five gallon corner tank that was on special because of a tiny crack in the glass at the top which would not come into play when filled with water. Even with this happening, I am glad to say that I am NOT sleeping on the couch. After getting everything set up I had to start making the tank stands look like they were furniture, another project in itself. So the corner tank is now set up for “community fish” while the other four contain the more aggressive types.

You say to yourself did it stop there? H-ll NO! I got the “bug”… BIG TIME! As the fish grew it became apparent that more room was needed. As “supplies” were also needed, Lynda found that a pet store chain was going out of business. Well here I was in seventh heaven, supplies, food, and more TANKS available at great discounts! Four thirty-gallon long display tanks, a tall thirty-gallon, a fifteen, and two tens later, I am beginning to wonder where in the house we will live? The fifty-five-gallon tank still came on the scene as well. After all, fish grow! So now it is time to dispose of some of my smaller tanks. (sixteen is too many!) Birgit, I’ll be in touch with you for the CAS Auction! As the dust is settling, we now have the corner tank, the fifty-five on top of two twenties, one ten, and a five and a half gallon (one on each end table). It is no wonder the TV never gets turned on anymore. The rest are all set up down the basement, and yes, they all have fish. Mass water changes have become a science, even though it cuts into my golf time.

I do however wish to thank Lynda and her son Mike for allowing me to go “overboard”, which I know they enjoy watching my efforts to maintain are relaxing visual entertainment of the various species of fish I have acquired. Yes, I will be putting in my name for the home tour next year so you can also see the tanks. Hope to see you then. ?