New aquarist here! Just wanted to share a little bit about myself since I'll be asking questions out here!. I'm guessing many folks learn about aquariums in a sort of trial by "water" experience.
Our story,like so many others, starts with a kid (my son) winning a goldfish at carnival.
Like a dutiful father we zipped over to Petsomething and got talked up from a little acrylic to a nice looking 5g Fluval Chi. Took it home, filled it up, added the conditioner and some starter bacteria, add our little fishy. And the next day had our first fish funeral.
The tank sat for a week looking cloudy hmmmm. Seems like Dad needs to review some science...Lo and behold the joys of the Nitrogen cycle surface. So we went to an even cooler LFS
- 6th St Aquarium in SF. They had so many fish!!! But without a heater, we had two choices - goldfish or goldfish -- feel me? At 50cents a pop, this seemed like a good idea. And we got plants too!!!
So we doctored up our tank, and got very excited and our goldfish seemed to do ok...for a month. A few things we learned in this month. Keeping the light on in the tank 24hrs a day might seem cool, and does make the plants grow a lot, but it is a bad idea for the fishies!!!
Sadly we lost these fish too. And now it was getting frustrating.
We let the tank sit for another several weeks -- maturing, balancing.
We trimmed the plants and started getting more regular with partial water changes. Made sure shades were closed and started turning the light on and off for a 10 hr day. And then back to 6th St! And on a hunch added a bubble wall with a small whisper pump ( I thought maybe there was not enough oxygen in the small tank.
So how do we get access to all these other interesting fish? A heater!!! And what next - let's buy way too many fish!!! yes 10 Danios, and 4 Cory's.
for a five gallon tank! Clearly more to learn... 1 Danio did not survive transition. We also were given some live blackworks, frozen bloodworms and typical tropical flakes. Now we're cooking (at 78).
We read up and realized we had waaaayy too mch life in that tank. So I added an extra "small world" filter. We change 20% of the water 1 or two times per week. And finally had a busy but happy tank at 12 weeks.
For algae, we added a Nerite snail, and 3 RCS. The shrimp were fun but didn't last a week. The last one jumped out!
Everything even survived a 1 week vacation.
But by now my oldest daughter was on to our little venture and wanted in. And my wife was wondering how it was possible that I could sit watching fish zoned out for an hour...
So we bought a second tank, and Aqueon 11g. And this one I had big plans for! Because I planned to kick start the cycle fishless and get this ecosytem really running. I put in rocks and plants, borrowed the small world filter, and squeezed in goo from my main Chi filter. This tank cycled fast!!! We added 2 Neon tetras as our test subjects. They did well! A few days later we moved two Danios. They were nippy, but happy. In another week, we picked up to two more neons, and then another few days added a few more Danios. It took about 4 weeks to move half the fish over. We now have 9 in the big tank, and 7 in the little (plus one snail).
I added a batch of 12 RCS to the 11g for fun and bottom feeding. I'm worried about moving the Cory's who seem happy. But those little shrimp just hide in the rocks - we barely ever see them. Sometime I wonder if they are alive!
We change about 50% on the 5g and 25% on the 11g weekly. I've started using Flourish for the plants. And I've got some Golden Pothos plants on top with roots in the water to help with Nitrates.
Now the tanks are in each kids room. We kept them together while growing tank #2. One Danio flew the coop from the little tank about two days after the move -- Not really shure what that was about. The kids found it on a towel in front of the tank.
One thing I wish in retrospect is that we had bought normal Zebra Danios. We got the Glofish which I had no idea at the time were genetically tweaked. Not exactly what I wanted to introduce to the kids. But they seem tough enough and I'll keep them alive as long as possible, and switch over to untweaked fish over the next few years.
Of-course we are now obsessed and want a bigger tank. But I promised my wife we would a a full year to see how it goes.
1 lesson learned in all this -- it is way easier to manage a bigger tank. Learning the basics on a 5g with too many fish forced us to measure water quality daily and be super vigilant. By comparison the 11g is much easier.
I'll upload some pictures after our weekend clean up!
Thanks for reading!