Just registered today, but I've been following posts on this site for around a year now. I figured it was about time to join!
I'm new to the hobby, and originally got started because my daughter loves fish. We started with a small 2.5g tank of 3 goldfish she won from a fair in 2011. They lived for a little over two years before we had a horrible accident that cost them their lives... We had gone out of town for 2 weeks and asked a neighbor to look after them for us. Long story short, the neighbor was lazy, bought some kind of food release tabs, stuck a bunch in the tank and never returned. By the time we got home, the tank was coated with a cloudy orange-ish color and two fish were dead. The third was barely alive, floating sideways at the top gasping for air. I ended up putting that one out of its misery...
My daughter was heartbroken and didn't ask for fish again until about a year ago. I told her that I would do some research and figure out what we can manage.
In January, I was given a 10g aquarium that had only been used to house lizards. So I cleaned it out real well with ammonia and filled it to see if it would hold water. It did, so my daughter set it up and I bought a few things for it. My father-in-law gave us an air pump, tubing, and an in-tank filter. We bought 2 guppies to cycle the tank with. **Please don't judge, fishless cycling is NOT the best way, in my opinion, to cycle a tank; however, I do not judge others for choosing that route and don't expect to be judged for my route
.** Although we did lose one of the guppies, the other is still doing great. I'm not sure if the other guppy died because of the cycle or not. I actually think the remaining guppy (my daughter named Bubbles) may have stressed the other out by incessantly chasing and nipping at him. Once the tank cycled, we got a tiny bristle nosed pleco (I named Mr. Clean), waited a week or two, then added 5 neon tetras (we call The Wisps). These have been the happy and healthy 7 inhabitants of our 10g since the end of March. Mind you, these fish all came from Petco, so the fact that they are (almost) all still alive amazes me.
Over the summer, my father-in-law gave us an extra 55g tank he had, as well as several accessories for it such as a filter with a heater, air pump, and enough gravel to fill half the tank. I wasn't sure if I wanted to set this one up since we had just gotten the other tank going and scheduled peacefully--I only have to do 10-15% water changes once a week to keep the 10g filled with "happy" water. Sorry for the terms, I am learning and teaching a 7-year-old at the same time.
After having an empty tank sitting in my house for two months, I became tempted to fill it. I started planning and researching what I could do with it. Since I'm still a beginner, I decided to do a simple low-tech planted tank with a couple different schooling fish (for now). We just started setting this tank up last week. I mixed the gravel we were given with some CaribSea Eco-Complete substrate to give our plants something with nutrients to grow in. Then, added 3 jungle vals and a banana plant. I used some filter material as well as water from the water changes from our 10g to get this tank cycling. Monday, we brought home 10 cardinals and put them in there. This tank has only been up a week and it's already reading nitrates (<20ppm). Ammonia and nitrites are already gone and I have only done one small (about 20%) water change on Sunday. The plants have already grown too! I can't wait to get this tank completely stocked and fully decorated with plants and such!
Eventually, I may end up trying out an aquaponics system with this 55g, but I wouldn't be able to have many plants inside the tank for that. Maybe I'll find some good ideas on this site!
I've definitely found a hobby that I not only enjoy, but can feed my daughter's interest and knowledge in aquatic life as well.
Even my husband has started to enjoy the fruits of my labors!