Who knew maintaining an aquarium would be so much hard work? From what I knew of keeping fish, the hard work was primarily cleaning the fish tank. Did you know about constantly checking the pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels? That some fish aren’t compatible with other fish, or varying temperatures? That you can lose lots of fish, but grow a lot of algae? That you need snails and other bottom-feeders to clean the algae?
Thank goodness I wised up and opted to learn my skills with cheap freshwater fish. I’m also lucky that my friend Doug has helped me with initial set up, populating with fish from his menagerie, and with a multitude of advice. Unfortunately, I lost 7 of the 8 fish he gave me originally, leaving only “Lucky” the sole occupant of the Aquarium of Death.
It has taken a few weeks, but the aquarium appears to have completed “cycling”, and the new 10 fish that Doug donated to me have survived since last weekend. That’s right — they are still alive. This weekend, I picked up two algae-eating Plecostomus fish (Josh named them Nemo and Dory, naturally), some live plants, a tank cleaner, and actual aquarium decoration (oooh, ancient Greek ruins!)
The good news is that after cleaning out the food detritus and fish poop, and replacing half the water on Sunday, the tank is testing healthy. Both nitrite and ammonia levels are low, which wasn’t the case a few weeks ago. Right now, we are the proud owners of 10 guppies, a mollie, those Plecostomus, and a catfish I named Rufus. I love watching the fish eat, play ball, and practice their ju-jit-su, and I’m looking forward to adding more fish to the family.