Hobby

My Evolution as a Fish Keeper

The end of May 2017, I bought a Betta on a whim. I stuck him in a tiny (horrifyingly so) “tank” for a couple days before someone brought me to my senses and I ordered a 2.5g for him.

A couple months later, I’ve got a 3.5g, and a 5.5g, each with a Betta in it, and 5 amano shrimp in the 2.5. I still have 2 of those shrimp.

Then I got a 10g, which I stupidly put two goldfish and a common pleco in. The pleco died almost immediately (I still didn’t know about cycling) and one goldfish followed. The other goldfish ended up covered in ulcers that wouldn’t heal and I euthanized it.

I finally found Reddit. I started reading. I realized I was a fish killing idiot and this all could have been avoided if I had been educated a little.

At this point, I have two bettas, and 3 surviving amano shrimp. One Betta moves into the 10g and the other into the 5.5.

I still haven’t learned that much. One Betta dies. I bring home 3 male guppies to put into the 5.5g. When I get home, I discover the 5.5g is leaking at an alarming rate. I put them in the 10g with the female Betta. She hates them.

Now I have an angry Betta and 3 traumatized guppies and 3 shrimp.

I’m starting to wise up that the guppies are not going to live peaceably with the Betta in such a small tank. I rush to PetCo and but a 29g which I hastily set up.

My guppies, female Betta, and shrimp go in the tank. The tank (luckily because I’ve killed enough creatures) is pretty much instantly cycled when I move the filters from the 10g into it. There’s a lot of plants too because I had a few in two of the small tanks, and quite a few in the third.

Over the next month or so, I add some zebra danios, black neon tetras, and what turn out to be dwarf pencilfish. I keep adding plants. I do semi regular water changes. I add a couple mystery snails. I invest in a water test kit.

I keep almost everyone in the 29g alive and healthy for over a year. I keep reading, I learn a lot. I find some other fishy folk and build community. The 29g gains a bristlenose pleco and I start transitioning over to mostly platties. They’re successfully breeding and pretty soon I’ll be giving them away.

My mystery snails suddenly go from about 5 to about 75. I collect as many small ones as I can find and take them to Petco. I vow to remove every egg cluster I see from now on.

I make a contact on Reddit and purchase a bunch of red riili shrimp from them. A few days later, there’s a snow storm and we lose power for a few days. I’m unprepared and I lose a few fish. Amazingly most of the shrimp survive. I buy battery powered air pumps, batteries, and mylar blankets.

About 6 weeks ago, I decide to start another tank. I really, really want goldfish. I join r/goldfish and I read everything. I ask questions. I buy a 36g and instant cycle it with my second filter from the 29g. I buy sand substrate after reading some Goldfish will try to eat rocks. I keep feeding the cycle because the tank is empty except for a few mystery snails.

I discover King Koi and Goldfish. I plan on ordering 2 goldfish but I lose control and order 3.

The goldfish arrive, healthy and beautiful. They are acclimated to the tank and are soon thriving. My mom is in love with them. But my tank is somewhat overstocked and will be very overstocked when they grow out a little. I do lots of water changes. I buy a Python which is the best fishy purchase I’ve made.

I start watching the online marketplaces. A few days ago, I come across a 75g that’s only a few miles away. I make an offer on it, considerably less than they were asking, for the tank, stand, and lids. In the meantime, I’ve got a large box in my craft room that has filters, decor, everything I can buy for this unknown future tank.

Friday night, my mom takes me in her truck to pick up the tank. It’s huge. Are they this big in the store? It’s obviously grown since they bought it… Lol. We get it home and get it in place in the house.

I add substrate, decor, and flood the tank. Tonight I ordered lighting and and on Wednesday I’ll finish setup, pulling a filter from the 36g to get the cycle going.

Hopefully by this weekend, the goldfish will be installed in their new tank. I need to order more plants but will move some of the marimos from the 36g to the 75g.

Twice this week I’ve caught myself looking at the King Koi and the Goldfish Island websites.

In these three years I have learned so, so much and while I was a horrible fish keeper at the beginning, I’ve become capable to taking care of these guys and keeping them happy and stress free.

If you’ve read this far, thank you for staying with me, for offering me advice and occasionally a kick in the head, and most of all for being an amazing community that I could learn from. Because of you, my dream of having a goldfish tank is actually real, and they’re thriving.

Now I need to get some sleep so I can wake up tomorrow and do water changes before I spend half my day doing homework.

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