|9 comment(s)||Posted by Sam Routledge on January 4, 2011 at 1:42 AM|
|Tags: bloggy, fish, pets|
It's been under a year since T and I took the plunge and set up a small aquarium, and we are completely addicted. (I almost said "completely hooked" but I figured I would spare you the pun.)
As hobbies go, fishkeeping is actually quite rewarding. Caring for living creatures is fantastic for your health, and a great motivator. (Unless you're a heartless bastard, you're not going to neglect your hobby because there are lives that depend on you.) It can be stressful at times though - fish get sick and you can't exactly take them to the vet. I've stood in the fish medication isle, minutes before the store closes, fretting over whether I should try a bacteria treatment or a parasitic one while a store clerk hovers around, trying to get me to make a decision. Right now one of my fish has dropsy and I've done everything I can think of to help her... to no avail.
Fish health-related challenges aside, it's been a pleasant experience.
We first got interested when I found some beautiful galleries of planted tanks online. I had never had much luck with terrestrial plants and the thought occurred to me to try aquatic ones - my main problem seems to be that I over-water plants, and you can't over-water an aquatic plant. T then got interested in the technical aspects - the mechanics of good filtration and ecosystem balancing, an excuse to use fancy test kits, all that great geeky stuff. The fish were actually secondary to both our interests, at first.
Our fish began to thrive - even breed. The water is great, the bacteria colonies well established, and our (few) plants were flourishing. (Well, the ones the fish didn't uproot and eat, anyway) I doubt I'll ever get my beautiful planted tank, as there are few plant suppliers who will ship to Canada and local variety is completely lacking, but I'm alright with that. I've grown to be fascinated with the fish themselves.
The little things have a lot of personality. They are extremely curious - whether it's food motivated or not, I don't know. Whenever you stands near the tank the fish will all rush over to look at you, and if you move around the tank they will follow you. We sometimes have a hard time cleaning the aquarium because they are fascinated by the vacuum hose. They draw my eye even more powerfully than the TV does - I find myself watching them all the time. Watching them swim around, foraging, nibbling my plants, chasing each other... it's relaxing.
We have, to date, released five babies back into the main tank - four of them are still around. One of them, the oldest, is about half grown now. On the older babies it is neat to see their distinctive markings - you can guess the parents from the colors they have. As they grow they get braver and start schooling with the adults, too. Once the babies are old enough to breed I'll just... not think too hard about incest, I guess.
There are two main complaints I'd have about the hobby - expense and moving. It has an impressive initial cost - several hundred dollars for all the equipment you'd need, and then the constant temptation to upgrade. Once you start, you begin to want more - more tanks, more lighting, more fish - and if you give in you can sink a lot of money into it. The second problem is that it's very difficult to move the aquarium around. We've moved it twice so far, for the summer, and I'd rather not have to do it again. It can take over an hour at both ends to take down and the set up the tank, and it's the first thing to be set up and the last thing to be packed.
I absolutely do not regret that we started an aquarium. I wish we had more plants available - the ones I do have are overgrown and sparse because there aren't any nice small filler plants in the local shops. And I wish it didn't cost so much money. But it's so rewarding and fun and I absolutely love our fishes. Our fishes are the best fishes. And I can breed them without feeling guilty, because they will always go to a good home - my own. :3