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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been lurking for a little while and decided it would be polite to finally introduce myself. :wave:

I got my first tank at the age of 4. My mom took me to a department store which had a bunch of comet goldfish in a display at the front of the store. I plopped myself down in front of the tank and refused to budge. For whatever reason, my mother decided to indulge me; a few days later I came home to find a 10 gallon tank with a handful of comets sitting in the corner of our florida room. :cheer2: I was blown away. I had assumed that fish tanks were in the category of fun things that ordinary people simply don't have at home, like ferris wheels and giraffes. But now I had my very own. I kept the tank going for my entire childhood, with credit due more to the innate hardiness of goldfish than my own skills or compassion as a fish keeper. Poor fish!

When I was 10 or so I branched into tropical fish, motivated by a teacher who appointed me to foster the classroom guppies for the summer. I had a succession of guppies, cory cats, tetras, rasboras, and even african frogs with varying degrees of success. Again, poor fish. There's a limit to the focus and common sense of a preteen.

I stopped keeping fish for a while in college. By that time I had enough maturity to realize that dorm rooms simply aren't a great environment for fish; leaving the fish to their own devices over vacations is cruel, and stripping the tank down to take it home is a PITA. This hiatus ended when one of my friends presented me with a battered betta, rescued from a tank of aggressive fish that had removed large portions of its fins.

I was pretty ticked off at being stuck with this rescue project, and I truly didn't think the fish would survive, so I did the bare minimum for it. I put the fish in a five gallon tank, threw in some elodea to provide a hiding place and water conditioning, and used incandescent bulbs to provide a combination heat source and elodea lighting. I didn't bother with any sort of filtration due to the cost and low fish load. To my surprise both the betta and the elodea thrived. The betta's fins grew back, and the elodea formed an almost impenetrable mat across the entire surface of the tank. I had that fish for another 18 months.

By the time the betta expired I was out of college, and I figured my life was stable enough to set up a tropical community tank. I found the experience rather discouraging. Despite my better knowledge and care, the fish never did as well as either the betta or the tropical fish I'd kept as a teenager. After the last of the tropicals died, I replaced them with three feeder goldfish. I figured there was no point in buying pricey fish if they were just going to keel over immediately. One of the feeders died within a couple of days. The other two kept growing, and growing, and growing. :roll: I moved them up to a 20, then a 40, then a 75 gallon. They then spawned, got ich, and died. :Cry:

I'd gotten pretty attached to the goldfish. They were big enough that I'd been able to interact with them and get to know their personalities. I stowed my tanks in the cellar and stopped keeping fish for the next 12 years. I just didn't want the heartbreak of losing another fragile pet.

Alas, the long dormant fish keeping bug has recently reemerged. Rats, I can't get to my tanks. The cellar bulkhead is frozen shut under two feet of snow. Spouse has informed me that I am absolutely not allowed to buy another tank when we already have some. Spouse has also informed me that I'm not allowed to set up the 75 gallon until I have a successful trial run with one of the smaller ones. Sigh. I'm biding my time until spring and contenting myself with reading about all the changes since I mothballed my tanks. Wow. Injected CO2. Wow. Shrimp in home tanks. Wow. Endlers. Wow. El Natural. Wow. Aquabid. Wow.
 

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Welcome to APC! I can certainly hear you about the trials and misguided success of keeping fish back in the earlier days.

Don't let your spouse shoot me, but you could at least go and buy a 10 gallon tank to use as a quarantine tank, get that up and running, put a few fish in it, and then when the time comes in the spring, you'll be all ready to roll with healthy fish, and established media to add to the next tank you set up. :)
 

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These are still "early days" and I suspect that the methods that we are touting will be laughed at a few years from now but it is the best we know at this time.

Good advice about the smaller tank. I usually advise 20Hs or 15s but SameButMoreSo sounds as if he (she?) is our type of person. Knowledgable but seeking more and willing to wait and learn. Wow! What a combination.
 

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Welcome to the forum. Intresting read.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the welcome. I find it both interesting and amusing how some aquarium practices have come full circle. When I was a kid I had access to some books published right after WWII. The tank setups in a lot of these books were almost identical to the setups described in the El Natural forum. As a kid I thought the idea of putting dirt into your fish tank was pretty barbaric. I also found it pretty weird to spend lots of effort raising brine shrimp and daphnia when flake food was so readily available. Funny how times change!

I remember putting a five gallon, a ten gallon, a 20 gallon, and the 75 down in the cellar. I believe one of the smaller tanks broke in a mishap with a pair of falling skiis. I can't remember which one. Hopefully the ice drifts will thaw enough for me to take inventory at some point. I'm definitely planning on using one of the surviving small tanks for quarantine purposes once I get a primary tank established. The internet has opened up a whole new shopping vista for me. (Spouse is not happy to hear this. :)) I'm really looking forward to having the option to purchase fish and plants from suppliers other than a big chain pet store. I imagine some of the disapointment of my waning days in fishkeeping was simply due to the fish being unhealthy from the get go. They'd have gotten beaten up in transit and then dumped into holding tanks sharing filtration with thirty other tanks. It's hard for anything to stay healthy under those circumstances.
 

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Depend on your Q tank. Generally the fish from breeders are in better shape when starting out but shipping is hard on fish regardless. Plan on a couple of weeks of grief (but maybe you will be lucky.) Once the intial phase of obtaining new critters is over everything goes relatively smooth.
 

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:welcome:to APC!
 

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Welcome aboard! Sounds like fishkeeping is in your genes. Well at least you can use the couple months to do some reading. Maybe that will make it go faster... :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Things have finally thawed enough that I was able to crack open the bulkhead and take inventory today.
:whoo:

This is spouse observing my first trip into the cellar:
:lalala:

This is spouse observing my second trip into the cellar, which was necessary because I had forgotten the tape measure on my first trip:
:bolt:

I found myself with an escort on my second trip downstairs. We have a dinner party scheduled next weekend. I don't quite think spouse trusted me to leave the tanks in the cellar until after the party, hehe.

Alas, the 20 gallon tank has bit the dust, and the tank I remembered as a 75 is actually a 55. On a brighter note, I have an extra 10 gallon tank I don't remember at all. The other 5 and 10 look to be intact, though there's a mouse skull sitting in the 10. (I wonder what happened to the rest of the mouse?) The stainless steel kitchen strainer and enamal roasting pans I used to wash gravel are still there, looking as new as when I put them away. (We got a lot of extra kitchen junk at the wedding, and it seemed a pity not to find a use for the stuff...)

Now I'm scaring the spouse with much rumination on substrates. Play sand? I've decided for the first tank I want something that looks a bit like the bottom of a slow moving creek near my house. Sandy bottom, some drift wood, a grassy weed like Cryptocoryne Crispatula or a smaller Vallisneria, and some Eurasian milfoil harvested from the actual creek bed. (I don't think anyone will have a problem with a bit of milfoil going bye bye, ;) ) The real creek has mussels, catfish, and minnows in it, but I think any kind of bivalve and most native fauna will be impractical. I plan to substitute something else from a similar but warmer environment. Perhaps Malaysian trumpet snails, Kuhli loaches or cory cats, and white clouds or some kind of tetra.

I also need to figure out how to handle my water. I tested it with a pool strip. The PH was something like 8.5, but the hardness was almost undetectable. I've never dealt with readings that funky before. In my past experience, hardness and PH always went hand in hand. The pool guy said the local water company tweaks the water chemistry here in weird ways.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I thought I'd resurrect my old introduction thread, as I've been hiding under a rock for a few years.

The update on me is that I've been futzing around with two ten gallon tanks and a five. It's kind of nice to have a cluster of little tanks I can experiment on without breaking the bank. Something doesn't work out? Eh, try something else.

One of the tens got overrun with an infestation of Java moss that came in with some other plants. I've concluded the stuff is the devil's weed. Those articles where people lovingly wrap it around rocks and driftwood, producing an effect mimicking some windswept volcanic landscape? Ha! Mine crawled up the sides of the tank and decided it wanted to try the arboreal lifestyle. I'm waiting for it to start chanting "Feed me!" like the plant in Little Shop of Horrors. So, next tank, no java moss.

I also tried using peat moss under the substrate in my five gallon. My water is normally very soft with high pH. I was thinking I could use the peat to bring the pH down a bit without causing pH swings like I'd get using chemical water conditioners. The result was a pretty spectacular algae bloom. Oh well. Move on.

I've had some winners too. Ozelot swords were a big success. Red Lotus grows well for me too, though I'm still not sure how to work it into a scape. Spouse has fallen in love with Amano shrimp and demands that all future tanks have some. Ember tetras and pygmy corydoras also got high spousal approval ratings.

The big news is that I've finally got access to a space where I can set up a 75 gallon tank. Spouse has agreed to go along with the project, as long as it includes lots of amanos. I think I can work with that clause. :) I'm excited and terrified at the same time.
 

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Hi! I don't know where in N.E. you are, but we have a nice little planted tamk club starting. We met for the first time in December and ahd a great time at my house. We are planning on another T David Lass' house in Nahant MA in March. If you are interested, PM me with your e-mail address and I'll put you on the contact list.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Sounds interesting. Do you meet on weekdays or weekends?
 

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Sounds interesting. Do you meet on weekdays or weekends?
The last meeting was a Sunday afternoon, a I think the next one is also planned for a Sunday afternoon. I'd be surprised if we ever moved it to a weeknight. It can just get too late for people who have to travel any distance... And we had folks from Worcester, NH and the north shore, so people DID travel a bit!
 
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