Childhood aquarium stories!

  1. Imtryingmybest

    Imtryingmybest Member Member

    Hi, i think it would be super fun for some of us to share stories of fish that we had when we were kids, horror stories or not! I have a pretty bad one to share, and i promise that i would never, ever put a fish in these conditions again. It is a pretty cool story though.....

    So it all started when i was five years old. I was at a Halloween fair and managed to win SIX goldfish at the ring toss (or whatever game it was). We got home and plopped ALL SIX of these poor little guys in a two gallon tank. We put in a little gravel, plopped one of those glofish cave things in there, and filled the tank with non-dechlorinated water. Let me repeat that i was five years old at this time. I would feed them once every week or two, and my dad would fully clean out their tank like twice a year (take all the water out, rinse the gravel, and fill it up with more water straight from the tap (no dechlorinator used at all). Through time, they died one by one (my sister insists that one of my goldfish ate hers), and after about six months, only two were left: my two favorites, bigfin and monster. Now these guys are the toughest fish I've ever seen. This little tank was obviously too small, and there wasn't a filter in there. Fast forward a year, and those two fish are still alive, but we're out of goldfish flakes! My dad, being as cheap as he is, gave me a bag of crushed up cheerios to use as food. So that's what i used. Now they were being fed cheerios, and this lasted for 7 more years. Now it's been like 8 or 9 years, and my fish are still alive! I'm old enough at this point to tell my dad to off with the cheerios. They were finally eating normal flake food again! They survived after this for another year or two. My dad always joked that when these fish die, the apocalypse will start. They died during the whole 2012 thing, so it definitely put me on edge!

    These fish never exhibited any signs of disease (that i can remember), but obviously weren't very happy in the little dirty tank. I guess that the moral of this story is that even though a fish can survive in a dump like that, it doesn't mean that they're happy in there. I know all of you guys know that though! I would love to hear any childhood aquarium stories from you guys, heinous like mine or not!

  2. Lchi87

    Lchi87 Fishlore VIP Member

    My parents kept a 20 gallon tank when I was a child and had it stocked with the following:

    -2 large angelfish (they even spawned!)
    -2 black mollies
    -2 dalmatian mollies
    -3 platies
    -3 cory cats
    -half a dozen or so neon tetras
    -various other tetras that I can't recall

    They didn't know anything about cycling, would do 100% water changes a month with untreated water, THEN add in dechlorinator after the fact, never changed out their filter media. The tank was always cloudy with yellow colored water and needless to say, all of the fish died one way or another and they eventually gave the entire setup away.

    Looking back, I feel super bad for subjecting these poor fish to this but I honestly was too young to even realize what was happening.

    Now as an adult with my own tanks, I am borderline OCD with water quality and very careful with stocking as a result!

  3. aliray

    aliray Fishlore VIP Member

    I got my first fish tank, a 10 gallon at 8 or 9 , 61 years ago. My mom and myself got some fancy guppies. and some water sprite. The filter was a little inside corner filter box run by a very noisy little air pump. it had some charcoal in the bottom and then filter floss. About once a month we dumped it all out , scrubbed it out , and replaced with fresh. We also never used dechlorinator, just put the water in a bucket without a top and let sit for 24 hours to gas off. The water changes consisted of top offs, and once a year or so, we emptied everything out scrubbed the tank, rinsed out all the gravel in a colander then put everything back in the tank, and that was it . We also had a little breeder net in the tank and we would catch the babies in a small gravy ladle, which I still have. How they lived is still a mystery me ,but we did feed them fish food. Fish keeping has changed considerably...Alison:p

  4. AnneRose

    AnneRose Member Member

    Reading these stories makes me giggle!

    When I was about 8 years old my mom bought a ~10 gallon tank (I can't remember the exact size) and put in like 4 goldfish, as well as 2 cory catfish (cause she thought the tank would always be super clean with that fish. Haha.)

    We didn't know anything about cycling so when we brought them home we put them in a full tank of new tap water (not dechlorinated) and new filter (without any media..) We would feed them A LOT once a day, and would do 100% water changes like once a month. Surprisingly enough, the water was always crystal clear and these fish lived for like a decade (not the cory cats, obviously. They had a lot to clean :;smack)

    Now looking back, I reaaaally feel bad for these little babies, putting them in such a small tank.. But we thought goldfish had an adult size of like 3 inches max haha.
  5. Cef

    Cef Member Member

    We had several tanks over the years. I was about 6/7 years when my parents bought 30g tank i think, and placed 4 bala sharks inside. They jump one by one over the course of a few weeks. Next, I was 14 when they bought a 40g and placed inside it a flowerhorn cichlid. Whats amazing was this fish survived for 3 years! With 100% water changes every other month. No proper filtration just a powerhead with a sponge filter attached. We got him as a baby 1/2" and grew to 6" before dying. And thats the last time theyve kept tank.
  6. l

    lol Member Member

    I'm still a kid but when I was younger I had a huge common pleco in a 29 gallon (lol not smart) with guppies and whatever else was in there. This big ugly pleco just sat in the back of the tank, never saw him do anything else. He was huge. My dad finally had enough of this ever-growing thing and stopped feeding him, but he just wouldn't die. I know it's cruel but it's a true story :whistling:
  7. BlackNotebookTanks

    BlackNotebookTanks Well Known Member Member

    When I was knee high to a grasshopper, I was in my LFS for the first time! It was a world of wonder - the best thing I had every seen! We didn't purchase anything. However, I did, look at a wall of fish whish had Betta fish in small cubicles, and above them, a large tank with Flower horn Cichlids. I read the label underneath the cichlids, "Asian fighter fish" - I did not realise that this label was infact for the Bettas. And for the next while I called FH cichlids and anything that looked remotely similar a fighter fish. That's embarrassing. Oh and to add to the yikes, we stayed in a nice hotel not to long after, with what must have been a 1,000G tank in the reception. It was maHOUsive! I think it could have been SW, but it could have been a bland FW tank too. And after watching it in the lobby for quite some time, I noticed a dead fish, and another one, half eaten. Then this big fish which I had self labeled as a fighter fish, resumed consuming these fish. I walked over the reception and told the lady "Your Asian fighter fish is eating the other fish help" Yikessss...... Thank god my mum called me up to my room then!

    As for tanksasters, I too had the 'tiny tank with Goldies. They were called Clanky and Carrie. Remembering them, I believe they were comets. Yeah. I was about 2-3 and didn't know anything other than - fosh need water and flakes. And when they passed away after four years, I put then in my princess bowl while mum prepared a mini funeral and come flowers. I then brought said bowl into the television and turned on Spongebob. I told Clanky and Carrie that they were going up to heaven where they'd meet Spongebob and live in the Bikini Bottom... Poor lil dudes...
  8. OP

    Imtryingmybest Member Member

    Thanks for posting these you guys! They're so fun to read, and they make me feel a little better about my tiny goldfish tank ;)
  9. bigCEE

    bigCEE Initiate Member

    My childhood aquarium story is short of specific details (I can't recall the tank size, number and specific kind of fish, etc.) but I do remember three key details:
    1. The aquarium was in the dining room/kitchen
    2. I had an identical twin brother (and, yes, my version of the story is the HE talked me into this lol)
    3. When we were 5-6 years old NEITHER of us liked hot dogs...Do you see where this is going?

    So one day my brother and I were left alone at the table with the explicit command that those hot dogs had better be gone when mom came back downstairs.

    The evil mastermind (my brother), instructed me to cut my hot dog up as small as I could and put it into the aquarium so the fish could eat it. As "small as I could" was just about in half. My mom came back to the kitchen a short time later and screamed her head off then made us catch the fish in cups and empty the aquarium and fill it up again before my father got home from work.

    Fast forward 40 years or so later and my parents still warn me every chance they get to not feed my fish hot dogs! lol

    Oh, as a side note my father has an aquarium that basically looks like a hair algae factory which I find myself cleaning when I visit them. lol
  10. zcpetty

    zcpetty Well Known Member Member

    I remember my parents having the 25 gallon tank (i set it back up for them not long ago) and i always wanted my own tank as a kid. I had the classic 10 gallon tank. I always had a pleco (poor things) and some form of gold fish or gourami. I have this distinct memory of coming in and one of the fish were missing. Turns out it jumped the tank (no top as we were cheap) and landed in a box next to the tank and got impaled on some sort of sharp paper thing. i remember that poor fishes dead body stuck on the paper... Makes me want to be super careful at keeping my fishies safe and in a well suited tank. similar story with my Newt..he escaped and we found him years later petrified in a box after moving homes... I didnt know better as a young kid. Almost as bad as the shaken fish syndrom of an excited toddler...
  11. PrinceOfPride

    PrinceOfPride Member Member

    Ok, so bit of a vent/story of my first betta: So when I got my first betta, I tried to do my best researching fish care, but my dad was like "Oh it's just a fish, here you go. Have a vase, that's good enough for him." He made fun of me for naming the fish (Darius) and rolled his eyes at me when I bought water dechlorinator (said it was unnecessary). Tried my best to keep the water conditions stable with what little I had (unheated vase), but then the poor thing got fin rot. My dad kinda insulted me for buying betta fix "Oh, you put so much money into that fish. It's not like it's a dog." I noticed after a few months he didn't seem to swim around much, and my dad's response was "betta fish are supposed to be lazy." In the end, the poor betta ended up dying from dropsy. So there's my first betta disaster. :( Used to get so frustrated with my dad when it came to dealing with small wildlife/animals. I get he grew up in a somewhat rural area of the Midwest, and it's kind of a cultural/generation gap thing between me and him. But still...

    But hey, now that I'm an adult living on my own and I can spend as much as much money and space as I want on my current bettas and I dont' have to deal with the "It's just a fish" talk. :)
  12. zcpetty

    zcpetty Well Known Member Member

    You ever go to Kmart or Walmart and see the ones in a vase or cup just sitting on a random shelf.. you just know it will die, but you cant take them all home and save them..
  13. Platylover

    Platylover Fishlore VIP Member

    No kidding. I took a betta that had a cracked container with tape covering the crack, this was at Walmart. A few days later I took it to my LFS as I didn't intend to keep him, but couldn't let him stay. He had barely any water too. Good idea for a thread, I enjoy reading these!
  14. zcpetty

    zcpetty Well Known Member Member

    Start one and i will gladly go on for days about other species i hate to see in the stores the way they keep them... :p just dont forget to let me know if you do make one!
  15. PrinceOfPride

    PrinceOfPride Member Member

    My best friend/college roommate ended up buying one of the bettas once because he felt bad for it. He grabbed the most depressed/sickly looking out of the bunch because he wanted to help it. Unfortunately it died in only a week, but at least the fish seemed a lot happier being in filtered tank in it's last moments. He even used to kind of greet my friend whenever he came home and would swim up to the top/front of the tank.