Funny Diaries of a North Dakota Tank

Corygal8857

Back when I got my first fish about a month and a half ago, back when I was young and naive, I thought fish would be easy. I thought taking care of a fish would be simple. As you all know, I was wrong. There is so much complexity to this hobby. There is so much knowledge and insight you need to be a successful fish keeper. However, I also realized this hobby is so much FUN! You learn so much and really get to see how each fish has a unique personality. In this journal, I will document my trials and triumphs of fish keeping.
 

Mhamilton0911

Welcome! Where's page 2 of your fish diary? Lol
 

Corygal8857

I will never forget the day I got my first fish. I walked into Petco and perused the tanks. I had told myself I would get a betta, but I figured you have to look around. The tanks were full of colorful guppies, gently gliding through the water. There was a tank full of snails, lolling along. The ember tetras were zipping around in their school. I was entranced. I had no idea how mezmerizing fish could be. My eyes so widened with glee with each new fish. I was so excited. I knew I couldn't just get a betta.
As I neared the end of the freshwater tanks, I spotted it. The Adoption Tank. I was drawn to it. It pulled me in like a vortex. I had to stop and survey the fish. The pearl Gourami gracefully floated along, silently studying her environment. Four neon tetras swam together a little nervously. I read list of fish in the tank and stopped when I came to "Cory - $2.00." Then I saw him. He was a white, little ball of energy zipping around at the back of the tank. Cory was perfect. I looked at him and thought, "What a Spaz! He's perfect." The connection I felt to him was instantaneous. It was that moment in a rom com where the main characters eyes meet, and they know they have found the one. I brought him home right then and there. From then on, I was hooked. I knew that fish keeping was for me.
My $2 Albino Cory is one tough son of a gun. He is the heartiest fish, which is good because he holds such a big place in my heart.
In the next installment of my journal, I will share the tragic Golden Girls Saga.
Thanks for reading!
You must be registered to see images
Here is a photo of Cory right after I first got him!
 

Mhamilton0911

Most of us here adore cories. I have just 2 albinos. I started with 6 but over a few months lost all but 2. Once I moved the remaining 2 to a sand bottom tank, they have stopped deteriorating. I think it was my crummy gravel in my big tank causing problems. I have since changed out gravel for sand, but I still just have the 2.
 

Corygal8857

Most of us here adore cories. I have just 2 albinos. I started with 6 but over a few months lost all but 2. Once I moved the remaining 2 to a sand bottom tank, they have stopped deteriorating. I think it was my crummy gravel in my big tank causing problems. I have since changed out gravel for sand, but I still just have the 2.
I really want to get some more cories. Once I get my tank cycled, I am gonna get a couple types! I had a peppered cory too, but I lost him a couple days ago because I added him too soon. At least he had a great last day, zooming around the 20 gallon. I will have to look into getting some sand. I just haven't had a ton of luck with sandy substrates, but it is much better for corries.
 

Corygal8857

The Golden Girls Saga

Part 1: Growing Pains

After observing Cory for a couple days, I decided he needed some tank mates. He kept swimming around and chasing his reflection. At the time, I was convinced this meant was deprived of company, but now that I’ve watched him awhile, I’m pretty sure that was just Cory being Cory.

So anyway, I went back to Petco and straight to the Adoption Tank. I was hoping the Ember Tetras I had seen a few days earlier were still there, and they were. I had been researching good tank mates for Cories, and Tetras were on the list. However, I first had to phone a friend and make sure I wasn’t overwhelming my 2.5 – 3 gallon betta bowl.

I called my cousin Cathy. She currently has a 37-gallon tank full of Cherry Barbs, Cardinal Tetras, Lemon Blue-Eyed Plecos, and Blue Rams. She immediately answered, “What’d you get?” You see, my cousins, Cathy and Emily, and I have a fish group chat going. I had told them I was going to get a tank mate for Cory. They were just as excited as I was.

“I’m not sure,” I said wistfully. “That’s why I called you. I wanted to talk through my options with you.” So, Cat and I sat on the phone in the Petco fish department for 20 minutes discussing whether I should get a guppy, molly, or the four tetras. Eventually, we decided the tetras would be okay. I made the purchase and named them after the Golden Girls on the ride home.

My husband couldn’t stop laughing as I talked to my fish and tried to reassure them things would be okay. I kept telling them that they had been rejected before, but I would never do that to them. I would love them forever and keep them safe. Well, I tried.

When we got home, I float acclimated the fish to the bowl. I watched as the girls swam around, waiting ever so patiently. Cory hid in his house, unsure of what was coming. After about a 20 minutes, I released the tetras into the tank. Everything was great! The fish all got along, and the tetras made themselves right at home. It was all peaceful for a few days and then tragedy struck.

We had just come home from my parent’s farm about an hour away. My husband’s grandparents were in town visiting, so we had taken them out to the farm to see the equipment and land, stuff people who aren’t from North Dakota normally don’t see. (Also my husband’s name is Jo in case I write that later and you have no idea who I’m talking about.) I went to check on my fish right away. They all were doing fine, maybe a little sluggish, but the water was kind of cloudy. So, I picked up the bowl to take it to the sink. This is a “DUH!” moment for me. To this day, I don’t know why I thought moving the bowl would be a good idea. When I moved the bowl, my little house slipped back and crushed the littlest tetra, Rose, that was resting between the rocks the house. I was absolutely devastated. I had a minor (not so minor) breakdown, full of ugly crying. (My reaction was probably exasperated by burnout and the fact my grandpa had just died the week before.) But nonetheless, I was a wreck. I panicked and moved my remaining fish into my back up bowl. (Lord, only knows why I did that.)

The remaining fish were scared and stressed, but they were fine. The next day, still wracked with guilt, I went out and bought my 5-gallon tank.

Thus ends the first segment of the Golden Girls Saga. More to come soon.

Thanks for reading!
 

MyFishAddiction

Good job upgrading the tank size! They'll appericate the extra room.
 

TheAnglerAquarist

Most of us here adore cories. I have just 2 albinos. I started with 6 but over a few months lost all but 2. Once I moved the remaining 2 to a sand bottom tank, they have stopped deteriorating. I think it was my crummy gravel in my big tank causing problems. I have since changed out gravel for sand, but I still just have the 2.
Definitely try again! Get four more!
The Golden Girls Saga

Part 1: Growing Pains

After observing Cory for a couple days, I decided he needed some tank mates. He kept swimming around and chasing his reflection. At the time, I was convinced this meant was deprived of company, but now that I’ve watched him awhile, I’m pretty sure that was just Cory being Cory.

So anyway, I went back to Petco and straight to the Adoption Tank. I was hoping the Ember Tetras I had seen a few days earlier were still there, and they were. I had been researching good tank mates for Cories, and Tetras were on the list. However, I first had to phone a friend and make sure I wasn’t overwhelming my 2.5 – 3 gallon betta bowl.

I called my cousin Cathy. She currently has a 37-gallon tank full of Cherry Barbs, Cardinal Tetras, Lemon Blue-Eyed Plecos, and Blue Rams. She immediately answered, “What’d you get?” You see, my cousins, Cathy and Emily, and I have a fish group chat going. I had told them I was going to get a tank mate for Cory. They were just as excited as I was.

“I’m not sure,” I said wistfully. “That’s why I called you. I wanted to talk through my options with you.” So, Cat and I sat on the phone in the Petco fish department for 20 minutes discussing whether I should get a guppy, molly, or the four tetras. Eventually, we decided the tetras would be okay. I made the purchase and named them after the Golden Girls on the ride home.

My husband couldn’t stop laughing as I talked to my fish and tried to reassure them things would be okay. I kept telling them that they had been rejected before, but I would never do that to them. I would love them forever and keep them safe. Well, I tried.

When we got home, I float acclimated the fish to the bowl. I watched as the girls swam around, waiting ever so patiently. Cory hid in his house, unsure of what was coming. After about a 20 minutes, I released the tetras into the tank. Everything was great! The fish all got along, and the tetras made themselves right at home. It was all peaceful for a few days and then tragedy struck.

We had just come home from my parent’s farm about an hour away. My husband’s grandparents were in town visiting, so we had taken them out to the farm to see the equipment and land, stuff people who aren’t from North Dakota normally don’t see. (Also my husband’s name is Jo in case I write that later and you have no idea who I’m talking about.) I went to check on my fish right away. They all were doing fine, maybe a little sluggish, but the water was kind of cloudy. So, I picked up the bowl to take it to the sink. This is a “DUH!” moment for me. To this day, I don’t know why I thought moving the bowl would be a good idea. When I moved the bowl, my little house slipped back and crushed the littlest tetra, Rose, that was resting between the rocks the house. I was absolutely devastated. I had a minor (not so minor) breakdown, full of ugly crying. (My reaction was probably exasperated by burnout and the fact my grandpa had just died the week before.) But nonetheless, I was a wreck. I panicked and moved my remaining fish into my back up bowl. (Lord, only knows why I did that.)

The remaining fish were scared and stressed, but they were fine. The next day, still wracked with guilt, I went out and bought my 5-gallon tank.

Thus ends the first segment of the Golden Girls Saga. More to come soon.

Thanks for reading!
That was an awesome journal! Mine are boring, don’t read them lol. I would get the Cory 1 or 2 more friends for the time being. Until you get a bigger tank of course
Great job handling everything though I would have been so stressed my hair would have fallen out. And yes cories are the happy go lucky and adorable fish of the hobby
 

Corygal8857

Definitely try again! Get four more!

That was an awesome journal! Mine are boring, don’t read them lol. I would get the Cory 1 or 2 more friends for the time being. Until you get a bigger tank of course
Great job handling everything though I would have been so stressed my hair would have fallen out. And yes cories are the happy go lucky and adorable fish of the hobby
I am totally with you!!! I want to get 5 once my 20 gallon cycles! I love them.
 

TheAnglerAquarist

I am totally with you!!! I want to get 5 once my 20 gallon cycles! I love them.
Nice! You will have some happy cories and nothing is better than that
 

Corygal8857

The Golden Girls Saga

Part 2: Golden Meets Gilmore

The morning after Rose’s sudden and traumatic departure from this world. I was anxious to get a new tank. I felt horrible that my impetuousness had killed one of my fish and stressed the ones I had left. I had not slept well, so I got up around 5:30am and researching tanks. I decided on a five gallon, so I could keep it in the same place I had my betta bowl.

After my husband got up around 7, we went to Walmart and got a 5-gallon tank kit. Of course, I grabbed some decorations and food while we were there as well. As soon as I got the kit home, I unpacked it, cleaned it, and set it all up. I was so proud of my work. My fishies had a bigger more beautiful home.

So, this was back before I knew about and understood the nitrogen cycle. Pretty much right after I set it up and got the filter running, I added my fish, which looking back on it was pretty stupid. I had done two tank changes within a 24-hour period. However, my fish hung in there and made it. They all adjusted to the tank well and seemed just fine. Rose, Blanche, and Dorothy seemed to relax in their new environment, and Cory loved zipping around.

Since everything was going so well, and because I still felt insanely guilty about Rose, I went out and bought three Neon Tetras to replace her, along with a Peppered Cory. The tetras started off as Larry, Moe, and Curly. But when Larry was removed from the tank, something must have happened because was swimming in circles vertically and sank to the bottom. So, I had to euthanize. The remaining Neons became Lorelai and Rory.

The Gilmore Girls and the Golden Girls got along great. They schooled right up. Pepper, the Peppered Cory, and Cory instantly became best friends. They would huddle in the house together and chase each other. Everything was going well…Until the next morning.

More to come soon.

Thanks for reading!
 

darkcat

What! This can be a real book! I'm getting hooked into this story! I wish I could see the two of them cuddling. It should have been super cute!
 

Corygal8857

What! This can be a real book! I'm getting hooked into this story! I wish I could see the two of them cuddling. It should have been super cute!
 

LHAquatics

I am so hooked lol. You have the skill to be an author. How were you able to recognize which tetra was which? they all look the same!
 

Corygal8857

As requested here is a photo of the cories in their house!
As requested here is a photo of the cories in their house!
Also thanks for reading! I’m so glad you’re enjoying this because I am having a blast writing it!
I am so hooked lol. You have the skill to be an author. How were you able to recognize which tetra was which? they all look the same!
Thanks! I am a writer. I love creative nonfiction (CNF), so this was the perfect outlet for that. I could recognize my tetras by slight differences in coloration. Sofia, one of my embers, was pretty pale from stress. Rory was pretty tiny, so it was easy to know her. Also personality helped me tell them apart. I'm so so so glad you are enjoying this journal. I am having a blast! I have 3 more installments already written. I am just trying to keep myself from posting them all at once! LOL!
PS: If you ever want to read more of my work, let me know! I am working on a psychological thriller and have a collection of CNF about my love of coffee.
 

TheAnglerAquarist

What! This can be a real book! I'm getting hooked into this story! I wish I could see the two of them cuddling. It should have been super cute!
I’m getting attached too!
Of course, I grabbed some decorations and food while we were there as well.
Always got to get food at the store! I got some fluval bug bites small fish the other day
 

Corygal8857

Golden Girls Saga

Part 3: Yet Another Tragedy

When I checked on my tank the next morning, I knew something was off. All my tetras were huddled in the corner by the filter, and I could only see four. I searched and searched but could not find Lorelai anywhere. My cories were fine. They were playfully swimming along doing their thing. The tetras seemed agitated. They would not leave the filter. So after a few minutes, I took a deep breath and checked underneath the filter. To my utter dismay, there was Lorelai. She was hanging limply, halfway out of the filter. My heart wretched. I had lost another fish, and now Rory was all alone.

While the remaining Golden Girls adopted Rory, she began to become more and more aloof. She would never leave the corner by the filter. She would just stare at her reflection in the side of the tank, near where I found Lorelai. My little empathetic heart bled out for her. I kept imagining her as this lonely young woman ready to throw herself into the filter because she felt misunderstood and isolated. All I wanted was for her to have friends, to be happy and fit in. The Golden Girls did their best, but my little neon tetra just kept becoming more and more distant.

After a couple days, I couldn’t stand it anymore. I went out and got two more neon tetras, Lane and Paris. When I introduced them into the tank, I watched with bated breath.

Paris immediately went over to Rory and got her to school up with the other tetras. I breathed a sigh of relief. My tetra numbers were back up. They seemed happy and more comfortable. Around this time, I also added more live plants. This also helped my fish, giving them more places to hide and rest.

The drama eventually subsided. All my fish got into a good rhythm. The Golden and Gilmore Girls became a little family. The cory buddies were happier than ever. My snail kept everything clean and tidy. (Norman is just the best little guy.) It was a little fish paradise when the ich epidemic struck.

Tune in next time for more on the drama of fighting ich.

Thanks for Reading!
Golden Girls Saga

Part 3: Yet Another Tragedy

When I checked on my tank the next morning, I knew something was off. All my tetras were huddled in the corner by the filter, and I could only see four. I searched and searched but could not find Lorelai anywhere. My cories were fine. They were playfully swimming along doing their thing. The tetras seemed agitated. They would not leave the filter. So after a few minutes, I took a deep breath and checked underneath the filter. To my utter dismay, there was Lorelai. She was hanging limply, halfway out of the filter. My heart wretched. I had lost another fish, and now Rory was all alone.

While the remaining Golden Girls adopted Rory, she began to become more and more aloof. She would never leave the corner by the filter. She would just stare at her reflection in the side of the tank, near where I found Lorelai. My little empathetic heart bled out for her. I kept imagining her as this lonely young woman ready to throw herself into the filter because she felt misunderstood and isolated. All I wanted was for her to have friends, to be happy and fit in. The Golden Girls did their best, but my little neon tetra just kept becoming more and more distant.

After a couple days, I couldn’t stand it anymore. I went out and got two more neon tetras, Lane and Paris. When I introduced them into the tank, I watched with bated breath.

Paris immediately went over to Rory and got her to school up with the other tetras. I breathed a sigh of relief. My tetra numbers were back up. They seemed happy and more comfortable. Around this time, I also added more live plants. This also helped my fish, giving them more places to hide and rest.

The drama eventually subsided. All my fish got into a good rhythm. The Golden and Gilmore Girls became a little family. The cory buddies were happier than ever. My snail kept everything clean and tidy. (Norman is just the best little guy.) It was a little fish paradise when the ich epidemic struck.

Tune in next time for more on the drama of fighting ich.

Thanks for Reading!
 

darkcat

Why am I keep getting hooked?! You have the rights to become an author and tell everyone fish keeping is a lot of fun! Did the ich come from not quarantining? Aaaa! A lot of questions in my mind now! I can't wait for the next story!
 

Corygal8857

Why am I keep getting hooked?! You have the rights to become an author and tell everyone fish keeping is a lot of fun! Did the ich come from not quarantining? Aaaa! A lot of questions in my mind now! I can't wait for the next story!
Lol! I’m not sure if the ich came from the new fish I introduced or if it came from my embers. They were in the adoption tank and could have had something when I got them. That being said, I’m 90% sure it came from not quarantining Lane and Paris. I just wanted to end Rorys depression!
 

MyFishAddiction

NOOO!!!!!! Lorelai! This is so sad!

I'm with corygal. Why is this so hooking?!?

Also, I love the pic with the snail on top of the mountian.
 

Corygal8857

NOOO!!!!!! Lorelai! This is so sad!

I'm with corygal. Why is this so hooking?!?

Also, I love the pic with the snail on top of the mountian.
Yeah losing Lorelai was rough. Rory was soooo sad. It broke my heart.
I’m so glad you love my Norman! He’s such a great snail.
 

TheAnglerAquarist

Rip Lorelai :(
At least the Cory buddies are staying strong and are still adorable!
 

Natalie666

yay an interesting new thread to read during work!
 

Corygal8857

“The Harbinger of Death”

So, this is a short side-track from the main plot of the Golden Girls Saga, but I had to share. After the loss of Lorelai and Rose, I think the girls blamed me. Every time I would walk by the tank, even if I was just passing through to make my coffee, they would swim off to the corner. I totally understood their fear. I was the crazy giant that would create earthquakes and always took away their dead before they could mourn. Of course, they feared me. Of course, they hated me, and of course, I took it personally.

Every time I would walk by and they would swim away, it was like a little bullet in my heart. But I pressed on. I was determined to win back their trust and show them that I bring them life and not just death. I switched up food more often, hoping it would create a more positive association. However, I made the mistake of telling my husband about my inner struggle and strategy.

Jo thought that the strategy was good and made sense, but he absolutely did not believe my fish were swimming away from me. So one day, he made me show him. I walked by the tank several times, and each time the Girls fled to the corner. My husband burst out laughing. I pouted. This was not funny; my fish hated me. This did not deter him. He said, “Wow! They really do hate you. They must think you are the devil or something. They see you coming and shriek ‘it’s the Harbinger of Death!’” Sufficed to say, I was not so happy with the new nickname but that did not stop my husband from calling me that everywhere we went. He even shortened it to the Harbinger to make it easier for himself.

I have a loving and supportive marriage, but sometimes I do wish I was the Harbinger of Death.
 

BigManAquatics

“The Harbinger of Death”

So, this is a short side-track from the main plot of the Golden Girls Saga, but I had to share. After the loss of Lorelai and Rose, I think the girls blamed me. Every time I would walk by the tank, even if I was just passing through to make my coffee, they would swim off to the corner. I totally understood their fear. I was the crazy giant that would create earthquakes and always took away their dead before they could mourn. Of course, they feared me. Of course, they hated me, and of course, I took it personally.

Every time I would walk by and they would swim away, it was like a little bullet in my heart. But I pressed on. I was determined to win back their trust and show them that I bring them life and not just death. I switched up food more often, hoping it would create a more positive association. However, I made the mistake of telling my husband about my inner struggle and strategy.

Jo thought that the strategy was good and made sense, but he absolutely did not believe my fish were swimming away from me. So one day, he made me show him. I walked by the tank several times, and each time the Girls fled to the corner. My husband burst out laughing. I pouted. This was not funny; my fish hated me. This did not deter him. He said, “Wow! They really do hate you. They must think you are the devil or something. They see you coming and shriek ‘it’s the Harbinger of Death!’” Sufficed to say, I was not so happy with the new nickname but that did not stop my husband from calling me that everywhere we went. He even shortened it to the Harbinger to make it easier for himself.

I have a loving and supportive marriage, but sometimes I do wish I was the Harbinger of Death.
We have a running joke between my wife and i that all the animals in any pet store/shelter whisper amongst themselves when they see my daughter, referring to her as the "Kiss of Death".
 

Corygal8857

We have a running joke between my wife and i that all the animals in any pet store/shelter whisper amongst themselves when they see my daughter, referring to her as the "Kiss of Death".
Love that!!!! That made me laugh so hard!
 

BigManAquatics

Love that!!!! That made me laugh so hard!
However, we refer to her as that because she just too lazy or uninterested in any pets she gets to take care of them. I took care of the hamsters because i thought they were cute. The rest, she 21, she can deal with the consequences.
 

Mhamilton0911

Your husband sounds like mine! Oooh, he'd make fun of me for so long, just like yours.
I have single shrimp I'm trying to save and he's all over that one!
 

BigManAquatics

Your husband sounds like mine! Oooh, he'd make fun of me for so long, just like yours.
I have single shrimp I'm trying to save and he's all over that one!
"Get a few more, we can have shrimp cocktail!"
 

Corygal8857

The Golden Girls Saga

Part 4: It’s about to get Icky!

Quick Recap! Two of my fish have died. I had just upgraded to a 5-gallon tank. The tank was just starting to balance out. Everything was calm. Everything was perfect…TOO perfect!

I woke up and checked on my tank. I was doing my count to make sure there weren’t any deaths overnight. My cories greeted me by zipping by me in opposite directions. Check and check. The girls of course had swum into the corner when I walked up, so I angled myself over to the side to get a view. All were alive. Yay! That’s when I noticed the white spots. They dotted the bodies and tails of my tetras in ornate patterns. I thought they looked quite beautiful. In my naivety and inexperience, I wanted to assume these white spots were something that developed when your fish began to adjust and feel more comfortable. However, my stomach knotted up and couldn’t shake this nagging feeling.

So, I hopped online and began by looking at pictures of tetras to see if the spots were normal. They were not. That’s when I googled “what are the white spots on my fish?” You know that music that plays in sitcoms and movies when the character is reading or seeing something horrifying, that’s what was playing in my head as I read about ich. I had no idea ich was a thing. While I knew I caught it early and could treat it, I still felt bad my fishies had evil little parasites in them. So, I impatiently waited for the pet stores to open to get my Ich treatment.

While I was there, I also picked up my first water test kit to check on my ph and nitrite levels. I bought the litmus strips, not fully understanding the importance of water testing yet.

When I got home I treated my fish immediately, I watched them carefully to make sure there were no signs of further distress. I used API Super Ick Cure. (I would definitely recommend this product btw.) This worked fast and effectively in my tank. By day two, the scabs had all fallen off, and the treatment was beginning to heal my fish. I followed the instructions and added my second dose 48 hours later.

Everything was fine initially. The fish were acting normal. But when I came home from work, I noticed that Sofia was at the top of the tank gasping for air. When I checked my temperature, the water was at 84 degrees. Yikes! I quickly increased the power of my filter to get more oxygen flow. I increased the intensity of my bubbler. I also floated ice cubes in a plastic bag to decrease the temperature in my tank. (While the high temperature definitely wasn’t a great thing, I think it worked out for me because it sped up the ick treatment.) A water change also seemed to help decrease her stress.

However, a couple days later Sofia was at it again. The temp was normal; all my other fish were unphased. But Sofia, who had been through three tank changes and fought off ich, had just gotten too weak. The next morning she was dead. I found her lifeless body in one of my plants. Poor dear! The Golden Girls were down to just Blanche and Dorothy.

However, there is good news because the ich treatment was successful, and the rest of the fish were on the mend.

In the next installment, prepare for the Massacre of the 20-Gallon.

Grab your tissues folks; it’s about to get really rough.

Thanks for reading!
 

MyFishAddiction

Patienty
ly waiting for the next installment. (PS-could it come today? Like at noon?
 

darkcat

Yes! I have been waiting for part 4! Like above said, can you make part 5 today?! I'm super excited to hear the story and cannot wait! Patience............
 

Corygal8857

Lol! I think I can post part 5 today! I do already have it written. Let me just do one more edit!
 

darkcat

Lol! I think I can post part 5 today! I do already have it written. Let me just do one more edit!
Yay!
 

Corygal8857

Part 5: The Final Installment of the Golden Girls Saga

As you have probably noticed, my 5-gallon tank was getting a bit crowded. I had 5 tetras, 2 cories, and a snail stuffed into my little 5-gallon. I had a sinking feeling my oxygen problems were not going to go away because my tank was overstocked. So, I began considering an upgrade. My hubby was getting a bit concerned about the ever-expanding cost, but my mom chipped in to help me get a newer, bigger tank. (My mom is the coolest. She has 6 hermit crabs that she’s had for 20 years. They are her pride and joy. She fully supports this hobby and enables me even though it drives my husband nuts. She also bought me 4 new Cories recently. They will be featured in journals to come.)

So, I went out and bought a 20-gallon tank. I bought gravel, plants (fake and real), a beautiful log with tons of hiding places, and a couple other hideouts. I beamed with pride as I looked upon the finished product. The tank looked amazing! I was unbelievably proud of it. It made me so excited! So excited I made a very fatal mistake. I put my fish in too soon.

When I added my fish, I thought everything would be okay. Cory was a bit freaked, but he is a nervous creature. He went and hit on the bottom of the tank. The Girls were nervous at first, but they seemed pretty comfortable by the time I went to sleep. But Pepper, he made himself right at home. He zipped from one end of the tank to the other in total bliss. He was having a blast swimming around, checking out all the little caves and hide outs. I was not worried about Pepper; he looked so unbelievably happy.

I had treated the water with API Quick Start and Stress Coat, but it wasn’t enough. My tank was not established enough. The morning after I added my fish. When I came to check on my fish, I shrieked with horror because Pepper was floating horizontally at the top on the tank. I thought for sure he was dead. But he snapped out of it and swam away when I went to remove the carcasses of the Girls from the filter. All my tetras were dead, and Pepper’s behavior was erratic and bizarre.

It was only after the massacre that I started to learn about the nitrogen cycle and how essential it is to have a cycled tank before you add fish. I just did what I had done before. When I moved them into the 5-gallon, everything was fine, but I didn’t account for the 15-gallon difference. I am still kicking myself. Cory seemed fine. He was stressed but okay. Unfortunately, I had to go to work, but I left my husband with instructions to keep an eye on them till I could come home at lunch.

When I came home, Pepper had gotten worse. He was barely swimming and floating at the top of the tank. When I finally made the determination that he was suffering too much and should probably euthanize, he didn’t even swim away from the net. He knew it was time. My husband had to take care of him for me because I was so crushed. Losing my tetras was sad but losing my Pepper was so much harder. Pepper was the sweetest fish. He was always so happy; he was Cory’s best friend. I felt so awful! I could not believe I had been so stupid. My impetuousness had killed my fish once again.

I hope I have finally learned my lesson. I hope will be more patient in the future. I hope you can learn from my mistakes, so you don’t lose your favorite fish.

Right after all this went down, I got on Fishlore, and the advice I’ve received has been invaluable. I was able to speed up the cycling process and allow my remaining fish to thrive. (Although, I am a bit worried about Cory. He has been pretty sluggish since this whole ordeal, but I guess I would be too if I watched my best friend die.) I have recently added a few fish too, but I will talk about that more in future posts.

So, thus ends the tragic Golden Girls Saga. In the next segment, I will discuss the biggest things I’ve learned so far. It’s been a wild ride and hope people can benefit from my experiences. I do not want people to make the same mistakes I did, as educational as those mistakes were.

Thanks for reading!
 

darkcat

Wow! Thanks for writing! I hope pepper will recover! This is really sad, but it makes us learn some lessons!
 

Corygal8857

Wow! Thanks for writing! I hope pepper will recover! This is really sad, but it makes us learn some lessons!
Yeah I am still kicking myself, but this was also an invaluable learning experience. I just hope others don’t have to learn it the hard way like I did.
 

Mhamilton0911

Are you a professional writer/author? Or just a hobby? Your story is really well written, easy to follow, and leaves right at the best time for a cliffhanger. The content is sad, yes, but it's a great story! I'm really enjoying the read, and I'm so invested in your fish now, lol
 

TheAnglerAquarist

Patienty
ly waiting for the next installment. (PS-could it come today? Like at noon?
Yes
Part 5: The Final Installment of the Golden Girls Saga

As you have probably noticed, my 5-gallon tank was getting a bit crowded. I had 5 tetras, 2 cories, and a snail stuffed into my little 5-gallon. I had a sinking feeling my oxygen problems were not going to go away because my tank was overstocked. So, I began considering an upgrade. My hubby was getting a bit concerned about the ever-expanding cost, but my mom chipped in to help me get a newer, bigger tank. (My mom is the coolest. She has 6 hermit crabs that she’s had for 20 years. They are her pride and joy. She fully supports this hobby and enables me even though it drives my husband nuts. She also bought me 4 new Cories recently. They will be featured in journals to come.)

So, I went out and bought a 20-gallon tank. I bought gravel, plants (fake and real), a beautiful log with tons of hiding places, and a couple other hideouts. I beamed with pride as I looked upon the finished product. The tank looked amazing! I was unbelievably proud of it. It made me so excited! So excited I made a very fatal mistake. I put my fish in too soon.

When I added my fish, I thought everything would be okay. Cory was a bit freaked, but he is a nervous creature. He went and hit on the bottom of the tank. The Girls were nervous at first, but they seemed pretty comfortable by the time I went to sleep. But Pepper, he made himself right at home. He zipped from one end of the tank to the other in total bliss. He was having a blast swimming around, checking out all the little caves and hide outs. I was not worried about Pepper; he looked so unbelievably happy.

I had treated the water with API Quick Start and Stress Coat, but it wasn’t enough. My tank was not established enough. The morning after I added my fish. When I came to check on my fish, I shrieked with horror because Pepper was floating horizontally at the top on the tank. I thought for sure he was dead. But he snapped out of it and swam away when I went to remove the carcasses of the Girls from the filter. All my tetras were dead, and Pepper’s behavior was erratic and bizarre.

It was only after the massacre that I started to learn about the nitrogen cycle and how essential it is to have a cycled tank before you add fish. I just did what I had done before. When I moved them into the 5-gallon, everything was fine, but I didn’t account for the 15-gallon difference. I am still kicking myself. Cory seemed fine. He was stressed but okay. Unfortunately, I had to go to work, but I left my husband with instructions to keep an eye on them till I could come home at lunch.

When I came home, Pepper had gotten worse. He was barely swimming and floating at the top of the tank. When I finally made the determination that he was suffering too much and should probably euthanize, he didn’t even swim away from the net. He knew it was time. My husband had to take care of him for me because I was so crushed. Losing my tetras was sad but losing my Pepper was so much harder. Pepper was the sweetest fish. He was always so happy; he was Cory’s best friend. I felt so awful! I could not believe I had been so stupid. My impetuousness had killed my fish once again.

I hope I have finally learned my lesson. I hope will be more patient in the future. I hope you can learn from my mistakes, so you don’t lose your favorite fish.

Right after all this went down, I got on Fishlore, and the advice I’ve received has been invaluable. I was able to speed up the cycling process and allow my remaining fish to thrive. (Although, I am a bit worried about Cory. He has been pretty sluggish since this whole ordeal, but I guess I would be too if I watched my best friend die.) I have recently added a few fish too, but I will talk about that more in future posts.

So, thus ends the tragic Golden Girls Saga. In the next segment, I will discuss the biggest things I’ve learned so far. It’s been a wild ride and hope people can benefit from my experiences. I do not want people to make the same mistakes I did, as educational as those mistakes were.

Thanks for reading!
NOOOOOOOOOO! Not pepper! May they swim in peace :(
 

Corygal8857

Are you a professional writer/author? Or just a hobby? Your story is really well written, easy to follow, and leaves right at the best time for a cliffhanger. The content is sad, yes, but it's a great story! I'm really enjoying the read, and I'm so invested in your fish now, lol
Thank you so much! I so appreciate the compliment. I love writing! Right now, it’s a hobby, but I would absolutely love to write professionally one day. I’ve been published in some local magazines. But nothing major. I am so glad you are loving this as much as I am! I have been having so much fun!
 

Corygal8857

Here’s a Summary of what I learned because of the Golden Girls Saga:
  • Be patient!
    • Fish are fun and exciting, but it is best to wait until your tank is cycled to add anything.
    • Don’t be rash. Wait, Watch, then take action. Sometimes the best course of action isn’t to do something, it is waiting for it to fix itself.
  • Invest in a great water test kit
    • Upon other Fishlorians’ suggestion, I bought an API Master Water Test Kit. It leaves those pathetic little strips in the dust by a long shot.
    • Test early and often.
  • Get on a good fish forum
    • Well you’re here, so you probably know that. But seriously finding Fishlore has been unbelievably helpful. It has given me a great place to ask questions and get advice. This community has been invaluable to me and my fish family.
  • Embrace the Fish Keeping Community
    • I obviously have my two cousins who I talk to about fish constantly, but I’ve also been talking to people in the fish aisle of the pet store. We share stories and products that have worked for us. It just feels great to talk to someone as excited about fish as you.
  • Get a bigger tank because you will want to upgrade sooner rather than later
    • Even if you think a betta bowl will be enough, it will not. Once you get into the hobby, you will want live plants and more fish. Fish keeping is addicting. You will eventually want to upgrade, so just spring for a tank bigger than you initially wanted. This will probably help reduce the stress of your fish because you’ll move them around less. It’s also a heck of a lot better for your fish to have a bigger tank. You should have a 5-gallon, minimum in my opinion. In a month and a half, I went from a betta bowl to a 20-gallon aquarium. Trust me, you will get into it, and you will want something bigger.
  • Research the Nitrogen Cycle
    • It’s essential to fully understand the nitrogen cycle and how it will impact your fish. Try to cycle without fish if possible. It really does strain your fish. (Also mattgirl is an incredible expert on all things cycling)
  • Save Old Tank and Filter Media
    • You never know when you will need a dose of healthy bacteria. Saving and reusing filter media when starting a new tank is a life saver (literally if you are doing fish in cycling). Moving plants and substrate from the old tank definitely helps too. Never hesitate to ask friends or fellow fish keepers for their old tank media or substrate. We all want to help each other grow and keep our fish healthy.
Anyway, those are the main things I’ve learned so far, but I have so much more to learn. That’s what I love about this hobby; there is always so much room to grow. If anyone else has any words of wisdom or important things they’ve learned, please feel free to share.

Tune in next time for the Tumultuous Tale of Flora and Ulysses!

Thanks so much for reading!
 

mattgirl

The most important words of wisdom I can share. When cycling a tank it is going to take a boat load of patience. That is one thing we can't buy. We just have to dig deep for it and keep telling ourselves, It will be worth it in the end. Keep that in mind and the patience will come.

One other thing, If doing a fish in cycle, on top of the boat load of patience, we need to do water changes, lots and lots of water changes.

The only thing one truly needs to buy to cycle a tank is an ammonia source and a water conditioner. Ammonia source to feed and grow the bacteria that is already everywhere around us and a water conditioner to remove the chlorine that will kill that bacteria. Some bottled products may speed up the cycle but are not absolutely necessary to cycle a tank.

Once you have one fully cycled and firmly established tank you should never have to go through the long drawn out cycling process again. With a bit of pre-planning you can easily start your next tank. MTS is a real thing. It is a disease almost everyone that gets into this hobby will end up catching. We may as well get ready for it by running extra filter media in our established tank.

MTS=Multiple Tank Syndrome There is no cure so you may as well embrace and prepare for it. :D
 

Corygal8857

The Tumultuous Tale of Flora and Ulysses

Part 1: Flora

Once I got my 5-gallon set up, I decided I wanted to do something with my betta bowl. I considered shrimp. My cousin, Emily, has shrimp and adores them. I wanted to really explore live plants and do something different for my fish. However, the more I learned about shrimp, the more I realized they weren’t right for me in this stage of fish keeping. (Eventually, I want to dabble though. Drip acclimation just really intimidates me right now.)

That’s when it hit me! I should do a planted snail tank. I could fill the bowl with colorful and fun live plants and keep cute, funky snails. But that didn’t work out either. My betta bowl did not have a lid, so I worried that they would crawl out and across my table. I decided against it.

So, I went to Petco to check out bettas. I had already prepped my 2.5 to 3-gallon bowl. I set up a layer of fine substrate and pretty pebbles on top. I had put in some ferns and small purple-red plants, along with a small pagoda. There were also seedlings that I added, and I hoped that would grow sooner rather than later.

As I perused the aisles, I carefully observed each betta. Each were unique and exquisite. There was betta that reminded me of a mermaid. It’s light teal coat shimmered with a subtle purple sheen. There was a half-moon veil tale that was white with blue and yellow marbled along its delicate body. I surveyed the little plastic cups, compassion welling within me. I wanted to take them all home. How could I choose?

I found a sweet, pretty female elephant ear betta that I fell in love with. Flora is a soft lilac purple with a lovely pink luster. She gracefully swam around her little bowl. She was the picture of tranquility.

I brought her home and got her all set up in her tank. She made herself right at home. Flora frolicked freely in her little forest. She was so peaceful; I couldn’t wait to get her a tank mate.

Next time meet Ulysses.

Thanks for reading!
 

Corygal8857

Part 2: Ulysses

I took a peek at all the tanks to get the lay of the land. There were a few snails, but they were in quarantine. I could get another Cory, but the bowl would have been too small. (Also the internet is so stupid, I really don’t think you subject a sweet, friendly Cory to a betta unless you know the betta is more social. That sounds like a disaster for both fish. But I digress.) I was just about to give up when I saw the tiniest Albino Bristlenose Pleco. He was an inch long, and I instantly fell head over heels for him.

I sort of had an ethical dilemma when falling in love with him. I knew he would grow out of the betta bowl pretty fast, but I was also planning on getting a bigger tank. So, I reasoned and rationalized away my concern.

I was so excited when I brought Ulysses home; he was my sweet, little baby. I set him in the betta bowl to begin the float acclimation. Flora swam around the bag curiously. She peered in, but for the most part seemed uninterested. I was so excited to get my little Ulysses in the bowl and get this beautiful friendship going. After getting him acclimated, I put him in the bowl, which proved to be more difficult than I thought. He did not want to leave his plastic bag. But eventually, he made it into the bowl.

Ulysses was very shy in his new environment. He stuck close to the rocks and tried to remain still. I couldn’t blame the baby for being scared, who isn’t when they go to a new place. My hubby went out with some friends, but I opted to stay home and watch my new fish. (That kind of sums up the differences in our personalities in a nutshell.) I was thoroughly enjoying watching my little pleco. But I had no idea the drama that was about to ensue.

As Ulysses got more comfortable in his new home, he became bolder. He crawled away from the rocks and higher up on the glass. He looked so cute, happily hip hopping along the glass. This caught the attention of the lovely Flora. She came over curious to see her new tank mate. She approached in a relax manner. I thought this would be a sweet interaction, but things took a dark turn when Flora flared up and lunged at Ulysses. I hopped out of my chair, knocking it backwards. Flora chased my poor baby around the tank, nipping at him. I ran to the guest bedroom and grabbed a small spare tank I’d gotten from my cousin Mike. I filled it with water I’d prepped to do a change on my 5-gallon and rushed back to the bowl. Things had calmed down a bit. Ulysses hid somewhere, but Flora was on the prowl. I grabbed my net and moved Flora to the empty tank.

“You are in time out!” I yelled at her. I was furious at her. I was on the verge of tears. Disappointment, anger, and fear all mingled together as I tried to get a grip. I was so close to flushing her, I kind of surprised myself. I kept chastising Flora and trying to comfort Ulysses. I called Jo and begged him to come home. I felt a little traumatized seeing a creature I love violently turn on another fish of my affection. Jo said he’d be home in about 20 minutes, so I called Cathy to try and figure out what the best move was.

She helped calm me down and get me a bit less angry at Flora. Every betta is different. Some are more aggressive than others. I got an extremely aggressive one. I was so surprised a female would react like that. Aren’t they supposed to be more mellow?

Cathy reminded me it’s just in Flora’s nature to protect her territory. She is just doing what is in her DNA. It’s just unfortunate that I didn’t know that prior to getting her a tank mate.

I looked over Ulysses. He didn’t seem to be too hurt. There was no blood. He was just really shaken up. Fortunately, he was okay. Cathy and I decided it’d be best to put him in the 5-gallon community tank. No one would bug him there. We’d let Flora have her bowl.

With that, Jo and I moved Ulysses to the 5-gallon tank. He had so many more places to hide, so even after his trauma, after a day or two he felt right at home. Not to mention, all the fish in my 5-gallon were far from aggressive. He seemed to fit right in.

However, this story does not just have a cut and dry happy ending. There is a bit of mystery and intrigue. More on that next time in Diaries of a North Dakota Tank.

As always, thanks for reading!
 

StarGirl

Waiting for more! I hope more follow this is great!
 

TheAnglerAquarist

Cool he’s going to grow and poop a lot so he can’t be in the 5 gallon for long
 

Corygal8857

Part 3: The Big Move

Ulysses was very happy in the 5-gallon with his cory and tetra friends. He and Norman kept that lovely little tank spotless, but I knew they needed more space. So, I got my 20-gallon tank. If you recall the Golden Girls Saga, the transition was not smooth.

I moved all my fish into my 20 gallon too soon and killed off the majority of them. Part of the reason why I was in such a hurry to get my fish in the 20-gallon was that Flora’s betta bowl got so cloudy and water changes barely helped (the fine substrate I had at the bottom of the bowl would cloud up the water whenever I would add in new water). Despite the poor water conditions, Flora was thriving, but I wanted to get her in the 5-gallon tank as soon as possible. So, I rushed moving all my other fish.

As you know, my tetras and peppered cory died in the transition, but Cory and Ulysses seemed to be doing fine in the 20-gallon. However after a while, I stopped seeing Ulysses. He is albino and my substrate is white, so I thought maybe he just blended in with the substrate. But I could not find him anywhere. I have done several thorough cleanings of my substrate with my gravel vac and still can not find him anywhere. I have even checked my filter in case he died and got sucked up. But there is not a trace of him.

Ulysses is the ghost of my tank. My little spy scouring the tank hidden away from the world. While I may not see him, I believe he is there. He is swimming away cleaning up everyone’s mess in humble contentment. I hope one day I can see him again, but for now, I love the mystique of my little Ulysses quietly roaming the tank whenever I am not looking.

Next time…meet Julie!!!

Thanks for reading!
 

Corygal8857

Jittery Julie

After the big move, Cory looked so sad in the 20-gallon all by himself, especially after Ulysses went MIA. He would barely leave the bottom, and I had not seen him eat. I knew he was going through a lot. Fish in cycling can take a lot out of your fish, but I couldn’t help but feel the loneliness contributed too. As my tank conditions started to improve a bit and I bought some more water treatments (Seachem Prime and Stability), I began considering getting another fish for Cory.

I was at Petco picking up fish supplies. I spend a lot of time at pet stores now. I’m there at least once a week. No matter why I am at the pet store, I always love to check out the fish tanks and get ideas for the future. I saw a bunch of fancy guppies, wriggling together in their little huddle. I saw a school of zebra danios, playfully chasing each other. Then I came to the Adoption tank. The top tank was full of black mollies. I was enjoying watching them swish about when I spotted the Adoption tank below. There was a very large bristlenose pleco resting at the bottom of the tank. He barley moved. The tank seemed so small in comparison to him. I hoped someone would give him a good home soon.

Then I spotted a sweet, little Julii Cory sitting at the bottom of the tank all alone. She didn’t have a cory friend. It seemed like fate. I had found Cory in the adoption tank and now his new friend would come from there as well. It was perfect. I knew I had to name her Julie and take her home right away.

So, I did. On the ride home, I marveled at Julie’s intricate zigzags. Her face was covered with a maze of delicate lines and patterns. I loved looking at her. Cories are quirkiest fish, and I just love that about them. They are not classically beautiful. Their short little faces may not be everyone’s taste. Their expressive whiskers may not attract people right away, but to me, they are the cutest fish. Their lovely personalities and adorable varieties call to me (if I were a fish I’m pretty sure I’d be a cory). Julie called to me, just like Cory had.

I float acclimated Julie to the 20-gallon right when I got home, and when the time came, I added her to the tank. She seemed nervous. She hid right away. I watched hopefully. I kept waiting for Cory or Julie to approach the other. I wanted to make sure neither were alone anymore. However, that did not happen right away. But after a day or two, Cory and Julie started interacting, and both seemed happier for it. They were still stressed. The tank was not in an ideal condition, but they had each other. The water conditions continued to improve, and both fish became more comfortable in their environment.

Everything was good, so it was time get some more fishie friends.

Next time meet the new additions, the Friends (aka the leopard danios).

Thanks for reading!
 

Mhamilton0911

Yay! I do love cories. My tank originally had 6, but I lost 4 from unknown reasons, then I noticed my gravel was coming apart. I think it was from the bad substrate in my case. I saved the last 2 and put them in a sand bottom tank and they've improved and grew back their barbells. I have since replaced the awful gravel for sand, but I chose khuli's for the tank the second time. I love the derpy noodles too. Honestly I think the bottom dwellers are my favorite. I love plecos as well!

I'm very happy to keep reading your story, and I'm sure rooting for you and a happy ending!!
 

TheAnglerAquarist

Cories are amazing.
 

Similar Aquarium Threads

Replies
2
Views
274
Caro45454
Replies
25
Views
2K
e_watson09
Replies
114
Views
2K
CaptAnnDuchow
  • Question
Replies
5
Views
226
pcfranchina
Replies
36
Views
941
Bruce Thompson

Random Great Thread!

New Aquarium Journal Threads

Latest Aquarium Threads

Top Bottom