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Member Spotlight on MousePotato

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Hello, everyone. My name is Colleen. My husband Steve and I live in Texas with our three cats, two dogs and 20 fish. I also have a 15 year-old stepdaughter who is alternately the joy of my life and the bane of my existence. By profession, I am a Server Administrator and Husband is a Controller.

My love affair with all things animal has been going on ever since I can remember, but fish only came into the picture in early 2007. It all started with "the hooligans." A co-worker of mine had two lovely, but aggressive fish that were destroying his display tank. He told me I could have them if I would buy an aquarium. Being the softy I am, I bought a 20 gallon tank and brought it to the office. Thus, Henry II and Eleanor of Aquatank became part of our ever growing family.

Over the past year and a half (wow - has it only been that long?), I have battled incompatible species, inadequate filtration, Columnaris and an Eheim 2217 that spits up on me every time I try to clean it. I have managed to get aquarium water on my office carpet, my master bathroom, my kitchen and all over the living room floor on two occasions.

Despite the many headaches and heartaches, I never get tired of watching my finny friends as they play, fight and beg for treats.


We have three tanks right now. We have "the big one," which is a 110 long that came fully stocked with a veritable grab bag of fish. Then we have a 29 gallon, divided, for Henry and Eleanor. And, of course, we have the obligatory 5 gallon Mini Bow for Brewster, our betta.

The 110 has been set up for about 4 months now, but was already established when we bought it. It has an Eheim 2217 and a Marineland HOB canister. The lights are 130w fluorescent and 130w actinic, four bulbs in two Coralife fixtures. The usual water parameters are 0/0/20 and a pH of 8.2.

The 29 gallon has been set up for about two years. It has an HOB filter, Aquatech I believe, and the light fixture that came with the kit. The bulb is a Zoo Med Ocean Sun 10,000k. The usual water parameters are 0/0/10 and a pH of 7.8.

Our five gallon Mini Bow was established in mid-October 2008. It has a Whisper filter and a 10w compact fluorescent bulb. Parameters are 0/0/5 and I have to admit I haven't tested the pH in that one. Whatever it is, Brewster seems happy.

We keep all of our tanks at 78 degrees F.

Fish, Plants, Invertebrates, Corals

At present, we have our betta, Brewster, a blue, red and green crowntail whom we've had for a couple of months now. We've had absolutely no problems with him and he even built his first bubble nest in time for Thanksgiving. He receives a few Hikari Betta Bio-Gold pellets twice a day with the occasional frozen pea or frozen bloodworm supplement. Brewster also has the only successful planted tank (thank you, my cichlids) thus far. He has an anubias, a water lily of some variety and a water onion.

In the 29 gallon divided tank, we have Henry and Eleanor, Pseudotropheus elongatus male and Pseudotropheus demasoni female. They receive a few pellets of Tetra Color-Bits and some Spirulina flakes twice a day. Needless to say, I've had serious compatibility issues with these two and they are waiting on their own tanks with their own species. We have had them since April 2007.

In "the big one," we have the grab bag:

  • Two Fronstosas
  • Two Blue Dolphin cichlids
  • One Asian upside down catfish
  • Three yellow labs
  • One albino ruby red peacock
  • One OB zebra peacock
  • One clown loach
  • One Pterygoplichthys scrophus "Rhino pleco,"
  • One Pterygoplichthys disjunctivus pleco, One johannii cichlid
  • One Synodontis Eupterus
  • One Panaque nigrolineatus
This motley crew receives a mix of Tetra "Cichlid Flakes," HBH "Attack!" cichlid pellets and algae wafers. This has been my headache tank, probably as a result of overstocking. I change 30-50% of the water, twice a week, to keep things under control. I have two anubias attached to driftwood in this tank and I regularly remove pieces of them from the surface. I've heard they are hard to kill, but we're giving it the old college try! I haven't had any real compatibility issues with these fish, although the cichlids do like to chase each other. We've had some fin nips, but no serious injuries. We've had this tank since August 2008, but the previous owner had it set up for about four years.

Future Plans

My first goal for the future is to get the African cichlid tank I've been wanting for at least a year now. Our big tank was supposed to go to that purpose, but we fell in love with the fish that came with it. Alas, there was no room for the 20 or so mbuna I planned to keep. I would really like to re-home and re-distribute some of my fish to get them in more compatible groups. Although we have relative peace for now, I know it can't last.


First and foremost, I would like to thank the fine people of fishlore, without whom I would certainly have given up a long time ago. You have all been wonderful and my fish thank you as well. I'd also like to thank my darling husband for his patience, support and amazing ability to not ask how much I've spent on this hobby.

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