Member Spotlight on ClaireOnline Aquarium Fish Magazine | Member Spotlight - Claire
I Started Something Fishy!
I have always had a relationship with nature including a love for animals of all kinds. I have admired fish, specifically the unique and odd. However, I never wanted the responsibility of ownership in regard to fish. I did become a fish owner but it really wasn't by choice. My first experience started off pretty rocky, no really rocky with a couple of unwanted fish and many years later, my second attempt started out somewhat similar in that I had no idea what I was doing.
Owning fish was never on my list. That all changed for a time when I was in college and purchased my first fish some twenty or so years ago, it was actually two goldfish. I eventually named them Burt and Ernie. I originally purchased them for a college group science project but I don't recall anything about the project or my team, just the fish but I do believe our group was all female.
After our college science project was finished, we no longer were using the fish and although we had briefly discussed where they would go, none of us were ready by the end of the project to take them home. We now had two living creatures that needed care. Given that none of the members of the group, including myself, really wanted the responsibility of the fish, a decision had to be made. I had made the purchase for the group, so I finally buckled and agreed to try and take them back to the shop. It did not work out and home with me they went.
I knew next to nothing about keeping fish. In fact, I have only recently realized how little I really did know. During the project they had existed in a small container with daily water changes in the science lab-except weekends when we were off campus. It was not because we knew they needed those water changes but because we didn't like the "fish" smell. None of us knew that we should have aged the water or have been using water conditioner or for that matter, a filter, heater, or anything aside from the bowl.
When they ended up with me, I decided to do a little research and was blown away by what I soon found out. Information required library time and articles included everything from keeping them in a bowl with no heat was okay to them needing a pond.
I finally decided on buying a small tank and made a purchase of a 20 gallon tank. I felt it was huge for them, especially after the small bowl they had been in for several weeks. Lastly, I decided to buy a filter and I was in business-my first real fishy home! They soon became my water babies and seemed to be doing fine. Burt and Ernie lived several years and over those years, things for them gradually improved. I aged water by keeping it in a pitcher near their tank and would top off their water when needed. I would change their water when it would begin to smell. This was usually done once a month.
Looking back, I realize I was extremely lucky that they did not develop a disease or infections of some sort but they appeared healthy until their demise several years later. I now realize that they would have lived much longer then the few years they did live if I had been a more savvy fish momma.
My next attempt was some 10 or so years later when my grandson arrived. He is and was enthralled with Finding Nemo, he absolutely loves that movie! I decided to get a few fish and let him have his own personal aqua baby and that is where I ran into problems. I was no more prepared this time than I was that first time The irony is, I started the hobby with the intention of exciting my grandson and have simply fallen in love with the entire fish keeping process. I now have some 30 tanks. I have gifted tanks and fish to family and friends.
This time, I immediately ran into trouble and started researching, finding Fishlore. It was a lifesaver. A community of fish lovers with a wide range of experiences and knowledge. I have read article after article on this site. I have also searched the web and learned to research before purchase. Within the last few weeks I purchased all the equipment to set up my 90 gallon saltwater-reef ready tank. It is currently stocked with a few invertebrates a couple of damsels. I used the marine bio-spira to kick start the cycle. I will slowly purchase the stock for this tank and estimate that within two years, I will be fully stocked. We will see!
I now stock my freshwater tanks based on appropriate bio load, thank you Fishlore and recommended compatibility with very little issues. However, initially the reason I was drawn to Fishlore was I immediately ran into disease issues and went searching for a cure. In my search, Fishlore kept being one of the sites that came up. I bit the bullet and joined last July (I am not much of an online chatty type but have learned to depend on its informative format) and have loved my experience.
My current salt and freshwater tanks are as follows:
90 gallon saltwater-reef ready tank with an Eshopps sump tank, an Eshopps overflow box, a protein skimmer, a kalkwasser for calcium, RO/DI system, hydor wave maker, three koralia powerheads, a submerged pump in my sump tank, live sand, and live rock with a Jager submersible heater, two marineland LED light sets-one with an automatic timer
140 gallon tank with an Oscar, a Jack Dempsey, a Blood Parrot, an African Leopard fish, and some escapees from the last occupants, African Cichlid fry. This tank was purchased new and has a gravel substrate with two canister filters. One is an Aquatop canister filter with UV and the other is a Penn Plax Cascade 1500. I have plenty of filtration for this tank.
125 gallon community tank that was purchased used. There are six Angels, 7-9 young Clown Loach, a pair of Hons, a few Killifish, and 7 or 8 neons. This tank has two hang-on-back Marineland penguin filters and a third canister filter, the Penn Plax Cascade.
a second bowfront aquarium, 36 gallon that houses two Axolotl. I have three filters on this tank-two whisper (rated for 20-40 gallon each and an Aqueon HOB rated for 50 gallon
4 twenty gallon longs each house a different variety of Endlers. These are some of my favorite small fish. I also house my Panda Loach in one of these tanks with a group of the Endlers. Filtration includes Tetra Whisper, Aqueon, and an Aquaclear 30.
African dwarf frogs in a 10 gallon species only tank-there are five in this tank and all are doing well.
90 gallon African Cichlid tank with a Marineland HOB and a Penn Plax Cascade 1500 Canister.
20 gallon at work
75 gallon African Cichlid tank with a Penn Plax Cascade 1000 Canister, a 70 gallon rated HOB Aquaclear filter plus a third submersed filter.
Several Betta tanks-five gallon with heaters, betta homes (shot glasses), betta floating logs, betta hammocks, and Indian Almond Leaves to help with my very hard water and each with a filter
Lastly, a shrimp tank with plenty of live plants, filtration, and a heater
I must say a huge Thank You to my partner and spouse, he has jumped into my fish keeping by helping me by constructing stands, making purchases and adding in caring for my tanks. My weekly water changes were made by him until my purchase of a python! I love this wonderful tool. It makes water changes simple.
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