Monday 14 February 2011

Fish - the pet you have when you can't really have a pet

Due to various family members suffering from allergies, asthma and/or eczema, our household has been pretty much a pet-free zone up to now. We previously had a couple of attempts at keeping a Siamese fighting fish in a small bowl, but it was a short-lived (ahem) experiment both times. However, as I had successfully kept (and bred) tropical fish as a youngster myself, I still wanted to set up a small aquarium so DS1 could learn a bit of aquatic chemistry and have a bit of responsibility for the care and maintenance of a "pet".

I'd bought a small (32L) tank at Aldi a year ago, and finally got around to setting it up in our remodelled lounge room/library this weekend. The tank came with a power-head filter and light built in to the cover, as well as a bag of gravel, a net, some plastic plants and a 'decorative' fake rock. As I still had some nice bog wood pieces and wood tank stand in storage, I only had to buy a 55W heater, an air pump and air "wand" to be able to setup the aquarium.

I filled the tank and added water ager yesterday, and the pH and temperature were OK today (although the tannin from the bog wood had made the aquarium water an interesting tea-colour. I've since added some extra activated charcoal to the filter tray). So I ignored my own good advice (to let the tank "settle in" for a week before adding some plants, and two weeks before adding any fish) and went out and bought some fish today:

1 Siamese fighting fish ($9.74), 4 neon tetra ($2.50 each), 1 bristle nose catfish ($12.50), 1 pearl gourami ($9.50).

That could easily end up being $41.74 flushed down the toilet (literally), but if these fish do survive the next couple of weeks it will at least mean that less risk of introducing diseases to the tank each time I add additional fish to the established aquarium. Not that this size tank can take much more livestock - even with the 90cm long air wand putting out an impressive blanket of air bubbles, I can only reasonably plan on adding a couple of glow-light tetras and one ramirez dwarf cichlid later on.

We'll find out over the next few weeks how this "experiment" turns out.

ps. I called the blood-red Siamese fighting fish "Valentino" and told DW that since tomorrow is the 14th it can be her Valentine's Day present. She wasn't overly impressed ;)

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