January 6, 2010

The One Where I Encourage You to Learn from My Mistake.

A few years ago the Princess decided she wanted an aquarium.  Big Daddy and I weren’t opposed, but there always seemed to be a good reason why she should wait.  A pending long vacation, Littlebit being a roomie.  Finally, things lined up and Big Daddy and I….er….Santa decided that it was time and the Princess got an aquarium for Christmas.

This Aquarium.  Except I paid more for it.

(image from Petco as the Princess is still sleeping)

You’ll notice that it’s shown with no damn fish, becuase that’se xctly how many fish can safely live in this thing.


But I’m getting ahead of myself.  The tank is 1.5 gallons.   I thought it would be perfect for her.  Small enough to care for easily, it would fit in her postage stamp room and would hold a few, small fish.

The Sunday after Christmas, Big Daddy and the Princess set up her tank.  They carefully washed the plants and gravel and all the included parts.  They filled the tank and carefully treated the water.  We let the tank run for the aquarium literature’s recommended 24 hours and on Monday we took the princess to get fish.

She picked out two fantail goldfish and one algae eater and named them.  We carefully introduced them into their new home.  The Princess was ecstatic.  Monday went great.

Tuesday went great except for the fish pooping and it freaking out Littlebit.  She hates poop.  Tuesday evening the water started to get cloudy.  The Princess asked if she could chnge the filter cartridge and I agreed.  She said it was gunky, but I figured that was typical and figured the filter changing would fix our problem.

Wednesday morning the water was beyond cloudy.  It was milky.  Big Daddy and I started googling.  We’ve never maintained a fish tank before.  We quickly find out that we needed to immediatley change out nearly all the water in the Princess’s tank and, oh, by the way a 1.5 gallon tank?  About 20 times to small for the goldfish we had living in it.

I was shocked.  Goldfish live in bowls for pete’s sake.

On Thursday morning, Big Daddy changed out more water and we went to the store and bought $30 in chemicals to try and save our $3 in fish.  I had read on-line that not only do goldfish need 10 gallons of aquarium per fish, but that they give off TONS of ammonia.  We bought a testing kit and drops to reduce the ammonia in the tank.  Our amonia wasn’t dangerous, but it did indicate that it would be stressing the fish.  Since the fish were living most of their life crashed at the bottom of the tank, gasping,  the stresed diagnosis was consistent with what we were seeing.  We added ammonia reducer to the water and continued to check it every day.

In the meantime, the fish seemed to be doing better.  They were in miserable shape before.  Crashed on the bottom, gasping, losing their color, the tails were starting to get all shredded looking, they had stopped swimming.  When we added the ammonia drops, things were looking up until Monday night when goldfish #1 was floating upside down and last night when Goldfish too was floating similarly.  Both dead.  We figured out yesterday that fish #2 had ammonia burn on his little fishie body and we added ammonia reducer to the tank upon testing it every day.

So, this brings me back to that aquarium you see at the top of the page.  The Tetra Wonders 1.5 gallon tank.  They even make an adorable Finding Nemo themed version but the truth is, this tank can’t really hold anything save a couple of snails.  It’s just too small to be successful at holding anything at all.   Even a farking Betta!

Now, naturally, Santa isn’t totally naive, but figured a manufacturer of pet..houses wouldn’t sell you a house that would participate in the killing of your pet.  Willfully.  But I’m not sure   The Tetra care website indicates that the tank should support small tropical or freshwater fish, but doesn’t say how many and  I’ve sent in a help ticket to ask just what kind of fish we can put in the damn thing.

So, let this be a caution to you.

1) Goldfish aren’t that easy

2) Buy a bigger aquarium.

The Biggest One, Tied Up 2 Replies to “The One Where I Encourage You to Learn from My Mistake.”


2 thoughts on “The One Where I Encourage You to Learn from My Mistake.

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    It’s a blessing that I found your article on the net, I’ll try it and see how it goes, saved me time and headache trying to figure it out by myself. thanks

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