Only a silly 3 months ago, I brought home a 5.5gallon starter kit from Petsmart.
The next day, I bought home a gorgeous satiny red Halfmoon named Finn. He sat in a poor empty tank with one single sad looking Amazon Sword until all the other things I bought for him arrived from Amazon.com.
Now? I have (2) 20Longs, a 10gallon, (2) 5.5 gallon, and a 3gallon. But, still only 2 fish.
Finn has been quite the adventure for me. I made SO MANY MISTAKES, even tho I researched for nearly a month before bringing him home. I knew I wanted more than just a pet fish or a petty hobby... but I didn't know my love for all things aquatic would hit so hard so fast.
I started out with black sand, a few plants, Marimo, and a teal geode. Slowly, his tank evolved, and the geode was removed because the color just didn't work for me anymore.
A few other decorations went in, but none ever lasted long. Turns out, I really loved the plants and natural look, so soon pottery bits were replaced with Cholla wood, and the Cholla was replaces with mopani, and my 3-4 plants turned into about 15... and I basically killed them all...
Then I realized, "Oh, yeah, Duh Kari. Your water is softened and filtered. There is nothing in this water for your plants to live on!!"
That's when I went from Flourish, Flourish Trace, and Flourish Excel, and added basically the entire rest of the Flourish line, from Equilibrium to replace what the softener/filtration system took out, to dosing with iron and potassium and nitrogen and phosphorus too.
Now my plants thrive more than i thought Possible... which is good... because I had added a second tank and another 20something plants... which I had almost killed off at that point.
For Easter, I got my second tank. Another 5.5 Gallon starter kit, given to me lovingly by my BF and his mother. I was excited to have it.
More excitingly, I decided I wanted to order a fish online. I wanted to find the PERFECT fish, instead of one I had to settle with at my local pet store.
I found this amazing yellow and metallic blue marble on white.. He was perfect, and I loved him instantly. And he was a disaster. Since I wasn't ordering from overseas, just from Canada (I'm in the US), and wasn't using a transhipper or anything like that, I called around to the Border and Customs, Fish and Wildlife, UPS in both Canada and the US to make sure it was something I was allowed to do.
I had named the fish Sully, and he was a birthday present to myself. Unfortunately, he was returned to sender, ON my birthday, and I didn't have the money to try shipping him again. I'm a believer that everything happens for a reason, tho. So I tried to smile even tho I was so very, very upset.
The next morning, I had running around to do with my BF, so we hit the pet stores in search for the best baby for me. It took the first store before McKinley stole my heart. Silver bodied, iridescent to pale aqua and pink, with soft yellow fins rimmed in smoke. He was so mellow compared to my Finn, and opened a whole new world of fish to me. I finally got to really, really see the differences in personalities.
Once I had my 2 tanks officially set up... all artificial decorations removed, all naturally planted... I was so happy with them. I spent so much time every day with my tanks. I had so much happiness.
I knew I wanted to upgrade eventually... Somehow petty hobbyist wasn't good enough anymore. Neither was weekend hobbyist. Nope. I wanted to dive into the whole world head first, even with the "timid" encouragement from my BF... He had understandable reservations...
But I was thinking 10 gallon tanks. Then upgrade from there later. Then my friend offered me her 55gallon. And the world of possibilities opened up to me. I didn't really want a tank that big. Not at all... But, I became intrigued. Her set up wasn't anything like what i wanted, so I wasn't interested too much in hers.
But suddenly I was surfing Craigslist, daily, for anything and everything aquatic. And then Boom. DEAL of the CENTURY. Some lady was getting rid of everything "fish" she owned.
I struck. Hard. I gave her an (reasonable, but lowball) offer.
She accepted. In nearly a heartbeat.
Before I knew it, the next day I was driving home from South Anchorage with my ****SUV***** packed full of fish stuff. For $120.
Ok ok ok.. it's a CUV, and its wasn't PACKED, but it was def. full of stuff.
I got home that night and instantly set up one of the 20longs for my boys. Today? Has been cleaning and taking inventory of everything that came with my package deal. My 2 5.5 gallon tank set ups are sitting empty, now. Which makes me a little sad. I think, one might become a guppy tank in my bedroom.
In my little package deal, so far the inventory is up to:
20 Long with Tetra Whisper 20-40 internal filter, glass canopy, Aqueon Full Spectrum fluorescent light, 100W mini preset heater, substrate.
20 Long with Tetra Whisper 20-40 Internal filter, Full Aqueon Full Spectrum fluorescent hood, 100W mini preset heater, substrate.
10 Gallon, Tetra whisper 10-30 Internal Filter, Glass Canopy, Aqueon Full Spectrum Fluorescent hood, 50W Preset mini heater, Substrate.
3 Gallon acrylic tank, with built in Daylight/moonlight, filter, 25W heater, Substrate. (This one might actually be a 4 gallon, since I think THIS is the actual tank...)
4 pieces of Mopani Wood
A TON of very health plants
At least a pound if not more of breeders moss
2 air pumps, airline tubing, a few air stones, and other air pump accessories.
A TON of different foods and algae wafers
A few plug in timers, some nets, tongs, aquatic planting tools, extra biobags for the filters, and I haven't gotten any further than that, but there is at least 10-15 more small items.
Everything held fish until about 3 hours until I picked it all up, and she didn't have time to finish cleaning everything, and she was slightly disabled so even tho her tanks were VERY well taken care of, there was plenty of algae and snail shells scattered thru everything. I'm cleaning everything within an inch of its life today, since most of the equipment is going to be stashed in the garage for now, and I don't want my garage smelling like a rotten swamp.
So, Today was a cleaning day. The first thing I did was clean the old 5.5 tanks. Emptied the substrate out and strained out the crushed shell pieces that had gotten mixed in. Got it extra clean (so it won't stink since its still wet), and into a bucket. Then I cleaned the filters from those and the filter from the other 20 gallon. That alone was a 2-3 hour project!!
Next, was the substrate from the 10 gallon tank in a bucket... she hadn't rinsed it or anything and it smelled HORRIBLE. (It is what it is... aquarium sand doesn't always smell great, and she went from posting it on craigslist to me walking away with everything in 24 hours, and in that time, she had to remove the fish, get them to the store so they could take them in, drain water, remove plants, all while in a walker. She did amazing. I hate saying "it was dirty" and making it sound like she didn't take care of anything, she really did.)
So I spend a TON of time just rinsing in HOT water, some time with vinegar, and pulling out what must have been 300 snail shells... When I FINALLY had it CLEANED, I then knew i wanted to add it to the 20gallon I have the boys in right now. She used a minimal amount of substrate, which I like to have a little more in my tanks. So, since it was a matching substrate, i knew that I wanted to add it to the 20 gallon.
So then, after just over an hour and a half cleaning this bucked of sand, I then removed the boys from their tank. Removed all the plants, siphoned some water, cleaned up things in the water. I then added the extra substrate, and then redid the divider.. Making EXTRA SURE the boys can't jump ship, since they spent all day today switching sides of the tank....
Replanted, added the boys back in. Cleaned up the kitchen cause I made a MESS of it all. And now it'll 11pm.. and I still need to clean up the other 20 Gallon before it stinks up my garage somethig fierce... I might actually just fill it with a few inches of water, and throw a clean filter in there for the night... Mostly because I'm just too tired to scrape all the algae off, and clean more and more and more...
The 3(possibly 4?) gallon tank was clean when she handed it over, so that doesn't need anything, and the 10 was emptied and cleaned too... so all that is left is the other 20long...
I'm not sure what I want to do with all my new tanks. I have a .5 gallon that was originally going to be my Hospital tank when I had the 2 5.5 gallons, but at this point I think I can just throw that puppy away.
I want to take one 5.5 gallon and turn it into a plant only tank... so I can keep growing my own jungles...
And I dunno if I want to make the "3" gallon into my new hospital tank... or If i want to use the other 5.5 gallon for the hospital tank... But I'm thinking I'll use the 3 gallon for that, with its built in lights and filter, just add the heater. It has a little bit of white substrate, I'll add a leaf hammock and whatnot, and leave it under the cabinet, and keep it ready for fishie emergencies.
And I totally want the 10 gallon to be set up, probably in my bedroom, as a guppy tank... Some adorable bright colored Endlers, or maybe even some tetras, or some corys... I dunno. Something different than the Bettas. I've done guppies and tetras and goldfish before, tho... Never done Gouramis, tho... maybe I'll do some pearl gouramis?? I dunno. Something small for the bedroom. No real plants, tho. Not for the bedroom. My bedroom is SUPER colorful and I want the tank to match lol.
That still leaves a 5.5 gallon tank left that I have NO plans for... and a 20 gallon I don't have ROOM for, and I don't know if i want to do 2 divided 20longs and have myself 4 awesome bettas..... or if I wanna give my 2 boys each a 20 gallon jungle of awesome...
I HAVE SO MANY POSSIBILITIES MY HEAD IS SPINNING!!!! THAT ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY DOLLARS HAS OPENED UP PANDORAS BOX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!