Joined: 22 Feb 2005
Location: Bremerton - WA/USA
|Posted: 2005.02.28(Mon)1:49 Post subject: Falling into Fish-keeping: a splendid surprise!
|Hello, and Thank You to all those who maintain and contribute to this fine site! Learning to keep fish properly has rapidly become an unexpectedly deep pleasure and consequently a splendid surprise!
I fell into fish-keeping by accident, through my 4 yr. old daughter. When my children would go next door to play with the neighbor children, my youngest daughter would invariably end up inside my neighbor's house watching their aquarium for long periods of time. For her birthday, my kind neighbors asked permission to give Allie a Siamese Fighting Fish as a gift, since most of Allie's attention was focused on the betta in their tank. I accepted with a sinking heart - my memories of having fish in my youth were dismal. A frustrating a succession of goldfish in a large fishbowl, who inevitably succumbed to ich. This was followed by an attempt at pursuing a "real" fish hobby with 5 gal. aquarium, which was "impossible" to keep clean, and also yielded endless rounds of ich. Mercifully for the fish, since I had little access to proper fish-keeping information, I quickly gave up the "attempt" at the "fish hobby".
Allie's betta, a splendid blue & red twin-tail she named "Littlefoot", arrived in a beautiful vase with large acryllic "rocks" in the bottom. I recoiled at the thought of such a relatively large fish (compared to the feeder goldish and tiny tetras of my childhood) in such a small, confined space. My neighbors assured me this wasn't a problem as bettas didn't require much space since they originally came from rice paddies. They further assured me that bettas were easy to keep: there was nothing to it - feed him once a day and change some of the water whenever it got dirty...
To my surprise, Littlefoot quickly became an important part of our family - he had so much personality! Who ever heard of personality in a fish of all things?!? He was Very Clear in his opinion that being fed once a day was not to his liking, he was Very Clear about When it was time for the lights to be dimmed in his part of the living room, when he wanted his privacy, and so on. However, given our reliance on the instructions of our "more experienced" neighbors and friends, and our own ignorance of proper care for bettas, Littlefoot's residence with us lasted only a few months. When he died, our children were deeply affected and since my husband had always wanted to "do an aquarium" (but given my experience I always refused "it's too hard, too much work, and the fish always die"), I promised the children that at the first of the next month we would get a "real aquarium". Only this time, we would do it right!
25 yrs ago, my access to information on good fish care was extremely limited. Now, thanks to the internet, I knew this would not be the case! So, with my modest, careful plans in mind (5 gal. tank, 2-3 fish) I fired up the internet to find out how to do this fish thing "right". Of course the first bit I learned on the first fish site I came to (not this one, unfortunately) was that beginners should not start with a 5 gal. tank. Oh. But 29 gallons?!? I carefully reported this to my husband, thinking this would be the end of our "right" beginning right there, but his response was to gather up the family for an excursion to PetCo to see how big a 29g. tank is face-to-face. Turns out, it's the size he really wanted to have all along - so now my job was to prepare us for the new 29 gal. addition!
When I promised our children a "real aquarium" in wake of Littlefoot's demise, I had mentally relegated all the "work" of maintaining the aquarium to my husband. He's very good at technically intricate and detailed things, so I was confident he could handle the details of keeping fish properly and since he had really been the one who always wanted to do this, he could just do it now. To our amazement, in a surprisingly short time, I'm the one who became addicted and my husband's delighted! He hasn't seen me this excited about and having so much fun with something in a very long time - and I'm the one doing most of the "work", happily so!
When I came to this site in my research, and soon came across the signature line of Discus Man:"If there is an empty tank in your house then you aren't addicted enough!" - I gleefully cried, "So true!" Even now I