Tuesday, November 22, 2005


Tanks for nothing

When I was in my late teens to early 20's, I had a 50 gallon aquarium in my bedroom which housed two piranha. I had them for several years and at some point, for some reason I decided to give them away. The brother of a friend of mine had two 100 gallon built-in tanks in their rec room and one wasn't being used, so they said they would take them. I don't recall how I moved these guys to their new home or what I did with the old aquarium and accessories (and I had a lot of them!).

Recently, I've had the idea in my head to get a couple of goldfish and a simple bowl. I've been thinking that it would be a nice relaxing bit of serenity to watch the fish gently swimming by.

The squeeze and I went to the pet store on the weekend to look at bowls and fish. We looked at the bowls, but decided it would be better to get something a bit larger that we could use a filter on so we don't have to change the water quite as often. They had a 10 gallon starter set for $99, but for another 20 or 30 bucks you can get the 20 gallon kit which includes a heater that the 10 gallon tank doesn't have. We decided to think it over. I called my folks to see if my old tank was still at their house. Like I said, I have no idea what happened to it. I might have given it away to someone...I just don't know who. My father checked the basement. No dice. So that settled it. I decided to go back and take another look at the 20 gallon tank. Well....I was looking at the tanks side by side, and they also had a 32 gallon tank kit that was calling my name. I figured, the bigger the tank, the more fish we can have.

So the next thing I knew, I was loading up the cart with gravel, live aquatic plants, background scenery and the 32 gallon tank. When I left the store I was down nearly $400. After miraculously fitting this huge thing into my car, we drove home so I could set up the tank and let it run a bit before going back for the fish. I noticed that The Squeeze was being rather quiet as I was loading up at the pet store and on the way home. Turns out he was a bit concerned with the money I was spending. Quite frankly, so was I, but hey, it somehow made sense to me as it was all happening.

We arrived at home and unloaded everything and I began to set up the aquarium in our guest room / computer room where we spend a fair bit of time, and where it would actually fit. I managed to get the whole thing set up in a few hours with little to no difficulty, taking pauses to watch the included DVD for tips and instructions. According to the DVD, once everything is set up and running, you are ready to add your fish. Off we went to buy the new occupants.

We wandered around the fish department for a good half hour before someone asked if we needed help. I explained that I was looking to pick up some fish for my new aquarium.

"How many days have you had it running?" he asked.

"Umm....I just set it up today, so it's only been a couple of hours," I said.

"OK, that's too soon to add the fish," he replied. "You should wait at least 72 hours, but to be extra safe, I'd let it run a week before adding fish."


"Ya, if everything isn't stabilized, it can cause stress on the fish that could kill them," he told me.

"Alright then. I guess I'll have to come back in a few days then. So what fish would you recommend for a communal tank?" I ask.

He showed me a few types to begin adding to the aquarium first. I'm not even sure why I had him show me, because I can't remember any of the names and I'm sure I'll be asking the same questions when I go back later on. I asked him about putting fantail goldfish in it and he looked at me like I just sprouted another head.

"Well, you can either have a goldfish tank or you can have a tropical tank," he stated.

"Oh. OK then. I think I'll have to do a bit of reading up on this stuff," I said.

The Squeeze and I headed back out to the car a bit disappointed that we wouldn't see our new pets swimming around for a few days. Or a week as the pet store guy recommended. I think I'm going to be looking up some info on the net and maybe picking up "Aquariums for Dummies", because, hey, that's me. Piranhas are much easier! Who knew?

After we got home, The Squeeze was working on the computer, and I was lying on the guest bed with our cat beside me. And I was staring into this 32 gallon vacant tank, trying to get the cat to look at the aquarium and get excited about this new addition to our home. Every so often, the water from the filter would create a current that would move one of the leaves of the plants. It was thrilling.

There's something to be said for instant gratification. I could have bought the bowl and two goldfish and we'd have entertainment right now, not to mention a few hundreds dollars off my Visa bill. Of course, open fish bowl + cat = dinner. Ya, we're better off waiting.

You don't believe in doing things in half measures, do you? ;-)
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