Lousy Smarch Weather

The 13th month of the year is the *worst*.

Oy, heat and air heat and air heat and air.  My poor energy bill.  And then it rained too much.  It never snowed. Boohiss.

I’ve been cycling the ever living shit out of that new tank; it’s been just shy of a month and it’s been cycled for a couple of days now.  I may or may not have screwed it up, though.  We’ll see tomorrow when I test the water again.

First, I have excellent news.  Loach the Loach has three new friends that I picked up recently:  Coach Loach, Loach Approach, and Stagecoach Loach.  They’ve literally been celebrating ever since, swimming around the tank and excited for pipes and rocks and plants and stuff and other fish!  They dance all night (nocturnal) but still zip about here and there during the day.  They stack on top of each other when they take a break.  It’s truly amazing.  The best part:

Loach the Loach just comes out to hang around. No more hiding!

I also got two more swordtail, Haineko and Minazuki.  They’re not as big as the Grande Dame Benihime but they’re still new.  And for good measure, a nice picture of Otto:

NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM

I still need more of these guys; waiting to get Bot, Graph, and Matic.  Maybe a Bahn or a Bus in there, too.  We’ll see.

In full nerd fashion, I decided to experiment with lighting since I want to plant the new tank.  I am not interested in a CO2 set up right now because I’m poor and lazy.  Amazingly, more poor than lazy.  So I bought a properly watted and colored daylight bulb and started testing how it would affect the plants.

Day 1: I do not know how to properly photograph through glass.

On the driftwood are some generic anubias, micro sword, pygmy chain sword, and red ludwigia.

Day 6: New plants and new fish and most importantly, nothing is dead.

Same plants, but I’ve trimmed and replanted the ludwigia.  Water lettuce on top, new female betta up there, too.  Her name is Gabrielle!  She’s fine in the community tank but when I tried to add another female (Oscar) it didn’t work out.  Oscar was getting picked on a lot by the swordtail so I took her back.  So sad.  She was a beautiful yellow girl, very vibrant.  I’ll set up a sorority when I can afford to; until then, Gabrielle gets to hang out peacefully with everyone else.

NEW LEAF! 2/3 of the way from the left. The little curled up thing. IT’S BEING BORN!

Gabrielle inspecting the ludwigia.

Since I took pictures last I bought some anacharis and something called rorippa.  Amazingly, plants are more expensive than fish and I don’t particularly care if they die.  It’s only a pain to clean up.  I’ve gotten 50 lbs of blasting sand into the bottom of the tank and will hopefully finish adding the rock hardscape soon.  Then black flourite.  Then plants.  Then swordtails.  Then tetras and betta.  Then otos and loaches.

So, the important thing is that I’m having fun and have something to occupy my time.  Like washing sand and testing water parameters every day.  I really, really can’t wait to have something to show for my efforts.  More soon!

Yay!

I have so many drafts going it’s ridiculous.  And even more ridiculous is that *this* is the topic of my first blog post in a million years.

I just went shopping!  In January I bought a new aquarium and tonight I finally ordered the first supplies to get the water cycled.  I know it’s dorky but this is the first thing I’ve been excited about in forever.  I’ve had so many failures in the past (so, so, so many) but I’ve resolved to do it right.  My current tank has been active for over a year and the fish have been doing well.

My current little set up.

She is cute, no?  Currently I have 1 kuhli loach [Loach the Loach], 2 swordtail [Zangetsu and Benihime], 5 neon tetra [Spaghetti and Meatballs], 2 oto catfish [Otto and Auto]  I started with 7 neons: one died before we got home and the other one [Meatball #4] died a few months ago from neon tetra disease.  Amazingly, none of the other fish got sick so I don’t consider that too bad.  Loach the Loach is all alone and he hides all day.  Probably because he’s alone.  I didn’t know until recently that they should be in a school of 5+ and then I read that if he hides all day it’s because he thinks all the other loaches have been eaten.

–Loach the Loach, probably.

Also, I found out that my swordtail need a 1:3 ratio of male to female because the male will pester the female too much.  This is 100% true.  That poor girl can’t get a minute to herself.  The oto catfish started as a trio but one of them died within a few days of being home so that one is not my fault.  Sadly, it worked out because I couldn’t think of a trio of oto homonyms.

Magnus is approximately 2.5 gallons.

My current tank is 10 gallons but I just bought a 40 gallon breeder tank and I’m bouncing off the walls ready to set it up.  I’ve painted the back of it black and will paint the 10 and 5 gallon tanks when they’re empty (or at least empty of fish).  Ichigo the betta died and it was totally my fault for being neglectful and I feel awful.  That didn’t last long at all.  I don’t know that I should ever get another betta even though I’d love to have one.  Maybe in another year when I’m more responsible.  I seriously feel awful about it.  *sigh*  Anyway, the 10 gallon tank will remain as a quarantine tank for new fish and the 5 gallon tank might get something like shrimp or snails if I actually think I can keep them alive.

Schematics to scale.

I’ve been going over and over and over what I want to do with the new tank.  I’m compiling a notebook with drawings, notes, lists and floorplans.  I’m a mess.  I just want to do it right.  I want to do a good job and hang up my fish-murdering hat.

Right in front of the dishwasher, the most convenient place of all.

Here is what I bought today: ammonia for cycling, master test kit (I have only been using the strips like a commoner), 2 bags of black sand Flourite and the AquaClear 110 because more filtration is better than enough filtration.  I’m sticking with Flourite even though it’s a bit more expensive.  It’s what I already have and I’m not confident enough to try something new.

Loach the Loach in a rare moment of visibility.  The algae is for the otos, thankyouverymuch.

As soon as my goodies come in I’ll start cycling the tank.  I am still trying to decide what “centerpiece” fish I want but that won’t be for a couple more months at least.  I need to cycle, plant, move the old fish over, set up old tank for quarantine and THEN I will get the new fish to complete the schools I already (should) have.  I am also considering switching the neons out for cardinal tetras instead.  I also know that this last paragraph is pretty boring for anyone who isn’t into fish keeping.

I know what you think of me.

Anywho, I’m just glad I’m excited about something and I’m hoping I do it right for once.  In other news everything is more or less the same so not bad.  Chinese New Year is right around the corner, not that I do anything for it but that’s an entirely different matter.

(For those who are curious, I’m interested in a Striped Raphael Catfish or a Gold Gourami or both.)