Friday, April 24, 2009

Okay so the fish died.

I think it was probably only days after the last post that all of them croaked at the same time, but it's been a few weeks (I never promised to blog faithfully!) and I don't remember that well.

But all of them died, and we emptied out the fishbowl and left it for a couple of weeks, because we were going away for Easter weekend anyways. And no one would be there to feed them if we got new fish.

So after Easter, we did what any good parents would do (okay, I'm being sarcastic there) - we bought a giant new aquarium (10 gallons) ran it for a day, then went to buy tropical fish. (I think I said that I believe tropical fish are more delicate than the generic goldfish variety. So of course it makes sense to buy that kind, because we've had such good luck with the more durable variety.)

The guy at the pet store didn't want to sell us the fish. He said you should run the tank for a month before you put fish in it. Seriously, who does that? Buy a fishtank, set it up, and leave it empty for a month? He wouldn't even give us any advice on different fish to start with or anything.

So we refused to take no for an answer and bought the fish anyway. The good news is, it's been over a week now, and they still seem to be swimming. I'm not going to get my hopes up until they've been alive for at least a month.

Turns out, if you Google it, that there really is some truth in Petstore-guy's advice. What he didn't mention was the fact that there is a little more to it than just having the aquarium set up for a month. I mean, it doesn't logically make any sense that water that has been sitting for 30 days is any safer for fish than water that has been sitting for over 24 hours. But according to Google, there is this solution you can buy that can help get the bacteria cycle established if you are adding some periodically and monitoring the water conditions - which pet guy never mentioned. Turns out this process ususally takes about a month - odd coincidence!

You need to get the bacteria cycle established and stabilized to deal effectively with the waste the fish create and what happens to any food they don't eat. Otherwise, the wastes and leftover food break down into ammonia, which is bad for fish. But if you don't have the special solution, the other way to 'cycle' the aquarium is to add fish slowly and start with the less delicate kinds - which is also something pet guy didn't help us with. I'm hoping we kind of did it by accident, because we only got 4 fish for an aquarium that will hold 8-12. And I'm checking the ammonia levels often. And the other night I did a crapload of water changes because the ammonia levels seemed to be rising. And the fish are still alive, so that's good - maybe we accidentally got strong and sturdy ones.

Fingers crossed that these fish survive. We went in with good intentions, and at the very least we will learn something from the experience. But I'm hoping the fish survive too.

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