Thursday, February 28, 2013

One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish

I have some sad news to report, Parker's goldfish, Stuart, passed away a couple days after we brought him home.  Parker took the news well and we told him he could get a new fish.  His only request was that it wasn't the same kind of fish.  So, last Saturday we headed back to PetSmart to see what our options were.  After going back and forth on what we should do we finally decided it would be fun to have a few fish and sort of make it a hobby.  When I originally told Parker he could get a fish, I envisioned what I had growing up: a bowl, some rocks, water and a fish, sometimes two fish.  I thought we would spend around ten to fifteen dollars and we would be good to go.  A hundred or so dollars later we now have a tropical aquarium and a few fish.

I guess I had some super goldfish growing up because he lived in a small bowl with no filter and water straight from the tap, no water conditioner and lived for seven years.  After that experience I assumed I knew what I was doing with goldfish, but apparently that wasn't the case.  We wanted to do things right this time and not end up with another Stuart.  We talked with a couple employees at PetSmart and were given some guidance.  We bought a 10 gallon tank, new rocks and bacteria supplement and went home without fish to set up the tank up.  Poor water quality was probably the cause of Stuarts death, even though we added water conditioner to his tank before we put him in.  Goldfish release a lot of ammonia and because our tank was only 2 gallons the water quality was poor and he most likely died from ammonia poisoning.

Setting Up Our New Tropical Fish Tank

We chose a 10 gallon aquarium that came with a heater, filter and LED lights.  It seemed like the best deal and had almost everything we needed to get started.

We brought our new tank home and cleaned everything with water, no soap.  Next, we added rocks to tank, then some water, then decor (plants, ornaments and rocks) and then more water.  I added a few rocks I had collected from the beaches in Maui.  Then came the water conditioner to help neutralize harmful ammonia, chloramine and chlorine and to remove copper and other heavy metals.  After adding the water conditioner we waited 15 minutes and tnen added a bacteria supplement.  The bacteria supplement introduces beneficial bacterial and breaks down organic waste.  Then we waited and allowed the water to heat up.  Tropical fish require a water temperature ranging between 74-82 degrees.

We waited 48 hours and then went back to get our water tested and pick out some new fish.  At PetSmart they do an Aquarium Water Analysis that tests the: ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, alkalinity, hardness, chlorine and chloramine.  We passed the water analysis test!  Yay!  Now we could pick out a few fish.  A good rule of thumb is one gallon of water for every one inch of full-grown fish.

The employees at PetSmart recommended three fish to begin with.  You only want to add 1-3 new fish at a time to avoid water quality issues. The three we chose were all labeled as "Tropical Community Aquarium" and "Experience Level Beginner," which was exactly what we needed.  We wanted a variety of fish, so we chose: a Dwarf Gourami, a Black Molly and a Gold Mickey Mouse Platy.  And we were super creative with their names: Simon, Molly and Mickey :)

Once we brought our new fish home we acclimated the fish by floating them in the bag, in the aquarium for 15 minutes.  Then we added the fish with a net, not letting any water from the bag in the aquarium.  We didn't want to contaminate the water that had just passed the water analysis test.  The fish have been in their new home for three days and seem to be happy and doing well.  We will probably take another water sample into PetSmart this weekend just to make sure all the levels are normal and possibly get a couple more fish.

Acclimating the fish to the water temperature

Gold Mickey Mouse Platy Fish

Dwarf Gourami Fish

Black Molly Fish

We put the tank on a table in our hallway upstairs, instead of Parker's room.  That way we could all enjoy them!  I think Parker was a little disappointed that they didn't go in his room, but he got over it quickly.  He loves them and his favorite thing is feeding them every morning.  Ryder loves them too, but we have to keep a close eye on that little guy.  I've caught him hitting the tank a couple times, which I'm sure scares the fish.  

I figured the title of this post was appropriate since Dr. Seuss' birthday is on March 2nd.  Here are 30 great quotes from Dr. Seuss.

What was your first pet?  Did you have the typical dog or cat or some other animal?  Let us know in the comments below.  Wish us luck with our new fish and let us know if you have any tips for tropical aquariums.  

Happy Champagne Thursday!



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