Monday, May 21, 2007

Something Fishy

This weekend I decided to dive back into something that used to be a favorite hobby of mine. I dug out my 40 gallon aquarium from the dusty depths of my garage. I use to love having an aquarium, then a debacle a few years ago seriously soured me on the whole thing.

When we moved down to Louisiana I decided that I would try my hand at setting up a salt water aquarium, because I had done freshwater aquariums for a number of years and I wanted to try something different, besides salt water aquariums look so much cooler than freshwater ones.

So I went a head and took the plunge into saltwater aquariums. The learning curve was steep. I killed a lot of fish, which were not terribly cheap. But after a few months I started to get the hang of it, and my aquarium started to look real good. Then disaster struck.

I woke up one morning to a smell that strongly resembled the one found at one of those seafood boils that people in Louisiana were so fond of. Examination of my aquarium revealed the source of this smell. The heater had malfunctioned, not shutting off once it reached the preset temperature. For unknown number of hours it has been going full blast, and by the time I noticed the problem the water in the aquarium was at very toasty 97 degrees.

Most fish have only a narrow band of temperatures in which they can survive; 97 degrees well outside this band, everything in the tank was dead. Not only were they dead they died with their mouths frozen open in position that it made it look like they were screaming in agony. This made feel terrible. I certainly didn’t share the same kind of bond with my fish that I do with my other pets, but still they are living things under my care, and have them die so horribly made me feel bad.

This experience pretty much soured me on aquariums; when we moved to Arizona the aquarium went onto a shelf in the garage where it has been gather dust for two years. Lately though I have been getting itch to set it up again, so this weekend I decided to go ahead and set it back up. I am going to go with freshwater this time because it is cheaper, I am good at, and the nearest place to get stuff for a saltwater aquarium is 2 ½ hours away in San Diego.

So far it’s looking good. It is taking forever to fill because my reverse osmosis water system only puts out about two gallons an hour. I am starting to remember why I orginaly started doing this, I am having a blast. I can’t wait until I start putting fish in it latter this week.

1 comment:

VAfriend said...

Fish tanks can be a lot of fun. My kids love to look at the fish swimming around. We don't have a fish tank but my dad used to. He really enjoyed the tank and I don't remember a time growing up when we didn't have a tank. He had freshwater tanks also. Saltwater he said were too expensive and too hard. I would love to see a picture of it when it has fish in it.