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Re: Aga Members List (fwd)

Erica mentioned large tanks being easier than small, which kind of describes
why I now have to attend AA meetings (Aquarists Anonymous)..  My descent
into this terrible addiction started a little over a year - or is it two?
it's all such a blur - ago when my wife and I thought a small fish tank
would be nice for our apartment. A neighborhood dealer trafficing in fish
(how they slyly present themselves as friendly little pet stores!!) sold us
a 15gal Eclipse. While looking at the fish, we noticed the plants. "Oh, can
we grow plants?", we innocently asked. "Oh sure, sure", says the dealer with
a remarkably evil grin. Little did we realize that we were the fish, and had
just been caught by all the wonderful 'bait' before us.

Now you have to understand that prior to this, I thought CO2 came in those
little red cyclinders labeled "Fire Extinquisher"; cycling was something I
did as a kid; and laterite must be someone belonging to one of those flying
saucer cults.  Anyway, at first the plants and fish appeared to be fine, but
then came the inevitable algae. "You need algae eaters!" declared the
dealer. Fish load not being a term in our vocabulary, we bought whatever the
dealer recommended. Soon, the plants started dying. "You need chemicals!"
"You need other plants!" Wow, were we lucky. Whatever our problem was this
dealer had just the thing!  And always in stock!

It took us a while to realize that whatever we bought just didn't work. The
final straw came when we went into the store one day and were told, "Look, a
new shipment of Pinneas came in.  These will be good for your tank!" We put
the bunch in the tank and watched as it melted before our eyes. Shortly
after I went into another store.  Row upon row of small tanks, and not one
of them looking anything like ours. A conversation followed that was the
beginning of the end for me.

By this time we couldn't bear looking at the Eclipse. I saw an ad for a used
50gal tank from someone who was moving and thought, "What the hell." Ended
up throwing out everything that came with it except the tank and stand. With
the help of my new guru, I decided on using about 20% gravel, 40% flourite
and 40% florabase as the substrate. Got a Fluval 404, a 2x65watt (10k)
powercompact lighting fixture and a Jebo CO2 system. Added another powerhead
for circulation. Added water and waited for the dust to settle. Then we
bought a lot of fast growing plants and put them in. Waited a week and then
moved all the algae eaters and Corys from the Eclipse to the new tank. We
then just let it cycle, not feeding the fish at all. After a month or more I
became adept at the brand new skill of pruning growing plants. Started to
remove some to replace them with others, and moved the remaining fish into
the new tank. We emptied the Eclipse, cleaned it, and buried it deep into
the back of a closet, wanting to never see it again.

That was 7 months ago. The 50gal is wonderful. The plants are wonderful,
even if I have to prune them every week. The fish are wonderful, and it
seems like whatever fish I put in there like it for breeding. So I says to
myself, "Self," says I, "If I can grow a 50gal, how hard can it be for a
small tank?" Thus is the circular nature of life. I dug out the Eclipse.
Trampled on, stamped and mutilated the bio-wheel, then took a hammer to it
just in case. (I know, I know, many people use those bio-wheels quite
successfully. But I needed an effigy of my own ignorance to dispel those
demons still haunting me.). Put in a small Fluval and repeated the process
as with the 50gal. This small tank is at the end of its cycling and the
plants are fabulous. We even prefer its aquascape to that of the 50gal. We
think we'll use shrimp in this one for algae/substrate cleaning and have a
nice little school of pencilfish for the plants to play with.

The moral? um,  well.. Size doesn't matter, it's what you do with it that
counts.  (sorry about that, I couldn't resist)


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