Quite a few things have happened. I've had a very hectic work schedule, but wanted to make a log post before too much time has passed. A few days ago, Saturday March 3rd to be exact, this tank having seemingly gained a cycled and stable state (took about a month), I found a bit of time to go out and finally get its inhabitants. First, I went and obtained the freshwater dwarf puffer fish that I had originally planned for this tank.
This is a quick synopsis of what this poor little guy (or girl?) went through. My area, years ago, had so many locally owned pet/fish stores that you could spend a weekend visiting them all. Now, as probably it is for most of you, we have your Petco, PetSmart, PetSuppliesPlus... chains, with the limited stuff at Walmart and Meijer. One local store, in my area, and I'm afraid they are going downhill. Ironically, the place I found local to get my dwarf puffer is a farm supply store called The Andersons. They had one tank of dwarf puffers, back a month ago there were quite a few. As I went to get mine, the population was less, but for the most part they seem healthy and inquisitive, full looking bellies and no apparent ick or fin problems.
Before I had left home, I got things ready for the puffer, to acclimate the little guy when I got him home. At the store, the person that helped get the fish for me, really didn't seem to know or care much about the puffer. Out of ignorance, they quickly scooped water from a completely different tank, and then scooped up the puffer and deposited it quickly into this water. I wish I would have said something, but it all happened so fast, I was just kind of dumbfounded. Poor little thing was probably pretty traumatized right off the bat. So I quickly paid for the puffer and headed to my car to go home, holding the double bagged fish contents in my coat, protecting from the snow and cold breeze. Straight home, we go. Once there, I went thru the slow acclimating process, which probably didn't matter since the little fish was shocked already from being thrown into totally different water. It was late in the evening and the little puffer, in his new tank, turned pale... looking stressed. I watched him for a few minutes before turning off the lights, hoping he would settle in and be calmed down in the morning...
Morning comes, usually my dog wakes me up around 7am on my days off. Today, we both slept til around 9:30am. I get up, feed the dog and take him outside for his nature break. I come back inside and turn on a lamp, instead of the tanks overhead light, to let the little fish acclimate to the light and not be shocked. I look in the tank and do not see the little guy. But I'm not surprised, as he is pretty small, and kind of easy to camouflage amongst the plants and rockwork. I keep looking... but cannot see him anywhere. I start to get a little anxious, checking the floor for a dusty crusted up fish...but I see nothing on the floor. He must be in the tank! I look again, unsuccessfully. Then, on the desk... about 10 inches from the tank, I notice him. The little dwarf puffer is laying on a mousepad, motionless... out of the tank. Oh man! I start to panic, afraid that the poor little guy is a goner, I look closely and at least can see that he is not dried up. I pick up the foamy mousepad and drop the little puffer into my hand. He is VERY slimy. Almost like encased inside of a big wet booger, it is actually hard to get him off of my hand to drop into the tank of water.
The little puffer fish drops to the bottom of the tank like a pebble. I get close to the tank to inspect him... I can see him taking breaths through his mouth and his eyes are looking around like, "WTF!". He just sits there for about 5 minutes. Breathing, looking around... and then he kind of starts to hover slowly... getting his bearings and swims in place for 10 minutes or so. An hour later, the slimy coating is sloughing off of his skin and you really wouldn't know the trauma this little fish had endured. I watch him start hunting the many baby snails amongst the plants and rocks. :-)