Alright, journal time!
A few months ago, I went to a local aquarium and was amazed; and instantly started researching everything I could about getting into the fish keeping hobby. I figured I would need to save up about 600 dollars to start things off decently; and then even longer for my tank to set up, but still learned what I could.
Eventually I figure out that you don't neeeed to buy things new. You can buy them second hand, if you know what to look for. Widened tops. Cracks in the glass. How well the molding is holding. I start my online browsing, just to stay mindful of prices for the time that I have my money saved up.
Silly me. As if I have self restraint. So I see a 55g tank (filters top, lights, fish, substrate, decorations, tank, and stand) and buy it on the spot because I'm intelligent and make mindful decisions.
I tell the guy I'm interested, and want to take his tank and set up. Since I'll be getting live fish, I tell him to keep the water and I'll just bring some big buckets in my cars.
He didn't keep the water; and threw away his "nasty" filters. Hooo boy. So now I have enough fish to fully stock a tank, but no tank. Don't even have his old filters to jump-start it.
Girlfriends: Good for manual labor.
Day 1 - threw some start-zyme into the tank, along with some plants from PetCo; and some generic aquarium nutrient solution.
Bamboo would survive on Mars if it could get there.
Did a water test and saw that the fish would die in their holding containers, so, hoping for the best, tossed them in the tank.
After an overnight explosion of... something... living on the fish tank, my pleco finally acclimated and ate very, very well. It was entertaining to watch him scurry back and forth across the tank all day; often butting into the other fish in his frantic search for food.
Pictured: A tank in peril.
I start doing heavy water changes and adding ammonia trapping chemicals, and keep up with the start-zyme. I also throw in some more plants (ha, I don't even know what they are!)
Things are looking grim, but hopeful. That was the day I actually learned what type of fish I had.
Since then, things have settled down some. The fish aren't in crisis, the tank is starting to cycle, and my bacteria are growing nicely on my filters.
Tank from left to right.
The oscars love to hide, so they have a semi-cave behind the rock + pot in the corner. The pot makes an excellent defuser while changing water and my dempsey loves to peak out the bottom areas.
The danios never leave me alone, they just want to eat everything; all the time. When I'm there, they're hopping at the top of the water to eat.
My piece of wood provides a nice wall to ebb the current; and also sections off the sides of the tank. The fish have plenty of room to move behind and in front of it.
Another hole for the dampsy. Between this, the wood, and the heater, there is a small area in the back that is walled off. It's an open kind of shelter the gourami enjoy to hang out in.
The pleco's main hide out.
And the corner! There's room behind the coral for the fish to investigate, and its a bubbler. Yay!