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Discussion Starter #1
I'm out of town again. Basically across the state two days a week every week now. I was talking to my wife tonight and asked, "Did you feed the fish?"

Her response:

"Yes, I fed them. And by the way, you need to do something. I have enough to do when you're gone without having to feed seven tanks of fish!"

My initial response was that all the food is carefully sorted into pill boxes that are sitting next to the appropriate tanks, and all she has to do is dump the right day of the week into the tank. Easy, right?

My next thought was, all the food is carefully sorted into pill boxes that are sitting next to the appropriate tanks. Is that obsessive? And how did I get to seven tanks of fish?

Having 10+ tanks is no big deal if most of them are small and house inverts that require little care. It's just an avenue to try different things. Different plants, different fauna, different scapes, different substrates. And each one started out as a beautiful vision. The problem, unfortunately, is that most of those visions were never fully realized, or if they were, they haven't been properly maintained. Most of my tanks are a mess. They need trimmings, they need re-plantings, they are lacking a proper fertilization regime, they are overstocked. There are Endlers in my BV tank. There are CPD's in my yellow neo tank. The Endlers can't go with the other Endlers because there are too many. The CPD's can't go in the 5G jar because it is full of Endlers. The betta is in a vase that was supposed to have been torn down months ago. His planned new home is a mess and is currently occupied by two 13 cent goldfish. A couple of the male guppies in the male guppy tank turned out to be females and now there are fry. Some of the male fry in the female guppy tank grew up and are busily creating a new generation. Crypts are melting. BBA won't go away. The male peacock gudgeon is hiding constantly and appears to be starving and withering away. The cories keep uprooting plants in the Eco Complete and I can't get a carpet. There is an empty 55G that has been in my garage for seven years. There's a brand new Fluval Spec 2 in a box that was purchased months ago and has never been opened. Tupperware containers full of plants are all over the kitchen counter. The dining room table is covered with fish supplies.

I need driftwood!

Why won't my opae ula breed?

When did I last do a WC on Tank #8?

Will I ever install that RO system I purchased two months ago?

There isn't enough ADD medication in the world!

I swear I love my dog more than my fish. And my kids. And my wife.

Dog - Kids - Wife - Fish

In that order. Maybe. A man has to have priorities!

How the heck do you guys do it??? And when it's time to consolidate or cut back, how do you decide what stays and what goes. Where is the balance between creativity and execution? Between enjoyment and insanity?

:frown::frown::frown::frown:CURSE YOU M.T.S.:mad::mad::mad::mad:
 

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Discussion Starter #3
besides your tanks, you have dog, kids and a wife.

I have fish tanks...
I see. So what you're saying is, dump the wife. Then I'd only have the kids three days a week and alternating weekends, so I'd have way more time for my tanks!

The problem is, she'd take the dog out of spite. And I can't have that. I love that dog.
 

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Deeeeeep breath bro... You need a community tank. That 55 gal seems like a good place to start. It will allow more creativity and room for experimentation plus much needed consolidation.

Keeping fish/plants is a peaceful endeavor my friend. I certainly know how easy it is to look at a tank and only see "the numbers". However just Zen it out and embrace the journey. You don't have to do everything at once.
 

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10+ tanks is getting up there. By your on admission many need some work.

I'd suggest that you figure out one or two things you really want to keep and have only the one or two tanks needed to keep them. Maybe have one other tank usually empty for emergency use.

It's far better to have a couple of really fantastic tanks, than a lot of tanks that look only so so.
 

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A few years back I had seven tanks running at home, and a dozen tanks at elementary school where I was working on maint staff that I set up for small children at teachers request.(maintained these too)
Now I have two tanks ,and life is much more relaxing and the hobby does not seem like so much of a job.
Moved from the schools to administration bldg.
 

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80 gallons and 55 gallons.
Have empty 75 gal,29 gal,20 gal,10 gal,56 gal.
I really should sell em but can't.
I do occasionally use the ten gal for quarantine.
 

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I have a 55 gallon community tank, a 20L badis badis species tank, a 40 gallon Asian themed tank, and a 10 gallon quarantine tank (so, 3 when quarantine is done though I keep the quarantine tank going even when empty). My tween daughter has a 20 gallon guppy tank, 2 5 gallon guppy tanks (soon to be consolidated with the 20 gallon), and a 1 gallon betta tank (he will be moved to one of the 5 gallons) (so, 2 when quarantine is done).

My heart is with the 55 gallon tank. Everything gets along and it's been easy to care for and fun to look at. I kind of wish I hadn't started the badis tank, as it's not very interesting and I'm tired of the picky eating.

We're not counting the reptile tanks, are we? Because then it just gets ridiculous. What about the tortoise kennels outside?
 

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Might be time to consider consolidating. ;)

OTOH, I've had good luck with this auto-feeder when I've gone. Only good for up to 2 weeks, but it avoids the issues that most other autofeeders suffer from. (works like an old carousel slide projector, just pre-fill the little slots with the exact amount you want fed, and it rotates over the hole and dumps out, so no issues with getting clogged up or putting out uneven amounts) Of course, buying 7 of them isn't going to be cheap...
 

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Sounds like a hell of a lot of trouble and for what? You don't sound happy, wifes not happy, fish sure ain't happy, lets hope the dog is.

IMO dump all the tanks, store them in the garage, get yourself a large 150+ gallon or 2 55+ and enjoy, when you retire go nuts! Now your happy, wifes happy till something else, fish love you and the dog well not much changes in his life.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Oh man, just re-reading this thread after 6.5 years made me laugh and cringe a little at the same time. A lot has changed since then. I got out of the hobby completely some time in 2016. Had my floors re-done on my main level and most of my remaining fish didn't survive being moved around during that period. All of my various tanks, jars, and vases are down in the basement covered with dust and full of dried out moss. It's a sad graveyard of a much-loved former hobby.

The only box that has still held water all these years is my 12G Fluval Edge. It has been sitting on the kitchen counter in its normal spot annoying my wife. But I never had the heart to throw it out. The light fixture burned out a long time ago, and I actually ordered a replacement light years ago that I never installed. Found it in my basement the other day. I had a flex-neck LED light suctioned onto the back of one side of the tank that has been coming on like clockwork all these years for 12 hour a day. When the water level got low and we started hearing the trickle, we just topped it off with some RO water. It ran like that all these years. No water changes. No cleaning. No changing the filter media. Just a jungle of java fern, algae, and some trumpet snails that seem to be able to survive anything.

My dog, sadly, passed in July. She was almost 16, so she lived a good, long life for a 55 lb furbear. We're holding off on the commitment of getting another dog for a while. My son and I are going on a 14-day hike in the mountains in New Mexico in June, and my wife doesn't want to try and train a puppy while we're gone. So my daughter has been asking for a pet. She really wanted to catch a blue-tailed skink last summer and set up an aquarium for it, but my wife said no way. So she started asking if we could get some fish. I put her off for months, but I finally decided it was time to do something with that old tank. So I started the process of cleaning it up. First was a 7-day blackout to kill off as much algae as possible. That worked for the cyano, and I was able to scrape off a lot of the other algae and get it looking fairly good again. Next was picking the plants and future fauna. Java fern isn't my favorite, so I pulled most of that out and replaced it with red myrio, ludwigia palustris, jungle val, and a bit of fissidens. After multiple water changes, tirelessly sucking up all the dead plant debris from the gravel, and replacing that light fixture and heater, it's starting to look pretty good. My daughter loves neons, so it wasn't hard to convince her that six neons, six rummynose tetras, two ottos, and a mystery snail would be a good stock for this tank. Maybe I'll start a journal.

Of course, during this time I've gone down a rabbit hole of researching various plants, fish, inverts, ripariums, ecospheres, and aquaponics. I never lost my love and absolute fascination for things that live in water. It's been ingrained in me since I was a kid and wanted to be a marine biologist when I grew up. So as I'm doing all of this research, my mind, of course, is spinning with possibilities. I have a veritable treasure trove in my basement. In the few days that I've been looking for supplies for my Edge, I have found things I didn't even know I had. A brand new, unopened cannister filter. Substrate, rocks, power heads, heaters, overflow boxes, CO2 systems, ferts, lights, electrical tools, a refractometer (what the hell did I buy that for?), pumps, tubing, the list goes on...

So many possibilities! So much stuff I already have and could finally use! MTS rising!

Re-reading this thread and some of my others helped snap me out of it. Helped me remember the mess and frustration that this hobby dissolved into once before. I struggle with addiction and obsession. It's important to remember that. It's important to remember the guilt of killing an entire tank of fish or shrimp because I waited too long to change the water or did something stupid. It's important to remember spending hundreds of dollars on plants that looked great for a few weeks but then dissolved into a mushy mess and got covered with algae. It's important to remember the strain on my marriage. Besides, I have other hobbies. I don't have time to obsess over all of them. I have camping and backpacking gear to buy. I want an ebike. I'd like to go fishing more often. I need to clean out my garage and get the retaining wall in the backyard replaced.

But it sure feels good getting my hands in that box of water again. It was fun researching what native plants are found in Missouri streams and rivers. I never gave up on my dream of a native tank. I even have the place in my family room that I designed to hold a 120G complete with holes in the floor and a removable back wall on the cabinet so I can plumb it to a sump down in the basement. This little 12G tank is my redemption. My chance to both teach my daughter about the hobby and prove that I can keep something alive and beautiful that my whole family enjoys. If I prove that, who knows? Maybe I can finally get that native tank. Maybe I'll start with a 20 or 29G heavily-planted tank for a pair of orangespotted sunfish and work my way up from there. Based on the responses to this thread, two or three tanks seems to be the way to go. Baby steps!
 
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