Friday, October 02, 2009

This is the dawning of the age of aquariums

After years of denying our children any kinds of pets that either shed, poop on the floor, chew things up or make noises - we seem to have ended up with fish by default. A lot of fish.

And along with gobs of fish comes an inordinate number of aquariums as well. Here's our current inventory...

Here's the one that started it all. This is Brandon's "small fish" 20 gal tank which sits on the edge of his desk in our home office. That big black blob on the front of the glass is a mutant snail.

After deciding he wanted larger fish, he scored this beautiful 55 gal show tank on Craig's List for mere peanuts. It sits in our dining room.

Then Rosie decided she wanted a tank for her room, so she bought a nice 20 gal tank to hold all her 2 goldfish.

Later, Brandon thought it would be cool to have a tank full of Crystal Red shrimp, so he set up this 10 gal tank in his bedroom.

Here's a couple of them up close.

And finally...

A few years back we installed a small garden pond in our backyard that became stocked with goldfish (not by design). It's actually a very tragic tale that started out with good enough intentions but ended up going horribly wrong.

Then this spring, 2 new goldfish ended up in the same death trap pond and have been enjoying their comfy home all summer. But last night the temperature dipped below 30 degrees for the first time and Charli and I just couldn't bear the guilt of murdering another innocent family. And so I give you the newest addition to our parade of aquariums - this 20 gal "wintering tank" that conveniently resides on our kitchen counter.

I know it's not as large and bountiful as their regular home, but these guys should be thankful. Becoming a fish-sicle is NOT a good alternative.


People in the Sun said...

Fish are cool. You can watch them for hours. Or not. My only problem is that when they finally get their orders to attack, will they spare me just because I fed them, or will they see that as a sign of weakness?

Theresa B (of Nebulopathy) said...

You totally need to set up a reef tank. What's one or two more tanks?

Travis R said...

Wow, that's quite a collection, Jeff! The maintenance must be pretty time consuming - Does Brandon do all of it?

About 2 years ago, I came home one day to a pair of goldfish in a one gallon bowl (Grandma B. just had to get them for Natalie). I couldn't stand the idea of them having to live in that little bowl, so about $300 and countless hours of maintenance later, I've got two free goldfish...

Susan said...

I'm pretty sure that 5 fish tanks are more work than 1 dog. Just sayin'.

Susan said...

Oh, and great title by the way.

JD at I Do Things said...

I'd love to have some cool, glow-in-the-dark fishes, but I'm pretty sure they'd end up as cat chow.

With so many aquariums, may I offer a cool suggestion? My friend put photos behind her aquariums -- she blew them up and made them the same size as the back of each acquarium. It hides the mechanical stuff in the back and looks really cool. One of her photos is of her kids on the beach, and it looks like they're looking through the water at the fish.


United Studies said...

Just what I needed to see when I am trying to convince myself to NOT go back up to Petco and buy Emma some cute little saltwater fish I saw last week. One was really cute, this little zebra-looking thing that would slowly swim up to the side of the tank and then swim backwards to the other side when I put my finger up to the glass. Then he'd creep forward again...

I stood there for like 15 minutes giggling at the thing.

Mom Thumb said...

I loved having an aquarium. The kids liked it when we had newts. They looked like miniature dinosaurs walking around. I also had something called a ghost fish that was awesome!

Bill said...

Now you need a cat or frying pan to keep control, unless you plan on a house full of aquariums.

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

people in the sun - Well that depends... if you're raising great white sharks then you might want to be careful.

theresa - Shhhh... that's all Brandon needs to hear. He's already jonesing for a saltwater tank.

travis - No, I don't touch any of these tanks, that's the beauty of having adult-ish children. They buy and maintain all their own stuff. LOL about your "free" $300 goldfish!

susan - Thanks. I waffled back and forth on whether to name it "dawning" or "donning" being as how we've acquired so many aquariums. But then I figured people wouldn't get the pun and they would just think I didn't know how to spell. Oh, the angst of blogging.

jd - Great suggestion, thanks! Did you know that Brandon had glow in the dark glow fish, or was that just a coincidence?

jacki - You're right... those fish are adorable. In fact, most of the really colorful fish are saltwater, but you have to be very dedicated to maintaining the tank if you get one. Lots of testing and chemicals etc from what I've heard.

mom thumb - Brandon has a ghost fish in that first tank and you're right - it IS awesome. He also had a ghost shrimp, but his Beta gobbled it up the other day.

bill - Better than a house full of cats. Wait, I just remembered that most of my blog friends have cats. Nevermind... cats are awesome.

Roger Miller said...

We used to have a large 1000 gallon pond in our backyard that had 87 goldfish in it. Very large goldfish. We had to shut it down because Jessica was a curious little girl and we couldn't stand to see something happen to her. What to do with the fish. Well, like I said they became quite large and would have needed the equivalent size aquariums to keep them. Wasn't gonna happen. They became members of the natural ecology of the Fox river.

A suggestion for next winter, if you still have them. Get a little heater, that will keep some of the water above freezing - think of trough heaters that farmers use for livestock. The fish will survive, as long as the water doesn't freeze all the way. They just, sort of, hibernate. I can guarantee you that those two fish will be too big for that aquarium next winter, as they grow comparable to their environment.

I think. :)

Meg said...

We've never been successful with fish in our house. Can't say it upsets me much.

Anonymous said...

My gawd--you should have just gotton a cat!!

Anonymous said...

I think it's good penance for you, Jeff, getting that tank. Maybe you won't go to hell after all. You still might spend extra time in purgatory, but hell? No.

mom said...

I remember when you were a kid, and had an aquarium in your room, (you are a LONG-time fish lover!) and I'd come down with the flu. I went and laid on your bed, and did that ever help pass the time---watching those fish. I decided then and there, nursing homes should have an aquarium by every bed!!!

Bill said...

Is it true that there are flushed alligators in some big city sewers?

Anonymous said...

I am sooooo ready to trade in the cats for an aquarium. Just a big empty aquarium.

Michelle said...

Oddly, I find fish to be more work than cats. And the lifespan... yikes. I don't have a good track record. But then again, I also once stepped on a black molly that jumped out of a tank while it was being cleaned. When I was in the second grade. I'm permanently scarred.

Elizabeth said...

I never had fish, I always heard they were a lot of work. But that 55 gallon show tank looks awesome! I'd love to have something like that in my living room.

Babs-beetle said...

That's a LOT of fish! Why didn't you just have a false glass wall and fill it with all the fish. A One wall aquarium :)

Maureen said...

Wow, and here I thought I had a lot.

30 gall with tropicals in the living room.

20 gall with three huge goldfish in the dining room.

5 gall with betta in kitchen.

5 gall tropical in office.

2 gall with betta on office desk.

And I am the only one who cleans and feeds them.

As usual.

Love yours! (I don't have to clean them!)

Brandon said...

I do have a list of all the fish.

55 Gallon Tank (Display):
-2 Angelfish
-5 Blue Gouramis
-4 Gold Gouramis
-1 Common Pleco

20 Gallon Long Tank (Display, Planted):
-3 Zebra Danios
-3 GloFish
-1 Gold Zebra Danio
-6 Neon Tetras
-2 African Dwarf Frogs
-1 Ghost Catfish
-1 Black Mystery Snail
-1 Male Betta

10 Gallon Tank (Planted):
-Lots of Crystal Red Shrimp (50+)

1 Gallon Bowl (Quarentine/Hospital):
-3 Baby Snails

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

roger - You may be right about next year, although I'd be very surprised if any type of heater could keep that little pond from freezing solid around here. At least one that didn't cost $100/mo to keep running.

prefers her fantasy life - They are kind of a pain in the butt. But the only reason we have any fish here at all is because I don't have to maintain them. Come to think of it, my children are pretty lucky they've made it this long.

sis - Oh yeah, a cat in an aquarium... good idea. I swear, sometimes you just don't use your head.

unfinished rambler - Whew! So glad I was able to make the upgrade!

mom - I remember that. I also remember all my fish coming down with a strange kind of flu and dying after that.

bill - Why would there be embarrassed alligators in the sewers?

carlae - That sounds easy. Although I'd probably screw that up too.

michelle - I guess so. Let it go Michelle, just let it go.

elizabeth - I'll let you know in a few months, when my kids move on to another hobby.

babs - That would be cool. Maybe in my next custom-designed home.

maureen - Nice. I'm glad we have all the tanks. And even more glad I don't have to clean them as well.

brandon - And you used to have a ghost shrimp... until your Betta decided it wanted lunch.

Brandon said...

Considering the time of day, the betta fish had the shrimp for dinner.

Janna said...

I love aquariums!
I used to have some of my own.
First I went through a goldfish phase, then I went through an aggressive carnivore phase.
That's when I had a Jack Dempsey cichlid and an Oscar...
I also had a piranha.

Fun times.