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Fishkeeping - more than a goldfish bowl

A decade ago, a coworker and I picked up some goldfish and a 2 gallon tank. Over time, and with a lot of trial and error, I now have 2 stable fish tanks. One is a long 30 gallon and is home to a few tetras, a pair of cories and a single Opaline gourami that hides all the time. This tank is a bit overgrown with its live plants, but the addition of a second filter and heater has stabilized the plant growth immensely. One of these days I’ll clean up the plants and get an actual light for it (the tank is a 30 year old hand-me-down and doesn’t have all the right pieces any more) and take some pictures. The fish are happy, especially when the cats are leaving them alone.

But this tank isn’t that interesting to me. I built it out mostly for my husband, who likes tropical fish. He likes the colors and the flash that you only get in warmer waters. I actually think these fish are unintelligent and have no personality. Of course, I could be prejudiced by the constant hiding. One of the cats is convinced she can get the fish by swatting the outside of the tank.

My favorite tank right now is the one that’s becoming a problem. I started with 3 goldfish in a 10 gallon tank, not realizing that they’re messy and will get enormous. As they grew, I had to invest in a larger tank. They’re down to 2 (one didn’t survive the move) in a 30 gallon. It’s planet with a few anubias and java fern, since those seem to be the only plants these two won’t eat. In fact, that’s the only thing they won’t eat. They’re now so huge, about 6 inches each, that we need a new tank for them.

So last month we went and bought a 120 gallon tank. We’re slowly gathering all the parts to put it together, and I’m going to aquascape this one thoroughly. I even have a layout in my head for all the plantings, after flipping through some amazing books on layout. I am very excited about this project.

But the best part? Tomorrow we head to the lumber yard to pick up wood to build the stand. We’re not buying a stand from the store, rather we’re taking plan for a generic stand and crossing it with the plan for the bookshelf we built. The melding of these two will give me a stand that has space for books AND all the aquarium stuff. The tank is even deep enough that the stand with have room to hold additional hardware, should I get the bug to go crazy on the plant maintenance.

Between the woodworking and the tank setup, I’m going to have lots to talk about over the next few months.

When they were still small:

Originally published at my blog. You can comment here or there.


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Wow! Building your onw book case stand thing sounds awesome! Also...help me visualize what 120 gallons looks like...what are the dimentions on the tank?

This thing is huge. It's 4' wide, 2' deep and 2' tall. With the hood and stand, the whole structure will be about as big as our china cabinet, but a little deeper.

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