Tag Archives: aquarium

So Many Fishies Left in the Sea…

8 Jul

No one told us that getting pet fish was so complicated… or that snails are so much fun to watch! Here is our fishy saga into watery world of aquarium care.

My daughter started out with a betta fish (also known as a Siamese fighting fish), and although he was beautiful, and loved greatly by my little girl, he also only lasted a couple of months. Apparently this is pretty normal. So to avoid this in the future, we got seven little tetra fish… and they all died within a week. At first, we thought this was because they were suicidal and couldn’t avoid getting sucked into the filter. However, the snail survived and thrived, so it wasn’t a complete loss.

As with all pets, my daughter begged and pleaded to get a bigger fish tank, and sure enough, the parents are the ones who have to take care of the damn thing. Turned out that the problem with our fish tank was not suicidal fish (good band name), but our water. Our city water comes from the Salt River, so you can imagine, it’s very salty. So we have a prepper-quality water filter that can filter five gallons of sewer water through charcoal and get clean, drinkable water.

Turns out there’s a catch. The filtering process raises the pH of the water to over 8.0 (normal water is 7.0) which will kill most fish… except for our snail. So we bought another snail, because what we discovered is that snails are fascinating to watch. Apparently we bought a female snail, because within hours, they were humping like there’s no tomorrow. We know this because they laid eggs soon after (above the water line). They’ve done this three times – none of them have survived to hatch, but while the male has continued to get large on a diet of algae, the female has not grown. If you were constantly pregnant, you would probably be too exhausted to eat too.

So we’ve had to buy a whole testing kit to check pH levels, ammonia, and nitrate levels (NO2 and NO3) to figure out what the hell is going on. So we’ve had to solve all three levels being too high – we bought plants (adds oxygen), driftwood (to lower pH), and lava rock (to grow algae and handle… something). Finally we felt confident enough to buy four Corry fish, which apparently handle higher pH better. Well, one of them died instantly, but otherwise, the other three have survived quite nicely.

So far, the ongoing science experiment continues all right, the fish and snails seem to be doing okay, and if our pH keeps fluctuating from average to high, we’re on top of it. Have you had this problem before–where a pet suddenly becomes a hobby? Tell me about it in the comments below!

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