Monday, October 29, 2012

introducing: the fish tank

Scott has been keeping a saltwater fish tank for about 20 years. He's traveled back and forth across the country with them (moving) multiple times, he's survived a traumatic incident where the electrical wiring in one of his tanks caught on fire, killing a tank full of fish & nearly burning down his apartment (!), and he's lived through the countless passings of creatures he used to name. The first advice he imparted upon me regarding fish keeping after we began dating was this: "never name your fish--ever."

The tank had gotten more and more run down, in a state of disrepair, over the first 7 years that Scott and I were together. This January we made a mutual decision to rehabilitate the tank. And now suddenly it's more than 9 months later, the tank is transformed, it's amazing, it's unstable and unpredictable and sometimes actually very brutal; and I am so, so happy we did it.

The tank is now a pretty significant part of our everyday lives. It has helped me to be more responsible through the myriad tasks associated with it every day, whether you have time or feel like doing it or not: tests on the chemical components in the water (akalinity, calcium, magnesium, and nitrate primarily), followed by dosing supplemental alkalinity and calcium and iodide; making salt water to a specific salinity using four different components ... and oh my lord, the sheer volume of supplies. 

If you want to know, there have been two very, very bad days this year with the fish tank, both of them involving something breaking by surprise and water gushing all over our unfinished hardwood floors, and I'm talking multiple gallons of water. I have a bit of trauma in my past regarding fish tanks spewing water: when I was 5, a large Southern California earthquake cracked my family's huge freshwater fish tank in half ... except we didn't know it until the next day, when it literally broke in half during Monday Night Football. I remember screaming, and my dad scooping up fish off the carpet with his bare hands into an Igloo cooler ... it was a bad night. I am sure the majority of our fish perished, and to be honest we only kept a large tank for another year after. So I am a little freaky about water gushing out of tanks!

...and let it be said that Scott fixed both of those disasters. And they're just part of owning a complicated saltwater tank that you're converting to a reef tank. It's not "NBD." It's kind of a big deal!

We've had successes and failures, but more successes than failures by far. And looking at the tank now, I know we're just barely getting started, but I am so proud of what we've already done. And I really, really love every single denizen currently residing there:


tank
corals at night // under our blue "evening" lights they glow so pretty
coral
star polyp coral -- grows so fast!
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the tank at night, with the city in the background. 
crab
CRAB ARM!
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frogspawn coral 

2 comments:

  1. Do you have any blennies? I LOVE THEM. They are muppets, but fish.

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    1. We don't right now! I think it might be because they eat coral? OH! And its also because we have a tank of already-established, aggressive fish -- a 15-year-old clownfish and two yellow-tailed damselfish. We JUST got a new dude a couple of weeks ago -- a six-line wrasse! He's adorable! He's peaceful but he's FAST so he can outrun the damsels when they chase him around the tank.

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