January 3, 2011

Two More Fish

We bought two more fish for our bigger fish tank. I am very nervous about this, as well I should be: it's not an established tank yet, just for starters, but also any addition to the tank is nerve-wracking to me (WHAT IF THEY LOSE THEIR LIVES BECAUSE I'M TOO STUPID TO TAKE GOOD CARE OF THEM??). The fish store person and I had two conversations about it: one talk, then I went home to think, and then a second talk a couple of days later, and then I bought the fish.

(Look how good they are about swimming WHERE WE CAN SEE THEM.
Minnows still hiding.)


We chose guppies, because they are pretty (the picture didn't capture them AT ALL: one is pale yellow with an orange tail, and the other is grey with a blue tail), and because they are hardy, and because they are reportedly a good fish for beginners.

The main issue, in fact, is not the unestablished tank (guppies are the kind of fish you might very well start with, and SOMEONE has to get the unestablished tank), but rather the minnows we have living in it already. And that we'd intended to get a third minnow along with the guppies. The fish store clerk's opinion could be summed up in this way: "Please do not waste perfectly good tropical fish by putting them in with those dirty, dirty MINNOWS."

So. One possibility is (or rather, WAS) to have all minnows in the tank: get four or five more of them and just have a minnow tank. We rejected this option, especially since, so far, having minnows has been a lot like having an empty aquarium, except that we have to keep cleaning the water.

The second possibility is to put the minnows back into the smaller tank, and put only tropical fish in the new large tank. This was the fish-store clerk's favorite option, and it might be ours, too: the minnows don't seem any happier in the big tank (they continue to hide all the time), and they don't need the heater the large tank has, and we would like to get more tropical fish. But we thought the minnows might be happier with more fish around them, and they DO seem to be swimming a little more with the guppies around. We could perhaps buy one more tiny minnow to keep them company in the smaller tank, if that might help, and we could also get more plants for hiding. And with the minnows out of the big tank, we could work on the new fish community with far fewer complications and risks. Hm, I am talking myself into this option.

The third possibility is what we're currently doing, which is to have everyone in the big tank (but not buy the third minnow). I described this plan to the person at the fish store as "Allow the current minnows to live out their lives, and then not get any more minnows."

No, never mind, I'm going to go set up the first tank again. That just seems like a way better idea.

[Edit: Crap, I don't have filters for the small tank. (I was at the store for new filters when I found the larger tank on such a great sale.) Okay, okay, not to panic: they can live in the big tank for a few days while I buy them new filters and some more things to hide in. And some new gravel, because I put all the old gravel in the new tank. I changed a bunch of the water (OMG temperature!! OMG water conditioner!! OMG PLEASE DON'T DIE!!) and rinsed the filter in the meantime.]

23 comments:

Alexa said...

Am I the only one who is feeling all hrrumph-y on behalf of the poor minnows? What's wrong with a minnow? Poor things! Mean Fish Clerk!

I killed many, many fish as a child (that came out wrong--the killing was always unintentional!) and I will say that the hardiest, longest lasting bunch were guppies. I also like their name, "guppy." It's nice.

kate said...

You can also, if it won't make you feel too bad, just return the minnows to the fish store. They will take them back. They won't give you any money for them, but they will take them back.

Jess said...

But WHY? What's wrong with minnows? Do they HURT the prettier fish? I mean, apparently they are dirty? But how?

lifeofadoctorswife said...

Well now I am very curious about why minnows have such a bad reputation.

Sounds like you have come to the perfect compromise though! Can't wait to see photos of the tropical fish once they are introduced into the family.

Magic27 said...

Wow. Just wow. This seems so amazingly complicated and stressful... In fact, so complicated and stressful that it's making me feel quite charitable towards the damn Zhu Zhu pet my daughter got for Christmas (though I'm suspecting the cat will get it eventually - he's been eyeing it up since Christmas Day and is just waiting to pounce, rip, shred, eviscerate...).
Good luck with the fish, and Happy 2011 to you and your family (and the pets, of course) from me and mine in the south of France!

Nik-Nak said...

Just a suggestion:

We had goldfish for awhile and the tank kept getting NASTY, even with water changes and cleaning and all. We then went through different types of fish over a 7 month period. We learned that many fish are dirty. Goldfish are NASTY.
We went through about 5 different species before we settled on the beta. He is blue, beautiful, EASY AS PIE, and our tank looks brand new, four months after it's last scrubbing. (I have been know to forget to feed him for up to 5 days and he is still thriving well. I heartily recommend the beta. You just can't put other fish with them because they will fight.

Cherie Beyond said...

All of this right here is serving as an excellent example of why I don't do fish. Fish make me crazy. They are so delicate and touchy and they up and die for no reason. Blah. No fish for me. Give me a good sturdy dog any day.

Clarabella said...

Swistle, I love you, but I think you're making a mountain out of a molehill. I say just leave the minnows in the tank. They'll "live out their lives," as you say & then you can choose whether you want more "clean" fish or not. All fish are dirty; they poop in the water they live in. I find it hard to believe some are exceptionally dirtier than others.
Leave the fish alone. Relax. ENJOY them.

jen(melty) said...

Leave them there! They are ugly dirty fish but you will learn to love them. I am sitting here laughing because once you have one tank and then you upgrade that tank it's only a matter of time before you are all HMMM and fill up the old tank again!

Love minnows, would like to have a tank of them at some point. But right now I am loving my tiger barbs. My new house will have at least 3 tanks. AT LEAST do you hear that, husband??

Leave the minnows, poor things, they are hiding because they are scared you don't like them.

jen(melty) said...

ew, I mean, I love GUPPIES. No more minnows for me.

Don't really hate the minnows they just look kinda prehistoric-in-the-bad-way.

JEN said...

NIK-NAk is right! Goldfish were pretty to look at but POOP MACHINES. Our Beta and other fish were much more enjoyable and much less work.

Lauren said...

Fish stress me the heck out. I had goldfish in my preschool classroom and discovered that they grow to fit their environment. After sizing up to a ten-gallon tank I finally traded them for 6 rainbow Danio (sp?) fish. They stayed small, didn't get the tank as dirty and lasted quite some time.

They did die eventually, and if you want to read the story of how I mercifully killed a sick one with a truck, you can read it here: http://lloydandlauren.com/2009/02/19/requiem-ii/

Marie Green said...

I'm not telling my kids about this because then they will want fish and I DON'T want fish. Except sometimes I do. (I feel the same way about a dog.)

Hotch Potchery said...

I need to google minnows---I'll be back.

rockygrace said...

Keep in mind that fish do breed ... Those minnows may live out their lives *and* leave behind future generations.

Alice said...

oh my GOODNESS there is a lot to owning fish. i had no idea! i just had one big ol' goldfish that lived alone in a pretty barren tank growing up. i'm feeling a little guilty about that now - i had no idea they needed so much love!

Swistle said...

Apparently minnows have a Bad Rap because, like goldfish, they generate a lot of waste and put tons of ammonia (PEE) into the water---which is harmful to other fish and makes it hard to keep the water clean enough.

Swistle said...

Jen(Melty)- Hee! But would they maybe rather have their own little Minnow Paradise with another minnow friend?

Swistle said...

Alice- I had FIVE goldfish in a (large, but) unfiltered fish bowl, and I rarely cleaned it. I DO NOT SAY SO to fish-store clerks, and furthermore I have a cyanide capsule ready in case they question me.

Jen said...

As you know, we have tank drama at our house right now too. What you don't know is that three of the five guppies we bought died. This is VERY SAD but also kind of not because now everyone else in the house has agreed to switch to mollies which is what I wanted in the first place. Now I'm afraid the still alive guppies will reproduce and I'll be stuck with guppies forever. Damn fish.

Susan said...

Minnow solution: Buy fish that eat minnows!

DomestiKook said...

Yay for a bigger tank! Sad for dead fish. :(
I know they say guppies are hardy and all that but mine always die too. And fast. I recently bought some Gold Barbs. They're, well, gold-orange, about an inch long (maybe less?) and have black spots on them. It's recommended that you buy about 5 of them. at first I thought Barbs?! Sounds pointy and bitey, but they are actually really peaceful schooling swimmers.
In my tank that is smaller than yours I have the barbs, 2 dwarf gauramis (these are very territorial and don't like fish fancier than them, one is a bully and is, I think, shrinking. DON'T buy these!) 2 African frogs which are awesome to watch, 2 ghost shrimp and a sucker fish.
The barbs shrimp and sucker actually help keep the tank clean because they eat the detrius that collects in the bottom.

Good luck with your fish, I hope you get some thrivers!

shannon said...

Don't be discouraged. It took us a few tries to get a successful tank going. One other thing about guppies: the best grouping we were told at the fish store is two females to one male. Otherwise, the male will chase the lone female ALL DAY LONG. As a woman, it's exhausting to watch. We had some baby guppies after a while. They are live birth fish and you need to get a little safe house thing for the babies but it's fun to watch. Good luck!