Thursday, March 31, 2011

Tales from the Tank #15

Now...for the rest of the story...

The bidding on the hex tank's in at $10, now $20, $25-$30..gets to $45 and Terry jumps out and it sells for $45. I was pissed off. I said "we could probably had it for $50". He said,'s not that great anyway. I said "So what do you suppose we do with 5 angel fish? That's pretty expensive shark food if you ask me" (insert snotty tone here).

Next thing I know he's off talking to some dude and Kath says "I think he's buying you a tank". What? We don't need another tank. I'll just set up the 10 gallon tank.  Yep. He comes back and says "There. I just got a tall 37 gallon tank for $35. We just have to go pick it up tomorrow. Don't lose this phone number".

OMG. Seriously dude. Where in the heck are we gonna put another fish tank?

We finally arrive home with all our treasures about 5pm. YES..we spent an entire Saturday at a fish auction.   I proceed to float the bags so we can introduce the fish and realize that in the mix of swordtails there are some very tiny ones. But lo and the box of "stuff" was a breeder tank about 3 x 6 which you float at the top of your tank. So the angels and the baby swordtails are saved! No shark food for you. Hah.

Sunday am, we get up and are just taking it easy and Terry's cell finally rings. The dude is ready and we can come get the tank.  As we were getting ready to leave, the phone rang and I said "don't answer it". Terry was in the other room and said "What?" I repeated "Don't answer it. It's Sears protection".  He says "Who?" I said "Sears Protection".  He comes around the corner and says..."I thought you said Fish Intervention".

I said I think we need an intervention, but I laughed all the way to Shueyville anyway.

So the man we bought this tank from is actually a breeder of tropical fish. Angels no less.  He has a room dedicated to breeding Chiclids, plecos, and Angels.  We learned alot in the hour or so we visited with him and as we pulled away from his drive way I told Terry to stop. Before he turned left to head to the interstate I said "We need to agree on something right now". 

"What?" he said.  I replied "I refuse to become a breeder. Don't want to go there. Don't want one room dedicated to fish. If the fish have babies it will be as in nature - survival of the fittest.  Not gonna have a tank to put babies in, not gonna learn how to grow my own brine shrimp for feed. Nope. not going there.  If that's your intention, we might as well get divorced now.  The dudes family room smelled like amonia.  Not going there.  I want fish for the pleasure of watching them, learning about them, decorating their tank, learning how they interact with other species blah blah blah. Nope. Not gonna do the breeding thing."

He said "Ok. But I still want 120 gallon tank".

I give up.

Tales From the Tank #14

You're in at $10

Last Thursday Terry said  "So, what are you doing on Saturday"? I replied "Nothing - but at least sleeping past 5 am - Why?".

Wanna go to a Fish Auction?  What?? Seriously??

Yep...a Fish Auction...hosted by the Eastern Iowa Aquarium Assocation.  I said "What do they auction?". He said he had no idea, but "viewing" is a 9 am and the auction starts at 10 am.  Wanna Go? 

I said "Sure"..."Why not".  So we invited our Fish partner in crime, Kath, and proceeded to make plans for the day.  I visited the EIAA website for more info ( )and found the "rules" of the auction, and if you were interested in purchasing live fish, you would need to bring a cooler. A Cooler? What are they...on ice??

So Saturday morning, we got ready, picked out a cooler to take along ( the playmate which holds a 12 pk) and I said - "are we taking the car or the truck"?  "Well, the truck of course", (which was the reply)...just in case we find a tank". OMG OH NO.

So we loaded up the truck and moved to Beverly...Fish Hills that is...(just kidding).

First on the day's agenda though was every hungry man's dream:  Breakfast at Riley's on Centerpoint Rd.  Pretty good home cooked food and lots of it.  Who knew what we for in for so we needed a nutritious filling breakfast.  Met up with our fish addiction enabler (Hi Kath!) and once we were done with breakfast - set off to find the church the auction was hosted in.  Can't be that bad since a church was hosting right?

Got to the church about 9:15 where we found nine tables of various items of fish aquarium paraphernalia. There were heaters, floating logs, air hose, filter floss for DIY filters and fish double bagged so there would be no "leakage" during the day.

So the procedure was to look around a write down on a tablet the number of the item(s) you were interested in. That way, when they came up during the auction, you knew which items to bid on.  So I drew a line on my 8x10 piece of paper and it quickly filled up with both Kath's numbers and Terry's numbers.  So about 30 minutes into the viewing Terry said..."How bout I go out and get you the notepad that's in my truck? That way you have more paper to write on." Good thinking big guy!

You can see where this is headed right?

Buy the way, you should probably know that auctions are really Terry's thing. He LOVES them.  So once the viewing was concluding, Terry got in line to get a number. Surrendered his drivers license for "security" purposes and brought me a lovely yellow paddle with luck number 136 on it.

I should mention that people are still bringing in items when the auction finally starts about 10:30. Periodically Terry gets up and finds another number to add to the list.  Kath had to run to a meeting but gave me strict instructions not to go more than $2 per fish on the bags that she wanted...and no more than $30 total.  She said I'll text you when I'm done with my meeting to see what you've got.

By 11:30 they had only finished one table. I should also point out that Terry loves to help the auctioneer get things started by early bidding.  One of our first purchases ends up being a box of "stuff" he got for $2.  (He usually gets a couple of these during the day). Would you believe the next one had drift wood in it and after I signed for it, the guy who brought it came up and told him - that it would probably take a while to water log it because it was in a reptile tank. So geez...another but load of driftwood that won't sink.  It's now posted on craigslist for sale. LOL.

So the auction is underway and up comes a new top for a 55 gallon tank (which we just happen to need).  OMG I want that - but wait - It's not on the list!  Terry starts to bid at $5 and get's out at $13 so I look over and he's in line to get a friggin hot dog!  So I jump into the bidding and get that sucker for mere $18.  He comes back and says "Did you buy that?" I sure did. It's the steal of the day. 

Pretty soon, some of our numbers finally start to come up and Terry starts bidding and jumps out as the bid goes above what he's willing to pay.  This is soooo exciting!  So I start bidding on stuff - and the auctioneer says "do you two communicate"? cuz your bidding against each other. Of course the room errupts into laughter and its just a fun atmosphere.   So I had to start paying attention to when Terry was bidding and keep the paddle down.  It's not fair cuz he was just bobbing his head up and down.  Must be some kind of silent "guy" language at auctions.

So the live fish come in every so often and the hotest item of the day seemed to be these beautiful baby angel fish - about the size of a nickel.  I so wanted some of those - but Terry made we quit at $8.  He said "We really have no place for angel fish because they need a tall tank". 

I said, "That's ok. There's a tall hex tank in the back - at least 30 gallons and I wrote the number down so I can bid on it."  HAH! By this time, Kath returned and it became a lot of fun watching her try to bid on fish. She has a beautiful tank of African Chiclids all different types and colors.

Apparently Chiclids are the hottest fish in this area - so the few tropicals that came up were bid on furiously. But as I said, auctions are Terry's thing and six bags of fish later (that's 18 total fish)  we were going to add Neon Green, Blue pearl and Pineapple swordtails to our community tank.  At the end of the day, he bid on a got a bag of Angel fish (5 total). They are so cool - orange, black and silver.  So the plan was to bid on the hex tank - yep another tank.

OMG - Matt was right - we ARE becoming fish hoarders.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Tales from the Tank #13

Games on Facebook are Educational

I know, you're asking "what on earth is educational about games on facebook?".

When I first started a facebook page, I got involved with a little game called "ZOO". You build your zoo by completeing different levels from the number of bee's in an exhibit to how many animals you adopt, and how many "zoo friends" sick animals you help and or heal.

So how does this intertwine with Tales from the Tank?  This past week, we found the black Dalmatian Mollie swimming vertically in the 40 gallon tank.  He little side fins were moving opposite each other and his poor little top fin was down and his back tail was sort of curled up.  He just wasn't able to propel himself around the tank. We decided he must be sick.  He doesn't look like he has "ick" the detective work begins.

That night we began to "investigate" what could be wrong.  Ya gotta love the Internet. Tropical fish can suffer from all sorts of disease - just like people. From tail rot and fin rot to anchor worm and yes...constipation. You can also take your fish to the vet and yes...if they die, it is recommended you freeze them if you intend to have an autopsy done to determine the cause of death.  BK do you think dad could make a pine box small enough?

The disease Terry liked the best was "swim bladder disease".  Apparently with swim bladder disease your fish swim erratically, lose their equilibrium and are unable to maintain buoyancy.  This isn't what's wrong, because it affects mainly goldfish. Dang it. I really was hoping for some type of rare and exciting disease.  With my luck it's probably constipation.

So like any good parent or caretaker, the only thing we could think of was to quarantine him (just in case it was ick), so out from the basement came the extra 10 gallon tank the last seller "gave" to us because he was so happy to get rid of all his fish stuff. Are we suckers or what? 

We put about 3 gallons of water in it, Terry rigged up an air hose (for oxygen) and we put the needed chemicals in it - even some "cure all" drops, that were a bit dried up - but stain your fingers like green food coloring anyway.  The only thing we don't have is an extra heater.  I told Terry, "I'm not spending $15 dollars to buy a heater to try and save a $3 dollar fish." So we agreed....we would just quarantine him and if he lived that was good. If not....oh well. 

Then we had to get the fish out of the big tank.  Ever tried to catch a 2 inch fish in 40 gallons of water with rocks and plants and a frigging bridge in the way?  Well it ain't easy mister!  But as always...working as a team we tricked the little sucker into the net and hauled him out and dropped him in the 10 gallon tank.

The I took water samples to the pet store - go figure - the water is just fine.  All the Ph, nitrate, nitrite, ammonia blah blah blah is just fine.  So what could be wrong with the fish?  The pet shop owner said just put a little salt in the water and he should come out of it - but make sure you keep the temperature warm.  (OMG I am not buying a heater). 

So as I relayed this information to Terry over the phone, he said...we'll just plug in the little ceramic heater and set it outside the tank - it should keep the water warm enough (not to mention it made the the living room a sauna).  Then one of our friends came over to drop off girl scout cookies and Terry proudly showed him our little "HOSPITAL".  Frankly he thinks we've completely lost our minds. 

So... just like the Zoo on Facebook if your animals get sick from ick or constipation,  you can take them to a "HOSPITAL" or create one if you don't have one.   All you need is a little ingenuity, and extra 10 gallon fish tank.   If you need an extra 10 gallon tank, call me we have two.    

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Tales from the Tank #12

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish - How many Gold Fish are too Many Fish?

You can probably already figure where this is going. In my husbands' addiction to craigslist, he is finding all types of interesting items for sale, from puppies, RV's and yes of course...FISH!

But not just any fish.  These were Gold Fish. The person posting needed to find a home that would adopt her two Ryukin Goldfish.  She had a Black Moor that was picking on them.  So the discussion started "Should we adopt them? Could we adopt them? Would they fit in with our current fish family?"  Of course the discussion lasted as long as it took me to type the reply "We will take them if you still have them".

So last night, I met the young lady who was putting them up for adoption and brought them home. They are beautiful. One is a shiny gold with a large fantail and is very plump.  The other is the more colorful black, gold and white and looks a little off balance when swimming.

I introduced them to the tank and they started to swim around their new home checking things out.  It wasn't too much longer though, when the three current residents of the tank started to chase the large gold one around.  It was almost as if they were attacking it - saying "this is our tank-you stay away".

When ran out to get pizza and some groceries, and when we came back we went downstairs to check the fish.  The three resident fish, who we'll call Winkin, Blinkin and Nod, were chasing the heck out of the gold ryukin. So the super connoisseur of the Internet ran upstairs to Google goldfish.

Apparently the gender of goldfish is a bit difficult to determine.  It has to do with fin size (imagine that), at if the fish is plump or more slender when looking at them from the top of the tank (hum...).  Apparently we pretty much dropped the honey pot of all goldfish into the tank.  When you have multiple goldfish in the tank, the goldfish being chased is likely to be female and is omitting some type of pheromone that either attracts or repels the male of the species.

Realizing this is somewhat "normal" behaviour for fish (you would have thought we learned it with the mollies), I went upstairs to put my jammies on and Terry stayed to keep an eye on the fish.  About 10 pm he comes upstairs and says, "if those three goldfish kill her I'm gonna flush them all". "She better not be dead in the morning or I'm flushing those fish".

So I jumped up, and thank goodness we had left the 10 gallon tank in Matt's room.  I grabbed a 5 gallon bucked and started putting that tank back together.  Terry said, "What are you doing?" I replied "I don't want any fish to die so I'm gonna move them back". So we got the pump and the tank going, added the chemicals and then went downstairs to the tank.

Working together we successfully captured the two most aggressive goldfish and put them into solitary confinement - back in the 10 gallon tank they've been out of for two weeks.

So much for bigger digs....

Tales from the Tank #11

Water Water Everywhere...

In the last post, you found out that we purchased yet another fish tank. A lovely 29 gallon tank to hold just three gold fish. Granted they had "outgrown" their former lush 10 gallon home, and needed a bit more room to swim in.

We got the tank all set up, applied the chemicals and planned to move the fish on Tuesday, giving the tank 24 hours to cycle the water treatment.

On Tuesday morning, Terry got up for work, went down to check on the tank and found soggy carpet.  Yep, you guessed it - water next to the tank. So when he got home he emptied the tank, moved it and re-filled it while it sat on the linoleum floor (to see if it leaks).  He pulled up the carpeting, took off the panelling, and started to dry out the basement.  I should explain:  Our basement is a solid wall poured foundation - and we have NEVER had water in the basement in the 20+ years we've lived here.  Not even during 2008 when Cedar Rapids was hard hit by all the rain and flooding.

The next day, after letting the tank run 24 hours in a different spot, it was determined that it doesn't leak. There was no water anywhere on the floor.  So two days later, once the carpet was dried out and the walls put back in place, he emptied the tank and moved it back to where we wanted it.  And filled it again.  I'm waiting for the utility company to call and say "Mrs. Schrafel, we think you have a water leak somewhere, you haven't used this much water since Jared moved out and stopped washing his car three times a week". LOL (Love you Bear).

Since the boys are both gone and there is no explanation as to how the carpet got so wet, we decided to blame the dog.  ;-)