Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Tank!

(Yes, the subject is a Cowboy Bebop reference.)

I realize I was supposed to update this yesterday, but I wanted to wait until today because today is when our fishy friends arrived! Yay!!

Let me explain. For quite a while, I maintained a 5 gallon fish tank while I was living in Michigan. When I moved to California, I set up a tank there for about a year before I had to move back to Michigan. My fish tragically passed away right before the move, so I no longer had to worry about transporting them with me, but I did want to preserve the tank set-up because shipping it cost less than having to re-acquire everything in Michigan. After the Michigan fish died, and Kimmy and I moved from Ann Arbor to Belleville, I had intended to re-establish my tank, but we never got around to it. 

For Christmas last, Greg, knowing how much I wanted to set up my aquarium again, bought me a gift card for Petsmart with the intention of getting fish. He also consulted a guy at Petsmart about getting a piece of the motor fixed. It could be fixed, so the guy helped Greg pick out a new piece that would make my somewhat unconventionally shaped tank (it's hexagonal)  functional again. 

So yesterday, Greg and I rearranged the furniture in the living room so that the table I used before as a fish tank holder could be near a socket that isn't turned off by a light switch, and then I got my tank arranged, filled with water, and ran it all night to get everything settled and also to warm the water to a fish-friendly temperature. 

Setting up the tank.
I decided on starting with two guppies, and if they survive, then I would like to add two albino cory catfish because I love them, and they do a good job of keeping the bottom of the tank clean. (Guppies also enjoy nibbling on algae, which is helpful in keeping a tank clean.) 

So early this afternoon, after the tank temp had reached 74F (it rose to 76F while we were away), Greg and I set out for Petsmart where we purchased one cobra guppy and one tuxedo guppy. I am not sure why he is a tuxedo guppy because he is orange in color, but why not? The cobra also doesn't look very cobra-like to me, but he is pretty. Greg suggested naming the cobra guppy the Commander after G.I. Joe, which prompted me to consider naming the tuxedo guppy something related to Tuxedo Mask for Sailor Moon, but I am not sure we're that nerdy. (I might still end up naming him Mamoru or Darien, which is easier to say for most English speakers. We'll see.) 

Acclimating the fish.
After a bumpy ride back from Petsmart, the fish arrive in their new home, and I began acclimating them to the new water temperature and other sundries that are unique to each aquarium by slowly replacing their bag water with tank water. 

The little cobra guppy, which has my slightly worried because a little chunk is missing from his tail (but it isn't blackened or otherwise discolored), was quite the darty little fish, continually slipping away from first the lady at Petsmart trying to catch him for us, then from me as I tried to catch him in the net to release him into the tank. Getting the tuxedo guppy was easy, and I got him in the first try. Greg had to help me with the cobra. 

Exploring their new home.
They are now exploring the new tank together, never straying too far from each other's sides. Successful schooling! Whoot! Since guppies are top-swimming fish and cories are bottom dwellers, I am considering getting another guppy for their school when I go pick up the cories. I could possibly fit some tetras, but I really don't want to overcrowd my tank. It is only 5 gallons, and the experts recommend 1 inch of mature fish per gallon. Guppies can get to about 1.5 inches while cories get a little bit bigger. Both fish like to school.

When I had first pulled out the tank yesterday and got the water flowing, Memphis was right up there pressing his face against the side. When he was a kitten, he loved to sit on my bed for hours and watch the fish swimming around. He did sometimes climb on top of the aquarium, but he never actually tried to get the fish. This pump with waterfall is much louder than my last one (Greg says it sounds like the toilet is running), and I was afraid it would freak Sawyer out, but so far he has just ignored it. He may not yet have noticed little fishies swimming around inside, though. 

Having the tank running drowns out a lot of the traffic noise from the nearby highway when we're in the living room, which is rather nice. It doesn't do anything for the bedroom, though, which is where I'd really like to cover up the noise! We had considered putting the tank in the bedroom on top of my dresser, but I like to see my fish, and I know I wouldn't see them in the bedroom as I barely spend any time in there awake. My ideal place for a tank is by my computer so the fish can be my distraction when I am writing rather than the internet, which has a way of sucking one in and stealing valuable writing time. (So does Doctor Who, though I don't much care for the 5th Doctor so far. He's kind of a dick, especially to chaotic-neutral Adric.) 

So our home now consists of two humans, two kitties, and two fishies. I am very pleased! We also picked up an HDMI cable last night from Meijer so we can watch Hulu on our big screen TV. I am doubly pleased! We immediately watch a bunch of Dracula episodes that we had missed. It occurred to me that it's a lot like The Count of Monte Cristo, only with Bram Stoker's characters. Will someone please make a Count of Monte Cristo TV series as well funded and gorgeous as this Dracula?? It would complete me.

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