Pet pictures. Here’s some of my goldfish, Nebuchadnezzar (the bug-eyed one) and Gaius Marius. There’s also a picture of one of my Hillstream Loaches. They are very hard to photograph because they are small, fast, and very neutral-colored. Also, since they like to suck onto the glass, you have to shoot across the tank to get their upper half.
About a year ago I decided that maybe it was time to try my hand at keeping fish again. The last time I had an actual aquarium I was about 12-13 and I overloaded it with fish and watched passively as the water went from bad to absolutely disgusting and all the fish died horrible deaths. I’ve had a few goldfish bowls since then with more success (and a lot more sense of responsibility for my piscine charges).
I figured I could make a successful go of it this time. So I bought a ten-gallon tank kit and put two goldfish and a bunch of plants in it. The plants included Vallisneria torta, Echinodorus bleherii, Anacharis, and several others I’ve since forgotten the names of. The fish were little guys, a calico-coloured telescope-eyed one I named Nebuchadnezzar, and a calico-colored shubunkin (standard body type) I initially named Salust. However, after reading “The Assassination of Julius Caesar” by Michael Parenti, I realized that Salust wasn’t anyone I wanted to commemorate with a fish I liked, so I named him Gaius Marius (who was a person much more worthy of having a cool fish named in his memory).
I had a couple things working against me right off the bat. First, goldfish are notoriously “dirty” fish, crapping up a storm and overwhelming filtration quite easily with waste chemicals. Second, keeping plants is supposed to be somewhat challenging (I saw it as a way to simplify things since the plants would tend to help bring the water to equilibrium, but the literature says it’s an additional complication) and goldfish like to tear into most plants. Also, goldfish favor cooler-than-tropical waters which limits the plants, support fish, and invertebrates I could have in my tank to those able to take the cooler temps. In my favor I had an increased knowledge of basic aquaristics as a result of actually reading a book or two on the subject.
The tank flourished, the fish grew rapidly and before too long my plants had completely over-grown it and I had to get in there and thin them way out. A month or two back I got my hands on a 40-gallon tank and set about out-fitting it, but was in the middle of a fiscal crisis, so had to do it as cheaply as reasonably possible. I ended up with a build-it-yourself lighting kit (thanks to Dave for finding that online), an undergravel filter and fancy power-head given to me along with the tank by my housemate Holly‘s family. A couple days ago I went out and laid down a pile of money for a fancy cannister filter and three Hillstream Loaches. I had been having major problems with algae over time in the small tank, and suddenly the new larger tank had a major bloom pretty much over night, so it was time to get algae-eaters and better filtration (you’ll probably notice in the pictures that my tank walls are kind of gross; I’m letting them stay algae-covered for a little while to test out ways to kill it without physically removing it…and Neb has been feasting on it in the meanwhile!).
This morning I was looking into the tank and I noticed little white balls here and there…eggs. Somebody spawned. Most likely Neb, who’s by her(?)self, so they’ll be non-viable. But who knows, I might be having incredible beginner’s luck and it’s the Hillstream Loaches which aren’t bred in captivity. Yeah, not likely. It’s cool all the same. I pulled a few eggs out into a bowl just in case, to give them a chance at living if they do hatch. If anything does hatch, I’ll post about it here as it will certainly be far more newsworthy than this gratiutous picture-posting of mine. Either I’ll have accomplished a major fish-breeding feat completely by accident or I will have played host to an immaculate conception of goldfish…strangely appropriate to this website. Wish me luck.