Monday, August 3, 2009

Aquatic Renovation

Warning: This is a fish post. You might think its boring.

After Super Sad Fish Death '09, I cleaned both tanks, turned off the lights, and went on vacation. When we got home, the tanks were disheveled and dirty and full of algae. Since I knew a couple months ago that I was going to have a major change upcoming, I had taken out the plants that had come apart from the rocks and just let the tanks be in disarray. I'm embarrassed to post these, my tanks NEVER look this bad. 125 before:
70 before:
The number refers to gallons. The 125 is 125 gallons. Its 6 feet long. the 70 gallon is 4 feet long.
One of the things that I had been concerned about was getting all new plants. I knew I needed to. Mine were OLD. Probably lots them in the 5 year range. They get worn out and covered in algae (and cleaned, and covered again, etc.) and eventually, they just have to go. But I didn't really want to spend the $60 that I was looking at in my cart at Dr's Foster and Smith (although I do love those guys...) Then I remembered that a few years ago as I was deconstructing a plant, it occurred to me that they are really very close to fake house plants. Here's the thing: My tanks are big and to buy big plants, well, lets just say that my car isn't worth what it would take to purchase all the plants in the size I want for my tanks. So I make them. I take pre-bought plants and match them with rocks from my tub of Rocks that Would make good Fish Rocks and tie them together with thin elastic string. It means that I can create caves for my giant fishes and plants that reach the top of my tanks. Anyway, I digress. I withheld my online purchase and went to the dollar store and Wal-mart looking for sprigs of home decor plants that most matched what I saw (and liked) in aquarium plants. and I spent $7. Yesterday, I brought up a bunch of my favorite rocks and a couple giant pieces of cave pieces, as well as my tote of plants I already have, and made aquarium decor. It turned out gorgeous. I couldn't wait, last night I replaced the decor on the filter tubes (which shows in the pics above) Today was the day to majorly clean both tanks, switch the inhabitants (Eely is too big for the 70 and its only right that she moves into the 125 now that Zu is gone and Nessie, who lived with Zu, would go into the 70. They can't live together because they are both large bottom dwellers. That scenario ends poorly) So I got everything set up and went to work. Oh, and I had a helper:
Step 1: Clean the 125. Step 2: Catch Nessie and the gouramis she's living with (they are the test to see if she's going to eat whatever I put in there. She is a predator and Zu did not fit in her mouth and so sometimes small fish are just too snackalicious to ignore) and put them in storage tote with water (don't forget the lid. she'll jump out) Step 3: decorate 125 for Eely and her tankmates. Set up 2 caves, one on each side and surrounding plants. Replace 1 bad airstone. Fill back up with fresh water. Step 4: Clean the 70 so that the water is low enough to make catching the fishes easier. Step 5: The Switch! First, catch small fish with net and carry across room to new tank. I've done this for years and if catching fish in an aquarium was an Olympic sport, I could totally win. I caught everyone except the loaches (do you know what loaches are, those buggers have to be last) and Eely. Now for Eely. I removed her security cave and came in with the Big Net. (The Big Net is a net I made myself because they don't make aquarium nets big enough to catch my large fishes. It's the frame of a smallish lake fishing net with the net cut out and replaced with a pillowcase. Works like a charm.) I caught and transported Eely to the 125 and then went back for the 3 loaches. bam. bam. bam. high-five self. dude, I'm awesome. Step 6: Fill up and decorate the 70. One cave for Nessie and lots of cover for her tankmates as she is not completely aware that they are not snacks if its too easy to catch them. Step 7: Move Nessie and tankmates into 70. Nessie has been jumping in that tote and hitting the lid of the tote all afternoon (thank goodness I remembered to get it, catching squirmy fish on the floor before they make it to the heater ducts is stressful). I open the lid and catch her with Big Net, and luckily she made a wrong turn and swam right into it, saving me some time and stress. Then I caught her tankmates and put them in as well. Step 8: Look around, Is everything really where its supposed to be? yep. Step 9: Wipe off top of tanks and put lids back on. Step 10: Put away the giant mess of crap the you have strewn about the living room. Step 11: Windex the outside of the tanks. Step 12: Dude, you ran before you did this and now you smell like sweat and fishwater. Take a shower. Step 13: Holy crap, I have to go teach! Step 14: Get home from dance and check out the new environments: 125 after:
70 after:
Step 15: Blog it. Oh yeah, I had help with that too.

1 comment:

EvieG said...

So good! Nice job on the plants! Probably I should see them in person!