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New to this forum. Returning to fish-keeping after decades away. Quarantine got me started again, and it's quickly exploded into Multiple Tank Syndrome. I had a 50-gallon tank as a kid; but that ended when a mass mortality event [malfunctioning heater] that spooked me from trying again. I don't know why I waited so long - I'm a biologist by profession and get a ton of joy out of observing the fish, trying to grow aquatic plants, and tinkering with every aspect of a little closed ecosystem.

It started last fall with upgrading my kids' betta bowl to a 15-gallon tank. That quickly became a planted tank with neon tetras and cories (sodalis and panda), plus a running education in non-stop issues. It felt like every week was a new challenge. Algae! Melting plants! Lethal fish fungus! Stinky driftwood! Bacterial infections? Fin/tail rot. Ich! Snails! Weird blizzards of floating white flakes that I thought were an explosion of worms but turned out to be chunks of plastic the snails were scraping off a disintegrating fake sea anemone (my kids' choice of decoration...yuk, never again!). I was frustrated as hell, but also trying to find Zen in the education aspect of it all.

Fast forward 3 months. The 15 gallon finally stabilized, but the original betta died in the process.. So now my kids need TWO bettas (one each) so we got a 5-gallon too.  Which of course became a second round of experiments (potting soil for the plants, capped with gravel? Sounds good in theory but WHAT A MESS! Shrimp? Not with this aggressive betta - he chased them all into the filter and I never saw them.) 

Fast forward 3 months. My neighbor is upgrading and offered me his 90 gallon cube + stand and sump. Oh dear. But I finally felt up to the challenge. Why not? (Well, just look at my bank statement after I outfitted that tank...THAT's why not, LOL.) As of last week I've finally figured out the sump setup and got that tank fully cycled (it took 5 impatient weeks). Plants are growing. I did a fish-in cycle with some starter fish (a dozen leopard danios) and I can't decide if they are awesome fish or really annoying with all their manic scurrying and gluttony. The tank now also houses two 10-year-old clown loaches that outgrew a friends' tank, and a a trio of delightfully quirky reticulated hillstream loaches (who crack me up with their antics and hold their own against the danio swarm). Next up is a school of geophagus eartheaters, who will likely gleefully destroy my current plant setup.

I obviously still have SO MUCH to learn. Looking forward to learning from all of you on these forums!


Edited by Emily in Everett
Hit send before I was finished
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