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What are your everyday joys in aquarium keeping?


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So, I've wanted to culture my own live food for my fish.  I'm been doing...  Well, terribly in general.  My pods are stable now I think; hope?  Seems adding dried oak leaves has been a game changer for them.  I've failed at other live foods and well, and I'm recovering from losing most of the individuals from my last fish shipment.  There are loads of frustrations in this hobby!  The leaning curve is often steep, and small things can make people think about chucking it all in.

But tonight, I was feeding my different goby species out of my blackworm colony, which seems to be doing okay thank to adopting the "Wild Fish Tanks" approach to keeping them (link here).  As I was watching the silly little fish chase the worms as they wriggled wildly adrift in the water current, I realized that feeding my gobies live blackworms is, for me, one of the great joys in keeping aquariums.  Not just in the moment, which itself is something I look forward to, but also as a culmination of different things I have worked toward coming together - persisting in finding live food I can culture well, sourcing the fish I care about, and creating a setup that pleases me and the fish.  It was just a moment where I paused for long enough to realize "I'm really enjoying this moment".

It's also gotten me thinking, what are the little joys in aquarium keeping that others find?  Yes, I know getting in a cool new fish/plant/filter etc. brings with it a sanctification like that of consumerism.  But those moments are fleeting.  They are momentary happiness, but I would argue not sustained joy.  So, I'd love to learn what others find real joy in from the everyday of their aquarium keeping.  If anyone wants to share.  In the meantime, I'll be looking forward the next time I get to watch my gobies gobble down blackworms.

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I personally love it when my puffer flares his tail at me, its just a majestic sight with the bright yellow. One of the best feelings was having one of my anubias flower for me it stuck it out of the water and had such a bright white that I had to turn off the lights to see it close. One final thing would be the final dance between bettas right before they begin to embrace. With a male and female swimming in harmony and dancing with each other when normally they would be attacking each other is just bizarre and a wonderful experience I hope everyone experiences. 

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Feeding my girl guppies. My girls eat the food from my fingers a bite at a time. If I feed live bbs they all gather round the pipette and take turns gobbling a bite. It is almost polite the way they take turns. I giggle like a little girl each and every time. My boys cpd and Pygmy/panda Cory on the other hand are all pushy me me me. Still fun but just not like my sweet little girls. My other fav. Is my BN pleco puppies sitting in their own food dishes waiting for their green beans 😁 I miss that I removed the dishes so their babies could find food 😞

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Seeing fry - my accidental pea puffer fry most recently.  There was a moment when I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, but they moved exactly like an adult puffer and there was no doubting what they were once they caught my attention.  Cory fry also move exactly like adults.  Same for danio fry.

Now if I had a mix of tetras in a tank I likely wouldn’t be able to tell what they were except “tetras” until they grew up quite a bit and maybe not until they got some adult color.  For instance, ember tetras and neon green tetras AKA Kubotai rasboras have very similar body shape and style of moving.

But the same is true for seeing any fry.  There is just something sooooooo completely adorable about a tiny, baby version of a fish that’s already showing traits that tell you without a doubt what they will become.

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Like most folks, I do enjoy watching my fish eat--I like making them happy but also affirming that they are in good health and have good appetites. But my most enjoyable times are just watching them go about their business when they are not begging for food or eating. Playing tag, picking at algae, plants pearling or at least growing/glowing green...it's very peaceful.

And (for now anyway) FRY! So exciting to have teeny fish. I'm sure with all these livebearers one day I'll be saying "Oh no! More fry!" but since I only have seven, I am busting out the baby name book, lol! 

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On 9/17/2021 at 8:29 PM, PineSong said:

But my most enjoyable times are just watching them go about their business when they are not begging for food or eating

I want to enjoy that more.  That's the aspiration!  But I find I don't get to sit and just watch my fish.  I can feed them, to keep them alive.  But carving out time to simply sit and enjoy them; it's not in the cards currently.  Some day.  Some day.  If I repeat it enough, maybe it will come true.  🙃

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On 9/17/2021 at 9:55 PM, OnlyGenusCaps said:

I want to enjoy that more.  That's the aspiration!  But I find I don't get to sit and just watch my fish.  I can feed them, to keep them alive.  But carving out time to simply sit and enjoy them; it's not in the cards currently.  Some day.  Some day.  If I repeat it enough, maybe it will come true.  🙃

Tank placement is key. One tank beside the dinner table where I also sit to do paperwork from the office, have morning coffee, and internet on my laptop. Additional tanks in front of my rowing machine--added incentive to get on it and keep moving. If I had a tank in my living room, I'd never see it!

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I love the colors, their behaviors, feeding, making the habitat/ conditions they will breed in, and many other things but what really makes me stop and watch in awe and gives me that feeling of pure joy to be a part of this hobby is the movements. The dancing of a Oscar just because, the rush of peacocks cichlids from one end of the tank to the other, mbuna darting in and out of caves, the strut of a German blue ram, pea puffers helicoptering down following a snail, but nothing comes close to a huge school of rummynose tetra for me. That’s the show stopper, it’s so majestic 😊😊😊

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What a delightful thread!

I love my angelfish's attitude. Particularly when I get my face close to the tank, and he lunges at it like he's trying to be the Alpha. I burst into laughter every time! Like c'mon, man. You don't even have teef. Gimme a break.

And fry! Those disproportionately huge eyeballs on a tiny fish are ridiculously cute, besides the fact that fish "appearing out of nowhere" is practically magical. They thrill me every time. I netted 35 new fry into a baby net yesterday, but when I found 1 more today, I still gasped with excitement. 😂

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Oh goodness… I feel like there are so many!

I love watching my platy babies rush to the top of their tubs when I lift the wire lid to add food.

I love scaping a tank—setting up the rocks, substrate, plants, and decorations is sooo soothing and fun. It’s the culmination of months of planning, researching, and finding the right materials. I’m never 100% satisfied with the result, but that’s part of the fun as well.

I love watching my tiny tiny honey gourami fry eat infusoria. Infusoria that I worked hard to culture for them, and that they need so badly to survive.

I love the antics between Mom Fish and Dad Fish (my honey mating pair). Dad Fish always trying to get her over to the bubble nest, Mom Fish deciding, “ehh, nah” at the last moment and casually swimming away. The nose-to-tail wiggle dance they do when they’re flirting, wearing themselves out so much that they have to stop and rest on the substrate. They are such a lovely pair.

I love watching the yoyo loach swim quick circles around the algae scraper in the evenings when the tank lights are out. I love trying to place the scraper the perfect distance from the nearby suction cup so he can get in a good rhythm. When everything’s just right, he zips around so fast!

I love trying new things! New ways of culturing live foods, new setups to help my fish breed (or not breed), new little hacks to make this hobby easier.

I love that there’s no end to the amount you can learn.

Edited by Hobbit
Scaping, not scraping 🤦🏼‍♀️
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There is an old Shaker song called Simple Gifts.  This carries over to everyday joys in the aquarium.  The Tinfoil Barbs forming an aquatic mosh pit every time I enter the room, all of the others just being there and healthy...

My biggest everyday joy right now is the wonder stemming from a long dormant plant (8 months) in the 10 gallon tank, lit by a flashlight that has a pair of new leaves. If it continues, It will be the third plant brought back from the brink.  I spend as much time staring at this aquarium as I do the ones with fish.

 

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Getting to know all of my little water pets and their unique personalities. Even my schooling fish have personalities; I didn't think I'd ever really figure out how to 'tell them apart,' but to my surprise, I can quite easily tell most of my tetras apart, especially the original 6 we purchased vs. the 5 that grew up from hatched eggs in our tank. I just love to watch them interact with each other and with me. And, of course, it's so fun to feed them!

Also, when a tank reaches maturity, the algae mostly works itself out, you got the nutrients and feeding dialed in, and everything just... *works.* And lives. And thrives. It's so rewarding to know you can create an entire tiny ecosystem in a glass box.

 

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I'm a single Dad with shared custody.  Part of every month I'm the full on 24/7 sole care provider for two and part of every month it's me solo.  Sounds odd and probably slightly crazy to people that aren't parents (and maybe some that are), but I get something extremely comforting and satisfying from the responsibility of being a "fish Dad" and the daily connection it keeps between me and my child through caring for our family pets 24/7/365.

Of course on the water change days where my forearms are covered in Duckweed and where I might have gotten a good mouthful of water trying to start the gravel siphon I might give you a slightly different story.

Edited by NanoNano
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I'm blown away not only by the number of replies, but just how varied and inspiring they all are!  For some it's the calming influence.  For others the stability in many forms.  And still others have aspects specific to a type of critter that has the capacity to bring them joy on a regular basis. 

Not long ago, I began the process of putting together a large tank, which I'd always wanted but never had the opportunity to get previously.  As the number of associated tasks grew to accomplish this goal (e.g. putting in a central air line, etc., etc.) I began to wonder why I set such a large task a head of myself.  My wife then helpfully reminded me that "you do this all the time, you take on these huge projects of your own making".  She was right.  Still is.  And so, I began to ask myself why do I do this?  Is it simply that I don't really know what I want?  Could it be that the idea of something is often better than the reality?  After much reflection, I realized that I like these projects.  I like my hobbies enough to make them bigger.  After that, I took all the stuff related to my hobbies off my "to do list".  Those tasks are the reward, not more work that fills my day.  It took a mental shift to think of cutting and gluing PVC as a reward of free time, but doing so has made all the difference.

I suppose what I am saying is that I am learning to recognize the simple joys.  To remember back to the truth of life when I was younger, that life is not a to do list to get checked off it's a journey you live each day.  The incredible posts that have been shared on this thread I am sure will help me, and perhaps others do so.  Thanks so much everyone who is contributing! 

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Wow, I think I may have maxed out my Likes for the day on this thread.

So many things ....
It's discovering new fry, I found a baby emperor tetra in the wife's 55. I was so exited I scared her. she was reading and I burst out like a little kid, "look at this!"
A new leaf or the flower that popped up on one of my anubias.
Watching the antics of the shrimp in the 75. The Amano's stealing a pellet and spending 15 or more minutes trying to keep the others from getting it.
The challenge of trying to catch the brown shrimp in my wife's tank (trying to keep the red line strong in there). They are very crafty and I think they like to taunt me.
Sitting in the fish room, in the ginormous bean bag chair and letting the movement of the fish and the sound of the sponge filter bubbles relax me. I should call it the nap room 🙂
This forum...

 

 

Edited by Griznatch
typos
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