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Mea culpa… and introspection

Karen B.

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You know when you make genuine mistakes, it’s hard to swallow, but at least you didn’t know. It wasn’t on purpose.

But when you make mistakes out of « neglect », then it’s really really upsetting. I had 12 babies cory that hatched, 11 died. I was adviced by @Fish Folk to make a floating container so there would be flow, no amonia build up due to my overfeeding, etc…

Did I want to do it? Of course! Did I do it immediately? Nope… I prefered to concentrate my energy and very little motivation (I am sick with an auto immune disease and with chronic fatigue syndrome) on my new project of upgrading my community tank from 20 to 30 gallons. Wrong priorities.

I clean his container every other day but use a pipette every day to do partial WC. He was ok at 6, dead at 11. 100% my fault. I am surprised at how sensitive they are vs water quality as at the same time I have shrimplet and Clown killies fry and they are all doing ok.

But today was a very steep lesson. I was at my LFS, showed them dead fish in their tank, raised concern about a very sick betta… while at my own home, I am not better.

This week, I lost 5 shrimps after a WC. I just can’t keep shrimps it seems.

It’s also hard to admit but with 7 aquariums, I am a bit overwhelmed, especially with my disease getting worst and worst. But I love all my fish and can’t see myself parting with any.

And I am like a kid. Can’t just appreciate what I have. I need a new project always. Like now upgrading my 20 gallons to a 30g. So I can use the 20 for pea puffers… but puffers aren’t easy. The more I read about them, the more I start to second guess myself. After all, we buy fish to give them great homes, not have them suffer.

The more I write, the more I think I will pick another project then pea puffers… I love them, but I don’t like agression, I feel overwhelmed already, imagine feeding live food all the time, have to say I have been neglecting my 5 gallons bucket of pest snails too… and I can’t enjoy an agressive tank, I end up panicking and anxious…

I also don’t know how people go without WC. On my community tank, the sand is clean thanks to my corydoras. But on my betta tanks and clown killifish, I always feel I have to vacuum all the mulm. Which end up on weekly almost 50% WC (which is probably why my shrimps die…).

this post is going no where, but it feels good to talk with people that maybe understand what I am going through…

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I feel this.  I have been struggling to keep up at times, fighting to have enough motivation to get my WC’s done timely.  The new angel tank has me more motivated than I have been in a while so I’m hoping to get caught up, then push harder to get my fish room done and consolidate my small tanks all into one room.  I think that will make my life easier and simpler, and WC easier.  Then I feel like I can enjoy my tanks more.

It will get better.  We’ve all had to learn painful lessons.  What matters is how you move forward.  You know what you need to do.  You just need to make up your mind to do so.  Maybe we can help keep each other motivated.

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@Karen B. It is good to journal through valleys, not just when we’re up on mountain tops.

There are many sort of coordinate planes we have to chart our way through in this hobby: (1) Nurture vs. Nature (2) More vs. Better (3) Perfection vs. Improvement. Many more can be listed and pondered.

Thinking through your scenarios… you’re clearly trying to Nurture your fish well! This makes it very hard when you feel you might have done X or Y better. Success and failure alike become tethered to your care. But maybe, instead, you could adjust your thinking, and allow Nature more weight than Nurture for a change. I’ll never forget when @Irene interviewed a master breeder, he said “The fish do the work.” Obviously we can burn out trying to turn our hobby into a NICU ward. Maybe you can set your tank up to let Nature do more to preserve fish fry. More Java Moss, for example, to let the fish fry survive in tank than increasing your own work.

With MTS (multiple tank syndrome) and gravel vacuuming, perhaps “Better” with what you’ve got can be your aim rather than “More.” I gave up most gravel vacuuming, and don’t often look back. As long as you’re changing water and have lots of plants, balance is achieved. I had to pump the brakes on new tanks, and decide what my limit was. I decided to enjoy what I’ve got, and try to do that better rather than add more. (My wife still thinks I’ve gone a little mad…)

Raising kids has long ago forced me to embrace the axiom of “Improvement” and let go of my ideals of “Perfection.” The house is mostly broken. But here I am, at 2:13 am, holding my baby who refuses to sleep through the night. Far from perfect, but an improvement to share his care.

Applied to my hobby, I enjoy each day looking at my tanks satisfied that I’ve made this or that small improvement rather than being upset every day that I’ve not achieved perfection.

Anyway, thanks for sharing your honest reflections. Hope you’re encouraged as we talk this through. 


Edited by Fish Folk
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On 4/1/2022 at 9:20 PM, Karen B. said:

But when you make mistakes out of « neglect », then it’s really really upsetting. I had 12 babies cory that hatched, 11 died. I was adviced by @Fish Folk to make a floating container so there would be flow, no amonia build up due to my overfeeding, etc…

Hm.... This is very interesting to me. I entirely understand the means to try and give the fry extra special care. Once my Corys get to a certain size, high flow setup for me, I don't usually have any issues. I will absolutely be taking much greater care when I do have the rare fish spawn again, but my pandas I just never have had any issues.

One thing I've always thought about was the height of the tank and how it might be too tall / exhausting for the small fry to swim all the way to the top. Potentially just dropping the height by a small margin you can might be enough? Adding an extra air stone?

I post because I wonder what your setup for the fry looked like compared to mine. Usually I try to have some mulm and a lot of hiding places. Moss balls even was enough and all the fry needed despite feeding a "good amount" just to get them something to grub on.

On 4/1/2022 at 9:20 PM, Karen B. said:

Which end up on weekly almost 50% WC (which is probably why my shrimps die…).

50%+ changes, all I would ask is what the hardness is or even the shrimp type. Some can be very specifically adverse to temp or PH swings. It might cause then to molt early and cause issues. Again, just interesting stuff to take a deep dive into and really figure it out.

I'm sorry for your struggles, as mentioned above it will get better and you will hit a groove. What matters isn't what happens when you falter but how you respond.

One of my favorite motivational speakers.

Edited by nabokovfan87
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