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Third time's the charm


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Hi! Name's Alec, I'm 29 years old living in Indiana of the US of A. I've been in the fishkeeping hobby on/off since I was 8 years old with my very first tank, a 10 gallon. My dad had a 33g with all kinds of cool fish such as Angelfish and Gold Gouramis. I was hoping to have a cool tank like his.

Ya'll know what went down as a clueless 8 year old with a tiny tank. I loaded that baby with any fish I liked and many died as a result. I ended up with only a fully grown dojo loach a year later before the tank sprung a leak and I had to shut it down.

10 years later at 18 years old, I had a moment of nostalgia and that was all it took. I started off with a 10 gallon and an Oscar (Yeah, that happened). I quickly grew to love the little bug-eyed guy that I had named "Oogie-Boogie" and also began researching about him. Upon realizing this fish's needs, I blew my next week's check on a 37g that I could keep him in until I eventually get the 55g (This was the generally accepted tank at the time for oscars according to a forum I was in, we all know better nowadays of course). I bought live-bacteria to insta-start the cycle and let it run for a week. I moved Oogie over and he didn't really seem to care that he was in a different tank, he just focused on me, my mom and my dog. My dad had always been able to curb aggression in his tanks, he had all kinds of things that cannot be together but they were and I was determined to be the same guy. I tried Zebra Danios first and Oogie didn't seem to mind them at all. This encouraged me to keep putting more fish in. A few months later, I had full grown Blue Gourami, 5 Zebra Danios, 6 Tiger Barbs, 6 Black Skirt Tetras, a dojo loach, common pleco, a silver sailfin molly, a red tail shark, a betta and a few guppies. Oogie did not bother any of them and was especially afraid of the red tail shark. I thought I was hot stuff then for figuring all this "aggression" out but nowadays, I know I was just lucky with a very tame oscar. When Oogie hit about 4 inches, I went all out on a 55g just for him. When the day came to move him, we were all very excited as the tank was beautifully decorated and was smack in the middle of the living room. However, Oogie was quite bummed and seemed like he missed being a part of all the activity in the 37g. He completely changed, often refused to eat and no longer did tricks for food as well. It wasn't long after that when these tumors started growing on parts of his body. Brownish and translucent, I'm not even sure if they were tumors, I have no clue what they were but I do know Oogie didn't like them and they certainly didn't look healthy. Long, long story short, he passed away and shortly after that, I lost all interest in the hobby and shut everything down. (I had about 5 tanks running with over 200+ fish, the LFS got a ton of free fish that day)

And finally, 11 months ago, I got back into the hobby a third time! This time, I am older, more patient and far more curious than I used to be. I got a 10gallon tank kit for Christmas and immediately dived into the internet to see how the fish world works today. I couldn't find my old forum, I don't even remember the name of it but I did find a massive section of youtube dedicated to fishkeeping. About a week later, I understood many important things that I barely understood or knew nothing about 10 years ago and I was ready to start my tank! I wanted 3 dwarf gouramis and 2 dwarf mexican crayfish. I had a crappy light so I decided to start with a Windelov Java Fern and see if it would survive. I did a fishless cycle for about 4 weeks using the ghost feed method. By week 4, I finally had 0 ammonia/nitrite and 10 nitrate! I was ready to go! I got a Neon Dwarf Gourami to start and a Windelov Java Fern. I'd share pics of the first tank but I cannot find them

10 months later...

I now have 4 tanks, a 55g, 29g, 20g long and a 10g and MANY more on the way (keep that on the down low). I battled Dwarf Gourami aggression, algae outbreaks, sudden fry explosions and equipment breaking. I've enjoyed every minute of it the third time around. I have spent more money on live plants than I have on fish and that blows my mind. Within a week of buying my first live plant, I had stopped using plastics and just loaded my tank with hornwort. From then on, I was in a live plant frenzy.

My favorites are my main 3 Dwarf Gouramis. Pastrami, Salami and Tsunami the Dwarf Gouramis! They constantly bicker and each have a unique personality that entertains me everyday. Pastrami is the boss, Salami will pout in the corner if I even slightly change the tank and Tsunami likes to shove his head in any hole he can find and that includes the water siphon. My favorite plant is the Crinum Calimistratum but it's also been my most frustrating plant. At first, much of it died back and then it exploded in growth while also getting covered in staghorn algae. After months of trying to deal with the algae, I was sure this plant was just a goner but as the months went by, it continued growing despite being absolutely covered. It's still covered today and it's a bit unsightly but man, it sure is a tough plant and is growing fast (for it's growth rate anyways).

Here is some crappy pictures, I plan on getting a decent camera soon! Thanks for reading folks!

-A third time obsessed fish-keeper







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