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"Fun" Aquarium Stories With Big Facepalm Moments


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story #1(the longest one).

Every year my school does a teacher raffle. Students buy tickets and win small prizes like "this teacher brings in donuts" or "you can chalk this teacher's car", and that might seem off topic. Anyway last year, one of the teachers had a GOLDFISH prize. I had a big problem with this, and as i stated it "you are just sending the animals to die, these people don't know how to care for them" of course i was responded with the stereotypical "Its just a goldfish, they can survive in these enviroments". Oh, and everyone knowing i liked fish was asking me if i put tickets into that prize. Me: "No way, i cant care for a goldfish, and im NOT supporting this"

After a long bought of complaining, the teacher FINALLY took the prize down.

I came in the next day, and it was back up. Of course i went back to the teacher and asked her what had happened. she responded that the prize had been brought back by "popular demand". I responded with my you are just sending the animals to die, these people don't know how to care for them" rant, and the teacher said to make a care sheet that they can send to the parents of the winners.

I ended up making a care sheet, (it was flawed now that i look back on it). I suggested large aquariums, and filters, and tried to emphasize DECHLORINATORs. I dont think that sheet ever reached the parents of the winners.

A few days later, winners of the goldfish were drawn. (there were a few up for auction). It turned out the teacher had been keeping like 6goldfish in a 1gallon bowl, and SEVERELY overfed them.

I went to the goldfish winners and told them i could help, and tried to give them good advise, of course that failed.

2days later i receive an email from one of the goldfish winners, he wrote that "it died overnight" and it turns out the other goldfish suffered the same fate.

Of course i instantly ask "did you dechlorinate?" and was responded with a "Filtered water has no chlorine, i looked it up".

This is a huge facepalm moment for me, as there is CHLORAMINE as well that you need to worry about.

story #2

Last year i went to a sort of nerd summer camp,and one of the courses i was taking was Marine Bio. It turned out the teacher of the class was trying to keep a betta alive. She had a 5gallon tank and seemed to be doing everything right, i thought at first it was the source, as she only had a big box store near her. a few days later i was talking to her about it and  i said "I assume you are using dechlorinator and everything"

she looked at me and said "No, is that important".  I responded that it is very important and she should get some. She also said she was just running the filter to cycle the tank, like the staff said. In this whole process i ended up showing her ACO, and suggested getting some reusable filter media for her tank. Basically she ended up getting some standard "starter" liquid from the big box store, and it worked, last i heard from her (like 7months ago, when camp ended), her betta was doing well.


Moral of both stories, dechlorinator saves lives.

Does anyone else have any "fun" aquarium related stories to share?


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I keep most of my aquariums in my bedroom; and I also live in quite an old house, so the floor is made up of old uneven wood planks with thick nails sticking out. One time I was doing a water change , and left to go do something. Came back, wondered why the watering can I was using wasn’t full: it had a hole in it. About 10 gallons or so went right into my bedroom floor, which stank for weeks afterwards. 🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️

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On 2/26/2023 at 8:48 AM, TheSwissAquarist said:

About 10 gallons or so went right into my bedroom floor, which stank for weeks afterwards. 🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️

if that happened to me, my mom would shut down my hobby. (except for her cherry shrimp).

i have like 32 gallons of water in my room spread out between like 7 things.

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My "facepalm" moment was this morning, actually.

I have a bunch of plant lights that come on with timers every day but I really wanted to sleep in this morning, so I flipped them off (it didn't work -- I still woke up early). So I came out and turned the lights on in my tank and all the fish were low and not moving, the rummy nose tetras noses were pale, and everyone I saw looked like they were getting ready to die! Horror -- it was like the day a couple months ago when I had a nitrite spike and the fish were sluggish and weird, which tipped me off to something being wrong overnight.

Anyway, last night I did a 25% water change and added a new dragon stone...so I saw the fish "laying around" this morning and figured something was dreadfully wrong. I had boiled the rock, then soaked the rock, then rinsed the rock, but maybe something bad had happened? Or maybe something was screwy with my water change? I instantly got my ammonia and nitrite tubes to test before I did anything else and they are solid zero; pH is the same as always and nitrates are the same as my tap. WTH??? Then I go back to look and wring my hands over the tank and am thinking about all my little fishies dying and they were all swimming around and behaving normally! The rummy noses had colored up and all seemed ok...?

It then occured to me that they were sleeping and I woke them up! My overhead plant lights come on on a timer every morning and the ambient light goes up in the house, then I get up and wander around and lights come on and stuff happens (dogs get let out, coffee made, etc.), then I turn on the fish tank lights, maybe 1/2 hour later then when the house gets up. I have never turned the tanks lights on in a dead dark house!

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About five minutes ago for me... I had fed out this morning's harvest of live freshly hatched brine shrimp nauplii, then washed my Ziss brine shrimp hatchery, and set it aside to dry (and also to delay the next hatch to when I'll be available to harvest it). Well, a couple minutes ago, I put it all back in place and started pouring water into it, but I'd never shut the needle-type valve at the bottom that you use for harvesting! Whoops! There's a mistake I'll only make once...

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I used to trade shrimp for store credit at a lfs. One lovely day, I was looking for stuff to spend my credit on and stopped to watch the shrimp tank (cuz I love them) and the new guy came over and tried to hard sell me some shrimp and explain to me how to breed them and even offered that some customer bred them all locally and maybe I could buy a bunch and undercut that other person..  ie. me.  ….  It was hella awkward 

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last year i tried setting up a fish tank at my school.

i wont go into the speacifics here, but it didnt end well for me (the fish is still alive and healthy in my tank).

it was a ten gallon tank, with a betta. (this is not my betta).

around the time i was setting this tank up i had some platy males sparring (i was concerned at the time, now i ignore it, since they dont hurt each other)

so i removed one of them and put him in with the betta, and after some initial flaring, they got along fine.

there was one classmate that was asking me two questions that i deemed stupid and hence the facepalms:

Did the big fish (betta) give birth to the little fish?


are they gonna breed.

lets take a quick biology lessons, bettas dont give birth, and MALE bettas cannot have babies without any female. two males of COMPLETELY different speicies cannot breed.

i have SO many stories about this tank, there were the people that said

"the betta will die of depression alone, it should be living in the ocean (?)"


"You are starving it on the weekends"

and there were the people that left the light on ALL night, and then complained about the diatom algae (huh i wonder).

this whole project was facepalm after facepalm with the IDIOCY/intended annoying of the people in my grade.

yeah, want any more stories? ive got plenty.

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Long ago I learned that there was no way I could have live plants in the TFB tank with out some kind of physical barrier.  I found and installed a tall glass cylinder that was 6" in diameter and about an inch and a half below the waterline. The glass cylinder is nearly invisible from a distance.  The experiment was a success I had growing plants without an ugly partition in the tank. 

Coming home late one evening, I noticed  the largest TFB swimming in a spiral to the bottom before drifting back to the surface and sinking down again.  I thought I was going to lose my favorite fish. As I got closer I realized that the lone Wisteria was almost gone, and that the barb was actually inside the cylinder.  The 7" fish had found a way to jump into the 6" cylinder, but could not turn around or jump out. 

In the end, I had been outsmarted by the fish, and while I do have plants in the tank, they are behind a fish fence.

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