... are you still dreaming of a new tank ?

An Article by Francesco Zezza

Admit it! No matter how many tanks you have there’s always one missing. One more “environment” needed to take a closer look at yet another “unknown” fish  (“By the way : my 10th species of the Pseudotropheus genus…”), simply because its temperament and behavior need to be investigated.  This finally results in you publishing the acquired knowledge on the web. Let’s face the truth: If you ever answer “No!” to this “question” then you’re a damned liar (at least that’s what I would be). Now, here comes my real story :

At the moment, I’m running nine tanks, how about you? A few of them are still at mom’s house, since I do not have enough room at the place me and Stefania (aka My Better Half) live. Despite that, every day I find myself wondering (again, how about you?) : “Well, those fishes have been swimming in my tank for three years now; it’s too short a time to get rid of them. I cannot even think of it” and then “That Aulie female should release in a week or so. I do hope these Pseudotropheus will sooner or later decide to spawn (I’m actually referring to my Ps. Gracilior quartet). How about one more tank?” I think you know this story pretty well.

In the meantime, the total amount of your “filtered water” is always increasing (my actual total volume is about 1850 lt – 500 US gals now), while the same is true for the Electricity bill. All of the sudden you’ve also become the best friend of the nearby lfs owner and so on. I think this is OK for an introduction, now let’s go on with my real story !!

In the place I live there is a corner in the basement which is crammed with rocks, bogwoods, roots, bags of sand/gravel etc. This corner increases in size by the day. Since we both (Stefania and I) agree that a “fish house” is not at the top of our wish-list we decided to follow George’s (see elsewhere in this site) principle of “not more than one tank in each room” which resulted in us having a tank even in the bathroom! Drawers and shelves filled with aquatic equipment are rising almost everywhere (should I say piling ?) and, sooner or later, those “monuments” are going to collapse. As you know, I am also running MCH (not alone; I couldn’t stand the effort in any way; morover, I have to add, I’m intrigued by this “shared” activity).  Therefore, it should be obvious by now that Malawi cichlids are my main interest. A huge number of M’buna / Utaka (Haps) swim here and there; their behaviour still has something mysterious.. hence “that” new book is really needed. And then: “Should we buy it next month, honey? I’ve already fired-up my credit card allowance for this month…” These cute fellows are, almost every one, massive spawners, which inevitably leads to “Where the hell shall I put this new batch of Copadichromis fry?” and many things like that. I presume you know what I’m referring to.

As if this was not enough, Stefania, during our Amazon trip (I promise to report on it soon) fell in love, God bless them, with Angel fish (Pterophyllum scalare) and is pestering me about keeping some discus, too ! We brought back home a few Angel fish from Amazon. Quarantine has been sort of a nightmare since all our tanks were already filled and – once back home - we were sitting there with many bags filled with Corydoras, Apistogrammas, every kind of loriicarid you can think of, characins etc.  I still wonder why and how – can you believe it? This ended in a change of plans (concerning a new small tank) and now (yes, its true) there is a 360 liter brand new Amazon tank in the piano room.  Ok, now let’s talk about Loriicarids. First, we will not talk about the two monsters – over 1 foot each - swimming around in the 750 lt tank; we will take them for granted. These fishes are interesting, aren’t they? I collected a few myself while exploring Rio Orosa in Perù.  Once back – what a coincidence – I was offered a “spawning” pair at a price I couldn’t resist.  I said to myself: “Spawning bristlenose is, or at least should be, interesting. I already have those in my bags, and this pair is very cheap, so ...“– you got the picture. The story ended in one (more!) book and a 200 lt tank devoted to them …

What the hell should I do with my Thorichthys meeki pair? I always trade their fry for food at my lfs (and at a good price) but, where … where … OK, OK, OK !!! Here comes an 130 lt tank on the right side of my twin tank devoted to them for the sake of … I don’t know what. Then, to finish the “job”, I ended up adding a few livebearers to this tank!

OH my! Gotta trade some fry sooner or later...to speak the truth they’re no longer fry -  and I’m almost out of space !!! Is anyone interested in … ROCK BOTTOM PRICES !

“Honey” – God bless Stefania – “Spring is coming … wouldn’t it be nice to have some fishes to look at in the garden, how about it?” … A silent smile was the answer! An old bathub is on its way to become our brand new goldfish pond. Work is in progress …

Water changes have been, at last, scheduled and divided into groups: alkaline water tanks, acidic ones, then tanks of fishes which don’t care about it that much (mostly captive bred specimens). This is the only way to know, or even remember, what you are doing. You know how it is when it comes to water chemistry and related matters ...cans of food, every kind of food you can possibly imagine, are everywhere (the one I need is ALWAYS close to another tank!). Twice per week – apart from the pleasure of meeting her – I visit mom’s house to service/check tanks still running there. The freezer is piled up with frozen fish food (bloodworms, black mosquito larvae, daphniae, to name a few) next to our own food (packed separately of course - I wouldn’t really appreciate a soup of bloodworms for dinner!!!). I always have to write down whatever I do in my tanks to avoid forgetting something. My last “great” idea was to condition a fairly rare and definitely expensive Pseudacanthicus leopardus (L114) - a loriicarid from Brazil (pics coming, don’t worry!).  A shy and secretive (wild caught) fish sized less than 2 cm. Here comes a new 30 lt tank of its own to be correctly quarantined and conditioned (you know: methronidozole and the rest …). Well, I’m almost done … for now (and, should I add, for ever l!). No way … some Fundulopanchax nigerianus (killifish) pairs will soon be delivered to us. Uh – Oh where shall I put them …?

Oh My … I forgot my very last (another damned lie!) wish! I’d like to have a freshwater stingray: “… how about finding a new place for these two armchairs, all I need is 500 lt (125 US gals) more … Am I going slightly mad, my Dear?”

Oh, Oh … what are You doing my Dear? … Put it down!!! I’m kidding, I’m just kidding: I swear on it! I’m kidding, REALLY: no more tanks, I’ll even quit one! No more tanks … … sure! Would You (I mean all of you ll!) believe me ?!?!?!

FINAL REMARK: a serious article on the actual situation of my tanks (not too different from the one pictured above) is on its way. Meantime I hope you’ve enjoyed this story the way I enjoyed writing it.

NOTE: Whenever I say “get rid” I mean either donate or sell/trade

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