What’s it like to establish and maintain an aquarium?
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Already since his birth, Lyons Cub enjoyed watching the fish in mommy’s aquarium in Clarksville, Tennessee. We had a 60 square cm cube clear-for-life uniquarium, which has an ideal size for a few larger fish and two schools of fish. UniQuariums™ have chambers in the background for a heater and protein skimmer (optional) and a light hood or polycarbonate light plate. One can choose a background color of light blue, sapphire blue, or black. Ours is the black version.
Our tank is an acrylic aquarium, which is safer than glass since it will not shatter and insulates better from temperature fluctuations, which are bad for the fish. The cube tank has three filters: Mechanical, chemical, and biological. There is a black sponge in the first back chamber; then, there are blue balls looking a bit like the corona virus with their spikes in the second back chamber (for the bacteria to settle on to break up the debris); finally, there’s a pump in the third back chamber. All chambers are hidden behind the black background from view, so they disturb neither the fish nor the viewers.
We bought our fish either online or at Petco. Our aquarium gravel we got from Amazon, so it would be delivered and mommy wouldn’t have to carry a heavy bag. Here are our two young koi angel fish. One of them lived for three years and got really big. Alas, he passed away when he suffocated eating a neon tetra:
We had a rainbow shark and an albino shark as our tank bottom cleaners:
We also had a few bettas, males and females (in separate betta tanks, of course):
At some point in time, mommy also raised two oscars but had to return them to the fish store when they got too big for the tank. Always research how big the fish you buy can get and make sure your tank has an adequate size.
Lyons Cub grew up with pets (two Labrador Retrievers, two cats, two guinea pigs, and several chrested geckos, one hybrid, and one gargoyle gecko). However, only at the age of 5, Lyons Cub was mature enough to select and care for his own fish and plants. He learned from mommy which fish fit well together, because they are not eating one another, chasing smaller fish around, or biting their tails. He learned about the character of the fish, like the slowness and grace of the big, flat angel fish and the speed of the shy, always hiding Indian glass catfish. He learned that you cannot buy a single neon tetra, since they always have to come in a school of about 6-10 fish.
Our uniquarium survived the move to Europe with just a tiny crack at the very top of the left side (above water level). I must say the staff of https://dreamfishtanks.com/ has excellent customer service; I bought this tank from them in 2008, and still, the representative answered all my questions about the crack (I even sent him photos) and assured me it was still safe to use.
We store our Tetra fish food in the fish-shaped shelf on top of the tank:
Thus, in fall 2023, we established our cube tank with gravel, dechlorinated water, some plants, added bacteria from a fish store, and our starter fish (which were mollies, because they are hardy and cheap; they all survived the beginning stages of our tank). In winter 2023, after the tank had cycled for two months, we added our “real” fish to our starter fish, which were two female orange mollies, three black male mollies, and three white-and-black spotted female dalmatian mollies.
We got a koi angel fish and a black-striped angel fish named “Ossi” and “Wessi” (they belong to grandma and were her birthday present).
Leander added five lemon tetras, which belong to him. They go well with our school of 15 neon tetras.
We also acquired 12 Indian glass catfish, which are always hiding behind the pink aquarium holey rock mommy got from eBay, or in between the long, green plants. They are so transparent, they are very hard to see!
For the many babies of the mollies, Lyons Cub has a 14 liter-baby tank, which also houses five shrimps:
The shrimp get special shrimp food (pellets for bottom feeders). They don’t like their tank too clean.