Something had to be done.
The longer I ignored the problem, the worse it became.
And I couldn't turn a blind eye any longer...
So I rolled up my sleeves, put the littlest little one down for his nap and
cleaned the fish tank.
Why, you ask, have I put off this job for so long? Well, I have three good little helpers but in this case I can't think of a good job for them and I don't want everything to get out of control. My husband has suggested that I'm a control freak- I don't know why he would say such a thing ;) And now that I think about it they would probably do just fine.
We bought the aquarium a few years ago for our oldest son's second birthday. Since then we've had many fun little fishes, several snails, and a couple aquatic frogs -we bought one little frog because my daughter was certain it was pink. She didn't believe me when I told her that the bright pink rocks were reflecting onto the white-ish frog (she was a bit disappointed when we brought "Pinky" home to our blue rock bed). Anyway, now we are down to three tough little Zebra Danios who,
I understand, are very popular with the scientific research crowd.
Hmm, ours must be living the good life compared to the Danio rerio in the lab!
But still, the tank was so filthy that I'm convinced our little survivors were on the brink of a heart attack,
or a revolt.
I think we all know which possibility was most likely.
Granted, this was nothing compared to the scare of 2008 when my big guy was only two and in classic two year old fashion he FILLED the fish tank with toys while I greeted my mom at the door.
When questioned, he answered quite simply:
"Fishes wanna swim wiff twucks and cars!"
Surprisingly enough, none of the fish were injured in this incident.
And that kid is so darn cute, how could I be upset?
Ok, back to the issue of what to do when you discover that your fish have pulled a "finding Nemo maneuver" and the tank is completely filthy.
To be honest, any good Aquarist knows that it's not ideal to do a 100% water change in an aquarium.
Regular, partial water changes (10-15%) are much more efficient and they don't disrupt the good bacteria, which create part of the biological filter.
But the main reason to avoid a complete overhaul is that the fish totally freak out.
As distressing as a filthy tank may be, it's nothing compared to the shock of moving to a little glass bowl.
The first time I moved the fishes out, one of them jumped right out of the temporary bowl! I found him behind the shelf and- you'll never believe this- he was fine!
You can imagine how I felt.
Upon reflection, these particular fish don't seem to mind the little bowl... for the first time in their life,
they look big.
they look big.
|Never mind, he looks pretty grumpy.|
When they plunged back into their warm, bubbly home, they darted back and forth and explored every inch. They even schooled together as if in the ocean. My kids wanted to know why they were in such a hurry!
My husband can always tell when the tank has been thoroughly cleaned because the water is very cloudy, which puzzles me because I scrubbed the crap out of it -literally! No worries, it clears up over night and once again, I resolve to maintain the aquarium consistently so we won't have to go through that ordeal ever again. It's entirely possible that you will see a similar post next month...
Or maybe my little helpers will keep me on track with a new aquarium cleaning routine :)