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The fish just looked at me

July 22, 2003

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In a move that my financial advisor would no doubt disapprove of, Iíve decided to try my hand at saltwater fish keeping. Iíve been keeping regular fresh water tropical fish tanks for about a year now, but have recently felt the urge for more of a challenge. You see, once youíve got your freshwater system up and running, with itís mini ecosystem all balanced out, thereís very little left for you to do. You become a god who created a universe in a blaze of excitement and creativity, but then ends up discovering that itís now running quite smoothly, and apart from daily feedings and occasional water changes, doesnít need much by way of your divine intervention anymore.

Then, a couple of weeks ago I found an exceedingly cheap ten gallon tank. My mind was reeling: what could I do with my new impulse purchase?

Thereís only so many things that can live in a glass box, and I wanted to try something different than a tropical fish tank, so with that in mind I went to the local pet store. I wandered down the aisle ways, looking at the reptile, the frogs, hurrying past the spiders, before my eye caught sight of a little black and white fish in the marine section of the store. I went up to him, and he immedietly swam backwards behind a chunk of coral. I watched for a moment as he slowly came back out and swam back to the front of the glass. We stared at each other for a few minutes, before he finally broke the spell and giving me no doubt the fishy equivilant of the finger before wandering off to examine more interesting parts of his tiny holding tank.

I decided that he needed to be free, and so I set about the long and arduous process of building him a mini home. Unfortunately I had no idea how expensive this little fellows tastes were. Not only did he demand special Reverse Osmosis water from the super market instead of normal cheap tap water, but he also wanted me to mix salt in with it too. Now, I always knew ocean fish needed salt in their water, but I never realized that getting that salt could be so much of a burden. First of all, no one in my city carries any sea salt apparently. Whilst this city isnít huge, it isnít exactly a hamlet either. We have plenty of fish and pet stores in town, but not one of them sold salt. But that didnít matter, because it also turns out that none of them sold another vital piece of salt water kit: the thing that measures how much salt is supposed to be in the water. It turns out the ocean has a special number for how much salt it contains, and that number is 1.023. Donít ask me what unit of measure is, all I know is that there are clever little devices to measure this, and no one in my city sells them.

I went back to the original pet store and told my fish-to-be the situation. He wasnít impressed. He wanted out of that dump and into some new sweet digs, which he communicated to me by swimming in a circle, then trying to eat his own reflection. So I got back to work, this time going to the biggest shopping mall in existence: the internet.

I located an online shop called ďBig Als,Ē which whilst sounding like a store that should be selling nipple clamps, actually has a large assortment of fish tank supplies. Dusting off my credit card, I then ordered everything I needed.

Several days later it arrived and I dumped everything in the tank and sat back to admire my new masterpiece. I was slightly surprised. For comparison, hereís what my fresh water tank looks like:

Freshy freshy

And hereís what my new saltwater tank look like:


Mmm. Murky.

However, itís slowly clearing to reveal the rock formations, which brings us to another interesting aspect of saltwater aquariums: Live Rock. Live rock is a type of rock that comes directly from the ocean floor, and therefore has thousands of little critters and creatures living on it and in itís mini caves. So every time you buy a chunk of live rock, youíre adding a mini ecosystem filled with mysterious life forms to your tank.

It was when looking deep into this murky tank when I suddenly saw one of these mysterious hitchhikers from the ocean deep looking back at me:


I donít know what it is, but it did cause me to wet myself repeatedly.

The next step is the long wait for the murkiness to dissipate and the tank to stabilize before I go and rescue my fishy friend. Iíll keep you updated.

Posted by gavin on July 22, 2003 05:53 PM

:: Comments ::

I used to have a fish tank once. it lasted till supper time. yum yum

Posted by: wayne at July 29, 2003 12:45 AM


That's the strangest looking kitten I've ever seen

Posted by: kelly81 at July 23, 2003 01:53 AM



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