It’s been six weeks since we embarked on the journey of pet ownership. I admit it hasn’t exactly followed the itinerary I’d planned (you know, the buy-fish-and-live-happily-ever-after plan), but somehow we’ve ended up in a good place. Ah, if only I could guarantee this was the final destination!
Only one of our four fish—Indy—survived our aquarium’s first nitrogen cycle, and he continues to thrive. We’d been testing the ammonia level in the tank, and since it had remained low enough we decided to visit the pet shop again.
The shop’s test of our water sample confirmed that ammonia is all but gone, and a member of the staff advised us that we were ready to add fish. Quite honestly, I was thinking that one new fish would be plenty, but when the salesperson suggested three or four, my family and I got carried away. My son picked out a female sunset platy (for Indy) and three teeny neon tetras. Four tetras swam into the net, and suddenly we had five new fish.
I’m caught between the excitement of building our aquarium again and the fear that maybe this isn’t wise… I’ve managed to justify it because the tank has cycled and the tetras truly are teeny, thus I’m hoping they won’t create much of an additional biological load.
Indy, for one, seems to be liking his new lady friend, whose name is either Lillia II or Rose, depending on my daughter’s mood. I think he’s smitten, but I’m not so sure she’s interested.
The neon tetras are too small for us to tell apart, so they’ve been named Michigan, Fishigan, Wishigan and Tishigan. I know tetras are happiest in larger numbers, and I hope adding a few at a time isn’t too stressful on the little guys (or girls—I’ve only had an anatomy lesson with respect to platys).
With all of this excitement also came the necessity of our first weekly 25% water change. Our new gravel vacuum worked so well, I wasn’t able to clean all of the gravel before it had siphoned out enough water, but the water looks crystal clear. We also realized, rather sheepishly, that the tank’s filter is much quieter if we slightly increase the water level. (Yes, it took us six weeks.)
It’s truly a pleasure to have several fish in the aquarium again, and we’re all enjoying watching as they adapt to their new home. I’m hopeful, despite my misgivings, that our pets will continue to thrive. We’ll see where this journey takes us.