Aquarium Journal #1: The vase

Well, here’s another hobby that I just accumulated.

As I was waiting for my wife while she was talking with a mechanic, I crossed the street to visit a little plant store that was just waiting for me. As soon as I walked inside I saw a vertical vase with an aquatic plant living in it and populated with little neon tetras.

Uho, I thought, that looks damn nice. I had visited my friend Adam a month or two before and he showed me his room which contained several of his tanks, which took me back to the time 10 years ago when I had a 100-gallon fish tank in my parents’ basement.

He noticed my interest and offered to give me some of his extra supplies to help get me started. I declined, stating that I already had enough hobbies and not enough room in my apartment.

Well, that vase in the plant shop didn’t take up much space, so I asked the owner for the price, just for fun.

240k vnd.

Uho, I thought, that’s damn cheap. When Trinh met me up in the shop I showed her the vase and she immediately thought it looked nice. I asked her if she’d like to have it in our place, to which she said yes.

Flash-forward a few weeks later and I received a little wooden bench as the vase’s furniture, and Adam was back from a trip home and willing to take me to one of his local fish guys. Combined with the fact that I was dropping my bike at the same mechanic (facing the plant store, remember) I decided to go for it.

So, I purchased the vase (the tetras were now gone but I didn’t think much of it, not many people actually understand how to take care of fish), brought it home, did a water change and was then off to the fish stores with Adam.

I got myself three different guppies and two snails to populate the tank, forgetting about chemicals, cycles, bacteria, compatibility and all the rest.

When I got the vase I wasn’t intending to talk about aquariums on this blog but as you can expect, I’m already hooked, I already want a bigger, better tank, and most importantly I GOT BABY FISHES IN MY VASE!

Yesterday afternoon I noticed the tank had a lot of junk floating around so I took a closer look inside and to my absolute surprise, a dozen tiny cute little baby fish were zipping around in the plant.

I got worried about them FAST. Since I’ve had the thing for less than a week, if the ammonium spike kicks in, everything will die. The vase had been populated with the plant and other fish before though, so maybe there’s a bit of bacteria in the gravel, but I’m the one who got a filter going (generously donated by Adam) which is where the bacteria is usually housed, if I understand correctly.

I was watching DIY Fishkeeper when he suggested that to kick-start your tank, you can simply take the “gook” from another active filter, mix it with water and throw that into your new tank, and the good bacteria should – should – stick, helping skip the entire first cycle.

So within a day I was back at Adam’s talking about fish and picking up a water bottle full of gook. Mixed it with my water last night, all in the hopes of giving the newborn guppies a fighting chance.

I’ll keep this journal going, mostly for me.

Here’s what the possible future entails:

  1. If this vase’s population doesn’t survive, I’ll take the opportunity to learn to patiently monitor chemicals in the water and when everything settles down, get a betta or two and maybe learn about breeding them.
  2. I’m already planning to get a bigger tank as everything in Vietnam is about 30-50% cheaper than anything in Canada and heck – the fish are even up to 90% cheaper! I saw a few young Arowanas for as low as $50 and Oscars under $10.
  3. It’ll take me months to set up the bigger tank properly, the way I want it. Basically, I want neon tetras in a tank with black gravel and substrate, a black background, and to learn a bit about Iwagumi – aquascaping specializing in creating a sense of depth – to make the most of the tank’s size.
  4. Then, the scenescape. I’m into the scene as much as the fish, to be honest. It probably comes from my bulging love for miniatures. I’m torn between a fantasy setting and an underwater, shipwreck scene.

Thanks for reading all the way to the end. Here’s a quick view of the vase in question.

 

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