I know… it’s been a while since I’ve updated. There’s good reason for that, or at least it is to me. About 8 months ago, my wife and I had another baby (our second one – a baby boy we decided to name Noah). Despite this obvious event in my life and knowing the time and effort it takes to rear a child (and also having a 3yr old daughter, Kaitlin), I said to myself “I can do this! (regarding aquatic horticulture & live stock breeding).
Unfortunately, reality slapped me in the face and said “No sir… no you can’t.” Of course, before it hit me, I had already invested in breeding tanks and the stock I wanted to breed. Before long, I was 7 tanks deep in fish hell, resenting my decision to start this new venture while also taking care of a 3yr old demon child and a very needy newborn.
In the beginning, my heart was in it and I was anxious to get started (even when my son was born and around for the first couple of months). After those first months, I became resentful of my new tanks and actually started to neglect them. Not getting any sleep, working 40hrs a week at a regular job and having to deal with kids, a dog and 7 tanks was starting to wear on me. So, I disappeared from the online aquatic community for a few months and decided to nip this venture in the bud post haste.
I downsized by moving my Zebra Nerites and Rabbit snails into my 75gal community tank. That brought me down to 5 tanks which was more manageable. However, that wasn’t enough, so I transferred my Sterbai Corydoras from their 20L breeding tank into my 40B pleco breeding tank.
At this time, things were getting better. Downsizing by 2 tanks gave me new life somehow. lol It also invigorated my love for fishkeeping and I started to watch my tanks again. I suppose I was also getting more sleep at this point (Noah was about 6 months old), so that probably alleviated some of the stress I was feeling. I decided that breeding was still out at this time, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t enjoy the 40B, 20L and 75 gallon tanks as show tanks.
So, the idea was to start another community tank with the 40B. My neglect had led to the death of many plants in the 40B, and the only things that were really prospering were the Java moss, java ferns, italian vals, a Aponogeton boivinianus and a random sword (I believe it’s an Indian Red).
Adding the Corys into the 40B was a fantastic idea, because they immediately took to the tank and became very active. They were quite shy in their 20L and I never saw them. The plecos I already had in there were doing great and are extremely showy, so having these two bottom dwelling families in the tank really made for a fun and interesting tank, but I realized that I needed something in the middle that I could pay attention to from across the room. To make this really worth it, I Decided that I should have 3 Angels.
While angels would be great, I realize that this should be a pretty heavily planted tank, so I invested in some low-light, easy growing selection of crypts and hygros. Now I have about 6 Cryptocorne wendtii red (for the front & mid ground), 11 Cryptocorne retrospiralis (for the back), about 5 stems of Hygrophila corymbosa (for the center of the tank (front-mid ground), I kept the Italian vals for the center back and I’m in the middle of tying down some of the Java ferns to driftwood. I also have Red rooted floaters in there for a lush canopy.
I’ve already added the three angels (a black veil, black/silver veil and a yellow standard). They’re beautiful fish and already growing.
My transition from breeder/horticulturalist to tropical fish hobbyist is almost at an end… I just have two tanks to break down. The problem is that one tank (my Apistograma panduro 20L breeding tank) has about 8 fry in there. So, I’m growing them out until it’s safe to rehome them. I may keep one or two and add them to my 75gal, but that’s only if my Apisto. Cac female passes away. Her mate died a while back from a tank mate that decided to eat him, so she’s a loner for now. ;/ The other 20L (previously the cory breeding tank) still has RCS in there. I want to try to get them out of there, before I break it down. I’ll just add them to my 40B and call it a day. The trick is getting them out.
In the end, this was certainly an adventure in aquaria for the books. I’m glad that I tried it, but I wish I tried it at a later date… There was just too much going on at once and now I’m in recovery. I learned a lot, I was successful (very quickly) with the Panduros and I ended up with some great fish for a community tank. I haven’t buried the idea for the future, but for now, I’m keeping breeding and horticulture to the professionals.
Take care out there!