Fish Fascination


Am I becoming my father?

Am I becoming my grandfather, my father’s father?

Maybe it is a bit of both, I think.

When my father was younger, they raised guppies everywhere, even in rain barrels. Any time any of the kids needed money, they would scoop up a bag of guppies, sell them, and there you go.

When I was a little kid, before my parents’ divorce, my grandfather had what I still call today the wall of fish. He had one wall filled with nothing but ten-gallon fish tanks full of fish. These tanks were set up on some sort of bookcase-thingy he built. It was at least three levels tall. Do I remember what type of fish? Nope. I guess they were guppies, but you can’t quote me–even though I would sit for hours just watching the fish. I remember sponge filters in the corners of the tanks and him cleaning them. Other than that, I don’t know.

He died when I was 8 years old. By the time I made it back to my grandmother’s house after he had passed–all the aquarium stuff had vanished. There was no sign of the fish, the tanks, the bookcase they’d sat on. Nothing at all. I never asked what happened to everything, not to my memory. It was something accepted and to move on from.

When I was little, even before my parents’ divorce, my father kept black mollies. I remember the very first fish tank I got, in my bedroom no less. I was not allowed to have anything but my bed, my clothes and a stuffed toy to sleep with in my bedroom, so the fish tank in my room was the most astounding thing.

I remember the air bubbles burbling. I remember a bunch of black mollies. I remember no tank or top to the tank and the tank wasn’t filled all the way to the top.

After that, when I think of my dad, I think of black mollies. Sailfin mollies. Lace fin mollies. Baby mollies all over the place.

I have kept black mollies in the past. I have even kept guppies too. Then I decided I didn’t want live-bearing fish anymore. I would go through cycles. I sort of still do. I love my tiger barb communities I have had in the past. I am still addicted to keeping albino cory cats. Tin foil barbs and oscars have come and gone. I typically end up giving them away when I am ready to change. Something I have always loved but never kept for long due to moving and whatever are freshwater angelfish.

When we moved back to MO from WV, I found a gorgeous 40 gallon tall aquarium–the tank, top, light and stand–for under $100–and so I bought that tank. I used the tank, but again due to moving, the tank went into storage and has been waiting to be used. Thank goodness my husband refused to let me get rid of it because he knew how much I love angelfish and how much I wanted to keep them again.

Well, it wasn’t too long ago we broke down the 35 gallon tank that we were using for aquaponics type experimentation. The 40 gallon tank and stand were brought upstairs and we set it up.

The first pet store we went to had the small angelfish, a bunch of them, and so we bought six. Four of those six died from whatever issues they had when we brought them home. The other two are doing quite well. Growing like ravaging bears, I tell you.

We waited a couple weeks and then went out looking for more angelfish. Guess what sells like hot cakes and it actually difficult to find, unless you aren’t wanting to buy them? Angelfish, you betcha.

We found one store that had angels, medium-sized angelfish that were not too differently sized than the two boys we had already. We ended up bringing home three more angels. They have had not a single problem. They are eating well, gaining weight, healthy and hearty. And gorgeous. I had never seen nor heard of koi angelfish before. Now, today, we have three of them.

We waited over a week and decided, after sexing out the fish in our tank, that we needed more girls. Angelfish pair off on their own and are dedicated to their mates. However, we had too many boys and not enough girls. So we went to a pet store we hadn’t tried yet because i had a whim and wouldn’t let it go.

The store had medium angelfish…we picked out two girls from what they had. And then, in another tank all alone, they had two small angels. One was nickel-sized, but the other one, the one with the fancy fins and tail, was smaller than a dime. I bought both of them because I could not leave them behind all alone like that. The littlest one I call Gobi.

I was worried about Gobi when we first released the new guys into the tank (after waiting nearly thirty minutes for them to acclimate to the tank’s temperature). Then I fed everyone. Gobi may be the Tiny Tim of the tank, but he (we have no idea yet if he is a he or a she–neither Gobi nor the dotted gold one we bought along with him) is a ferocious little thing. I had expected him to find shelter in the plants near the bottom and just hang out there.

Nope. Gobi is our little tiger. His face reminds me of our cat that recently passed on, Kyle. One side of his face is all black. He has black spots and marks all over him. He is a gentle but still pushy little thing. he moves aside when the larger fish shove him out of the way, but goes right back to where he was and continues what he was doing once the bigger fish move on. And eat…this little fish eats and eats and eats as much as he can catch every time I add fish food to the tank. And he swims up near the top, with all the other fish. Gobi is such a fighter. After that first night Gobi was with us, I stopped worrying about the other fish picking on him, or him wasting away from shyness or anything. Gobi is growing and keeping up with the rest of the fish.

Since we got our first set of angels, the original six where four died within the first three days of us getting them, we have the temperature of the tank up to 82F because we thought we had ich issues, but it turned out that we don’t. We took other precautions as we waited for our ich meds to arrive. My cory cats are scaleless and I need to make sure 1 they don’t get ich and 2 they are protected from the type of medication I use in the tank because not all ich meds are made the same way–and quite a few of them are not safe for scaleless fish.

Well, the increase in temperature set our cory cats to breeding and laying eggs–and eating them just as quick too. We may get lucky and end up with two or three new corys by the end of it. That usually happens with me. We had no idea what was going on until the third set of eggs was being eaten off the glass. That was when it hit me that angels lay eggs as well…and if we have baby angelfish, we can sell them…and so, I need to do some re-arranging in the living room and we can set up our 20 gallon long tank in the living room and put all the cory cats in that one…and that way the corys won’t eat the angel eggs before we realize we have baby angels on the way.

And that is the story of how I am becoming my father, and my grandfather…