Last night The Baron chided me for not keeping my blog more up-to-date and insisted that today, as penance, I post two entries. So here goes . . . in honor of The Baron, and inspired by Mochimochi’s juxtaposition of yarn and fish, I give you the latest addition to our home: the living room fish tank.
Since before he got his house, The Baron has been planning for a huge, plant-filled freshwater fish tank. When we met he had two very small tank in his very small apartment, but he cared for his fish, Mr. Beta (RIP) and an unnamed goldfish, very diligently. I really love fish – I love water and the glassy look of colorful fins and leaves floating and rippling under the surface. The Baron eventually upgraded from a single beta to a larger, multi-beta tank, and even took a stab at breeding betas. Sadly, this experiment produced several very small and horribly misshapen fry that didn’t survive. Before he’d closed on his new home, he had already picked out the spot where the big tank would go. Almost a year later, the tank finally got ordered, arrived, and is now beginning to flourish.
The initial stages of set-up were fairly uneventful. First, he filled the tank with sand, fertilizer and gravel:
Then he tossed in the decorative wood:
To keep the tank happy and healthy, we installed two Fluval filters – the big one is mechanical (junk gets caught in a big hunk of foam), chemical (water passes through powdered charcoal) and biological (a fancy way of filtering using the bacteria from fish-poo to break down contaminants in the water), and the small one is just mechanical and biological. It should be noted here that I set up the filters – yay me!
I have to admit that I didn’t get really excited about the tank (because it didn’t get pretty) until it got filled up with water – but as soon as the water was in the tank was transformed. Here’s how it looked before the plants and fish took over – you can see the future occupants of the tank in plastic bags, in the top left corner, getting acclimated, as well as The Baron’s paw getting the wood settled in the proper spot:
And here are the fish taking their first swim among the plants:
After a week of adding plants and letting the water clear up, the tank has become an underwater paradise. Suddenly a room we hardly used (partly because the couches only showed up a month ago) is a room where we sit quietly together in the evenings, giving the “cycling” fish pinches of flakes and watching them swarm in a feeding frenzy. The hardy little swimmers are supposed to poo for a week or two, getting the biological filter up and running, before more delicate and more beautiful fish are added to the mix. I have to admit, though, we’ve had plenty of fun watching the “plain” fish swimming around – I especially love it when they dart through the little holes in the wood. I don’t know why, but I get a little thrill every time it happens, especially if they are “schooling” and go through the opening one after another. I envy the fish . . . I want to live here too:
I’ll sign off with one of my favorite of all the images we have of the tank, taken by The Baron, of course. It captures the liquid, tactile beauty of the animal moving through the water: