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I probably need another hobby the way I need another hole in my head, but I've always loved aquaria. After talking about it for a long, long time, I finally broke down and got an aquarium. It's a nice system for a beginner such as myself, with a 44 gallon glass tank, pentagonal in shape, that fits well into the corner of the dining room. I've set it up for freshwater tropical fish, and after letting things stabilize for 24 hours, have introduced the first denizens -- two pair of guppies (I did say I was a beginner, didn't I?). Here are the two males, one orange, the other silver with black spots. These are the first pets that I've had in just about 40 years.
Here they are again, with one of the females.
Even though they're only starter fish, they looked lonely, so .... Here you can see the black tailed guppies I added for company. That's a male at the bottom admiring his reflection, with a female in the upper right. The original black spotted male is also present, as is one of the original females.
Here's the other black tailed male, with the original orange tail trying to get into the picture!
Getting these little guys to sit still and pose is a pain, but here are a few shots. The first is the black tailed male.
The next is the spotted tail male. He took off at the last moment!
Here's the other black tailed male.
And here's the orange tail. Looks a tad on the pregnant side!
The guppies seemed kind of lonely, so I got them a few friends. The first is a brilliant rasbora (two actually) -- since they like to school, I got a half dozen to keep them happy. Lo and behold, they school with the guppies!
I don't think you can have an aquarium without a few bottom feeding catfish. So, I also got a pair of corydoras catfish, which, with their whiskers (barbels) look a bit peculiar, but they sure seem to be enjoying themselves!
I actually managed to get both in one shot!
The view from the tail!
The aquarium is a very placid setting. I can watch it for hours.
I added a pair of Plecostomas suckermouth catfish to keep the algae down -- they are algae eaters. Unfortunately from a photographic viewpoint, they're also nocturnal and a heck of a pain to photograph. Here's one that's cleaning algae from the tank glass. You can see the sucker mouth in the reflection. They're brown spotted with black and appear quite primitive; when the dorsal fin is erect, it bears a resemblance to a dimetrodon!
Hmm -- I wonder what it looks like from the other side of the glass -- gotcha!
The aquarium is now two weeks old and doing fine. I lost three of the original four guppies -- the rest of the fish are fine, and the water chemistry appears to have settled down nicely. I've gone ahead and added more fish. Among them are two more gold & green corydoras catfish, bringing the total to four. The first photo shows two of the four albino corydoras catfish that I added. Since the original gold & green corys are so much fun, I though that having more varieties of catfish would add interest to the tank.
The next photo shows two of the six Buenos Aires tetras that I added. One actually turned to look at me as I clicked the shutter, making for a very unusual photo!
The next photo shows the tank as it appears now, with much more life and much more interest.
The last photo shows one of the six zebra danios that I added. They've taken to schooling with the rasbora, and appear to be enjoying themselves.
You can see why they're called Zebra!
Here's a much better photo of one of the albino corydoras catfish, browsing around one of the plastic plants. Note the pink eye of the true albino.
I added a half-dozen cherry barbs, and that about completes the aquarium for now.
Somehow the aquarium was lacking color -- a pair of sunset wag platties took care of that!
I added a few more sunset wag platties, which give the aquarium a splash of color. That's a very pregnant guppy in the center of the photo.
Over the course of the years, fish have passed on, more fish have replaced them, but with passing time I seemed to lose interest in the aquarium. We have very hard water here in my area of NJ and the continual need to clean up encrustations didn't help matters. The lid of the tank sprang a leak that really didn't seem to want to be sealed and when the final fish (one of the Buenos Aires tetra shown above finally went for its final swim down the river Styx (years beyond its presumed lifetime) a few weeks ago (it's March 2008 as I type this), I drained the tank. It's now been recycled and that's the end of the fish.
Now I know that I'm nuts. The fish were bad enough -- I was at the pet store getting the Plecos and wandered over to the bird aisle next door to see what all the squawking was about. There were a large assortment of parrots making the racket (one of which kept talking, but only when your back was turned). Two in particular were very, very cute. I spent that evening searching for them on the Internet, to no avail. I went back to the store the next day and found out that they weren't parrots per se, but rather peach face lovebirds. I don't quite know how or why it happened, but they're in a rather large cage in the dining room, near the aquarium! I've tentatively named them George and Gracie, though to be honest I can't really tell them apart yet. They happily posed for this picture -- you have to admit, they ARE cute!
Here's one looking rather contented. Don't ask me if this is George or Gracie!
They love sprays of millet as a treat, but I'm starting to think that they enjoy the stalks more than the seeds!
I've had George and Gracie for a year now and they're doing fine. I can finally tell them apart as they have very different personalities -- George comes out to play with me, Gracie is more diffident -- but it's Gracie that rules the roost! This is George:
And this is Gracie:
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