Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Something Fishy

Late Monday night, around 12:30am, I heard a strange, slowly repeating sound: drip...... drip..... drip.... It was raining that night, but this noise was coming from inside. I got out of bed and discover my fishtank had a slow leak.

A few things you should know: First, you cannot fix a leaky tank. Oh sure, you can buy special aquarium glue but from experience I know it just never works. And you're certainly not going to do much about it at 12:30 in the moning. Secondly, used aquarium water is valuable. A healthy tank has lot of good bacteria in it which you won't have if you simply fill up a new tank with fresh water. You can also kill your fish by changing the water quality too quickly. "They" say you shouldn't change out more than 10% of the water a week max. If you have strong fish, you can get by with doing a lot more. My little buddies have suffered through my care before, (Fish adventure #1) so I knew they could handle a 5-gallon swap on a 10-gallon tank.

The leak was slow, but I didn't want it going all over the carpet. (been there, done that.) So I did the first thing any red-blooded American male would do: I wrapped the tank in duct tape. That held it back for 10-15 minutes, but the water still seeped through. The tank was sitting on a milk crate and there was no way to simply put a bucket underneath to catch the water. Instead, I cut the side of an old styrofoam cooler I had and slid that under the edge of the tank. I then used some paper towels which acted as a wick and drew the water across the bottom of the tank and down into the cooler. It got me through the night.

Next day, I bought a new tank. If you have to switch tanks anyway, you might as well take the opportunity to clean the water and give it an extra fine filtering. That will clear out most of the particles clouding up the tank but still keep the good bacteria. I do that by doing a slow siphon- maybe 1 gallon every half hour. I started to siphon 5 good gallons into the new tank, and siphon the rest into a garbage pail to dump down the toilet.

Unfortunately, I "had to" play World of Warcraft at 8:30. (I told people I would be there to assist on a mission). I was just beginning to get rid of the bad water, so I started the siphon. When I went back to check on it 2 hours later, this is how far the water level made it:

That's just WAY too close.

So far, fish are fine in their new home.

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