Monday, May 18, 2009

The Big Tank

Each of the four older kids has had their own fish tank for almost 2 years and we were starting to look to expand. Zorg particularly was interested in a big tank (although that's Mxyl in the picture).

We have been reading up on fish tanks and window shopping at pet stores for nearly 3 months, but never had the cash for a big tank.

Surprise! It turns out that Zorg's godfather is really into aquariums! And he just happened to have a 29 gallon tank lying around...

We've been having a great time! Talk about educational! We are cycling the tank- adding fish and plants carefully to get the bacteria to grow to take care of the ammonia the fish will generate. And the other bacteria to take care of the nitrites the first bacteria generate and instead make nitrates which make the plants grow.

It's really setting up an ecosystem. We needed to choose a substrate (sand or gravel) that would support and nourish the plants, and lighting that would grow plants instead of algae. We need to choose the right plants for the lighting and water conditions... the right snails to eat dead leaves and algae but not live plants...oh, yes, and FISH!

Zorhg is picking most of the fish (with his godfather's guidance, believe me, I did not figure any of this stuff out on my own!). So far we have transferred some of our old cory catfish and bought a flock of fancy (male) guppies. Yeah, it should be a school, but their colors and patterns are more like tropical birds.

Embarrassingly, one of my favorite things about the big tank is the water tests - chemical assays for ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, and pH! This has dovetailed beautifully with our earlier chemistry unit!

1 comment:

Kate in NJ said...

Congrats!! I hope you all enjoy the new tank. I leave the fish tank to Farmer Dad and P to deal with..I take care of all the other creatures in our