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What is your favourite aquarium right now, (or in the past)?

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What is your favourite aquarium right now, (or in the past)? Empty What is your favourite aquarium right now, (or in the past)?

Post by alexmtl on Wed May 20, 2020 7:41 pm

What is your favourite aquarium right now, or in the past ?

Enjoying the moments of a newly setup aquarium? Such an incredible experience. What about the well aged tank that holds you dearest friends? Or the tank you remember as a child that you spent hours viewing, perhaps falling asleep in front of. Memories of favourite tanks, and visions of what you have now. What was your favourite??

Right now, I recollect a 20 long aquarium with a colony of Lamprologus brichardi. This was back in the mid 70's and I went to downtown Hamilton in the early winter with an old LFS owner named Gerry (the "Old Dutchman"). We traveled through bad weather to arrive at this store to get a pair, that I had heard had just recently been brought and bred in Canada. The other stops were West to a fish club convention. The colony expanded quickly and I was mesmorized by the beauty of the delicate fins, and the markings on the male, and if there was a fish that I would call a "fairy", this graceful cichlid would have been it. Looking back, this is my unicorn and maybe someday enjoy once again. Sigh.

What about you??
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Post by jjohnwm on Thu May 21, 2020 8:11 am

Neat idea for a thread.

My favourite might be my very first tank in the late '60's; a 5.5-gallon model made with a steel frame with the individual glass panes cemented in by some kind of black tarry substance.  Rainbow gravel from K-Mart; a matching steel reflector housing an incandescent bulb which provided heating and illumination; an air-powered plastic corner filter filled with charcoal and real honest-to-goodness fibreglass matting.  Inhabitants included a couple of swordtails, a Cory cat, Kuhli Loach, Blue Gourami and several pounds of small red Ramshorn snails.  Water changes were frequent and always 100% complete; all fish were netted out and placed into a bucket while the tank was scrubbed to within an inch of its life under the watchful eye of my father, who was probably trying to come up with a plan to scrub them as well.  I was hooked.

Another contender for favourite would be an early marine tank of 100 gallons.  I was an accomplished DIY-er by this time, and a Aquaclear HOB power filter exhausted into a chamber at one end which fed the filtered water to a home-made reverse-flow UG filter covering the entire bottom.  A home-made protein skimmer, which worked surprisingly well, showcased those unique micro-bubbles that made me feel like a real scientist.  Smile  Live rock brought home in my luggage from Caribbean vacations introduced all kinds of little critters, some of which thrived.  Caulerpa algae grew so luxuriously and quickly that I removed it by the double-handfuls every few days and traded it to local shops as well as using it to feed herbivorous fish in other tanks.  A number of Peppermint Shrimp spawned regularly; when the females forcefully propelled a mass of newly hatched larvae into open water by flicking their tails, a momentary feeding frenzy ensued among the Damsels, Clowns, Gramma and Tangs that inhabited the tank.

Maybe a 125-gallon tank I had set up in my Toronto condo.  It was filled about 80%, with a wooden ramp at the top providing basking area without taking up any swimming space.  It was in operation for several years, during which I had no fish and no other tanks at all.  Very impressive and active tank, with a dozen largish aquatic turtles of various species.  Far too crowded for my current tastes, but I liked it at the time.

A 360-gallon housing a single monstrous Osphronemus gourami?

Maybe a scrap-yard bathtub, buried to its brim in the garden and housing a number of Brook Sticklebacks.  They lived, grew, spawned, increased...none of which I knew until the end of the summer because I couldn't see a blessed thing looking down into the tangle of pebbles, wood and leaves on the bottom.  I knew that mosquitoes were laying their eggs in the water because I saw many eggrafts floating on the surface, and yet observing an actual live mosquito wiggler was a rarity.  When I drained the tub in the fall I found dozens of small sticklebacks in addition to the few original adults.  I may have become a bit excited; I distinctly recall my father emerging from his workshop with a shotgun in hand.  He later told me the commotion had him convinced that a bear had invaded the yard. Smile

Or my first Heterandria colony?  A thriving, reproducing miniature world in a mossy 15-gallon aquarium...

Or my recent 120-gallon tank, into which I introduced a few handfuls of Java Moss that contained numbers of Cherry Shrimp young.  For about a year this tank contained nothing but Java Moss (lots, as in a choking tangle), Cherry Shrimp (removing a couple hundred on a few occasions did not make a visible dent in the population), a single albino Bristlenose (the Bogeyman...) and Heterandria.  My friends and wife insisted that I was "wasting" a nice big tank, but I absolutely loved it.

Actually, a strong possibility for the "favourite" crown might be a large antique glass jar I once had.  It held about 3 gallons, and it housed a single adult male Paradise Fish (Macropodus) that was very interactive and alert.  He would jump to take food from my fingers held above the water; I had to be cautious when opening the cover because he'd jump at my hand whether I had food or not.

Oh!  Just remembered: another really old memory, this one of another metal-frame 5.5-gallon tank that housed 2 small Red-spotted Newts, collected on a Sunday afternoon drive in the country (remember those?).  We had stopped to let the dog have a pee, and of course I charged down to the drainage ditch to see what was what.  I remember coming back to the car only when it was threatened that the family was going to leave me there, and the look on everyone's face when they saw my once-clean little hat clutched in my now-muddy hands, with the small amphibians swaddled inside, still makes me smile and cringe all at once.  I think even the dog was rolling his eyes...The newts shared their tank with a vibrantly greed bundle of Utricularia (bladderwort), a carnivorous aquatic plant that is studded with tiny spring-loaded traps for catching and digesting small aquatic life.  I put as much effort into feeding the plants as I did the newts.  The amphibians ate readily and were easy to watch, but I spent countless hours hunched in front of the tank, my nose about 10 inches from the glass, hoping to see...just once...a minute copepod or water mite being captured by a bladder.  Never saw it; I've kept the plant in more recent years as well, and still haven't seen it...although I admittedly have less time to spend observing nowadays.  It's like the wonderful line from an old Bob Seger song: "I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then..."  Well, when it comes to the bladderwort...I don't!

Alex, your N.brichardi tank sounds like a winner as well.  I've never had those fish but I have always thought they were about the most appealing African cichlids available.  Not splashy, but with an almost supernaturally graceful form and a quiet beauty that just sings to me.  Maybe someday.

This thread is a nice trip down memory lane, and also serves to illustrate to me how much my tastes have changed in some ways, but also how much they have remained the same in most others.
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Post by GaryE on Thu May 21, 2020 9:19 am

That's a really good question. I often focus on the fish, and have generic planted tanks.
My first tank as a kid hooked me on the hobby, with its sunken sailing ship and scraggly anacharis. I thought it was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen inside a house.

It was a way overcrowded 10 gallon, sealed with some kind of pitch that eventually leaked. It had guppies and marble mollies.

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Post by alexmtl on Thu May 21, 2020 7:47 pm

Thanks @jjohnwm now that was a "This is Your Life" moment. Impressive variety and descriptions that I can imagine these works of art. Heck, that's what makes them memories.

@GaryE, the first tank is always special. The scraggly anachris seems to be a trend that you have kept Wink

I remember my first tank, a shiny metal frame 5g that leaked and had been glued so many times that the corners were almost round. Of course, it leaked, and it was easier to look from the top than through the glass. So I had a cory paleatus, several mollies, I think a sword lyretail. The heater was broken so it was always on, I do not know what temperature it was but it was always warm to the touch. I put sand from the backyard sand box in, and now plants. I remember somehow getting a box filter in there. Not having much money, I could not buy brand new stuff from the LFS a few minutes from my house, and the pump eventually broke. Those were times that I remember, as painful as it seems now, they were the reasons why I kept in the hobby.

What about you? What was you first tank like? What has been your favourite?
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Post by GaryE on Fri May 22, 2020 4:47 pm

The tech I started with was air driven filters and incandescent bulbs. I dreamed of someday having money for a heater. My early tanks (plural - this fishroom trend in my life started early) were mainly 5 gallon metal frames sealed with pitch - leftovers from relatives' back sheds.

I've kind of come full circle, back to air driven corner filters as really effective tech for the small fish I like. I followed the aquarium technology trends, and have some gadgets here and there, but box filters have been replacing power filters as I move away from Cichlids and into slow water killies.

LEDs let me grow good scraggly Anacharis again!

My favourite tank now is a tough question. I like my six foot 120, but asking me my favourite tank is like asking about my favourite musician - constantly changing.
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