It’s a small, small world

It’s a small, small world

Or so the song goes, but for my fish tank, it’s gonna be a small world.   “How small?”, you might ask.

This small

A 2 gallon fish bowl.  Maybe 2.5 if I fill it all the way to the top.

This is the bowl that was at the house. Remember, I don’t have an aquarium, stand, test chemicals, etc.  So I’m looking to do an entire setup on very little money.  This fish bowl was generously(?) donated to the cause.  Well okay, I was told I could use it when I asked if I could have it.  That’s pretty close, right?

What do you keep in a drop of water?

Crushed dreams mainly.  On a serious note, I started to think of all what I could do with it.  The majority of what I would normally keep pretty much went out the window.  Not daunted by the task, I started giving it some serious thought.

If you’re new to the hobby, you might be wondering what all the fuss is about.  Well, when it comes to fish tanks, smaller is not better, bigger is.  Often people want to start out small, see how they like it first and then take the plunge.  That’s a great theory, and works for a lot of things, but not fish.

A bigger tank takes less work and is more forgiving of errors.  Think of it this way: if you put two drops of food coloring in a typical mug of water (about 12 ounces) and two drops of the same food coloring in a 5 gallon bucket of water, which one would you notice the color change in?

The mug of course.

For contaminates, or adding too much of a chemical, or temperature change (like in winter when you may lose heat), the small tanks will be affected first, while the larger tanks are buffered against the changes for an extended period of time (in a temperature change) or a much smaller, less costly loss of fish (with contaminates or chemicals).

Yes, bigger tanks are much more costly to set up and sometimes maintain (depending on what you have in them), but compared to the amount of money you could lose to a mistake, carelessness, or ignorance, the extra buffering power is well worth it.

That being said, nano reefs (very small reef setups) are fairly popular.  I had one in a 10 gallon tank for a while.  But really, unless you are experienced, you’re better off going as big as you can (within reason of course).

Not quite what I meant by a ‘nano reef’

It looks bigger than it is.

So one of the first things I thought of was, Sea Moneys.  Seriously.  If you’ve never heard of them they are a hybrid brine shrimp that can still be found in some stores with fanciful creatures drawn on the packages that look nothing like brine shrimp, hybrid or not.

Sparing you the math, for a two gallon aquarium it would take 21.3333 packets of water conditioner (included in the kit).  That’s a whole lot of money for brine shrimp.  They supposedly are larger and live longer than plain old brine shrimp, however….

In my next post, I’ll see if I can finish catching you up to where I’m actually at in my thoughts.

 

– Jeffery

Fish Breeding: My Ultimate Goal

Fish Breeding: My Ultimate Goal

Something I’ve wanted to do for a long, long time is to get into fish breeding.  Well fish, invertebrate, and the favorite invertebrate: corals.

Why fish breeding?

Although there is the possibility of making a little extra cash (for a lot of work), mainly it’s because of the advantages of tank raised, farm bred animals.

They are used to being in an aquarium environment, generally healthier, eat more of a variety of foods, disease and parasite free, and stress less because they never went from big ocean to little bitty tank (relatively speaking).

Oh sure, depending on the aquarium keeper some of those things could not apply.  A careless, or inexperienced, person could do something to introduce a parasite or disease, or an aquarium pest that eats the livestock during the night.  But the careful person, who takes the proper time, steps, and educates themselves can avoid most if not all of that.

The other thing that drives me in this is just in the devastation in the oceans.  Coral reefs are dying, collection methods can be harmful to either the reef or the fish they are capturing.  Tank raised may not only be a great way to reduce the environmental impact, but the day may come when tank raised may very well be all we have left.

My personal feeling is that wild-caught should only happen on rare occasion to help keep the genetic diversity going in the captive bred system.  Every once in a while adding to the gene pool can be a good thing, but overall that shouldn’t be the norm.

Feeding them

Anyway, one of the biggest problems is feeding the little buggers.  They are SO picky.  I hadn’t quite decided what to start breeding first, but I thought about what to feed them.  Obviously live foods would be good (mandatory) and brine shrimp (Artemia) (newly hatched nauplii of course) is often what is fed.

Brine shrimp trivia

Did you know that brine shrimp do not live in the ocean?  I didn’t know that until I started researching live foods.  So how do those baby seahorses get all that nutritious brine shrimp in the wild?  Do they saddle up, grab the covered wagon and make the perilous journey from the ocean to the salt lakes where the shrimp are?  Then after giving birth and letting the young eat until they are old enough, they pack up camp and wagon train back to the ocean to live until the next mating season?

I don’t think so.

Though that would be awesome to watch.

What they really eat

So I started researching copepods, rotifers, and others.  These are more along the lines of the nutritious fare they’d get in the wild.  Of course I can’t afford to buy a steady supply of these critters at this point in time.  So what’s the alternative?  Give up you say?  HA!  No.  No my friends, I’m not that smart.

What fish food eats

I looked into raising my own.  Some of them eat other critters, many of them eat algae.  Yep, the very scourge of fish keepers everywhere is now what I would have to deliberately grow in order to raise the feedstock for my livestock.  Sounds more like fish ranching than fish breeding.

So I looked into raising my own algae, to feed my own copepods, rotifers, and the other foods that aren’t coming to mind at the moment.  Not only are there several different types of algae, and each one of these little living fish snacks eat only certain kinds of algae (in the wild), but each algae has it’s own different requirements.

So now I’m looking at several different tanks of algae for several different tanks of live foods for several different tanks of fish and invertebrate.  Oh my aching head.

Why go to all the trouble?

It’s not that I’m a control freak, but I want quality control.  After all, making sure that I have the foods they need, when they need it, regardless of how much cash I have in my pocket is beyond important, it will mean the difference between life or death for whatever I’m raising.

And having the most nutritious foods makes for healthy livestock.  And it’s important that they not just survive, but thrive.

So I’ve bounced around with various ideas, modified versions of ideas, thrown away and revived ideas, etc.  I need to start on the best possible path, not just the one that gives the fastest-yet-poorest results.

I have other issues to overcome as well.  Like it’s been several years since I’ve been in an environment where I’ve been able to have an aquarium, so I no longer have any of my stuff from my reef-keeping days.

I miss my 85 gallon tank.

But those issues are for another post.

– Jeffery