Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Marriage - For Better Or Worse- Well...

It has been said that marriage is a partnership. For better or worse marriage has been considered "the ties that bind". Common interest and common goals help keep those ties bound. And then there is the fish tank. Over the years we have had a couple of aquariums. The kids all seemed to enjoy the fish. Even the grand-kids like watching the activity in the tank. We bought a ten gallon aquarium for Christmas last year. We bought various little fish and watched them swim around the tank. They learned that when I opened the tank lid it was feeding time. Quickly they would all gather at the top, waiting to get the first little flakes. It takes so little to make fish happy. How did I get stuck with the job of feeding them? Uh, is it time to add water? How do you clean it? Uhhh...

For the last couple of months Jimmy has been looking longingly at bigger tanks. A bigger tank would allow us to have more fish. We looked at some 29 gallon tanks and some 55 gallon tanks. Who knew these water filled glass tanks would be so expensive. That does not even include the stand. Our little 10 gallon tank sits comfortably on a little stand. Nice and quiet near the sofa. Then comes the male "bigger is better" logic. Husband says "I sure would like a bigger tank." Here we go. I think, "what's wrong with the one we have?" Of course he needs to clean it now because it is getting a little cloudy. I don't do windows, I mean aquariums. To me that would mean gallons of treated water, some place for the fish while Jimmy cleans the tank. I don't clean this remember. Somehow I got stuck with the job of fish feeding. That's enough for me.

So Amanda visits one day and she and her dad talk about the 55 gallon tank she just bought on Craig's List. I smell a plot here. The next thing I know Jimmy is searching... He tells Amanda to call this number or that number. I have visions of a big tank and where in the world will it go. Why do I feel that I will be outnumbered here?

The next thing I know Jimmy is buying a used 55 gallon tank and all the hoses, filters, pumps and other stuff. When he came home with it, I was less than happy. Guess who is going to have to clean this thing? Little did I know that this little hubby/wife project would turn out to be the project from Hell. No problem, I'll get this cleaned up. Not so fast. I have no idea how long it has been sitting idle. Did I really think this would be easy?

Well, I finally have cleaned it as good as I can. It was no easy task. And just why did we decide to do this? Then Jimmy remembered it will need a stand. Just how much does a 55 gallon tank filled with water weigh? Naturally he can't find a suitable one cheap. This little project is suddenly getting larger and more expensive. Let's see- used aquarium $100, new stand $90. Just where are we going to put this? Of course it will fit between the dead tv and the chair (another story) in front of one of the two windows along the wall of the living room. Now, just where is the Christmas tree we bought last year along with the little aquarium going? Uh... So now I look at a wall full of two tvs and two fish tanks.

So far we in addition to the stand we have bought some new tubing since the old tubing is too small to clean. I have cleaned up the tank, the thermometer, the light covers and other tops, some of the plastic tubes. I still have to finish the pump cover and then I need to do the pump and some of the big tubes. Then we have to buy some charcoal things that fit on some of the tubes and some "stones". I have yet to figure out that name. Oh and somehow I have to get the gravel clean. Yes I know we could buy some new stuff, but we are trying to save some money here. We still have to get more fish and some live plants and on and on.

It is so nice to be able to do things together. Yeah, this will be a nice little (large) addition to our living room. I have read that watching fish in an aquarium is good for the blood pressure. And doing things together as a couple is part of the joy of marriage. For better or worse, right? Ask me again when this aquarium is up and running. Better yet ask me when it is time for him to clean the tank.


Anonymous said...

Not in front of the window, Jill! The tank will get dirty twice as fast. Sunlight promotes algae growth!

Anonymous said...

Quilly sent me. I used to keep a 55-gallon aquarium. And a 35, and a 20. Great fun - and yes I did the cleaning.

Bigger is better, because most fish won't fit in a 10-gallon tank (even the ones we try to keep in there), and it's actually harder to keep clean than the larger ones.

Quilly's right. The tank should be in a dark corner of the house. Not only will that limit algae growth, it will be (when the tank lights are on) a much more visible part of the decor.

About weight. A quart of water weighs about a pound; let's say that a gallon weighs ten pounds. 55 gallons is two adults and a kid standing in one spot. You do not wish to discover that you have termites in your floor beams while filling one of these things.

You also don't want it blowing up while it's filling. 500 pounds of water throwing glass shards around can kill. There'd better not be any star cracks in the glass of that craigslist-sourced tank.

Gravel that's not in the tank is not hard to clean. Jimmy :) tosses it in a bucket, runs water into the bucket, stirs the bucket while the water's running and keeps doing it until the water running out of the bucket is clear.

Gravel in the set-up tank can and should be cleaned using a simple siphon tube.

There are plenty of guides for tank setup and maintenance online. If I haven't yet given you enough ammo to veto the project (oh, did I mention the cost of the electricity to run the lights and the heaters and the pumps?), be sure that J. and A. read these things, and put them on a schedule to follow their recommendations. Or else ;).

Dr.John said...

It could be worse. Betty put up with a twelve by four foot 0 scale train layout in our living room. She ended up doing most of the work on the scenery. I just do track.
So you could have two tvs, two aquariums, and a model train layout.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the info. I did not know that sunlight would do that. We do have our windows covered due to the Texas heat and are planning to put a backdrop on the back of the tank. We did that with our little tank and have had no problems. Of course the more I learn, the less I know. Thanks for your help.

cube said...

I don't know anything about aquariums except I love looking at the little fishies.