I learnt a valuable lesson this week.
I took the kids last weekend to buy some pet fish. We were starting from scratch, so we bought a small 1.5 gallon aquarium + filter, some plastic plants, gravel, water purifier, a net, food and finally three little fish in a bag. I had all the required ingredients that I needed to set up a new home for Jake, Fraidy and Gulp as the kids affectionately named them.
We got home and began assembling everything, washing out the aquarium, washing the plants, rinsing out the gravel, etc. We knew where everything had to go. We needed to get those poor fish out of the bag soon. I filled the tank and added a drop of purifying liquid to make it safe. We then let the bag sit in the water for 20 minutes until the fish became accustomed to the temperature of the aquarium.
It was time to let the fish free. I netted the fish out of the bag and into the tank. It’s important not to pour the bag water into the aquarium. That’s what it says in the instructions.
However, there was one instruction I had chose to ignore. Yes, I read it and understood it, but I was just hoping it would work out anyway.
The aquarium must be running at least 24 hours before adding fish.
I couldn’t do that. The fish were in the bag and they couldn’t stay there for 24 hours. Is it really that important? I have everything I need to get going here right now!
Fraidy died 2 days ago. Jake died today. There is a good chance Gulp will not make it either.
I first knew something was wrong a few days in, when Gulp started to swim funny. I started to do partial water changes and experimenting with feeding patterns but it was too late. There was too much ammonia in the water. The fish were dying. The tank was not running long enough (prior to adding fish) and did not have a chance to grow the natural bacterias that help to keep the fish healthy.
Where did I go wrong?
It was all in the preparation. I might have had everything I needed for the perfect environment, but I hadn’t given enough thought to how we put it together. I had not researched enough and sought advice from people who know more than me. Rather than disappoint my kids and take the fish back, I plodded on and now I’m dealing with the consequences.
There is one positive side to this story. Next time I’ll not make this mistake.