The Dawning of the Age of Aquarium

January 18, 2008

Warning: aquarium nerdspeak ahead. 

I happen to glance to the right and notice that today’s saint is St. Ammonius. How apropos.

It’s been probably 20 years or more since I regularly kept an aquarium, and while I thought it would just all come back to me, I seem to have forgotten that it can take weeks rather than days to properly cycle a tank. Luckily, I discovered this through research rather than the discovery of dead fish. We sort of jumped the gun on fish load, and I ended up using Bio-Spira to get things established quickly. I put it in last night, so I’d expect to see our ammonia and nitrite levels drop in the next day or so.


Anyway, this stuff is a little on the pricey side ($12 for a 1 oz. package which will treat a 30 gallon tank), but weighed against the cost of the fish and/or the 4-6 weeks you need to wait  before fully loading a tank, it’s not so bad. Look for it in the refrigerated section of your local fish store. Along with the Bio-Spira, I threw in a half-dozen ghost shrimp. As of this morning, they seemed to be right at home, though I can only account for four of them at the moment. None of our fish are large enough to have eaten them, so they’re either hiding in the thickly planted area or our shrimps is dead and gone.

So, once things get established and you’re in maintenance mode, then what? Why, you begin planning the next tank! (note to E: I kid! I kid!) . One thing we may try a little later this summer is a simple brine shrimp hatchery, just for grins. And, well, for the live food too. I still haven’t completely let go of a freshwater sump, either. In any case, spring will be here and my attentions will be directed to the yard again, so I need to get my indoor ya-yas out while I can.

nerdspeak complete.

We have some guests staying with us over the weekend – some friends from Atlanta are passing through the area and will hole up with us for a couple of days. It ought to be great fun, and everyone is quite excited. Everything else is going well: we’re healthy, the roof’s not leaking and the bills are paid.

Bluebell is looking forward to having company and spent a few evenings learning to crochet. She wants mommy to knit her many things, but mommy has projects stacked up for awhile and Bluebell was getting impatient. Crochet materials came with a crafter’s kit that she received for Christmas.

Pancho is getting ready for an overnight caving trip with the cub scouts. We’ll be taking off next weekend for this. I don’t know how much of Journey to the Center of the Earth he remembers – we’ll have to see.

Daisy is doing very well with some things that she’s been working on. Friends and family will know what we’re talking about.

Tulip is having a birthday part of sorts next weekend after we get back from the cave.

Lefty is making great progress with words, and Buttercup is thinking about crawling. Which is a shame, since that will mean the end of the Golden Period – the time that you can plop an infant down on a blanket and she will stay there.

Foodie plans for the weekend: E. is making tiramisu as a belated birthday cake for yours truly. I think we’re using the recipe from a recent issue of Cook’s Illustrated, and will report back afterwards.


7 Responses to “The Dawning of the Age of Aquarium”

  1. PeregrinJoe Says:

    Quick Question for you: What is the title of that Monk Soup Book you often refer to? I was telling my wife about some of the dishes you and your family have prepared and we would love to get a hold of that book.


  2. ezmerelda Says:

    It’s called Twelve Months of Monastery Soups, by Brother Victor-Antoine d’Avila-Latourrette.

    Here’s the Amazon link:

  3. Taz Says:


    The i like the flickr picture of the tank. Looks simplistic yet elegant. Would love to see a pic of the stocked tank. It’s funny about the glass shrimp disappearing – from what i;ve read on the net, it seems to happen quite a lot.

  4. PeregrinJoe Says:

    Thank you! I will get it very soon and look forward to much deliciousness.

  5. PeregrinJoe Says:

    Hey, I ordered that book last night on the link you gave me for less than 10 bucks including shipping! Thanks again for the information and the link. I will keep you posted on my soup making.

  6. fosco Says:

    Taz –

    Thanks. We’ve since added some cobomba to the right rear corner, and the plants seem to be doing very well. Sadly, I pulled a few more dead shrimp out of the tank, so we’re down to a single ghost shrimp. We also added a bamboo shrimp. He seems to be pretty happy, but unfortunately spends nearly all of his time hiding inside the rock-ornament. I’m hoping he comes out a little more as time goes by, but for the moment, we have to be satisfied with an occasional visible feeler or tail.

  7. fosco Says:

    Joe –

    Hope you guys enjoy the book. We’ve loved everything in it so far, though we’ve steered clear of some of the things that we know the kids might not like. Who knew there were so many great variations on simple vegetable soup?

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