The Daily Deals

In my constant bid for new and greater heights, I find myself scouring all of the resources so amply provided and easily accessible to the modern fish gal.  From Aquabid to Craigslist to Petsmart visits and Drs. Foster and Smith catalogs, I leave no stone unturned.   The thirst for an ideal set-up is ongoing.  My biggest issue as of late being a great deal of disorganization.  Which I inevitably feel can be solved with the gathering of more and more useful items for upgrades and replacements of current inefficiencies.  I feel so close to this goal after the installment of a third fish rack of nine 2.5 gallon aquariums.  More space for fry and pairing up small killifish or livebearers.  It’s both exciting and exhausting.  Because in my pursuit I forget that school is important or that work needs me precisely on time or that maybe I should call my mom and arrange a visit.  I understand perfectly well what needs to be done long-term.  But short term I’m all about maximizing my time to commit to personal projects.   

I’m making good progress, it’s true.  I can be happy with that most days.  As of now (the last day of the first month of 2014), I am well on my way to completing a number of pre-assigned resolutions.  One being the shrimp colony set-up (I have a decent number of inverts again).  Another goal is set up a C.A.R.E.S. species for absolute commitment and maintenance.  My dwarf chain loaches should be arriving today (my fish of choice).  I have a beautiful group of rare Malawi cichlids to play with.  My tanks are pretty much where I want them.  I have 2-3 new spawns geared up with 2 already witnessed in a bid for breeder awards with GVAC.  And lastly, I have submitted an article on dwarf danios for my club newsletter.  It’s good to be writing again.  It’s good to feel like I am truly doing what I was meant to do.  Even if I have yet to figure out how it benefits the whole.  

However, I am very broke in the fund department as I sit awkwardly between paychecks.  Twiddling my thumbs with what I have to work with and praying the gas tank doesn’t run dry.  Such is the lifestyle of an overly ambitious hobbyist.  

Rather than living day by day….it is more that I am living deal by deal.  Climbing an acquisition ladder of sorts on my college student wages so I can live the dream of a productive fish room.  What I’m learning as I go along is that quality supplies can completely transform the success of the hobby.  I’m learning not to cheap out…to shop around and go for the deals, but be informed and ultimately spend my last dollar on the things my animals actually need as I kick myself the next day wishing I could buy one McDouble at the end of a long shift at work.  Oh how I would take back that dollar…..

I’m not unlike the starving artist.  My expression in fish tanks.  My expression in species.  My expression in bartering and dealing with others to fill my lofty canvas which is still largely blank.  One day, I want my efforts to make real strides.  I want to raise tons of batches of rare fish and preserve the genetic diversity at the same time.  I want to do talks on my experiences.  I want to be that distinctive voice hollering over others at a fish auction as I serve an association of my fish geek kin.  

But first I must get a nicer air pump…….so that my new rack of fish tanks can be supplied with sufficient oxygenation.  Of course.  Then the magic happens, I tell myself.  

Sigh.  

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A Typical Day- Every One, Extraordinary

Going into 4 days with no home internet due to outage outside of my…home.  Not to mention the snow storm that delayed school and work.   And before that my own personal 4 day power outage.  This winter has been nothing if not eventful.  Still, like most any time of year, the present moments fill with experiences that gather in greatness.  It’s all in the attitude, I attest.  I feel as though I truly grew into that optimism award I received so long ago as a fourth grader.  Those teachers saw what I couldn’t then.  But what blinds me now. 

The typical day is extraordinary in its own way.  Barring major conflict or death.  The typical day beckons with offers so irresistible if you listen.  It practically screams at me, even as I go about my business in my trim and proper way.  A trained monkey set to stray on the routine…..routinely.  It happens every day. 

Think of this as my personal diary- a run-down of a feeling I’m exploring and trying to….express.  Thinking of it as that, I would proceed with the day of the SWAP MEET (1/11/14). 

My days in Grand Rapids are like voyages to lands of untold greatness.  Fish greatness.  Because the city, so much larger than Lansing, hosts so many pet stores of numerous chain origin and small business alike.  It brightens my heart as I go from shop to shop cherry-picking the best of the best.  I seek bargains and beauty.  Beautiful bargains, I might say.   Like a shop hop on a smaller scale than those arranged by organizations, it is guaranteed I will come home with something new.  

I did bring home much of what I sought.  But the meet for fish clubs….my, it’s something.  Greatest in value for supplies and plants, I was sure to load up.  Nearly 40 tables were filled with the dreams of young aquarists (i.e., me).  Old literature lay about everywhere, on subjects from herpetology to marine biology.  Even an old shedd aquarium book, displaying the history of the historical building/attraction.   It all went for garage sale prices, in the middle of january in the coldest state I can imagine right now.   I talked to nearly all the people I bumped into.  I’m a friend to many, and many are a friend to me here.  I suppose the only fish i gained from the event were tinwini danios.  But a small tank, a light, many plants, bloodworm flakes (it’s a thing), mixed shrimp, and a daphnia culture rounded out my purchases.  I have many endeavors to attend to.  And I keep them in mind on the daily. 

Then it was to BLUEFISH AQUARIUM, where the hobbyists meet in a casual way after events such as these.  The kid-in-a-candy-shop effect was undeniable.  I wanted more than my wallet could handle.  And self control…well, that’s a hard entity to bargain with.   Two barb species went under “must-have”….but in an eventual timeline.  I bought my fire-ring danios on sight.  Because my rule of thumb is if it is a danio I do not have under my care, it has to be made to be under my care pronto.   Fond childhood memories aside, I loved everything at face value.  The other priority species had to be a pair of Indian spiketail paradisefish…for the losses I experienced of spawning adults.   They do like to commit piscine suicide.  Via jumping out of water.  The other thing was a bit of a shot in the dark….a pair of weitzmani tetras for the small price tag and my desires for adventure.  

Other shops included VI PETS and CHOW HOUND.  At the Jenison VI location, i found ultra-cheap hillstream loaches.  January is 20% off fish month there.  Too good.  Even if the fish are sometimes in questionable condition.   At the other location (CUTLERVILLE), I found rabbit snails for so cheap.  Yellow and marvelous.   And I am certain some captive bred steppe runners must be mine shortly.   Another endeavor and for another post.   Regardless, I spread the hobbyist cheer wherever I go.  And inform of fish clubs and reptile shows and good things. 

The last task was the meeting.  We have an exciting year ahead of us at GVAC.  it is truly the year of the fish.  I turned in 2 spawns to start the year strong.   Choprae danios and Celestial pearls.   And the talk on aquatic plants was uplifting.  I wish to experiment there as well.   LED workshops and box swaps are in the works.   I have two articles half-written.  I’m so happy with my hobby, it’s absurd. 

Yesterday was the Preuss Pets Holiday Party.  Another social experiment and time for merriment.  I do feel a bit out of place in my own workplace, but slowly it molds to my form.  Slowly I adjust to it.   My white elephant gift I gave involved a giant microbe plushie….my gift of choice.  Here, have mad cow disease!  adorable and fun to say.   I got a nice pair of sharpies and gummy candy in return.  The nature center offered a complex and stimulating background.   Snapping turtles and hissing cockroaches and educational tools awaited the upper level.   Below, a crowd of people humming with conversation.  Some of it I partake in.  Some of it I tune out.   It’s an old habit hard to break.  But it’s breaking walls, after all.  

I have befriended a number of individuals.  More yet to convince that I am tame and good company.  Relatively.   I like to think so.

Today, I have a day chock full of classes and work and business.  So much to adhere to.  Such a schedule to follow.   But if anyone can make the best, it’s me.  It’s the fishgeekgirl.   I walked up and down grand river after doodling fish and engaging in Ichthyology lecture.  I’m a tad too eager there, but I cannot help.   Free coffee, free t-shirt, free mints, free coupon books….all perks of going to MSU.   Little pieces of enrichment that make the mood lift.   Seeing a sign for a good lunch deal, I stopped in foreign territory and sat quietly with my wi-fi, filling out the remainder of my planner and signing away my time happily and readily.   The demands are great.  But my condition can’t get much greater.

Even after all of this description- I feel I do not do life justice…..I could write a million words on the subject in one breath, with the enthusiasm I contain.  Sheer and genuine and wonderful as the highest high.  

The Arrival of the Dream Barbs and More

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When I die, I want people to remember me for the tremendously enriched life I lead.  The one that is chock full of exotic fishes, bengal kisses, day trips to out of town shops,beady rodent eyes, silly lizard begging, and more happiness than should be physically possible.

After a minor detour that almost sent me to depressed-ville, I have a new take on the year and life ahead of me.  Some days it is hard to picture what this can entirely be.  Some days you want to sleep forever and procrastinate on those things you used to love.  I almost did that today.  Laid in bed, exhausted from days of no sunlight or free time or rest.  But then I quickly looked to the tanks about me that….well, a lot needed to be filled.  I thought, dammit, today is the day.  I am in constant fear, after all, of the day my life is cut short and those things never get accomplished.  What a wasted life.  I hope to avoid that, but the only thing you have (all cheesiness aside) is the present.   Truly, I only live and breathe now.  I could play those moments to the tune of distractions.  But I know what I love, deep down.

I’m a fish geek girl, through and through.

So I bought those barbs today.  I prepped a nice large tank for them and made it happen.  All the while I eyed the clock and noticed how few hours had passed while I was accomplishing so much.  It’s absurd.  I almost want to accuse the internet for quickly decimating all free will and time a person possesses.  It is the great addiction of this time, when most anything else couldn’t imagine a construct. A living creature is concerned with one thing:  living.  It must acquire energy and sustain a function.  So, too, must I.  But I can become removed.  If I let hours be consumed any other way.

So I quietly attended to my fish, in the secure warmth of my home.  A relatively free day.  Sunshine through the windows still.  It’s my happiest times.

And in the action of the day….I have rebooted tanks to be an assortment of awesome things.  Image
Like this 2.5 gallon bowfront with a small group of yellow neon white clouds chasing around fake roots

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And this 5 gallon bowfront with a medium fry compartment hooked up!  raising baby red ancistrus there that i was gifted.

Is this real life???

It’s all I know.

In Preparation for a New Year

As I have mused to many before, the new year means very little except that dating things gets a little screwy right off the bat.  I had a quarantine gig today where marking things 1/2/14 got to be more complicated because of how adjusted I had become to 2013.  But then, it’s those adjustments that need….readjusting.  Typically that comes in the form of resolutions spouted on public domains.  Statistics be damned; I intend to beat the 88% failure rate.  My resolutions….however….involve all of the prepping I have done up until now- busying my fish room and buying all of the supplies in bits and pieces.  Hoarding, almost, for this moment.  2014 shall be a year of fish glory.  I want to go for breeder of the year at my local fish club.  However 10 new spawns will suffice.  I want to write for aquarium publications like I used to…even in the event that nobody sees.  I’m gonna get that dwarf shrimp colony going for real this time, DAMMIT!

Such determination never fails.  Considering I have ordered more fish food than I have ever owned previously….flakes, granules, golden pearls.  I’m working with….50+ species.  And still watching those Aurelius barbs in quarantine very closely.  The hunt never ends, in all reality.  It’s an addiction I would never wish to quit.  As long as my work and vitality allows it.

Tiring out is quite common.  But there is a great prize on the horizon of the new year.  I know it is in me, and every day is an opportunity to prove it.  Exciting and tantalizing.

I’m almost drooling.

I did notice a request for what is going on in my tanks currently.  what I am toying with….

I had the misfortune to lose power for 4 days.  It caused me to restart much of my set ups.  It has been an immense stress, but thankfully the casualties were almost nonexistent since I’m employed by one of the more generous businesses in town.  The one with ample holding tanks and back up generators….yeah….

Anyways, my latest obsession has been danionins.  If you are unfamiliar…it is primarily danio, brachydanio, devario, and microrasbora fishes.  Right now I’m keeping a neat little selection of species….would like to dedicate a whole fish rack to rare and unusual danionins one day.

Because.

Why not?

For right now, I just have:

Danio choprae*

Danio margaritatus*

Danio aesculapii*

Danio feegradei

Danio tinwini

Danio kyathit

Danio sp. Hikari Yellow

Danio erythromicron*

The stars indicate which have successfully spawned for me so far.  I believe the Yoma danio (D. feegradei) will be the first to knock off that list of haven’t-bred’s……since i can visibly determine ripe females right now.

I’m also quite excited at the prospect of toying with a new white cloud species as yet unnamed….. goes by “neon yellow”!  beautiful fish but very subdued.

As for shrimp….I’m just working on carbon rili and yellows.  Maybe something new will come about.  The prospect of selective breeding with those inverts is very real as well…..

Besides the Aurelius, I’m hoping to obtain my first Denison barbs this year!  since petsmart has placed them on sale for $7….and i have a coupon for a few bucks off…I really can’t say no.  It does, however, require me prepping some of my larger tanks.

The possibilities are endless and keep my weary body moving.