Well, I had my tank setup with the filter running the tap water, but it was still chlorinated and unsuitable for fish, so I knew I needed to go to the LFS (Local Fish Store) and get some Prime to clean the water, then dump in my fish – I really wanted some African Cichlids after seeing some pictures of how beautiful they are!
I get to the fish store, all full of excitement to buy some Prime water purifier, and hit the ground running…well, this time around I started asking some questions. Those questions led to more questions, then doubt, then questioning myself. But wait…I had done hours of Internet research, and went into the LFS thinking I for sure wanted a freshwater tank, with African Cichlids. Well, I came to learn a few things that threw me off that path. The guy at the LFS taught me a few things…
- If you don’t want to kill your fish, then starting with tap water is a bad idea. Your tank will always be in a problematic state, since the city does ‘chlorine dumps’ twice a year, and they bury the announcement deep down in a briefing that is hard to find. Also, you’d still need to have a separate tank to purify the water yourself and get the PH high enough (8.5, for the type of fish I wanted) before pouring it into your main tank. No thanks!
- African Cichlids are territorial and have an attitude, to say the least. You can only stock them with other African Cichlids of the same side, or with fish that can defend themselves, like Plecos, or something bigger than the Cichlids. Another…No thanks!
- When I asked about making the tank beautiful with plants, the LFS guy said that they would just tera up real plants. He said that you want some sand, Texas Holey Rock and an otherwise pretty desolate aquascape for African Cichlids to feel at home…And, that’s when it all became clearer to me.
After learning those facts, I felt a little Keystone Coppish, making impulsive decisions and running around like a chicken with my head cut off, to different fish stores ready to commit on half-baked ideas. Wait, this is what I did before and it never worked out. So, while I think African Cichlids are cool and pretty, they just weren’t for me. I wanted a community tank, with a variety of life that would coexist. I also wanted beauty in the tank, and color not only in the fish themselves, but also in the surroundings. Plus, if I was going to resign myself to purchasing water from an LFS instead of going through all the maturations with tap water (i.e. this meant I was going to have to go through the work of emptying my tank anyway) then I decided a saltwater setup would be more to my liking. At this point, I knew I needed to devise a plan instead of bouncing between strategies (and random fish stores), changing my mind about things while en route!
So, I returned to the Internet, watched a few more YouTube videos and subscribed to some trustworthy channels (Aaron’s Aquarium & Bulk Reef Supply). After a few more hours, I wrote out my plan. Be sure to check out my next blog to get a glimpse at my road ahead!