When we got the fish tank from our craigslist guy, he told us that it was just too much to maintain.  That didn’t strike me at the time. . . *
It struck me as I was typing this that this was going to turn into a very long post.  So, I’m starting you off with Challenge #1.  And I’ll also give you a teaser: we have 3 zebra danios, and as of Day 2, they are all still alive.  So far so good. . .*

It all started with my 10 Most Wanted List.  At some point I became obsessed with having a fish tank.  I’m not sure why.  Up until this point I’d sworn off all fish tanks: “No birds!  No fish!  We have cats!”  But I thought that it would be beautiful, and I had the perfect spot for it (see above).   Yes, I’d imagined it being a little bit higher to protect it a little better from the cats, but, it could work.

Let me start off by saying that when I started this project I was green.  Very green. And Brian even more so.  I was working off memories of my 10-gallon starter fish tank from 20 years ago.  And Brian had a fish bowl with a beta.  This is what I had from that  experience: 1. Get a tank bigger than ten gallons.  2. Do not leave dead fish in the tank.  So. . . clearly I knew the important stuff.

I set my mind on that tank.  Brian wanted to get our tank from Craigslist.  Part of me wanted a brand new tank to make sure everything functioned and was clean, but saving a few bucks and keeping a tank out of the landfill sounded pretty good.  And so the journey began.

Challenge #1: Cleaning the New (old) Tank

Choosing the tank and picking up the tank from the city proved to be the easiest part (though the waiting was a little painful).  But everything else was a challenge.  The previous owner had not cleaned the tank because he didn’t want to harm the life of our future fish.  Understandable.  Fish are very sensitive.  But, that left us with a rather unpleasant/unsightly tank with an unknown history.

So, step number one was Shaklee natural disinfectant and cleaner.  I know, I know.  You fish-lovers out there are cringing, and I’m a little nervous, too.  However, we had no idea what we were dealing with here, and so far everything appears ok.  (And what was that green stuff, anyway??  Algae?  Brian later told me it was probably lime from the water. I’m still not sure.)    I let the plants soak and the tank soak, and the miscellaneous-pieces-in-the-bucket-we’d-gotten-that-didn’t-have-cords-hanging–out-the-back soak.  (I learned later that I may have killed off beneficial bacteria.  Then, I learned even later that the beneficial bacteria had dried up a long time ago and was most likely very long dead.)

Next, I proceeded to try to wipe at — then scrub at — the tank and all of the pieces that had the yucky green stuff.  (We hosed off all the plastic plants.)  The green stuff wasn’t coming off.  I had some vague memory of using a razor blade on the tank in the past, but that seemed a little odd to me.  I scrubbed and scrubbed and SCRUBBED with one of those scratchy green Shaklee pads and ended up giving up and getting a butter knife (which mostly did the trick until I couldn’t take it anymore).  After everything was sufficiently clean/I was sufficiently exhausted, we hosed everything off again a few times and started looking at the pieces in front of us.

To be continued for Challenge #2. . .

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