The eXtreme Aquatics website has been an idea I’ve been playing around with for a few years. After a few partial starts that slowly fizzled out on their own I have finally decided to go all in. My name is Adam Wimsatt and for my day job I work as a web developer for ReelzChannel.com in Albuquerque, NM. I have two hobbies that take up the majority of my time. One is building websites and the other is setting up and maintaining aquariums. I have been an aquarist for the past 15 years. Even through college I had a small freshwater tank going in my dorm room.
The focus of this website is going to be on all aspects of the aquarium hobby. There will be 3 major content areas of this site; freshwater aquariums, saltwater aquariums (reef and fish only) and public aquariums. For this first blog post I will give you a general overview of my history with freshwater aquariums, my new adventure with a saltwater reef tank and my special project of visiting every public aquarium in the US.
As most aquarists tend to do, I started by setting up freshwater aquariums. A few goldfish tanks that failed quickly followed by community fish tanks with Molly’s, Neons, and Plecos which lasted a little longer but not by much. After my fourth failed tank I finally decided to get serious about setting up a tank so with my first full time position I was finally able to afford a complete tank setup from the local fish store (LFS) instead of just getting the Walmart special (not that there is anything wrong with that). I purchased a 30 gallon aquarium and 2 Oscars. My wife quickly named them Bubbles and Muggles (I know, horrible names) and they lasted a good 3 years. Unfortunately my job transferred me to Texas and they did not survive the 14 hour drive to my new home.
In Texas, I was fortunate to live in an area with more than a few local fish stores so I was able to recover quickly. It was at this time that I found a 140 gallon aquarium for sale on craigslist and restocked with a new set of Oscars and a few severums.
I was able to keep them going strong for 5 years — even surviving a move back to New Mexico — before losing them because of a tragic error on my part. I decided to setup my first saltwater tank and in setting it up I removed an aerating pump from my freshwater tank to pump water into my new saltwater tank before leaving for a 4 day vacation. My line of thinking was to get the saltwater tank setup the day before my trip so I could let it stabalize while I was out of town and it would keep my from being too overly anxious about getting it setup. Sadly, I forgot to replace that aerating pump and my large Oscars and Severums did not survive. They will be missed. Here is a video I took of them shortly before their untimely departure:
In the words of Dr. Evil, “…there [was] a 10 minute period there where I [was] inconsolable.” After a very brief ceremony with a net at the dumpster and a week of cleaning and re-cleaning the tank, I headed back to the LFS to start over. The new residents are three oscars, two turquoise severums, one high fin spotted pleco, and the one surviving large generic pleco who just had the greatest meal of his life (MMmmm… tank buddies).
As with any new tank setup the stress of being shipped to the store, thrown in a public tank, scooped back out and then driven home resulted in a serious case of Ick. I immediately started a daily treatment of Malachite Green over the course of a week. There were a few days where one of the oscars looked like he was a goner, but eventually the treatment took and he started feeding normally. I’ve named him Les (if you can guess where that name comes from you get the prize).
That about sums up my experience with freshwater aquariums. I intend to go into more detail on how to setup and maintain a freshwater tank in future blog posts. I will also follow up with a blog post discussing the setup of my first ever Reef Tank. Here’s a video of what it currently looks like:
Finally, here is a quick glimpse into my goal of visiting all of the public aquariums in the US. Last fall (’09) I went to the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, GA. It was an amazing experience. The Georgia Aquarium is home of the largest aquarium in the world. Here is a video from my iPhone from my visit:
Check back for more of this adventure in future blog postings.
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