Things that freak us out a bit...?

Ever think about some of the stuff that happens in our tanks; you know, things that our fishes endure during captive care? More interestingly, do you ever contemplate if there are any natural analogs to the stuff they go through in our aquariums, and if we are a bit overly concerned about the effects they could cause?

This is the kind of stuff you talk about with fellow fish geeks on cross country flights to conferences and speaking engagements; I've had quite a few, and I'm not ashamed to say that I've had someone pretty cool conversations with fellow fish geeks over the years on these flights...

So think about these tidbits:


You suddenly shut out the lights on your aquarium- I used to get all freaked about this and think that the fish would spas out and go belly up with shock. The reality is that they hardly seem to care, in my experience. Light levels can suddenly decrease in nature, too. For example- a very fast-moving tropical rainstorm with thick, dark clouds. Having spent plenty of time in tropical regions of the world, I can tell you, this happens quite frequently, and the change in ambient lighting conditions happens quickly and is extremely dramatic. Wild fishes seldom seem to go berserk during these events, in my experience.

You add a few gallons of cool "room temperature" water to your 50-gallon aquarium during a water change- Another one that, in many instances, is more of an artifact of our own paranoia, IMHO. Unless you're talking a bout 5 gallons of water in a 10 gallon tank, or something of that proportion, I think the influx of some cool water is not all that problematic. Now, this is based on MY personal experience with the fishes I've kept. I've never, ever had fishes spontaneously go into shock and contract it or some other disease as a result of some small percentage of cool water into a tropical aquarium. In fact, I've seen reactions just the opposite, like Pencifishes spawning later that day (Coincidence? Maybe, but...). As mentioned above, rainstorms inundate the forests where many of the small streams and channels our fishes come from in the wild inhabit. We're talking about many more times the amount of "cool" water than we'd inadvertently dump into a na aquarium during ga water exchange. Fish live. Now, I'm not suggesting to add cold water to your tanks this winter. I'm just saying not to get overly freaked about a small quantity of it being added to your tank.

You spill an entire feeding's worth of food into the tank at one time, instead of over the course of a half an hour or so. -Beyond the obvious annoyance of wasting food, what's the real harm? Think about it. Some of the food gets eaten quickly by your fish. Some of it gets sucked right into the filter. Some of it lodges into the plants, rocks, and substrate. What to do?You can allow your fishes a day or so to "forage" for the food- kind of what they've been doing for millions of years. You can clean out the filter after a day or two, so you don't have a large quantity of food decomposing in there for the next 3 weeks. You can siphon out the uneaten food from the substrate, plants, and rocks. could do nothing. I mean, if your tank is so "on the edge" that a few grams of uneaten food will decompose rapidly and "crash" you tank, I submit that there may be other, more pressing concerns to address...

Then there are other concerns that I am a bit amused by...but my cavalier attitude about them is kind of cruel and unwarranted. Like, I really, really, really shouldn't find this funny- but I do: An aquarist is posting on some forum, frantic because of the tannins in that new piece of driftwood staining the water of his/her "nature aquarium" setup: "When will it go away? Is there anything I can do to speed it up?" I mean, I need to be more understanding of the fact that not everyone digs brown water. Not everyone likes what we do.  I guess having a company dedicated to the art and "science" of cultivating tinted water makes me that way...LOL But, I DO get it. Really.  Just find it amusing for some reason. It's my evil guilty pleasure, okay?

I think many of these concerns are grounded in fact...Perhaps, as I've suggested in the past- fact based on older methodologies, theories, and ideas. I'm not saying to be relaxed in our husbandry, feeding, etc. I am suggesting that we need to adapt a little more calm demeanor about "stuff" that happens. 

Easier said than done, right? I'll bet you can come up with dozens more...


Until next time, don't get too freaked. Stay calm. Stay focused.

And Stay Wet.


Scott Fellman

Tannin aquatics 

Scott Fellman
Scott Fellman


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