My second big project is, well, fish.
My sister bought my son a 10 gallon fish tank for his birthday in August last year. Since she had once worked at a pet store, she set it all up and stocked it with a black molly, 2 platys a dwarf frog and a green cory cat. Though at one point my dad had fish, I was too young to do anything but enjoy looking at them and learned nothing about caring for them.
What followed was a lot of uneducated mistakes and stress on my part and a lot of fish deaths on their part. Somewhere in the middle a few more fish were purchased but all that I have left at this point is the black molly and the cory cat. In the past month we were hit badly with Ich, fin rot and ammonia poisoning. The molly survived because he was in a hospital tank getting treated for the Ich and the cory cat survived because he is a bad mofo who has earned my undying love.
What I have learned since is that having fish is harder and more expensive than you realize. Sorta.
One one particularly bad evening of crisis I contacted someone on All Experts, a service I didn't know existed but have since successfully used twice! I needed help immediately and the pet stores (who I had been frequenting OFTEN during all of this) were closed and we had a blizzard on the way. The expert I chose for help contacted me immediately which led to me saving the cory cat from certain death (two other fish had died that day). She gave me a ton of helpful, more natural remedies for what they were experiencing and introduced me to the existence of brackish fish tanks, which is what the molly should be in. She emailed me throughout the evening as I worked with the tools I had in my home. She was great.
So there I was, reeling from the sudden fish loss with my last two survivors stuck together in a 1.5 gallon hospital tank that requires daily water changes. I thought about where I should go from here and talked to my husband (endlessly, sorry sweetie) about it. I had the option of disposing of these two (which I could not do), trying to find them a new home (which I wasn't excited about since I don't know anyone else with fish plus I didn't want to transport them in winter after going through such chaos), or doing a LOT of research and giving them proper homes in our home. Can you guess which one I chose?
In the end I found that if you just find out the facts and do a little routine maintenance, fish don't have to be that hard to take care of (I'm not including saltwater fish, which are incredible expensive and difficult to take care of properly).
So, friends of ours are giving us their fish tank which I will use for a brackish environment for the molly. The cory cat will be getting more of his kind and something else (not sure what yet) in the 10 gallon freshwater tank in his room. My friends are saving me a TON of money by giving us their tank and accessories, though there are a few things I will need particularly for the brackish tank. It will take weeks to set everything up for both tanks and in the meantime, my fellows are hanging out in the hospital tank together getting daily water changes. They're good sports and deserve good homes. I'll hopefully be posting a lot of information and updates on how the process is going for both tanks. I'm really looking forward to this hobby...should be fun and with some research, hopefully less heartbreaking. :)