Sunday, November 06, 2005

New Fish!

Some background:
My grandfather was an avid and knowledgeable fish hobbyist. He used the den in his house on Colonial Parkway in Fort Worth Texas as his fish room. The den was a very large room that housed up to 20 or 30 tanks at one time. Some of the tanks were HUGE and in them were rare and mysterious fish from all over the world varying from quite small, to a foot or more in length. When the fish outgrew their tanks, off to the Fort Worth Zoo they'd go, where I'm certain some are still living. I'll never forget the wonderful hum and humidity of Grandaddy's fish room. It was such a nice place to relax in and I believe he had one of the best fish collections any private individual could have.

Grandaddy(GD) traveled abroad on many occasions and went all over the world. During his travels he would pick up a few fish here and there that were considered hard to get and sometimes rare. I'm not quite sure how he got them into this country, but I do believe he smuggled them in on some occasions. He did trading with the Fort Worth Zoo and often acquired interesting species that way and they in turn acquired interesting species from his collection as well. Speaking of Interesting, his brother Gordon was also a fish enthusiast but he kept saltwater fish. I remember a nurse shark in particular that I was fascinated with. That shark was almost 4 feet long and awesome to watch when it fed. I'll talk more about the saltwater fish later. Grandaddy only kept freshwater or brackish water fish with cichlids being amongst his favorites. They are indeed a very interesting species to watch and are much as fish can be I suppose. He even kept Piranhas at one point!

As a little girl I spent many hours with GD helping him with his fish. I helped feed them, clean tanks, doctor them, etc...I learned quite a bit but no where close to the amount of knowledge that he had in his head. Often I kick myself for not taking notes and asking more questions than I already did, because now he is gone and I can't. I totally enjoyed spending time with him and have the best childhood memories of those fish tanks and the man keeping them.

Every weekend GD would take me and sometimes my sister Lynn out to the country to a bait and tackle store where he'd buy bags full of minnows(feeder fish). On the way there he would entertain us with songs and amusing antics. He'd often make a fool of himself by acting like a deranged person in front of old ladies! It used to embarrass the heck out of me and Lynn, but we loved it all the same. I could go on and on about stories of GD and the crazy stuff he did, and I'm sure at some point in time I'll get around to writing about them. For now, I want to get back to the fish!

Now you have a little background of my love of fish. I think it's in my blood and I love these animals every bit as much as GD did. As I mentioned before, I have three tanks now. One is a 45 gallon tank that houses 10 fish. There are 9 cichlids in that tank and one plecko(algae eater). Of the cichlids in this tank I have two yellow labs, three Jack Dempsys,two jewels, and two pale lavender cichlids that I don't know the names of yet. Then the next tank I have is a 20 gallon tank that right now houses a powder blue socolofi. He is a bit larger than the other cichlids and a menace to them. So he is by himself until the others get bigger and can hold their own. Then I will put him in the 45 gallon tank. This fish is a soldier and has survived a long time. Right now he is battling ich(a parasite that attacks freshwater fish), but that is almost all cleared up now.

The last tank I have is a small 10 gallon tank that is currently serving as a nursery. One of my close friends named Cindy is also a fish enthusiast. She has two jewel cichlids and two convicts, that are breeding pairs. I have many of the jewel babies in the 10 gallon...about 70 or 80 of them...and one convict baby. The convict is older and bigger and mainly keeps to itself and is darling as can be. There were other convicts too, but they died because I didn't know what I was doing. I've since learned how to take care of fry(baby fish)and will soon be giving fish away! I'll keep a few of the babies for myself though, especially that convict! I've grown attached to the little cutie.

I have plans for a very large tank in my bedroom. I want it to be about a 150 gallon tank and it will fit nicely along one of my bedroom walls. It will be a cichlid tank too and I have to save up my money for it. This is not a cheap hobby unfortunately. Oh how I wish I had some of the old fish tanks from Grandaddy's fish days. Heck for that matter I wish I had some of those fish! I will have to visit the FW zoo and go see one of the fish there that I recognize as being GD's. The fish I'm talking about is an Arawana that I would recognize most assuredly and last time I was at the zoo it was HUGE and very much alive. That is for sure a special fish and I watched it almost on a daily basis as a girl. Makes me teary eyed thinking about it because it is so sentimental.

When I have my 150 gallon tank set up, I imagine that I will probably put a couple of the larger fish species in with the cichlids. I might even get my own Arawana and probably a clown knife too. I hope to make some fine childhood memories for my own children to reflect back on when they are adults. Maybe they will love fish too and want to keep some for their own when they are old enough.

1 comment:

Amy said...

What a nice post! It especially touches my heart because I was very close to my Granddad who all but raised me. Congrats on the getting the blog up!