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  • stevecowles

Is it time for a fish tank?

I need a new hobby, I was planning to get back into going to the pub and gigs more regularly but, having tried it, my enthusiasm just isn’t there to the same degree anymore, maybe I’m too old.

Twice in the past I’ve kept tropical fish, once as a youth and more recently when I moved into my current house almost twenty years ago when I also did a little breeding. I only stopped about ten years ago as I was working away from home frequently at the time and when that finished, I could no longer afford it. I stopped adding fish and turned everything off after a year or so later when the last one died.

Although I still own a couple of tanks, I’m not sure if they hold water anymore. I also know from the past that this is not a cheap hobby, and the cost of a tank is of little relevance in the bigger picture.

I’m not really after anything grand to start off with, a planted tank of about 60 litres with a few groups of nano-sized fish would look good in my home office though so that is my initial goal. I thought I’d document my progress largely for my own records so that I can look back and see what worked and what didn’t so that I don’t repeat too many mistakes.

Before I even think of getting started there are a couple of things to consider.

Life Stability

Things got tricky when I was working away from home before, I depended on relatives coming and do the feeding every couple of days. This is a potential concern as I’m currently on a fixed-term work contract but, in truth, I’ve no interest in working away from home again if it ends so I’m just going to have to take a gamble on it.

Tank Location

Last time I put my tank in an awkward place so have I got somewhere suitable for a tank? I think so as there is space away from direct sunlight which can be freed up in my home office so, before doing anything else, I’ll need to give that a good clean out as it isn’t as easy afterwards. On the downside, this will mean carrying large amounts of water up and down stairs but that cannot be avoided.


I know from the past that this will not be cheap, I’m not going to install a tank until I know I’ve got £500 to put into this project. Yes, it sounds like a lot, but I do believe that is what it is likely to take to get what I want. The reality is that if I go to the pub a couple of times a month instead of a couple of times a week it will pay for itself very quickly so I’m not going to worry about it too much.

I also vape and that is totally incompatible with fish as they will die if exposed to any significant amount of nicotine (it dissolves in water easily) and I’ve probably got some on my hands quite often so that will have to go which will further offset the costs and do me some good into the bargain.


Like most pets, fish need to be looked after and this takes a lot more time than most people expect. Have I got this time? I believe so.


Our local water supply has changed dramatically since last time I had an aquarium, it has moved from one lake to another and when showering there is a strong chlorine smell so this is where I will start. In the next few days, I will order a water testing kit to see what we are dealing with. If it overly restricts the species which can easily be kept the whole thing is going to become too difficult to maintain.

Let's see where this goes, if anywhere, watch this space.

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