Sunday, April 29, 2012

Don't Fear The Reefer

Hi there!


It's been a while since I've posted. I'm missing the fun in the blog world and I've been gearing up to get back at it. After a winter spent indoors, I've had cabin fever and have been anxiously awaiting some warm weather to start on all of the projects I've been dreaming up on those cold winter days. Between the rain and wind of spring, I broke out the power tools and got started on my to-do list.

First came the fish tank stand. Yep. after six months of trying to convince me we needed a fish tank, my husband succeeded in swaying me of his dream to become a "reefer." He wanted to get a freshwater fish tank for our house, and no, not a little ten gallon for a goldfish or two. He's wanted one of those "showpiece" tanks that come between the marriages of so many, haha. Anytime he would bring up the word "aquarium," my mind instantly went to flashes of bachelor pads with black leather couches, giant TVs, and tacky looking fish tanks. I couldn't do it.

This is SO not working with my decor:

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or this:

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I literally googled "ghetto aquarium." Sorry if this is yours.

It was a battle of wills for several months. Sam trying to convince me that the fish tank would add to the aesthetics of our home. His reasoning that we could have a pretty tank, one with a fancy stand that matched our decor, and of course he pulled out the biggest excuse- "Our kids will love it." Well, he finally wore me down and I agreed upon one condition: that I could build the stand to my liking and he had to to all of the maintenance.

So began the craiglist searching and reading online forums of the fish world. We found a great tank on craigslist that my mom chipped in for Sam for Christmas. Shortly after, he decided that freshwater fishtanks were lame and that we were going to grow corals and dive into saltwater. Ugh!

Well, I have to say that saltwater tanks do appeal to my artsy side. Who wants to stare at boring old fish when you can be seduced by the gentle swaying of exotic corals!

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I started my research and came across ReefCentral. Great online forum for saltwater enthusiasts, and I've been gleaning ever since. I think I'm actually more invested into the fishtank project now than my husband. I love to read, and I love to learn. There is so much to know about the saltwater hobby that I never knew. Like this gem:

It will cost you a small fortune to maintain one of these suckers!!

I had no idea! This is one pricey hobby (I can't complain too much because I have a wall of scrapbooking supplies sitting behind me. You know, for all that scrapbooking I do all the time, haha). I have to keep some perspective here, there are many folks who take this hobby to eleven; giant tanks, top of the line everything, all kinds of gizmos and electronic monitoring devices. And then you go on youtube and watch a guy dump a bucket of salt in some tap water, followed by a fish or two, and he gets along just fine. After months of reading, I'm realizing that these saltwater geeks are just as into their gear as every Northface-wearing, Chaco-strapped, Kivu-hat-clad, REI gearhead on the planet.

I've also found that saltwater reefkeeping appeals to the DIY side of me because there are so many people who find ways to recreate equipment at home for a quarter of the price of the stuff that is on the market. From building a tank stand to LED lighting to an automatic top-off system (don't ask), there is great pride in doing things yourself. I've been slowly gathering equipment here and there. I've been a diligent ebayer, finding the off-brand, direct-from-China items that have saved us a ton. Who knows if they will work yet, the tank is still sitting there empty, but I have faith we will get there.

It has taken me over a month to build the stand. That's in-between snow storms and frigid temperatures. Idaho weather is crazy! One day it's pleasant, another can make you want to stay in bed all day. Our old house has an old detached garage with a leaky roof so I am forced to work outdoors at the mercy of this weather. But, I have made some progress and hope to post about it soon.

Until then, stay tuned. More fishy talk to come.