Posting this as close to Christmas as possible because I hate to spoil the surprise, but it was just too awesome not to include in this year’s advent blog and besides, most of the people on the list aren’t exactly ones to waste their time reading this thing anyways! 😉

They said that it couldn’t be done.

Well, more specifically, my wife said that it shouldn’t be done because apparently there’s just something about a guy spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars on buying singing fish over the Internet that doesn’t exactly make for a thrilled wife … and yet after receiving a lackluster quantity of actual gift suggestions from the various family members who would ultimately receive said fish, I think you’ll agree that I basically didn’t have any other choice!

So after finding a couple of surprisingly helpful eBay sellers, soon I found myself the proud, albeit temporary owner of these little beauties…

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So to answer your inevitable questions:

  • Yes, I had them all sing at once.
  • No, it sadly wasn’t as cool as you might think … mostly because this model actually sings two different songs and thus there were always a least a couple of fish singing the wrong one.
  • No, I didn’t actually spend hundredof dollars. It was more like hundred dollars – I think after shipping, they ended up costing me on average around $15 each.
  • Also, Singing Fish Pro-Tip – if you’re looking to buy bulk quantities of holiday-branded singing fish, do it in July when nobody cares about Christmas because after sellers see you grab the first few, that’s when they realize that they’re way undercharging for their Santa Hat-laden Bass.

Nonetheless, for the few precious hours that we had together before I had to start taking them back down off the wall again and packing them into separate boxes for holiday gift-giving in various states around the north and northeast, the holiday ballad(s) that they chose to serenade me with was nothing short of magical … like the Christmas songs that I hear in my dreams, sung by Big Mouth Billy Bass himself in his finest holiday attire.

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Best. Christmas. Ever. :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

Cleo’s Fish

July 7, 2012 2:10pm
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It’s kind of weird – Cleo has taken a real interest in my fish as of late, like she just finally noticed that there are living, breathing creatures just like her swimming around in there! She seems to be particularly interested in the algae eater, though I’m pretty sure that he can’t hear her barking back at him from behind the glass and water…  😛

…now as long as we can keep her from jumping up on the glass and tipping the whole 40 gallons over…

some praise for my new algae eater…

June 10, 2012 7:59pm
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A couple of weeks ago, I finally broke down and gave my fish tank the long overdue cleaning that it deserved. It really only had one fish in it anyways after my plecostamus bit the bucket I don’t even know how long ago now … less than 6 months, maybe? … but the point is, my tank was pretty disgusting and it really desperately needed help.

I didn’t take any pictures before I even started because I didn’t think of it at the time, plus I don’t need that evidence floating around of just what a terrible fish parent I am anyways, but I thought I’d share a few that I took along the way anyways because I’m still a bit blown away by the transformation.

Before we get to pics, though – here are the steps that I took…

  1. Transplanted my lone fish to a temporary tank.
  2. Turned off the filter and immediately removed about half the water (it’s a 35 gallon tank).
  3. Thoroughly cleaned out the filter itself (a pretty beefy Fluval 205 canister filter)
  4. Did some more vacuuming, replacing another couple of buckets of very hot water and then trying to suck up as much of the larger stuff that I could find.
  5. Also did my best to scrape down the walls of the tank itself – it had some really gross, black algae growing on the inside and I didn’t really know how bad it was, but it looked bad…
  6. The next day, plugged the filter back in and stirred up the gravel every couple of hours to try and get the filter to pull the rest of the debris out of the water (the filter cycles about 180 gallons/hour, so it did a pretty awesome job at this!).

So anyways, here’s picture #1 – probably around steps 5-6…

Unfortunately, I don’t have another pic post-filtration, but the water was actually crystal clear when it came time for me to add my fish back in! What I did find was weird, though, was that about a week later (and a few new fish), I started seeing algae building up again on the tank walls, the rocks, and even the brush that I’d forgotten to take out of the tank … pretty much any smooth surface that the stuff could find!

I tried to sterilize the tank as best I could by dumping as much hot water into the system as I could, but at the same time part of the reason why my filter is awesome is because it has a biological component to it, so although I was a little afraid that I plain out wouldn’t be able to kill off whatever had been plaguing my tank, I also knew that there were some good things that needed to thrive in there as well, so what do you do?!

Well, on a whim I picked up a Chinese algae eater – I wanted something much smaller than the 14+ inches that my beast of a pleco had gotten before his untimely demise, so even though the store said that these will get bigger, too … I was ready to try something different, and I think it ended up working out pretty good…

I’d say it probably took him about a week or so to fully clean all of that up that you see from the previous picture, so we’ll have to keep an eye on him to make sure he’s got enough to eat going forward or if I need to toss in some algae pellets every now and then. That’s what I used to do with my pleco, though he’d gotten so big that after a while I’m not sure if I ever saw him even leave the bottom, so for all I know he may have just decided to say, “Screw the algae if they’re going to keep giving me these pellets instead!”

Anyways, I’d like to add some more eventually – maybe build up a nice, little school of neons and some other brightly colored fish, but I want to take it real slow this time so that I don’t get more than the tank can realistically handle in there.

Also, one other thing at random that I learned when I was picking up the algae eater at PetCo that I found particularly interesting … did you know that they have a program where they’ll actually take back fish from people who don’t want them anymore?! Specifically we were talking about my pleco because I had mentioned that he’d just gotten way too big for his own good, and the girl mentioned that I should’ve brought him in because they actually have a waiting list of people with ponds and extra large tanks who specifically want plecos that are over a foot long!

I wasn’t exactly super attached to that beast anyways, so the least I could’ve done was give him a better home where he could continue to grow to even larger gargantuan sizes!!!

I’ll try to post some new pics this summer as I add more and keep the tank properly maintained for a change!

Also, you can see that I clearly need a backdrop for this thing so you don’t have to look at the wall trim in the background, so maybe I can work on that before then, too… 😉

a new fish tank is in order

September 25, 2011 4:27pm
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It’s with a heavy heart that I’m here to report that I have a rather large vacancy in my fish tank now.

It wasn’t even from the same issues that my plecosthamus had been facing before – that had basically all cleared up months ago, but earlier this week I started noticing him “sleeping upside down” in the tank, although he was still technically breathing, so I kind of had a feeling that his days were finally numbered. I’ve had that fish for a long time, plus he was getting freaking huge despite the tank not growing proportionally, so in a way I’m kind of surprised to see that he lasted as long as he did!

He was still really gross to get out of the tank, though – filled up an entire gallon ziplock bag from corner-to-corner diagonally – and was so big that I was actually worried about him breaking the bag even post-mortem…

Anyways, now I’m faced with a new situation with this tank that I probably haven’t faced in 4-5 years – I need to choose some new fish to put in it again. Right now there are only two lone tetras swimming about, no doubt still a bit traumatized from me not getting the big, dead guy out of there quick enough, and I think I’d like to stick more to fish that size than the giants that I’m used to having in the past. Nothing fancy – maybe a school of two or three more of them, plus something else that’s kind of unique and stands out.

Also, I think I want to try a different kind of algae eater this time for keeping the tank clean, even though we tried something else with Sara’s tank somewhat recently and it didn’t last too long. I mean, plecos are ok when they’re small, but this guy has just been a monster the last couple of years, to the point where it was almost intimidating to try and move him when we moved earlier this spring! So something that isn’t capable of displacing half the water in the tank when he’s mad, I guess, is more along the lines of what I’m looking for…


I’ll probably also change out those sharp, white pieces of plastic coral – they’ve always been a pain, but the big guy would just knock whatever I put in there around anyways, so it wasn’t really worth bothering with anything cool before. Maybe some of those joke, novelty pieces like a shark or a scuba diver in a beach chair – I’ve already got the snorkeling M&M guy!

Any suggestions???

Hamburger Mouth Makes a Full Recovery!!!

July 22, 2011 8:35pm
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I don’t know how he did it, but no thanks to me it looks like somehow my behemoth of a plecosthamus will continue to terrorize the smaller fish in my tank for another day…


A month later and looking at him now you’d have no clue that five weeks ago he was nearly choking to death on some strange infection-thing. I’d still be curious to know what in the world it was, if there are any freelance marine biologists out there who could diagnose over the interweb via these photos.

infected hamburger extreme close-up

June 29, 2011 11:45pm
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I honestly don’t know how this poor fish is still alive…

PLECO GROWTH???

June 25, 2011 9:38pm
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I know I haven’t exactly been taking the best care of my fish lately, but this is just plain gross…


And granted, I’m sure it’s not exactly a picnic for my plecostomus friend here, either, but there’s not really much that I can do about it at this point, now is there??? My best guess is that it’s some sort of infection that got out of hand – I’m honestly surprised that it’s not already impeding his ability to take in food, although maybe it is. I did notice that he’s a lot more jittery than normal – it was hard to get him to keep still even just for the picture, whereas normally he doesn’t really give a crap about anything that’s going on around him inside the tank or out.

I tried dumping some fish antibiotics into the tank and I guess I’ll continue to do so, but I have a feeling that ultimately I’m just going to come home and find that gigantic beast floating upside down at the top of the tank. I mean, I’ve had him a long time at this point – at least 5 years, maybe more, and he’s probably over a foot long at this point. He’s also getting too small for even the 35 gallon tank that he’s in now, even though I’d hate to move him to a bigger one because he’ll just keep on growing again … and Sara doesn’t want him in her 55-gallon tank because she thinks he’s ugly.

Well, he is, but try finding a better bottom feeder to help keep the tank clean – you can have pretty or you can have efficient, but you can’t have both.


super-grossed-out (but I’m sure that it’s worse for him) zoomed-in view

So some of Sara’s fish had babies…

May 12, 2011 12:23am
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I spent the better part of an hour fishing them out of her ginormous tank this evening so as to prevent them from getting gobbled up by their parents and other adult fish neighbors. I was able to find 8 of them total, which was impressive to me because they really only had one little fake anemone-like thing for them to hide in.

Needless to say, I kept myself greatly amused during the hunt by comtemplating how kinda messed up it is that adult fish can’t even be trusted with their own babies. You can probably expect something funny about it next week, but in the meantime, enjoy squinting to try and see the new baby fishies!


P.S. They’re baby swordtails.

I want to go diving again.

November 13, 2010 12:32am
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When we were out for Sara’s birthday last weekend, at one point when we were BS’ing with the other couple at our table, the topic of scuba diving came up. I told all of my fun stories that I remembered from long ago – seeing baracuda and nurse sharks and eels in Florida and then returning back to Michigan to dive with basically nothing. The ironic punchline of the whole thing is always that I moved to the Tampa area so I’d be close to the water for diving, even though I’ve lived here for 7 years now and haven’t done anything of the sort since…

To add insult to injury, I pulled out my old dive log off the shelf this morning and realized after flipping through it that I technically haven’t been diving since 2000 – over a decade!!! Sure, I guess I’ve been “busy,” but sometimes I look back at diving much like playing the guitar and it’s another one of those things that I really miss doing, even though I have no idea when I’d have the time to do it anymore these days.

Of course, the truth of the matter is that I’ve got a ways to go before I think I would let myself go out again. First and foremost, I’m not doing so great with my weight right now, and I can only imagine how much lead I’d have to be carrying to actually get my fat ass down to the bottom! I don’t want to make this post about being overweight, so let’s just say that there have been some advances recently that I’m really hoping are going to help and leave it at that.

Secondly, in addition to actually losing weight, I kind of need to get comfortable with the water again. I’ve never really been super comfortable being in water over my head, but somehow during the dive class that I took over a decade ago, everyone managed to help me calm my nerves in deep water at least when I had my gear on … maybe it helped decrease that whole fear of drowning – I don’t know! That said, having been away from the hobby for so long has definitely caused that fear to return – specifically, I had a couple of problems when went snorkeling during the cruise last year, and even the deep parts of the lazy river over at Stormalong Bay at Disney make me nervous, even with lifeguards literally every five feet along the wall.

That’s basically two things that I know I need to work on if I want to don a regulator and explore life under the sea again. I think I can do it – the weight loss coming before the swimming proficiency – but it is something that I’d like to start working more actively towards, maybe next year. Sara has expressed an interest in diving as well, so it could be something cool for us to do together, plus I know that my old dive buddy Tim would love to do a little exploring the next time he’s able to bring his family down to visit.

One last reason that I want to get back into diving – this entry this I found in my old dive log:

6/21/98 : Davis Reef – Islamorada, Florida
Best dive so far!!! Saw a nurse shark, two eels, two lobsters, and Buddha! Tons of beautiful fish…

Who knew I’ve been a Buddhist all this time?! Apparently only King Triton and his court.

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