Saturday, October 13, 2018

Fish Club Auction: How to Bid Like a Boss



So you want to participate in your first fish club auction, buuut you’ve never been to one before and have no idea what you’re doing. Keep reading to find out how to bid like a boss and win big at your next auction.

While I may look confident in my videos, I’m actually a huge introvert and I definitely get nervous about participating in auctions. Just to let you know, I’m not a huge spender who’s constantly collecting new fish and supplies, especially since I only have room for 3 tanks in my house. But auctions can offer amazing deals or rare species you’ll never find online. And another huge advantage is that sellers bring fish and plants that have been living in my local water parameters and therefore have a better chance of thriving in my aquariums.

My problem is that auctions move at a very fast pace and I don’t want to accidentally do something wrong, make a big scene, and slow down the bidding process for everyone. Plus, uh, no one seems to notice me when I raise my hand. ๐Ÿ˜ž

Fall auction for Colorado Aquarium Society

Now our huge bi-annual fall auction is coming up and I want to be able to win some stuff and not get lost among the larger-than-normal crowds. One of our fish club auctioneers gave us this piece of advice:
“The myth of the auction is that skillful bidding or special strategy will get you the deal of the century. It seems obvious but if you really want an item, you have to bid higher than everybody else’s bids. That’s the only strategy that gets you that item.
Okay, got it. So I started watching others more carefully during the mini-auctions we hold at the end of each fish club meeting, and then eventually gained enough confidence to start selling and buying myself. Here are some practices I follow:

People examining sale items before aquarium society auction
People crowded around the sale item table before the auction begins

1) Examine: Most fish clubs will let you examine the items before the auction or even online if they use an auction website. Definitely check out the items carefully because sometimes those red cherry shrimp for sale aren't very, uh, red.

2) Research: Once you’ve decided which items you’re interested in, pull out your smartphone and find out how much the items cost online including shipping. This will help you determine what your upper limit is. For example, I saw some alternanthera reineckii that cost $9-10 online, plus $5-8 for shipping. So I decided to set my upper limit at $15 because I really wanted it.

Alternanthera reineckii for sale at aquarium society auction
Look at that crazy red-pink color! Must have it...

3) Location: Try to score a seat near the middle front of the room so the auctioneer can easily see you. (Or at the very least, don't sit behind someone tall.)

4) First Comes First: When your item gets called, shoot up your hand (or bid card) as fast as you can, like a game show. You want to be the first person the auctioneer spots and calls on.

5) Don't Waffle: Don't keep dipping your hand down between bids. Keep your hand raised confidently until it surpasses your predetermined budget. Generally the bidding will slow down around the market value, so don’t give up.

6) Next in Line: Also, usually the auctioneer will focus on the first two bidders until one gives up, and then he or she will look for a third bidder to jump in. So if the auctioneer didn’t select you initially and bidding is slowing down, wave your hand high and vigorously. You can even stand up or say something to catch the auctioneer's attention because if he or she doesn’t notice you, the bidding will end without your input.

Fiddler crabs for sale at local aquarium society auction
Fiddler crabs for sale at the fall auction

Bonus Tip: Sit with an experienced fish club member and ask them to help you bid the first few times. It'll be good practice to shadow them until you're ready to fly solo.

If you check out the video above, I go through three real-world bidding situations and you can see why I was intimidated by auctions at first. But there’s a certain rhythm to every sale and eventually you get used to it. Since I took that footage, I’ve sold a Windelov java fern and ended up bonding with the woman who bought it. Plus I did get that alternanthera reineckii for $9 (which is significantly less than my $15 limit) and it’s growing beautifully in my planted betta tank!


Question of the Day

Do you have any tips for bidding at fish club auctions Comment below to share your experiences because I’d love to hear them. Also, if you'd like to learn more about how local fish clubs work and why you should join, check out my interview with the Colorado Aquarium Society president. Don’t forget to take time to enjoy your aquariums and I’ll see you next time!


Subscribe to my YouTube Channel for practical fish care tips for busy aquarists and follow me on Instagram for daily updates! ๐ŸŽฎ❤️๐ŸŸ

Saturday, October 6, 2018

How to Install a Sponge Filter + 3 Bonus Tips



Okay, you just got your first sponge filter, and even though it’s supposed to be stupid easy, you have no idea how to put this thing together. No worries – here are easy, step-by-step instructions for installing a sponge filter, plus 3 bonus tips that’ll make it run as smoothly and quietly as possible.

I’ve been prepping for my next breeding project (shhh) and needed a new sponge filter for the fry tank, so I decided to put together a quick tutorial for you. Sponge filters are a great low flow option for baby fish, bettas, and axolotls. Plus, they’re one of the easiest and cheapest filters to set up and maintain. ๐Ÿ‘

Materials

Before you start, you're going to need:
Materials needed for sponge filter installation

Instructions

Step #1: First you’re going to take apart the sponge filter. You should have a lift tube, the foam sponge, and a weighted base at the bottom. Inside the sponge is a strainer and the bullseye top of the strainer.

Hydro sponge filter strainer and bulls eye
Source: yourfishstuff.com

Step #2: My first bonus tip is that I always recommend adding an airstone to the inside of the sponge filter. It makes the bubbles smaller and a lot quieter, so it doesn’t sound like you’re making a witch’s brew all the time. The strainer for the large Hydro sponge in my main tank is completely hollow, so it was easy to add the airstone. But the strainer for my small Aquatop sponge filter has spokes in the middle, so I just cut them off.

My second bonus trick is that there’s actually two ways to connect the airstone:
  • Method #1 is to cut off a little airline tubing to connect the airstone to the bottom of the bullseye. Make sure the tubing is long enough so that the airstone will rest at the bottom of the strainer. Then take the rest of the airline tubing, put one end through the lift tube, and attach it to the top of the bullseye.

  • Method #2 is what I use when the strainer is really short and can barely fit the airstone. I completely bypass the nipple in the center of the bullseye by pulling one end the airline tubing through the lift tube, threading it through the spokes of the bullseye, and then connecting it directly to the airstone. Performs exactly the same and visually you can’t tell a difference.

Step #3: Now you can reassemble the rest of the sponge filter. Insert the strainer inside the sponge and attach the weighted base to the bottom of the strainer. Then connect the lift tube onto the top of the bullseye. At this point the sponge filter should be attached to long roll of airline tubing.

Step #4: Place the sponge filter into the aquarium and squeeze it several times to get rid of most of the bubbles. It should sink immediately, but even if it doesn’t, eventually it will get water logged enough that it stays down.

Squeezing a new sponge filter several times to make it lose the bubbles

Step #5: Now we’re going to install the air pump. Put the air pump where you intend it to stay and then cut the airline tubing so that it’s long enough to connect the sponge filter to the pump. Now you can connect newly cut end of the airline tubing to the nozzle on the air pump. My third bonus tip is to place the pump on a small hand towel to absorb some of the vibrations and lessen the noise level.

Step #6: If the air pump is below the sponge, you have one extra step of adding a check valve to prevent water from siphoning out the tank if the power is out. You’re going to cut the airline tubing a few inches outside of the aquarium (so that it’s closer to the sponge filter) and then connect the check valve in between. The banded side of the check valve goes toward the pump. You’ll know if you installed it backwards because no air will reach the sponge filter.

The proper direction to install an aquarium check valve for a sponge filter

Step #7: The last step is to plug in the pump. Make sure there’s a drip loop in the power cable such that the cable dips down lower than the plug so that no water can reach the outlet.

And voila, you should have a plethora of bubbles floating to the surface, clearing your water of particulates and disrupting any surface scum. Plus, your beneficial bacteria will have a nice, new apartment complex to move into and breed like crazy.

Seeding a new sponge filter with beneficial bacterial from an established tank
New small sponge filter getting seeded with beneficial bacteria from an established tank

Question of the Day

Do you use air stones with your sponge filters? Comment below to share your experiences because I’d love to hear them. Don’t forget to take time to enjoy your aquariums and I’ll see you next time!


Subscribe to my YouTube Channel for practical fish care tips for busy aquarists and follow me on Instagram for daily updates! ๐ŸŽฎ❤️๐ŸŸ


Saturday, September 29, 2018

Aquarium Plant Dips for Snails – Bleach, Alum & Copper Comparison



I’m just going to straight up say it: I don’t like snails. Pest snails, pet snails... they’re just not for me. So how do you prevent unexpected guests from hitching a ride on your aquarium plants? Like any good beginner hobbyist, I did a bunch of online research on plant dips to find out what methods will remove hitchhikers without killing my aquarium plants. And right from the start, there seemed to be a lot of differing opinions, especially on what will get rid of both snails and snail eggs. So I decided to run some scientific experiments to see for myself.

Since my tanks are currently snail free, I reached out to Greg Sage from Select Aquatics, who has a long-running fish breeding business. Huge thanks to Greg for providing me three clumps of java fern, which he put in his most snail-infested tank for this experiment. (Pro tip: snails can be very useful for cleaning up excess food in fry tanks.) Don’t forget to check out his rare livebearers and green dragon plecos for sale at selectaquatics.com.

Experiment Objectives

The three plant dipping methods I decided to try this time were bleach, alum, and copper medication. The criteria I’ll be judging these methods on is:
  1. Does it get rid of snails?
  2. Does it also neutralize the snail eggs?
  3. Did the plant survive the treatment?

Bleach, alum, and copper medication dips for aquarium plants to eliminate snails and snail eggs

Experiment Procedure

The plants were kept in shoebox-sized plastic containers at room temperature around 70°F, and they received daily indirect sunlight through a frosted window. Snail eggs supposedly hatch in two to four weeks, so I planned to run the experiment for at least a month. Since the tubs had no filtration, I did 100% water changes (and added a little all-in-one liquid fertilizer) twice a week to remove surface scum and stagnant water. Java fern is pretty hardy, so I also ran some supplementary tests to see the treatments' effects on more delicate plants like vallisneria and cryptocoryne spiralis.

Testing bleach dip, alum dip, and copper medication on aquarium plants like java fern

Bleach Dip

There are many different concentrations and treatment lengths for bleach, so I chose to follow the instructions provided by the online aquatic plant seller where I bought my val and crypts.
  1. Mix up 1 cup of regular bleach (or 3/4 cup of concentrated bleach) with 19 cups of room temperature water in a bucket.
  2. Completely submerge the plant in the bleach solution for 2 minutes. 
  3. Dump out the bleach water, fill up the bucket with room temp water again, mix in 1 tsp of dechlorinator like Seachem Prime, and let the plant soak for 3 minutes. 
  4. Repeat the last step of soaking in fresh, heavily dechlorinated water a couple more times.
And that’s it! After the initial bleach treatment, I just floated the java fern in fresh, clean water with a little fertilizer for 30 days to see if any of the snail eggs survived.

Alum Dip

Alum, or aluminum potassium sulfate, is a white powder you can commonly find in the spice aisle of your grocery store. It’s found in baking powder as a leavening agent that causes baked goods to rise and is used for home pickling recipes because it’s both an acid and an astringent. Many sources recommend it as a gentler method compared to bleach and therefore should be more suitable for delicate plants. I chose the following recipe:
  1. Mix up 1 Tbsp of alum per gallon of water.
  2. Let the plants soak in the solution for 3 days. 
  3. Rinse the plants thoroughly with fresh water.
And then like the bleach method, I quarantined the plants for the remainder of the 30 days in fresh water to see if any snail eggs hatched.

Copper medication dip for killing freshwater snails on java fern

Copper Dip

Copper medication like Seachem Cupramine is commonly used to treat fish for external parasites, and the bottle always come with a warning “Not Safe for Invertebrates!” So on the PlantedTank.net forums, there’s a guy named Roy (aka Seattle_Aquarist) who recommends the following treatment:
  1. Add 2 drops of Cupramine per gallon of water.
  2. Continue the treatment for the entirety of the 30 days to ensure all the snail eggs have had sufficient time to hatch, which means every time I do 100% water changes, I add two more drops of copper meds.

Experiment Journal

  • Day 0: This morning I started treatment on all three plants. In the bleach tub, all the adult snails were immediately eliminated. By evening, I removed a bunch of dead adult and baby snails from both the copper and alum tubs. As for the eggs, the copper tub’s eggs look normal, like clear snot blobs with light-colored translucent dots inside, whereas the alum tub’s eggs have turned bright solid white. The bleach tub also has a few snot blobs, but I can’t tell if the eggs are affected. Only time will tell.
  • Day 3: No more major snail deaths that I can see, but the bleach tub has brown tinted water – not sure if it’s caused by dead snails or dead leaves.
  • Week 1.5: The copper tub had a planaria outbreak! I removed all of the flatworms except one to see if the copper will kill it.
  • Week 2: The last planarian is still alive even after several days of copper meds, so I removed it. The alum tub is very clean with no baby snails, whereas the bleach tub has hatched more baby snails. I can now see that some of the bleached eggs turned to a white foggy mush while other eggs are intact.
  • Week 3: The bleach tub still has more baby snails and I had to remove a bunch of dying brown leaves. The other two tubs’ plants are much greener with no sign of baby snails (or other invertebrates). I couldn’t see any eggs in the bleach and copper tubs, and the alum eggs are still bright white and pristine like before.
  • Week 4: All the tubs seem to be snail free! Again, no eggs on the bleach and copper tubs, and all the eggs on the alum plant are still solid white just like on day 1. The leaves on the bleach plant definitely look worse than the leaves on the copper and alum plants.

Freshwater pest snail eggs reacting to copper dip and alum dip on aquarium plants
Bleach-treated eggs (left) and alum-treated eggs (right) on Day 0

Supplementary Tests

Before I close out the experiment journal, let me share how these three treatments worked on more delicate plants like vallisneria. The bleach flat out killed the val. All the leaves dropped off and the roots died. So I tried alum and copper with the remaining val and crypt spirallis. I never saw any snails or snail eggs so not sure if there were any to begin with, but I can tell you how the chemicals affected the plants, specifically the val since the crypts didn’t show much difference.

By week 2, the alum had significantly browned all of the emerged leaves on the val into a mushy goo, whereas the emerged leaves in the copper tub had only browned a little and were still pretty firm. However, by the end of week 4, the tides had turned! The alum-soaked val had very green submerged leaves and was sending off shoots with healthy roots. The copper-soaked val, on the other hand, had brownish-red submerged leaves and seemed to be melting away even three weeks after being planted in the main tank.

vallisneria treated by copper dip and alum dip to eliminate pest snails
Green alum-treated val (left) and brown copper-treated val (right) after quarantine

Results and BEEP Rating

So time to summarize the results and give them the BEEP rating (i.e., how Beneficial, Easy, Efficient, and Proven are the methods).
  1. Did it kill the snails? Yes, all three treatments did.
  2. Did it kill snail eggs? I think only the alum method definitively did. The bleach killed some snail eggs but left many intact (maybe because the bleach could only be used for 2 minutes or else the plant will be killed). Unfortunately, those intact eggs regularly hatched throughout the process. The copper seemed to leave intact eggs as well, but I saw fewer baby snails survive since the water always had medication in it.
  3. Bonus: Did it kill planaria and its eggs? I didn’t know there were planaria eggs in the plants as well, but the copper was unable to get rid of the planaria nor its eggs whereas the bleach and alum eliminated them both.
  4. Did the plant survive? The bleached java fern significantly browned, and the bleached val completely died. The alum val fared much better than the copper val, but both chemicals had little effect on the java fern and crypt spiralis.
results from bleach, alum, and copper aquarium plant dip experiment

So the next time I get new plants, I’m going to go with... alum! The top advantages I saw were:
  • Gentle on plants (at least the three I tested it with)
  • Cheap and easily available at grocery stores 
  • Not as dangerous as bleach
  • Efficiently neutralizes both snails and snail eggs
  • Recommended by many aquarists for many years
My second choice would be copper since it was also effective and worked on snails, but it did stunt my val’s growth after 30 days of treatment.

Question of the Day

I hope you enjoyed this experiment as much as I did! There are a bunch of methods I haven’t tested yet, like potassium permanganate, hydrogen peroxide, manual removal, etc. so comment below to let me know what I should try testing next time around. Don’t forget to take time to enjoy your aquariums and I’ll see you next time!


Subscribe to my YouTube Channel and follow me on Instagram for daily updates! ๐ŸŽฎ❤️๐ŸŸ

Saturday, September 22, 2018

How to Pick the Best Dog for a Cat Lover



Despite being a huge lover of all animals since childhood, I never got a dog until I got married. Why? Well, dogs are a huge time commitment, they smell funny, they destroy things, and they're not as cute as cats (haha don't kill me). So keep reading to find out how my husband convinced me, a cat lover, to get our first dog.

Ever since childhood, I've kept a wide assortment of small pets like parakeets, hamsters, and finally my biggest pet, a cat, during my senior year of high school after endlessly pestering my dad. Fast-forward to being married with no kids, I got my second cat after endlessly pestering my husband, Mr. Gamer, who is actually semi-allergic to cats and definitely a dog person.

Little boy and puppy at PetSmart National Adoption Weekend

One day, we went to PetSmart to pick up some kitty treats, and they happened to be having a huge National Adoption Weekend with big tents outside that contained, like, a hundred dogs from all the surrounding rescue centers. So I told Mr. Gamer, “Ooo, let’s look at the doggies,” but what I really meant was, “Let’s look at them like we’re going to the zoo." You observe the animals and say aww, but at the end of the day, you don’t take the giraffe home.

After I had my fill of dog viewing, we proceeded inside and I beelined for the cat food aisle. Mr. Gamer instead lingered around the rescue dogs that were being held inside the store. Big mistake. In the back of one of the covered kennels was a quiet, medium-sized black dog, curled up in the corner and almost completely hidden in the shadows. (Ninja!) Soon Mr. Gamer was the one giving me the big, puppy eyes…

4 Considerations for Choosing a Cat-Like Dog

Now, when you’re trying to convince your cat-loving spouse to get a dog, you’ve got one shot. If that first dog isn’t amazing, you can be sure there ain’t gonna be another dog for a looong time. So here’s the dog that Mr. Gamer chose:

A) Medium-Sized Dog

What he really wanted was a large dog but he knew I was only used to nano-sized pets, so we compromised with a medium-sized one. Sorry, I’m not used to dogs, especially those that are strong enough to drag me down the street if they see a squirrel.

brown dog chasing black squirrel through grass lawn

B) Super Submissive

Appearances aside, the primary reason our dog got to stay is because she’s super submissive and trainable. She doesn’t jump on me or lick me (ew) and is very compliant. You tell her something once, like “Trash is not for eating,” and she never does it again. Plus, I was able to train this 4-year-old mutt to walk on a leash without pulling, and now she’s the perfect companion for my morning runs.

dog licking black man
No licking for me, please

C) Affectionate but Not Clingy

I also like that she’s a little aloof like a cat. Like, she would love to be petted all day long, but if I tell her, “All done,” she immediately leaves me alone and goes to bed. And another nice thing is we’ve never had separation anxiety issues when we leave the house.

D) Low Energy and Not Destructive

I think the most important thing is that we chose a low energy dog that fits our low key lifestyle. I mean, her favorite pastime is sunbathing next to the window. And for some reason, she doesn’t like to play with balls or doggy toys, but also that means she’s totally non-destructive. No half-eaten sandals, no chewed up stuffed animals, nothing. Yeah, I can completely trust her with full reign of the house when we’re out and about.

dog won't play with ball and won't play fetch
No interest in playing fetch

Bonus: Silent

Oh, and did I mention she’s completely silent? I’ve literally only heard her bark twice, and that was when she was dreaming. Doesn’t make for the best guard dog, but hey, that’s what the security system is for.

So if you’re looking for a good first-time dog for your cat-loving significant other, don’t necessarily go for the cutest or most feline-looking dog. Our dog is an unassuming, older black dog of unknown lineage, and it’s her low energy, low maintenance personality that completely won me over. While I still really love cats, she's really opened my eyes to what is possible in the dog world!

Question of the Day

What kind of dog do you think a cat lover should get? Comment below to share your ideas because I’d love to hear them. Good luck with your pets, and I’ll see you next week for more aquarium action!


Subscribe to my YouTube Channel and follow me on Instagram for daily updates! ๐ŸŽฎ❤️๐ŸŸ

Saturday, September 15, 2018

How to Disinfect a Used or Contaminated Aquarium with Bleach



So you just went through the horrors of dealing with a massive disease outbreak in your fish tank and you want to know how to nuke those nasties out of orbit. Keep reading to find out how to use bleach (yes, bleach) to thoroughly disinfect your aquarium, aquarium equipment, and accessories.

Materials for Bleaching

Okay, first things first: gather your materials. I put on latex gloves and old clothes that can get ruined. Also, get some bleach, a measuring cup, siphon or container for emptying out the tank, washrag or sponge to clean surfaces, and spray bottle (optional).

Should I Bleach It or Toss It?

Bleach anything that may have been exposed to the fish water, even accidental drips from your hands. So besides the tank, you'll need to clean the filter, heater, aquarium dรฉcor, nets, siphon, algae scrubbers, buckets you used, etc. Be aware that some of this stuff may get discolored because you're working with, well, bleach.

Some people say gravel is ok to bleach, but I personally dump all substrate (especially since I like to use sand and aquascaping soil). I also don’t bleach live plants, biomedia, filter floss, driftwood… anything super porous or closed off that might be able to retain the bleach.

Disinfecting Instructions

  1. First, wash off all the debris with warm water. Don’t use any soap or other detergents (especially ammonia-based cleaners) that may react with the bleach
  2. The next step is to make your bleach solution. Just a safety reminder: bleach is dangerous if not properly handled. Read the bottle for the full warnings, but don’t ingest it, don’t let it come in contact with your mushy body parts, and use it in a well-ventilated area (like outside). The recommended concentration I make is a 1 part bleach for 10 parts water (preferably hot water). In most stores near my area, they only sell 8% concentrated bleach (not 5% regular bleach), so that comes out to about 1 cup of concentrated bleach per 1 gallon of water. See the CDC instructions for more details.
  3. To clean the aquarium, you can fill up the entire tank with the bleach solution and wipe down the outside with a washrag or sponge. You can also use a spray bottle to spray and wipe down all the surfaces. Let it sit for 10 min, rinse with tap water at least twice, and then let it air dry completely so that the bleach breaks down into harmless compounds (mostly salt and water).
  4. To disinfect equipment or dรฉcor with lots of crevices, completely submerge and soak them in a bucket of the bleach solution (or in the tank itself). Rotate and agitate the items in the solution to get rid of any air pockets or bubbles. Soak for 10 minutes, rinse with water a couple of times, and air dry.
  5. For a canister filter where you can’t submerge it, throw away all filter media and run the bleach water through the empty canister filter for 10 minutes. Don’t forget to use the bleach solution to wipe the outside surfaces of the filter, tubing, etc. Then flush out the filter by running it a couple of times with clean tap water mixed with lots of extra dechlorinator. Empty out the water and let it dry completely for the next 2 weeks or more.

Lesson Learned

Do not let anything that is even slightly damp with bleach solution back into your aquarium. Remember the canister filter that I cleaned out? Yeah, after a few days of drying, I set up the entire aquarium again and put my axolotl in it. Unfortunately there was a tiny bit of bleach left in the closed-off motor compartment of the canister, and it was enough to kill her. ๐Ÿ˜ญ So the second time around, I let the canister filter sit empty for multiple weeks to make sure it was completely dry. To make extra sure all the bleach is gone, you can buy a test kit that measures chlorine levels. And when adding animals, maybe put a cheap, delicate plant (like java moss or some plant trimmings) or a pest snail in first, kind of like a canary in the mine, before you add your expensive dragon puffer.

The BEEP Rating

So how beneficial, easy, efficient, and proven is this method? In other words, what’s the BEEP rating? Well, given that the CDC recommends it for disaster zones and tons of aquarists have successfully used it for their aquariums, it’s definitely beneficial, efficient, and proven. However, I’m going to give it 3 out of 5 stars for how easy it is. You're working with bleach, there’s some measuring involved, and you have to make sure that everything is completely dry before reusing it. But in my opinion, this method is absolutely BEEP-worthy and I regularly incorporate bleach cleaning for used and contaminated aquarium stuff.

Question of the Day

How do you clean a used or contaminated aquarium? Comment below with your suggestions to share them with the fish fam community. Don’t forget to take time to enjoy your aquariums and I’ll see you next time!


Subscribe to my YouTube Channel, where I share practical fish care tips to help busy aquarists spend more time enjoying their aquariums! ๐ŸŽฎ❤️๐ŸŸ


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

I Have Terrible Bedside Manner (AKA How to Take Care of Your Sick Husband)



So... basically I’ve been accused of being a robot sometimes. Like, by my own husband, my mother, my brother... It’s because I think my emotion chip got short-circuited when God made me and I ended up with the empathy level of a rock.

Because of this personality trait of mine, one of my “areas of improvement” in our marriage is having a better bedside manner when my husband gets a man cold, uh I mean, is legitimately sick. He grew up with a nurse for a mom, so she’s, like, the ultimate loving, caring mother and I’m definitely not built like that.

So this is what happens when Mr. Gamer is feeling under the weather. I say (in a robotic voice):
  1. What’s wrong?
  2. Do you require medication?
  3. Let me get you said medication.
  4. Is there anything else you need?
Boom, problem solved! I mean, from my standpoint, he’s a grown adult, he knows how bad he feels, and he can call the doctor if he needs immediate medical attention, right?

pain scale

On the flip side, when I’m sick, I do the following:
  1. I inform my husband, “I’m sick with xyz.”
  2. Then I drink lots of fluids, get more sleep, and feed myself medication as needed.
  3. If I need help, I say “Mr. Gamer, I require assistance in this manner” (e.g., “please make dinner tonight”).
  4. Finally, I do whatever it takes to get well as soon as possible since my family needs me.
As you can probably tell, this low level of compassion and empathy doesn’t really fly well with my husband, and it’s been a longtime complaint in our marriage. Thankfully I got together with my amazing friend Alyssa, who is like the sweetest, most considerate woman I know, and she ran me through her response to a man cold, I mean, real illness:
  1. First she tells him “I don’t want you to do anything but rest and recover.” That means she volunteers to do all the chores while he’s sick.
  2. She brings him water or hot lemon ginger tea.
  3. She makes him ramen or congee rice porridge, which is like the Asian version of chicken noodle soup.
  4. She says caring things like “Are you comfortable? Is there anything you want? Maybe you should take a nap.”
tea for a sore throat

Holy cow… Mind. Blown. My husband has always said generic things like “bedside manner” and “compassion,” but I don’t think I really understood what that meant until someone spelled it out for me. I know this is probably super obvious to most of you, but I’m like, “YES! Thank you, Lord Jesus!” And I’m even more excited for Mr. Gamer because now he’s in for a real treat the next time he’s feeling under the weather.

Question of the Day

What are your best tips for taking care of a sick spouse? Comment below with your experiences because I’d love to hear them. And if you know someone who needs a little help in the “bedside manner” department, definitely share this article with them.


Subscribe to my YouTube Channel, where I share practical fish care tips to help busy aquarists spend more time enjoying their aquariums! ๐ŸŽฎ❤️๐ŸŸ

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Confessions of a Fish Breeders Award Program (BAP) Veteran



I’m kinda getting interested in breeding aquarium fish, so I interviewed Larry Brown on how he’s managed to breed so many different kinds of fish as a hobbyist (including saltwater fish)! Larry runs the Breeders Award Program for our local fish club, and he gave me a tour of his amazingly diverse fish room. (If his name sounds familiar, it’s because Dustin’s Fish Tanks has released THREE videos featuring his fish room.) Topics include:
▶ What fish are recommended for first-time breeders?
▶ What's the secret for successfully raising fish fry?
▶ What is the Breeders Award Program (BAP)?

Related Links

Confessions of an Aquarium Addict series
Fish Room of a Legend Larry Brown's house

Question of the Day

What kind of aquarium addict would you like to see me interview next? Comment below to share your suggestions because I'd love to hear them. Don't forget to enjoy your aquarium and I’ll see you next time!


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