Today is a special day because I’m interviewing Supawcute’s first fish owner! How awesome is that? Today we’re joined by Jack who also runs a blog called Tropical Fish Care Guides.
Thanks for having me Johnny, well to start I’m very much a family man spending most of my off time with my beautiful with and my two awesome little monsters (boys). During the day I’m a full-time project manager and I also run a website dedicated to tropical fish care.
How many pets do you have in your household currently and what are their names?
Well, right now we have one dog named bandit he’s 11 years old and I also have a 30-gallon tank stocked with about 20 fish.
It’s pretty crazy how many fish you have, that’s a huge dream of mine, what got you interested in fish?
My father, he had a very large tank when I was young and started me off with a little 5-gallon tank and a feeder goldfish. My parents also entertained many other pets throughout my childhood from hamsters, hermit crabs, chameleons and snakes that I caught in the bush.
It’s kind of funny once your tank is up an running the fish are the easy part. The difficult part of an aquarium is keeping your water quality and parameters at a level that keeps the fish healthy and happy. I also have live plants in the tank – which to be honest give me the most hassle. An aquarium is a very delicate ecosystem, it’s definitely a balancing act that takes some time to get used to.
How does Bandit get along with the fish?
Haha, he basically ignores them. Being 11 years old he does a lot of sleeping and barking at anything that moves in the house and disturbs his slumber.
What is Bandit’s favourite toy to play with?
He has this little blue dog that he got as a gift from a groomer one time. It’s little like him and he just throws it around…I think it makes him feel like a big dog.
What can Bandit be found doing when you’re not home?
Definitely, sleeping and occasionally getting into things he shouldn’t, like nibbling little bites off the toilet paper roll. It’s always funny when you head into the washroom and find the T.P unrolled a few feet with a few little bite marks on the end. There’s no reason to believe the kids had anything to do with it. Haha.
It’s an odd question for folks who do not own fish, but what are they’re favourite toys or scenery?
Fish get bored just like any other animal so it’s important to keep things in the aquarium that will interest them. Things like plants, caves, rocks, bubbler work well for most fish. It also helps to change up your tank set up occasionally. Fish like goldfish and Betta fish actually have toys like mirrors and believe it or not, balls with rings and hoops they will play with.
Patience, when you first start out chances are something will go wrong. Whether it’s overcoming algae, dying plants or fish sickness. The good news is with the internet and things like youtube you can usually find some help. When I started out in the 80’s it was a lot of trial and error and visit to the local shop for some help.
Keeping that many fish means a lot of upkeep, how long would you say it takes to clean the tank?
If you can dedicate an hour or two each week that should be more than enough to maintain your aquarium. The trick is to keep up with it each week, very similar to your own home. Leave it for more than a week and the laundry, dishes, and dust starts to build and it will take that much longer to clean it after two weeks.
The interaction with the pets, as you know dogs are very interactive animals with almost human-like expressions and attitudes. With fish, it’s the sense of accomplishment you get when you realize you’re the one keeping that sensitive ecosystem just perfect, it’s actually very addicting and you soon want another tank and another.
What is some advice you wish you had gotten before you started keeping fish?
Slow down and be patient. When beginners get into the hobby the temptation is to get all the fish you want in the tank as soon as possible. In reality, it’s a long process to fully stock your tank adding only a few fish every few weeks.
Fish can be fairly difficult to diagnose and take care of, has there been a time where you didn’t know what was happening and what did you do?
Many times, the thing with fish is that a lot of the time it’s very hard to tell what the problem is and quite often by the time you figure it out it’s too late. Many fish ailments have very similar signs at first. Typically, you need to quarantine the sick fish then do your best to diagnose then treat. Like I said before the internet has made this much easier to do, which is where I head when I’m lost.
That’s a tough question right now, with two kids and a dog the house is already so busy. That said, I imagine at some point one of my boys will want a pet of their own. So, if it was up to me (if my wife allowed it haha) I’d maybe go with a snake.
Where can we find more about you and your pet family?
I do run my own website/blog over at www.tropicalfishcareguides.com where I try to help beginners avoid some of the most common mistakes and problems when first starting out in the hobby.
Is there anything you want to leave our readers off with?
I want to thank Jack for joining us today, and want to just remind everyone that we’re always looking for folks to interview. So if you or a friend are interested please feel free to contact us here. You can also check out the many other ways to be featured/participate on the site here.