The Five Dumbest Things I’ve Done as an Aquarium Hobbyist

I’ve done my fair share of dumb things, and I thought maybe sharing them with you will help start the healing…or at least help me get half-way to the ten dumbest things I’ve done list.

5) Siphoned gallons of water onto the floor

 Don’t pretend like you haven’t done that too. I’ve done this more times than I care to count. This symptom is commonly foreshadowed by one of the two following thoughts:  “I’ll be back in a second—way before the bucket fills up”…or, instead of taking the siphon out of the tank, “I’ll just stick the hose back up under the aquarium canopy, it will be safe there…”

4) Left a glass heater plugged in and not in the water

I don’t run my quarantine tank all the time—I break it down when not in use—however I have a habit of burning out heaters in the process. So dumb. Have you ever done this?

3) Poured a beta fish down the drain accidently while performing a water change

I loved my beta fish. He sat on the counter in a bowl. I had him for nearly 3 years. He was an old friend. I had even transported him back and forth to work several times. I had changed his water countless times—so many times, I obviously became quite relaxed about the changes. Any time I poured water out, he swam strongly upstream, away from the ‘business end’ of the water-flow…that is every time except the last time. I wasn’t paying attention, I was doing one of my fast water changes…and he sloughed right out of the bowl and down the drain in the kitchen sink. He stopped in the garbage disposal (NOT ON), I reached in and grabbed him, but my hand was disgusting when I brought him back out. Not sure how to describe the nastiness that lives down there. Predictably, he died the next day. Please, please, please, don’t ever change water like this.

2) Added shrimp to my display tank housing a large wild-caught flame cardinal fish

Trip to the fish store literally took 120 minutes round-trip. Acclimation took roughly 25 minutes. The shrimp was gone before it drifted 2 inches in the water column. GULP. Antennae sticking out of the flame cardinal fish’s mouth, taunting me for the next few hours.

1) Stuck my hand in a tank after being shocked, multiple times

So, there was a stray current running through my tank. How was I to know? I stuck my hand in the tank and reflexively jumped back, shouting “ye-ow!” Alright, it was probably an expletive. I stood there, no doubt with a stupefied look on my face (actually, that’s the only look I have), and stuck my hand back in. “Ouch. What the blank was that?” Stuck my OTHER hand back in (because clearly it must have been a practical joke my right-hand was playing on my mind). “Blank, that feels like an electric shock.” And, just to prove how dumb I really am…Zap… “yes… that has to be electricity.” But, perhaps it’s not that bad…maybe Ben Franklin got started that way.

How about you? Please tell me I’m not alone. Come clean. Confess. You’ll feel better. I do. That is, until you start heckling me.






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