We got fish.
As animal lovers who always enjoy zoos and aquariums, owning pets is a constant conversation between us. However, the cost of responsible care for a dog or a cat is beyond prohibitive for two busy professionals in an apartment. Besides, our home is full of stuff that can be knocked over, and at least one of us is deadly allergic to anything hairy.
Fish turned out to be an ideal solution with low up-front investment, low attention requirement (though not low maintenance), always confined, and no potential harm unless we got piranhas. For years, I had the perspective of a fish tank being a lame bucket of water with some swimming creatures inside. However, after reading the New York Times article last month, I suddenly started to view it as a miniature version of an aquarium (the kind with an admission cost). Aside from us never gonna have that kind of money to spend, I would love to have super fancy setups as described in the article. However close to those we could eventually get was still unknown, but I was willing to – and had to – start somewhere.
My idea of a home aquarium was to contain a variety of tropical marine fish, but Hong preferred goldfish. And then I agreed with her – the tropical fish affordable in smaller tanks, in her words, were all too “2D” or even “1D”, being too flat and lack observable personality. On the flip side, a fancy goldfish would be “3D” with a round body and a flary tail, and the independence from a schooling nature makes one more unique as a pet.
After some research, we decided to get a tank of goldfish. We got a lame-o 20-gallon kit, which I quickly came to regret as we didn’t use the included heater, and soon replaced the stock filter with something much more powerful and sophisticated. We let it run empty for a week:
Then, we got the AquaClear 50 filter, more decorations, and two goldfish:
That was almost going to be our final tank setup… but a week later we couldn’t resist but got one more goldfish and a loach:
And here it is… Hong & Zai’s home aquarium #1!