Something’s Fishy

We added to the menagerie over the holiday. Henry got an aquarium with three fish in it. He’s named them Billy, Billy Bob, and Billy Bob Junior, and he got it right. They’re African cichlids from Malawi (we told Henry they were African fighting fish to get his interest) and highly territorial. Billy is definitely top dog; BBJ is low man on the fishing pole.
An unexpected side effect, however, is that I’ve become fascinated by the whole thing. We got him a 10 gallon tank (which I’ve since learned on the small side for a beginner – 20 is more forgiving). He and Abby got to pick the fish and decorations.

We chose the cichlids because they’re hardy and fun to watch. They can’t share the tank with any other species, because they’re very territorial and can be piscivorous. But they sure are pretty. These three are juveniles. We’ll let them cycle the tank for a couple of months then add a few more around Valentine’s Day. Wendy at the store said we should have seven total to keep them from getting too attached to any one area of the tank. The rule of thumb is one inch of (thin bodied) fish per gallon, so seven is the absolute max.

Meanwhile, I can’t stop watching these guys. They’re surprisingly friendly – they swim up immediately when they see you. (I’m sure they just want food, but it’s still neat.) And the pecking order thing is endlessly intriguing.

Here’s a picture of Billy in front of his castle. He likes to swim in and out of the windows. He won’t let the others near it.


And here are his minions. That’s Billy Bob on the left with his sunken ship, Junior on the right. Junior tends to hang out wherever the other two let him. We have a cave out of sight on the left side of the tank that he likes.

Billy Bob and Billy Bob, Jr.

Thanks to my fish experts, Laura Burstein, and Wendy at the Pet Arcade for getting me started. I also did a lot of research on the web, including the excellent Usenet rec.aquaria.* FAQ archived at The Krib. I can sure see how people can get devoted to this hobby! Now I want one for the set.

25 Replies to “Something’s Fishy”

  1. Be very carefull!! I started with just one–by the time by the time my daughter (about 4 at the time) decided they were cold & upped the heater we had 5 tanks from 10 gal to one 50 gal. But they are fun to watch.

  2. How could any one forget the fish tank on the old call for help set. I belive they were named Mr.Ziff and Mr.Davis. Now that I think of it the techlive fish bowl area has fish in an old imac

  3. I built Red Lobster’s first web site and we had an aquarium cam on there that was actually very popular!

  4. They say watching fish is very therapeutic, has something to do with the rhythmic movement in the water. I never had any luck with fish, they all went belly up for me, fast. After about three tries I decided to give the fish population a break and give up. I’m better with small fuzzies; hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs. They are lots of fun too Leo, hint, hint.
    Love the gargoyles on Billy’s castle. I have a number of gargoyles peering down at me around here. Whoever picked out the castle has good taste.

  5. We’ve had mice and guinea pigs and loved them very much. But fish are fun, too. More fun than I thought they’d be, frankly. I never had them as a kid.
    One thing I’ve learned is how unhealthy those MacQuaria are for the fish. They’re just too small and goldfish like coldwater – but the enclosed space gets pretty warm with the lights. No wonder Ms. Davis passed away.
    I confess to having picked out the castle. I love gargoyles, too!

  6. I have a copy of the book “Bill Gates’s Super Secret Private Laptop” and it say that if Bill Gates were to own an aquarium, it would have a life-size castle and a REAL diver. LOL

  7. what about the new fish that came in the imac on leos last week of cfh. i can’t remember the name of em :

  8. Thanks for sharing that, Leo. I never had any interest in fish, but sounds like it might be a lot of fun (and work, too). Also, the first pic is a great Wallpaper (and so is the second one.)

  9. If you need extended advise on your fish and keeping more fish please visit the aquarium forum where I moderate: My expertise is in saltwater/reef systems but we have many knowledgable members and moderators in freshwater/brackish fish.

  10. Love the pictures… very cool. Can’t wait to see the fish cam… My cat won’t allow us to have fish.

  11. “One for the set” is a great idea. I have a 100 gallon in my living room and a 60 gallon right next to my computer at home. Very relaxing.

  12. Hey, Leo I’ll bring the lemon pepper and onion, do you prefer red or white wine with your fillets?

  13. Very cute fish! My son has a small tank too, he named the fish, Larry, Curly, and Moe. We have also aquired a Scooby Doo, and Hacker. Hacker is named after a cartoon character.
    Have fun with ’em!

  14. Neat fish… my betta’s tank (its actually just a vase) is too small for him.. your C3000 takes nice pictures of the aquarium also.

  15. Now if leo would hook a webcam to it, then we could watch them 24/7. 🙂
    Anyways, just found out something at my local Walgreens. They can now process my digital prints and put them on real photo paper. All in about 1 hour!! Just thought I would share w/the users of leoville.

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