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It’s been about 3 months since, one April day, we decided something was missing from our flat. That something, we concluded, was fish. Not the deep-frozen type you find in freezers but the living, swimming-about version, an idea which, when I revealed it two weeks later, horrified my mother. Off we trotted to Notcutts Garden Centre in Cranleigh, who proved more than useless. However, Maidenhead Aquatics at Clandon became our knight in fishy armour, and before long we’d interrogated the staff about what on earth to do. We’d no idea on fish – as far as we knew, you bought the fish, bought fish food, bought the tank, stuck a load of water in and watched them swim around.
Little did we know, fish are sensitive little buggers. It’s fair to warn anyone thinking one Sunday afternoon that fish might “be a nice idea” that they require almost as much attention as a dog. We bought 12 fish in total, plonked them in the tank and waited for them to scoot around. Unfortunately, as fish are unable to communicate with humans or make any sort of noise – who’d want to be a fish? – we were unaware of their discomfort and three promptly kicked the watery bucket within a month.
The tank decided to up the pressure – and gathered together a whole load of brown algae, covering the floor and walls of the tank. We bought testing kits for the water – all three tests showed “danger to aquatic life” – and around four different liquids to help make the water more, well, watery. Finally, after another two fish flipped over and played dead, salvation came from Maidenhead Aquatics – a gunk-eating Bristlenose Catfish. Suckered to the sides of the tank, it’s merrily wolfing up the brown stuff faster than Vanessa Feltz with a chocolate sundae.
So, the tank has been swallowing up fish, algae and money – but now I’m hoping for a success. If not, I may try and interest you in a nicely-maintained fish tank in a few weeks…