I never could connect properly with the seller of that lovely 26 bow front tank I wanted from Craigslist, unfortunately. Flakey guy, just was always "too busy" for me to pick up the tank, and kept asking me to call back again the next day. After nearly two weeks of that (!), I gave up. I was bummed to let that tank go, but it apparently just wasn't meant to be.
After more time spent scouring Craigslist, I came up with a lovely second choice, and the price was right, so I picked it up on Saturday. I was definitely limited by space when choosing a tank this time around, because I have a really particular spot where it has to fit and it also has to be small enough for me to maintain easily. So basically, narrow width and nothing over 30 gallons.
I wound up with a 30 gallon extra high with stand. I'm the first to admit that, on paper, an extra high tank isn't ideal for goldfish, as I know they theoretically need more horizontal than vertical swimming space and good surface area. That said, I've had a tall goldfish aquarium before (I can't believe I've been keeping goldfish for almost 25 years now!), and to be honest, they always did equally well for me in the tall tank. As a bonus, I love the way it looks; a tall tank really makes a statement.
So, is it perfect? No. But is it good enough? Certainly. The price was excellent, and it came complete with hood, light, and a nice black stand. It fits into the space I designated for it perfectly, and it's right next to my bed, so I can watch the fish when I'm lying down. I'm really digging this aquarium a lot more than I expected to -- it's looking really good!
I spent hours cleaning it up, though. It was pretty disgusting. Once I'd gotten all the algae soaked and scrubbed out, I was left with hard water stains the likes of which I've never encountered. I expected my usual white vinegar scrub to clean those right off. Wrong. They were the nastiest, most stubborn things I've ever seen (and I've dealt with some pretty rank used tanks in my time). I soaked paper towels in vinegar and left them stuck to the tank glass to try to "soften" the crud, which helped to a degree. But even that didn't take care of all of it. After much elbow grease was employed, I got it to the point that you could no longer feel the hard water just by running your fingertips over the stains, but you could still see them. I had a few more goes at it, and finally just had to call it quits. You can barely see the stains anymore, but I know they're there and it still irritates me. Deep breaths. Let it go.
The tank's basically set up and ready for water now. I'm going to be able to insta-cycle it (I hope) by adding media from my old ranchu tank. I had those two canisters crammed full of all kinds of stuff, so my plan is to snag some of the bio-rings and a couple handfuls of filter floss from my friend's house and hope that does the trick.
Now comes the part I love more than anything else: Choosing fish. I want to keep things affordable this time (I'm still not working full-time after my surgery, so am trying to rein in my spending). I also want to start with smaller fish, so that they don't immediately outgrow the tank or feel crowded. So while I've been drooling over the online auctions of late, I'm going to stick with the local LFS.
Fortunately, my fave LFS has had some pretty nice goldies recently. I honestly don't know what I'm going to end up with, because I feel open to just about anything after years of only ranchus. There are some good-looking crown pearlscales, a handful of butterflies, some nice young ranchus (if I decide to fall back on old habits), and some pretty adorable bubble eyes.
Bubble eyes never used to appeal to me, but they've really grown on me lately after seeing some of the beauties kept by other members. Their fragility still freaks me out (I'd be so worried about those sacs!) but I just might end up with one after all. We'll see!
I'm going on a reconnaissance mission to the LFS after work today to see what's still there, what's gone, and what's new. Ooooh, this is gonna be fun!