Zen Mischief

Gold Koi
Golden Koi
Koi in my pond
More koi in my pond
Koi Pond
The new koi pond before the capping was put on the sides; it's a bit more grown up than this now!
Amazon Tank
My early Amazonian Tank

On Fish and Water-Keeping

I've kept fish since around 1984 when a close friend started me off with a tiny tank - what would these days be termed a nano- or pico-aquarium, but we didn't know how to manage those back in 1983. Over the years I've kept a variety of fish in a variety of aquaria; always small fish, and never more than 2 or 3 tanks at a time. Like most beginners I tried Guppies and Mollies which I developed into a brackish set-up with Celebes Rainbow Fish. I've also had a couple of general tropical community tanks, and for a couple of years a coldwater tank with goldfish and White Cloud Mountain Minnow (which will happily co-habit, despite all my friends' fears!).

The koi in the top picture is one of mine (all these photos are mine), photographed in summer 1999 just after the move into the new pond. I bought this fish (and another similar) around 1987-88 at about 15cm (6") long; in this picture it is around 50cm in length, and at the time of writing (2010) it has grown still further! A handsome fish, even though it is only a mongrel and of no value.

My major interests are now the Tetras and similar small fishes of the Amazon basin and, of course, pond fish (goldfish and koi). At the time of writing I have only one tank which is a an Amazon forest environment. I'm waiting for an opportunity to rebuild this set-up in a different aquarium and then start up anothet tank, possibly of barbs and/or danios.

I also have a moderately-sized koi pond, built summer 1999. After losing several fish to low oxygen levels in summer 2009 and to freezing weather in early 2010, I'm currently down to 8 large koi. Time to go and buy some tiddlers to grow on.

Building this pond was great fun as well as ebing hard work! During the summer of 1999 I extended my original small "hole in the ground" garden pond into an almost 2000 gallon koi pond (pictured, left, before the coping was put on the walls). Fortunately I was able to get a number of friends to help with the work and bring along some much needed construction site skills. When we were doing the work, so many people said to me "Please tell us how you get on" that I've written up the project; you can download the report as fishscal.pdf.


Other Fishy Things

I'm also the main moderator of the Aquarist conference on Cix and Cix Forums (a UK-based conferencing service), where I am one of the trouble-shooters and purveyors of general information.

I have this theory about fishkeeping, which although not original, for me sums up what fishkeeping is actually about: We are not fish keepers. We are water keepers. After all if we look after their environment (water) and provide a modicum of food, fish will in general look after themselves in good health; most disease has, at root, poor water quality as one vector.

There are many other fishkeeping things I would like to try including: another go at Rift Valley Cichlids, SE Asian setup and another, more serious, attempt at a brackish aquarium. However the pact at home is that (emergencies aside) I will not have more than two tanks at any time. So one has to make choices.

Equally there are some things I will not do, one of these is to keep marines: I don't consider I am a good enough fishkeeper and I continue to be unhappy about the environmental impact of much marine fish catching.

I'm also not greatly interested in breeding fish for its own sake, or in keeping large fish – I much prefer a tank full of small busy fish.


Fishy Sites of Interest