Questions and Answers
What is your favorite thing about working at Aquarium Co-Op?
My favorite thing about working for Aquarium Co-Op is getting to work for a company that cares about their employees and actively tries to be competitive in pay and benefits. Cory and his team have been great with their pay and care. I have worked for many companies in my career. Cory’s videos have been inspiring me for over 5 years. Now, it’s great to be able to help others succeed in the same way that he helped me.
Being the fish buyer for the shop is also a fun part because I get access to work with a wide variety of fish and actively have a hand in bringing in stuff that some people have never seen before. It’s always fun seeing a customer’s “Oooh, I’ve never seen that fish before!” face.
What has been your best moment while working for Aquarium Co-Op? My best moment working for Aquarium Co-Op has been when I’ve helped someone who was convinced their tank was “cursed” and couldn’t have anything living in it at all – plants or fish. The customer in question had been to the big box stores for advice but didn’t get any. We also had not provided any YouTube videos or blog articles to her so it was challenging but rewarding to be able to assist her. Now this same customer is breeding cory catfish and shrimp, has many beautiful, fully planted aquariums, and still comes in to give me and the other staff updates.
What is your primary job at Aquarium Co-Op, and what do you do every day? I am the store manager. My daily duties include detailed cleaning of the planted sale tanks, helping customers, ordering fish and medicating them in quarantine, communicating any major issues that arise, and much more. I’m also responsible for stocking the shop with CO2 to replenish the planted tanks and going “grocery shopping” for Murphy’s clams!
What is your favorite fish and why? My favorite fish is so hard to choose, but if I had to choose one, I’d go with white cloud mountain minnows. They have always been one of my all-time favorite fish because of how hardy they are, how relatively easy they are to spawn and breed, and all the cool varieties there are. My current favorites are the long-finned varieties as well as a new, more tropical species called the lemon white cloud, which is a beautiful and rarer fish with beautiful, pink blush tones on the body, an electric blue lateral stripe, and lemon-lime green fins. I love keeping white clouds in an aquarium that has a strong current. This allows you to see how gracefully they move in the water. Or, outside in a pond where they can breed and display intense and beautiful colors.
Which aquarium would you choose? I would like to have an aquarium that has a high level of flow, almost whitewater. It would also need lots of river rocks, smooth driftwood, and a lot more river rocks. I would stock it with a large group of flow-loving fish like danios, hill trout, shiners, gobies, and hillstream loaches. I’ve always been infatuated with rivers and streams and love seeing how fish interact with the turbulent, fast-flowing parts as well as the gentle, quiet ones. It’s one my favourite habitats, and it would be a great place to create in an aquarium.
– Type of tank: Standard 20-gallon long “hillstream” style tank – How long has it been set up? 2 years – Fish stocking list: Common white clouds, leopard danios, rainbow shiners, borneo sucker loaches, Laos mini dragon loaches, Stiphidon gobies, and some Candi River gobies (Rhinogobius candidianus) – Biggest goal or challenge with this aquarium? My biggest challenge is doing frequent water changes on this aquarium, as it is fairly heavily stocked and many of the fish in it want a large amount of fresh water change over. I usually do 30% water changes twice a week to ensure the water is incredibly clean and dilute for some of the rare fish varieties I have in the tank.
What products would you recommend to others?
– Plant Weights – I love our plant weights because they are fairly cheap, easy to mold, and great for keeping down newly taken trimmings of stem plants. I also use them to weigh down my rhizome plants to make them look like they are planted in the substrate, while still allowing them to grow properly and be easily transportable whenever I want to move them in the aquarium. Multi Test Strips– These test strips are easy to use and fast to perform a quick inspection of your aquarium’s parameters. The laminated key allows you to read the measurements. There are 200 strips included in each bottle. This is great for everything, from checking if your plants have enough nitrates to feeding them to checking when your coral needs to be rehydrated. Pre-filter sponges – These are great for protecting my fry from getting into my power filters. They also collect any debris that might otherwise get into the filtration. I can now go longer between cleaning the filters and servicing them. – Battery-Powered Pump I love this pump for its battery backup and the fact it still generates a good amount of airflow. I use one of them with some tubing and a gang valve to filter four (yes, four) 2-gallon fry tanks. These items are used all over my home. These devices are used to check that the lights in my aquariums, terrariums, and terrariums follow the proper photosynthetic cycles. They also allow me to dim the lights to my home to get it lit up before I go to bed at night. It is extremely easy to download them, use them, and you can add more timers as the collection grows.
– Add more living plants to your aquarium. The beauty of live plants is amazing, they are easy to care for, and can be very useful in keeping the water clean. If you are starting a new tank, save your rock wool and plastic containers. When buying plants from us, they are kept in tanks with fish and thus the rock wool has a ton of free and good bacteria to start your beneficial bacteria cycle faster. – Don’t overfeed. The bane of many fish keepers, old or new, is overfeeding the tank and trying to spoil their fish – only to produce a lot of waste and ammonia. Most fish can easily go 10+ days without being fed. – Don’t add algae eaters too soon. Many algae eaters follow a strict diet consisting only of algae and microfilm. They don’t like man-made “prepared foods” such as wafers. This is especially true for things like otocinclus catfish and nerite snails. – Research the natural history of the fish and plants you want to keep. You will be able to diagnose diseases, feed them properly, get them to mate, and set up decorations for your tank.