I now believe there is a mental condition related to Multiple Tank Syndrome. It’s called MANIC TANK SYNDROME and only affects newbies.
It all starts in a Happy Place.
We buy a tiny fish tank, fill it with shiny, perky fish, pretty gravel, plants and ornaments.
In a few days, shiny, perky fish become sinking, listless, sick.
Perplexed, we search for information. Anxious Google searches bring us to this forum. We read and read and read some more. Shock and guilt when we realize that tiny super cute fish tank is DEATH ROW for our new fish.
The mania begins . . .
Take the water to the fish store. Told water or fish needs something. Buy that something and try it. Buy testing strips.
Fish getting sicker. Read the forum some more. Throw out testing strips because they are useless and go buy the API Master Kit.
Test the tank water morning, noon and night and again at 3:00 a.m. because since you got up for a drink, you are compelled to check on the fish.
Print the forum post on the Nitrogen Cycle in bold 32 size font and tape it to the wall above the tank for easy reference AND to avoid dropping IPAD into tank while trying to read proper ammonia, nitrate, nitrite levels.
Hold out the API color chart and the ammonia test tube to your 5 year old grandson and ask him - does that look like light green or dark green, buddy?
Take more trips to the pet store because you are now battling ick, fin rot, swim bladder or some other malady due to New Tank Syndrome.
Worry that the Epsom salts you found in the linen closet are too old because the box is dusty. Decide not to take a chance. Go on a late night Walmart run in your flannel jammie pants and bunny slippers.
Start ordering take-out for dinner because you are too busy doing partial water changes to be cooking a meal.
Run out of clean towels because you’ve been using them to mop up from all the water changes. No time to do laundry because you are trying to figure out if that white spot on the goldfish’s head is more ick or wen growth.
Move the aquarium salt, PRIME and PRAZIPRO away from the kitchen counter so you do not knock them into the pot of chili as every inch of counter space is covered with fish tank stuff.
Realize the apple snails could die from the ick remedy and move them into a Tupperware house. Put a neon pink stickee on the Tupperware lid that says in big black Sharpie pen: SNAILS!!! DO NOT PUT IN THE FRIDGE!!! (because you really dont trust anyone at this point).
Run around the grocery store at 10 minutes before closing to find unsalted peas for your constipated fish. Curse Green Giant for putting peas in butter sauce.
Make your kids take their own baths, because you’re busy giving the fish a salt bath in your Sur La Table Tuscan pasta bowl.
Learn to drink your morning Starbucks AFTER you got the gravel vac going and gargled up fish toilet water.
Lose a few fish and bury them in Ore-Ida microwave french fry boxes (biodegradable!) under the holly bush where the doggie won’t dig them up because the holly leaves are pointy.
Re-focus your efforts on saving whoever’s still alive in the tiny tank!!! (NO MATTER THAT YOU HAVE NOW SPENT 20 TIMES WHAT YOU PAID FOR THE FISH!)
Eventually, when the tank finally cycles and a few fish survive, it’s time to CELEBRATE!
Strut confidently into your local Petco or Petsmart, armed with powerful new aquarist knowledge! Give that aquarium department employee the stink eye for all the anxiety and money his/her bad advice has cost you.
Walk out with a bigger tank, better filter and start planning for MORE fish!!!
Once the temporary high wears off, look at your dining room table and realize you have full-blown MTS.