Manic Tank Syndrome

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Manic Tank Syndrome.jpg

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.

So... what do you think? Please leave me a comment or give me a


  • daniolover: lol! thats is brilliant! sounds similar to me. already planning my next tank and when to start doing a fishless cycle this time around! my garage is full of chemitsry looking bottles and half the tuppaware in the kitchen is "do not use" been used for fish tank cleaning.
    oh my life its addictive :o)
    loving it though.
    all my levels are cool today, so i can sit and enjoy them...when kids go to bed!
  • valeriez84: There are tears in my eyes from laughing so hard! I love it, and it is so true! (As I look at the overspill from the aquarium stand on my dining room table)
  • Lori: My firs tank was a 10 gallon, and I killed all my guppies!! Lesson learned. Did all my research and started over.
    I am addicted. Now I have 4 tanks and thankfully my last tank I cycled I only lost one cichlid.
    I have a fancy goldfish in a 20 gallon and I think he needs a buddy so now I have to get a 40 gallon for 2 goldfish.
    Very expensive but fun hobby. Well except for all the water changes LOL
  • Madeye: Oh my goodness! That is so true... Never again!
  • dushyant: Fair enough its true but if someone really does all the research first and get to a knowledgable acquarist this menace can be avoided
  • Snowman: That’s how stores make money. "You have to dump ammonia into your tank and wait month to put fish in there or they’ll die" is a lousy sales pitch!
    BTW, the manic state never ends! Nice post!
  • ahmed: i am Glad i did my research before hand :) The reason i had to do it earlier is, i had this question in mind why do people say this one thing about this hobby
    "The fish keep dying"...
    and i was curious why? why do they keep dying?
    Ans: There is something called Nitrogen Cycle !
    So all i need to do now is to wait anxiously for the tank to cycle :)
  • melissavee: I loved it!
  • Pattyang: This sounds like me 3 months ago!
  • hubbyzwifey: This totally sounds like me right now. I think in the past week I have only left this website for work and sleep. My mind is always Lol
  • TankBird2: Crack me up!! Looks like I’m not alone with my Manic Tank Syndome! Great blog!
  • astaire: Oh my gosh everyone in the house looking at me strange because I’m laughing so hard! Wow that sounds like me! So I’m not crazy.... ;) Amazing blog!
  • Ayaisha24: Lol
    Omg this is funny (but not in a way) but yea OMG made me laugh :)
  • astaire: okay it kinda sounds like me... not completely, but yeah so hilarious!
  • myhorsebelle: Been there done that! Great blog, made my morning. Good luck with your next aquarium!
  • JamesPollard: How exceptionally accurate, I’ve got my third fish tank a 50g cycling right now lol.
  • Timedformula8: Sounds like me.I have just finished setting up a five gallon betta tank.Can’t get fish to live praying for a betta that lives a long happy healthy life:1
  • Timedformula8:

    Some times I think the meanest things about certain petsmart  employees

  • john68: True true i also starts as you starts nice this is the reality nice write buddy
  • Something Fishy: Yes yes yes! I’m only one week in to stocking my first fish tank and am already at least 2 thirds of the way through mts.
  • bluewtrs: I can so relate to your post...oh God...hand me the tissues... no work out today...laughing while reading was enough!!!. M
  • Greta1981: LOLOLOLOL!!! Thank you so much for leading me to this post, bluewtrs! I LOVE THIS SOOOO MUCH, especially the towel part!!
  • nazira03: So true! Very funny blog post! :D
  • johnarthur: That’s really funny and an all too typical.
  • lothian37: Lol..fab..this was me when I first started..thankfully I learnt quickly..
    love it !
  • Lolaby2: I laughed and then cried from laughing so hard. Have we not all been there? I did after my attempt to save my 2 year old fancy goldfish from my betta in my 10 gal.The whole time I was a mess with worry raving at my partner that he did not understand because he didn’t care about fish.
  • thea: This is hilarious!!! Thanks. Was laughing out loud. I think my girls think I am nuts!!
  • chris w.: Soooo funny, soooo true! I’ve had the bucket with a miss-matched tuperware lid on it weighted down by a brick, note saying "Fish inside - Do Not Remove - Cats Will Eat!" And, omg! - organizing the "aquarium cupboard" with all that paraphernalia has become a regular household duty. Thanks for the laughs!
  • JanK: Brilliant! This is me right now. My goal in life is to get these fish through cycling alive and healthy! Can’t wait to set up my next tank and do everything properly (fishless). Thanks for the laugh. So relatable!

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