If you've seen The Secret of NiMH, maybe you remember the scene when the tractor starts. "Aaaaaah!" screams Auntie Shrew. She rushes around, shrieking, "Run! It's Moving Day!" (If you haven't seen it or don't remember, well, then the image won't help you any. Sorry.)
Now I know why she shrieked and ran around in circles.
When lives hang in the balance over a move, it's something to shriek about. And rush. And so it was in alaHouse. That day was Moving Day for our aquarium.
When we originally set it up, we ordered the shorter stand. We wanted to still see that little window into the kitchen from the front room, and this was the only way to do it if the aquarium was to live against that wall. For almost two years, it's been fine.
Then the protein skimmer died. Wedged into the 30 gallon sump within the aquarium stand, there was no way to get it out. We tried replacing pieces, but it's old enough the parts were unavailable. The only way to replace it was to take the aquarium apart.
Since that is such a chore, we decided to replace the stand with a taller one. A much taller one, because if we were going to block that little window, we were going to cover it completely. That led to another question, because the lights in the canopy are so bright. What if the lights were visible from the kitchen? You're not supposed to look into those lights, and if they were there, right above the sink, how could you miss? We had plans to cover that space with stained glass or shelving or both, if that was the case.
The guy that services my tank showed up around 9am. One of his co-workers (from the pet shop they work for) showed up just after 10am. The dismantle and setup process took the entire day; about twelve hours. They had estimated six, but they didn't realize the entire infrastructure had been glued. Most aquarium people use Teflon tape and threaded connections, but the guys who set up the aquarium originally used some kind of blue glue. On just about everything. So this time, the guys had to hacksaw the pieces apart and rebuild them. Not a quick process, since they were very careful with everything. They didn't want any damage, or any leaks.
I missed most of the disassembly due to a conference call. Before the phone rang, I watched Greg start taking things out. He had a garbage can for the fish, a garbage can for the rocks, a garbage can for the extra water. He had several kitty litter pans for the coral, the invertebrates and the fish that weren't going back in the tank, plus any extra things that came up. All of these items were new to avoid contamination. Sea life is delicate, and we wanted to avoid stressing them as much as possible. I only got to see the first few rocks moved. Then the call, and when that ended, all that was left in the tank were sand and water.
Though Greg looked carefully, he didn't find our mysterious clicker. (Something clicks in the tank, loudly, and I think whatever it is is responsible for many missing fish and shrimp. I was hoping we could catch it with this move.)
After the water was drained, the guys took things apart. While they were cleaning the tank out front, I cleaned the aquarium corner and wall. Things get dusty when you don't move them for a few years. Then the reassembly began, and I swept the floor about every half hour. The sand got into everything! The hardwood floor would not appreciate having the sand ground into it. (The guys probably think I'm a clean freak or something.)
Finally, the time came to put things back in. I was worried about the fish, who'd been in a garbage can all day, and had a momentary coronary when Greg listed the fish to his buddy. One was missing; my "Fraggle fish," the starry blenny. "What about the blenny?" I asked.
Greg looked at me blankly for a moment. "Was it in there?"
"As of last night," I replied. As one, we turned to look at the garbage can with the fish. Then at the garbage can with the rocks, which didn't have water in it, except for a very small amount in the bottom.
"I didn't see him," said Greg. "He probably hid in a rock."
My poor blenny! I watched the rocks go back in, hoping and dreading to find his poor dried body curled in a hole. We were also taking a second chance for finding the clicker thing. Each rock was picked up and inspected. All visible holes were checked. Drying sea life was removed (mostly pieces of sponge). No clicker. No blenny.
Then when we got down to the small fragment pieces of rock, there was the blenny, swimming around in the five inches or so of water in the bottom of the garbage can. Rescued! I won't ever know if he got lucky by having hid in one of the first rocks to be removed (and therefore in one that was in the water) or if he flopped out after removal to land in the water. It really doesn't matter; he made it!
We found no sign of any clicker thing.
So now it's days later and things have gotten clearer. The water, because we have a new working protein skimmer. The issues, because we also have a thumb-sized glue smear across the front of our tank. The guys say they can remove it, and I asked them if it could happen before our yearly party. We'll see. Other things have gotten clearer, too. The answers, because the view from the kitchen is fine. You cannot see the light bulbs, the aquarium puts a massive amount of light into the kitchen, and the back of the tank is black plexi, so the candles reflect in it wonderfully. And finally, the hearing, because the new chiller is a lot quieter and you can hold conversations in the living room again.
We still have some touch-up work to do, but overall Moving Day was a success. So far, I've not lost any coral or fish, except for the ones I sent away. I've not heard the clicker thing. Everything's still a bit grey, but I think it'll be fine. In a week or so I can start adding things again.
Copyright 2014 Michelle Hakala