Why oh why did I plunge into the aquarium thing without doing the research and reading up? Today I did a little exploration and ordered a couple of books that should help me get set up. This is even better than having someone show me how to do it, because I learn better from books than by watching and listening. So much of what the fish guy told me Saturday evaporated by the time I got the tank home that I was drowning in the details.
The funny thing is he gave me a three-page typed checklist that I hoped would have the information I needed. I don't know why I thought I could set up the whole system, tank and gravel and filters and pump and chemicals and so on, with so little to go on. I guess I just wanted it so much that I was willing to believe. I live in a fantasy world, you know. No matter how many times I sink, I always believe that the next time I jump in I'm going to swim.
The worksheets the guy gave me were a pretty basic outline, the kind that raises more questions than it answers. I still don't know if I need the pump and the charcoal, or if the pump together with the under-gravel filter (which is how I have it now) will do the job. The sheets mention softening agents and salts without any specifics, and the fellow didn't mention them at all (or if he did, it went over my head like so many things that day).
Today I'm a little less secure in what I've already done than I was yesterday, because the water appears to be getting cloudier, even though the pump has been running nonstop since Saturday afternoon. That can't be right, can it? It's not as if there's any marine life befouling the water. There's obviously something more I need to do, but I don't know what it would be.
Anyway, I knew as soon as I woke up this morning that I wasn't going to the fish store today. It was storming, with wave after wave of heavy rain sweeping through the west county. Besides, my stomach was telling me that the best thing I could do for myself today was stay near the bathroom. That was good enough for me. When my stomach talks that loudly and angrily, I listen.
Besides, the next time I go into that store, I want to be in a better position to ask the right questions. Books can answer a lot of questions, but they can also help frame new questions in a way that's more likely to get useful answers. This is kind of a delaying tactic, as anyone who knows me has already figured out, but it's also a way to be in a stronger position to get what I need.