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When my youngest daughter received a gift of goldfish for her birthday one year, goldfish which of course mom had to figure out how to care for, I became unexpectedly drawn into the intriguing world of fish-keeping, aqua-scaping and eventually pond maintenance. As every new fishkeeper soon discovers, these fields of interest necessitate acquiring a knowledge in water chemistry, diagnosing and the treatment of illness and disease in your fish, a bit of botany, and a vigilance in algae elimination.

I enjoyed the learning experience and the challenge, and soon became more than a little obsessed! At the height of my fishkeeping insanity, I was caring for a 90 gallon tank, a 75 gallon tank, two 40 gallon tanks, four twenty gallon tanks, a ten gallon tank and two five gallon betta tanks. I had gone a little bit overboard, but I still haven't achieved my holy grail -the 150 gallon fully planted, CO2 loaded, aggressive and semi-aggressive community tank.

First lesson in fishkeeping: Go Big! If you're thinking maybe a 20 gallon, then what you really want is a 50. If 50 is exactly what you had in mind, get a 75. If you're torn between the 75 and the 90, get the 120. And if you're pricing 120's, just quit fooling yourself and go buy a 200.

Larger tanks are truly easier to maintain, generally much healthier for your fish, and less likely to become quickly outgrown by your interest.

Fishkeeping, needless to say, can be rather addictive. Those who can afford the outlay of the space and the cash often end up with dedicated temperature-controlled fish rooms full of tanks.

But another thing new fishkeepers quickly figure out is that fishkeeping isn't cheap, and you're better off doing your research before you dive in. There's nothing worse than spending money on new fish only to have them terrorize the rest of the fish in your aquarium, or shelling out serious dollars on a new filter just to have the pleasure of letting it become the bane of your daily existance.

The field of fishkeeping is vast and varied, with so much to explore and discover. The dynamics in your aquarium or outdoor pond are constantly changing, and tank-gazing is both a fascinating and relaxing experience.

But these days the options in fishkeeping are so vast and varied that it can be difficult to know where to begin. The internet is a storehouse of free information, and a plethora of conflicting opinions.

My goal is to stream-line that learning process for others, to encourage interest in this popular but sometimes frustrating pursuit, and to continue exploring new areas. There is still so much I'd like to learn myself, such as discus breeding, maintaining a reef tank, and designing nano-tanks.

At the same time, I'm still enthralled by the tireless playfulness of the frequently mistreated zebra danio and the beauty of the simple guppy -which is not, in my opinion, a good 'beginner fish' as everyone likes to call them. Guppies are, in fact, very delicate fish which are highly sensitive to stress, and the fact that they breed like guppies and are therefore generally cheap doesn't make them expendable.

In fact, I think the guppy and the danio will be among my upcoming topics to explore, as well as a series of hubs concerned with every fishkeeper's enemy. Yes, I am referring to the fierce battle against algae.

Stick around. I'll show you how to eliminate algae bloom in your fish tanks once and or all.