Monday, May 17, 2021

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People & Pets

Go fish


CUT-1-Dave-and-Deanna-Roth-in-front-of-their-200-gallon-saltwater-aquarium,-which-contains-coral-and-some-fat-fish“She’s more of a fish girl, and I’m more of a coral guy,” says Dave Roth about the passion that he and his wife Deanna share for fish aquariums.

Roth works in information technology (IT) by day. But at home, he labors over his two fish tanks with a watchful eye and a nurturing hand.

“We have two large reef systems totaling about 630 gallons,” Roth says.

There is a 300-gallon tank upstairs and a 200-gallon tank in the basement. Both are filled with fish and coral.

“(The one upstairs), it’s not really where we want it to be yet,” says Roth of the tank on the main level. “It’s less mature than the other.”

Prep Iowa

The Roths acquired their first tank in 2003 and then added another a year ago.

Knowing and understanding how to maintain the proper chemical balance is critical to maintaining a healthy tank with healthy fish and coral.

Patience is the key to maintaining a healthy ecosystem.

“Nothing good happens fast in this hobby,” he says. “Go slowly.”

Roth says his first fish was in first grade when his teacher allowed him to take the class fish bowl home for the summer. But he didn’t have another until he had a freshwater tank in college.

Like many people, Roth was initially afraid of the work involved in a saltwater tank, fearing that it would be too complicated. But he assures that it is not as hard as people think, and that once the owners get the hang of it, they will be glad they did.

“Freshwater is much more forgiving,” he says. “But once you go saltwater, you never go back.”

They’ve filled the aquariums over time using some local stores, and occasionally they get a new fish while on vacation.

The tanks are stocked with Moorish idols, clown fish, Mandarin, purple tang, powdered blue tang, naso tang and others. Some of the fish are named, but not all of them. The named fish are generally labeled after a physical attribute. The fish with pink lips is called, “Lips,” another is named “Stripes,” and the powdered blue naso tang — who is a bit of a bully and pushes his way around the tank — is called “Butthead.”

The fish can range in price, and some are quite expensive, which might be why they take such good care of them. The couple admits they have a reputation amongst the fish community as the people who have fat fish.

“We feed heavy,” says Roth. “Our motto is ‘fat fish don’t fight.’ ”

“And we do have fat fish,” laughs Deanna.

The aquarium weighs a lot, adds Deanna.

A gallon of water weighs about 8.34 pounds, and saltwater weighs slightly more, tipping the scales at about 8.55 pounds per gallon. Add the “fat” fish to the equation, and there’s some heft there.

“We reinforced the floor,” assures Roth. ♦

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