Jennie's Fish Room Rebuild
The fundraiser is now closed with a total raised of $17,111.94. As of 10/30/17 the entire amount
has been spent on improving my fish room. Thank you so much to those of you who have donated to
help make these much-needed improvements to my fish room – and in doing so, my videos!
The REBUILD project officially started on July 10th! While the bulk of the work is going on, I’ll be giving you guys weekly progress updates on my YouTube channel, but also be sure to keep an eye on my Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat (username solidgoldaqua) for mini-updates almost every day. I’m so excited to share the whole process you all of you!
Disaster Struck At the beginning of May, I returned from a 7-day work trip overseas and came home to a budding disaster. I was informed that two of my fish had died while I was gone. Out in the fish room, I immediately noticed the fish in one tank were showing classic signs of a parasitic outbreak… the symptoms were in line with costia or chilodenella, although the parasites evaded me when I examined skin scrapings of the fish under my microscope. I also found that I was dealing with contagious dropsy – either parasitic or bacterial. Once I realized the seriousness of the situation, and that the issues had spread to ALL the tanks in my fish room through shared equipment, I took drastic measures. In order to control the further proliferation of the parasites, which are resistant to bleach sanitation AND to drying, I had to completely tear down my entire fish room and throw almost EVERYTHING away. I kept my glass tanks and a few easily-cleanable objects and sterilized them with Virkon, a much more powerful sterilizing agent than bleach. Unfortunately because the parasites and/or bacteria were so fast-acting, I lost several fish including Clyde – a devastating loss. Clyde has
been my favorite fish for many years and I know he held a special place in many of your hearts as well.
Picking Up the Pieces My remaining fish have been on a treatment of metronidazole, kanaplex, and epsom salt combined with high heat. Heated water at 90F for a prolonged period kills costia/chilodonella, metronidazole and kanaplex together address bacterial issues that cause dropsy, and epsom salt relieves bloat. After 5 days on this treatment, there was improvement in almost all the fish. But on day 6, there was relapse when the temperature dropped a few degrees (my heater wasn’t doing its job, so a new one was purchased) and the additional Kanaplex I had ordered arrived later than promised and I had already exhausted ALL the local pet stores’ supplies. I began to see the original symptoms pop back up again. Since then, the heat issue has been addressed and the Kanaplex has arrived, but having that setback after finally seeing a light at the end of the tunnel was discouraging. The fish are only just now starting to bounce back from the relapse and show improvement again. At this point I’m fairly optimistic that at least most of the remaining fish will pull
through this, but now I have a TOTALLY EMPTY fish room and I’m thinking about how on earth I’m going to put the pieces back together.
One shred of a silver lining from this disaster is now the fish room is empty and it’s an opportunity to do the much-needed construction I’ve been putting off due to high upfront costs and fish being in the way. The goal in improving my fish room is to ensure I can keep producing free informational and entertaining video content for you on a wide range of fishkeeping topics. Don’t get me wrong, even if I wasn’t a YouTuber I’d still keep fish on a small scale for my own enjoyment. But there is NO WAY I’d be planning a fish room of this magnitude! Continually finding new ways to inspire and connect with you through videos is my passion, and that’s what this fish room is for. My intent was to use these funds for capital improvements on the building AND to furnish it with aquariums, equipment and storage cabinets, etc. But now I’m working with a contractor to come up with cost estimates and this will cost more than anticipated. The building as it stands is a thin-walled metal garage on a bare concrete slab. It’s a glorified shed, let’s be honest. 😉 Here are the things I have to do for this space to be usable as a fish room.
Insulation. Over the past year, temperature swings have caused problems for my fish. Insulating the building means adding foam insulation to the ceiling and walls. We’re looking at roughly 1,400 sq. ft. of insulation- this will be one of the biggest costs! Originally I wanted to use drywall to cover the insulated interior walls for a finished look, but I’m now leaning towards painted plywood instead to save money. Insulating also means sealing holes in the walls. An exhaust fan and the roll up door will be removed as both are impossible to insulate. The roll up door will be replaced with an 8’ sliding glass door so I’ll still have a wide enough opening to get large tanks in.
Temperature control. A 2.5 ton A/C unit is required for this size space, so that will be installed. Between the A/C and a dehumidifier, the humidity will be kept in check.
Running water. This will involve running new pipe underground from my main water hookup in the front yard all the way to the backyard where the fish room is. This will be costly as well. Once the water line is run, I can add a water heater and a utility sink – okay now this is sounding more like a fish room!
Other. There are a few other things that I classify more as wants than needs, but they’re important in their own ways. I don’t want to finish off this entire space only to leave ugly stained concrete floors. So I plan to stain the floors with a non-slip grit finish. I also want to add two front-facing windows to let in some natural light during the day and to give me a line of sight to my house when I’m working inside the fish room for security reasons. Lastly I’d like to paint the exterior white with black trim, but this is obviously not a priority.
I now have an estimate of what it will cost just to do these things and it will be around $25,000. In setting this funding goal I’m also accounting for the fact that I will have to pay taxes on whatever funds are raised – and I won’t know how much until I check with my accountant, so I’m estimating for now.
Then what? So let’s say we raise the 25K needed and we finish all the capital improvements to the building… what then? We still have no aquariums in the fish room and no funds left to get them! That’s okay, because I’ve had a sponsor step forward who is willing to provide a lot of aquariums at no cost, simply because they believe in what Solid Gold Aquatics is doing for the hobby! Custom Aquariums has committed to providing a number of aquariums so we can quickly move some fish back into the fish room once all the construction is completed. They’ve also offered to match dollar per dollar any donation you make (between $100-500) to this fundraiser in merchandise credit for you to get a new custom aquarium of your own. Knowing that I have a sponsor for the aquariums takes a huge weight off my shoulders and I’m so grateful for it!
Even after finishing the construction on the building and moving some aquariums in, there will still be a lot of miscellaneous things to do, like setting up a system for automatic water changes on all tanks, installing cabinets for housing equipment, creating a workspace for my microscope, brine shrimp hatcheries, etc. These things may be costly as well and if there’s any money left over, it will go towards the automatic water change system first. But a lot of this miscellaneous stuff can be done gradually over time, so that’s the plan. Rome wasn’t built in a day!
How You Can Help
The fundraiser is now closed. Thank you so much to those of you who have donated to help make these much-needed improvements to my fish room – and in doing so, my videos!
Over the past 7 years, I have made over 300 educational and (hopefully) entertaining videos on my YouTube channel. My goal has, and always will be, to foster a greater appreciation for the hobby of goldfish keeping and fish keeping in general, which is why I devote so much of my time and energy into every video that I put out. There are lots of easier jobs out there that require a lot less effort for a far greater return. But this is my passion… it’s what I do. And today, I reach out to my viewers for help. Let’s make these fish room dreams a reality and continue to inspire greater passion for our shared hobby of fish keeping.
Thank you and Stay Gold,
I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the following amazing people!
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