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Fishkeeper Focus - Debbie Touhey

Hi Guys, 

This weeks tank feature belongs to Debbie Touhey. I have been asking her a few questions to find out a little more about her hobby. Grab a coffee, get comfy and enjoy reading....

Name: Debbie Touhey
Age: 29
Location: Dalgety Bay/Fife

So Debbie, since joining Lothian Fishkeeper, you have shared some very nice photos of your fish and plants. You clearly have the fishkeeping bug and whatever you are doing, your doing it well. Can you let us know what led you to keeping fishtanks?

It all started when I was around 11 years old. I went to my friends house and she showed me her Dads huge fishtank. The only fish I remember seeing in the tank was a bright red betta and I just wanted one. I begged my dad to let me have a tropical fishtank after that but he was always wary of letting me play around with electricity and water and he ended up buying me a hamster instead (who was actually pregnant when we got it and we quickly ended up with 9 hamsters, joke was on him) but when I was 15 he gave in and I got a small 30l tank and I finally got my betta. I've been keeping tropical fish every since really. With a small break when my children were really young.

What is your current set up like? What fish do you have and what kind of equipment are you using?

I have three tanks just now, a 125l, 54l and a 10l. 

The 125l has:
  • Ember Tetras
  • Red Laser Corydoras
  • Peppered Corydoras
  • Glowlight Danios

Its now fully planted. Has an external Ehiem 2213 filter, an Ehiem biopower internal filter (now just sponges and kind of acts like a prefilter for the external) and also a Ehiem 200 airpump attatched to a sponge filter (my corydoras seem to enjoy having this around) tank is probably over filtered but the water is always crystal clear and perfect. 
Lighting is just three 20w T8 bulbs. I played around with different bulbs for a while to see which ones had the best spectrum and grew plants well. Ive settled with Arcadia tropical, Hagen aquaglo and a Hagen life glo. The arcadia tropical and aquaglo give off good blue and red colours for plant growth and the lifeglo gives off light in the green spectrum for a bit of added brightness and this seems to be working well.

My 54l is only home to My Betta and some pink ramshorn snails. Again its planted and has a sponge filter run by an ehiem 200 pump. I repaced the light on the aquael leddy for an arcadia stretch light. I am really happy with it, its not overly bright which is good for a betta tank but it gives off really nice colours and seems to be growing my low light plants fine and havent noticed any algea growth at all with it so far.

My 10l is home to shrimp and snails. Its an aquael tank again. Its fully planted and i just run the light and filter that came with the tank. The light is excellent and grows plants really well. 

Out of everything your doing just now, whats going well and whats going not so well?

At the moment, touch wood everything is going really smoothly with all my tanks. I would like to see the shrimp start breeding but its early days with that tank so hoping to see some baby shrimps over the next few months.

Looking back, what has been your biggest achevement?

Definitely keeping my plants alive. Ive never before kept a plant alive more than 2 weeks, even moss. I literally killed everything. I bought a few live plants on a whim as my tank was all plastic ones and when they started doing ok I then started replacing one plastic plant at a time and i removed the last one about 3 weeks ago and I am so so proud of the tank now.

Are there any fish  you would love to keep? or would like to keep again?

Blind cave fish. Those fish are awesome! I had about 6 of them in a tank years ago and they were constantly on the go. Id put my hand in the tank and they would feed straight from my hand or even wriggle right through my fingers. They are a little weird looking but just a fab fish. One that you dont see around too often now.

Which fish store gets most of your money? Are they your closest shop?

Probably Riverside Aquaria or New Concept Aquatics. My nearest is probably a Fishkeeper store in Dunfermline but I'd rather give my money to small independent shops.

If money as no option, what type of fish would you keep?

To be honest I am pretty happy with my small non expensive community fish. If money and space was no issue I'd probably just have a huge aquarium filled with loads of shoals of small fish.

Thinking about maintenance of your current tank, what do you find the most demanding?

Probably just treking back and forth with buckets of water. I may have ruined some laminate floors in my house with water spillages from those bucket treks.

Does anyone else in your house share your interest in fishkeeping?

My husband used to have a tank a few years ago so has shown some interest but not as much in recent years. He always wanted to keep crabs, crayfish and piranhas was never happy with my small community fish.

Since joing Lothian Fishkeepers, you have become quite an active member, do you find you spend more time talking about fish than taking care of them? I know I do.

Probably, I will talk about my tanks to anyone that will listen.

If you could be admin of Lothian Fishkeepers for a day, what would you change about the group?

Nothing John you do a wonderful job of managing the group. If it hadnt been for joining lothian fishkeepers I wouldnt have even known about the local fish shops. I've met loads of people who I hope I will be friends with for many years. When I got stuck setting up my external filter loads of people gave me tips to make it easier. Fab group.

Well, I think its safe to say Debbie, You are enjoying your hobby right now. Long may it continue. Thanks for taking time to share it with us. I hope you all enjoyed reading this weeks featured member. Remember if you would  like to take part, please get in touch. each member featured will receive some goodies from FishScience to say thank you.


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