Questions & Answers

Monica Halstead | Operations Manager

Questions & Answers

What is your favorite thing about working at Aquarium Co-Op?
I love problem solving and making others happy, both our online customers and my fellow coworkers. I also had no idea aquatic plants were a thing until I started working here. They have set my interests in new hobbies, and I have learned so much! It is very fun working with plants and fish and seeing how many different species are out there. The curiosity and wonders never end.

What has been your best moment while working for Aquarium Co-Op?
Every single day I learn something new, like tips and tricks for the hobby! Also, one of my best accomplishments is getting to see how good the warehouse is doing. It feels great when your work ethic and effort gets noticed.

What do you do in your daily job at Aquarium Co-Op?
As the warehouse manager, I inspect plants before they get prepped and sent out, go over numbers of inventory, coach my crew on ways to improve, problem solve, and brainstorm organization tips that will increase our productivity for the future.

What is your favorite fish and why?
This is a hard one to come down to just one answer, especially since I am diving deeper into the hobby. Bettas, puffers, and roseline sharks are my top three right now. I love that betta fins will grow lusciously and can change color. I love how self aware, smart, and ambitious they are while trying to hide in any size plants or the floating betta log. Schoutedeni pufferfish can grow to be about the size of a lemon, not too big and not too small. I love hearing the crunch of the snail shells it eats and watching while it stalks prey. Roseline sharks can become very vibrant with a stripe of red and yellow and enjoy schooling with other species. My roseline sharks at home have schooled with the starlight tetras, and they love twirling in the sand.

What would your dream aquarium be?
Living in an apartment almost makes it impossible to get this, but I would love an axolotl tank. After hearing about how they are becoming more and more endangered, it would be a dream to be able to rescue one or two. I love how friendly they are and the fact they are closest to salamanders.

What is your current favorite aquarium at home?

  • Type of tank: 50-gallon aquarium with the Aquarium Co-Op LED
  • How long has it been set up? Since October of 2022
  • Fish stocking list: Schoutedeni puffer fish, black phantom tetras, chili rasboras, green phantom pleco, clown pleco, and African dwarf frog
  • Biggest goal or challenge with this aquarium? My biggest goal is to keep all the plants healthy and in the substrate. My biggest challenge is keeping away algae and not overfeeding the tank.

Monica's aquarium

What products do you highly recommend?

  • Floating Betta Log – Clyde the betta used to live in this! It helps provide shade, comfort, stability when sleeping, and protection during feeding time with the open hole on the top of the log.
  • Easy Green – This fertilizer is a lifesaver to all the plants, dead or alive.
  • Sponge Filters – It provides shade for the plecos, shrimp, and other species who stay low to the tank. The sponge filters are super easy to clean when needed and help collect good nutrients for the bacteria.
  • Battery-Powered Air Pump – Knowing the power can go out any time while I'm not home, this is the perfect air pump to relieve that stress! It has three different settings — on, power save, and off mode — and automatically turns on during power outages.
  • Python Hook – This tool is amazing at keeping those water changes below an hour. It sits on the side of the tank, allowing you to do other activities while it is filling the tank up with water.

Top 5 Tips for Hobbyists

  • Research, research, research before getting a fish you are not familiar with or even plants. There are never dumb questions, and there is always something more to learn!
  • Patience — you can never have enough. Having a good amount of patience is much needed for this hobby to thrive with breeding, plant growth, beneficial bacteria, minimizing algae, and so on.
  • When feeding, make sure everyone in your tank is getting fed! I'm not saying to feed them three times a day (although some species might require it), but make sure there is enough food in the tank to reach the bottom or the friends that are hiding.
  • Do not get discouraged by doing a task "wrong." There are multiple ways to go about any part of the aquarium hobby. The internet and fish groups can be a huge help if you need advice.
  • Do not clean out your tank fully (like emptying the tank and rinsing every rock or decoration). Rinse your sponge filter, pre-filter sponge, and filter media in the water you took out from your tank. Use a siphon to vacuum your substrate. Beneficial bacteria can help your tank out a lot by maintaining good water quality and healthy fish, along with being a key part of biological filtration.

Blogs and videos by Monica

Videos and articles about Monica

Monica Halstead | Operations Manager