Jon Kocan

Jon Kocan

No matter what anyone has told you, life can be found in a fish bowl. All you have to do is bring your pond inside and put it in a tank. That’s why my indoor pond is coming soon.

I knew the little guppies from the lake had no chance, but I wasn’t going to miss the show when they got dumped in. On cue, the chain pickerel moved 6 inches, and like a true predator it charged and inhaled one, then another. Its pectoral fins oscillated to stabilize itself as it began the process of digestion.

I was hooked. My brother has a fresh and saltwater fish tank in his house. Yes, I said both. I couldn’t stop watching what was going on in them. We visited for vacation with our morning coffee including checking on the fish. My evening cocktails included a visit to see what was going on behind thick glass.

The freshwater tank was stocked from the private lake behind his house and the saltwater tank from local coastal waters. His fish tanks had mostly baitfish and a select few predators. Through conversation it was revealed that some predators had a hard time getting along with others in the tank.

My brother built a “time-out” cage for one particular hooligan, but it was clear that the culprit had outgrown the tank and needed to be released.

We bought shells at the Virginia Beach boardwalk and had a contest to see which brother’s hermit crab would choose to be its new home. As we dropped them into the saltwater living room world, it became the best reality show you could imagine. The crab took careful consideration of each shell – and several hours – to finally choose his new home in my niece’s shell.

I haven’t had a fish tank since I was a little kid, and really haven’t cared about having one since then. They seemed like a nice idea, but something else to take care of. Now I’m shopping for one. It’s my brother’s fault.

For one week his two fish tanks became must-see entertainment, and began my journey to find one of my own. Its new home will be in my kid’s room. It’s a good reason to go hang out on his turf.

I haven’t purchased one yet, but I can confirm there are a bunch of great deals near here for getting started. I have a pond full of bluegill and other local species. As long as I can get a net past the weeds, I should be able stock my indoor pond soon.

Don’t forget

It’s hot outside but it’s also a great time to catch wildlife caring for newborns. Deer are certainly a focal point right now, but birds have taken center stage this past week.

I was able to locate a Mississippi kite nest and roadrunner nest within a few hundred yards of each other last week. I’ve found kite nests before, but this my first roadrunner nest.

The crafty bird had built its nest 12-15 feet high in an oak tree in a residential area. I watched it hunt insects and then jump up in the tree to feed its young. Roadrunners are here to stay because it easy to see they can adapt to life around people.

Jon Kocan is the Stillwater News Press outdoors writer and a longtime hunter. He can be reached at