Thursday, December 27, 2007

Fishcapades

I’ve always loved aquariums, fish and all that. I generally prefer to watch fish rather then eat them. However, I haven’t always been particularly capable of actually maintaining that idyllic tank. I’ve gone through several permutations of trying to maintain a fish tank. I’m going to share something I wrote several years ago (before I started recording instances like this in a blog) about my first attempt at a fish tank. It’s called Fishcapades:

Fishcapades

OK, decided to fulfill the yearning to get a tiny fish tank, I got a few small fish and a really pretty female Beta, the only problem was that the beta was sick. Of course I don't really know much about fish.... so here it goes.

I went back to the store and described what was going on, she was lethargic, spitting out her food and fuzzy, fish aren't supposed to be fuzzy - leave that to the cat....

I was told to get her out of the tank fast or she would kill the others, so by the time I got home she was nearly dead, the tiniest other fish got sick a day later, but the other two were fine. After a week with them not getting sick, I went back to the store and they told me it was safe to replace her....

Fish #2 A day later he started acting funny - oh no, not again.... So I got on the computer and looked up Beta disease. They either had Ick or White Spot disease, most likely both. So off I went to the pet store to get fish antibiotics, yes folks, antibiotics.... for fish.....

The directions said I had to completely replace the water in the tank and rinse everything clean so I took out the fish and had them in a measuring cup, Beta in one the small fish in another. I cleaned everything out and let the water acclimate to room temperature and now it was time to put the fish back in the tank....

To do this you need to acclimate them to the same temperature as the tank but floating the cup in the tank for a half hour, then add some tank water wait some more and then put the fish in. So this tank has a tiny opening and I couldn't fit both measuring cups in and didn't want to spend hours acclimating the fish, so I put them all in the same cup thinking they came home that way it wouldn't matter... So I turned away to do some homework...

A few minutes later I get up and decide to check on the fish, I look in the cup and count 1, 2, .... where's #3? My thought process goes on… Not in the big tank, not in the cup, did the beta eat him? No he wouldn't fit in his mouth whole… where the hell is the fucking fish??!!?? Then bang out of nowhere a fish comes hurtling through the air and smacks me in the forehead as I'm bending over the tank. Of course I let out a scream... what the hell, no he's flipping around on the carpet covered in cat hair and some stray fish food.

Oh MY GOD... I run for the bathroom to get the fish net... run back to the office and try to get the fish off the floor and into the net, run back to the bathroom and grab the cup throw some water and drop the fish in, and now I'm trying to figure out how to get the cat hair out of the cup without accidentally dumping the fish down the drain. I set the cup down to go get the other one to get some safer tank water and look in the measuring cup.....1 fish, OH GOD DAMMIT where's the other @*$#& fish?!!! On the carpet of course.... back to the bathroom for the fish net repeat process.

Now I'm thinking that they are all going to die because the healthy fish are covered in cat hair and the beta is getting furry. Great, what a fiasco. The next morning I go in the office and the Beta is dead (figures) and the other two fish are swimming around like nothing ever happened. These are some seriously hearty fish... evolution at its best. Well I think I'm just going to get a dang gold fish this time, it's hard to kill them....

Don't you wish you could have been a fly on the wall, I would love to have a picture of the expression on my face when that fish came out of nowhere and smacked me in the forehead....

Postscript
What I didn’t share was the fish’s names: Larry (beta) his brother Daryl, and his other brother Daryl (the two identical stripers). Of course the second time Larry died it kinda killed the joke. I was left with the two Daryls for quite some time.

I went through several more tries with different types of low tech fish setups. Dan got me a hydroponic peace Lilly with a beta in the vase. That lasted until our unfortunate neighbors who were feeding our cat accidentally turned off the furnace instead of the basement lights and the beta got to cold and expired. Unfortunately for me I had to clean out the half decayed and furry fish out of the vase later because the Lilly was alive and I felt way too guilty throwing the whole thing away…

Finally after all this my friend Liz gave me a real tank setup and I’ve had some further adventures. After the remaining geriatric goldfish expired I decided to switch to fresh water tropicals.

Back to 2007
We still have fish, but now we are down to one…
I stared with three African cichlids and a sucker fish. I was feeding them regular fish food and not too much was happening – at least there were no disasters. One day Dan decided to buy them a treat – Krill. It is really amazing how fast fish will grow if given a nutritional boost.

The Jack Dempsey grew astoundingly fast, and with his girth, his aggression grew as well. Suddenly you would notice that there was one less fish in the tank. But, there was no floaters, no sinkers, and no fuzzies. Jack ate them all – and now only he is left. He is probably over about 6 inches long now and actually kinda scary. You see he has teeth, and he knows how to use them obviously as his war of extermination went kinda poorly for his tank mates. Should you really be able to see teeth on your pet fish? All I can say is so much for the idyllic tank of swimming tropical fish. I’m afraid to buy any more fish (afraid they would just end up as REALLY expensive fish food) and the one I have just sleeps in his castle all day, so he’s about as much fun to watch as watching grass grow.

About six months ago I tried to take the fish out of the tank so I could clean and move it. I won’t be trying that again any time soon. Even with the new jumbo fish net he was flopping about so violently it resulted in mass amounts of water on the floor and I almost had a REALLY unpleasant revisit of the fish to the forehead moment (except this one weights 1+ lbs.).

Maybe someday I’ll try a salt water tank, with happy friendly fish like clown fish and angel fish. It’s likely to be awhile, this is one hearty fish and I don’t want to try moving him again, Ever.

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