My husband is a fish-person. Not as in “half human, half fish” but more as in “Hey, check out this fish! We need to buy a huge aquarium so that we can keep him in the house!” We currently have a 20-gallon tall aquarium (in the process of being cycled so we can get more fish), a 55-gallon and a 75-gallon that was recently converted into a lush turtle paradise (a story for another time).
In my experience, keeping fish is kind of like performing wizardry. If you don’t have it quite right, they will all inexplicably die in soggy little fiery explosions. (Okay, that last part might be a lie but I think the bigger issue here is that you’re calling me a liar.)
Yesterday, we became “fish rescue” and “adopted” two wayward fish from one of my coworkers who was trying to get rid of his leaky aquarium; a non-descript non-gold-colored Comet goldfish and a Silver Dollar (aka “Bruiser”) that was purported to be approximately 10 years old and had survived the fishy equivalent of drought, famine, economic collapse and nuclear fallout. (And yes, both were compatible tank-mates with the fish we already had in our community tank. Nerds.)
My coworker showed up at the house with both fish in a 5-gallon bucket, which was a bit of a red flag. No one performs wizardry in a 5-gallon bucket. He said he was tempted to leave them on the doorstep with a note reading “Please care for my children. I shall miss them terribly. SOB!” but was justifiably concerned about the neighborhood cat’s interest in said bucket. My husband transferred the two fish into ziploc bags full of the bucket water, let them float and acclimate to the tank temperature, blah blah blah and finally they were released into their new home. There was much cheering and rejoicing, especially from my 3-yr-old son who instantly bonded with the new fishies we had rescued Diego-style.
This morning, I blearily staggered through the house and past the aquarium. Remembering that we had taken on the responsibility of proving we could care for a fish that saw (though never remembered) the release of the iPod, I curiously checked the tank to see how he was doing.
“Bruiser” was stuck to the filter intake, deader than…well, a dead fish.
I quickly scanned the tank for the goldfish and found it stuck to the other intake, also dead. Well, dammit.
The rest of the fish were swimming happily. I imagine their little fishy thoughts to have been something like this;
“Swimmy swim…swimmy swim…log…bubbles! GAH! DEATH! DEATH! FLEE! Oh hey! Food? Food time? You mean I get food! Swimmy swim faster! Bubbles…GAH! DEATH! DEATH! FLEE! Swimmy swim faster! Oh hey! Food time??”