It’s after midnight, but I’ve only just got home from work so technically for me it’s still Saturday. The way I figure, a new day doesn’t really start until around 4am-5am… because usually I’m done with my shifts by then. Usually.
14 hours today. It could have been worse. Came home to lots of endless smooches from Eva. Even the fish seemed happy to see me, but I think that’s because whenever they see me they think they’re going to get fed.
I actually have a day off tomorrow. I hope. Since it’s a rare day off together, the husband and I are going to go and look at houses and sections for sale. He was also hoping to see our nephew tomorrow, but it is not to be… That’s a sad story for another time. It takes a bit of fortitude to disgorge certain family tales, and I’m not in the right frame of mind tonight.
Instead, I may as well tell the story of our fish.
We are new to fish, and not yet one of those strange couples who have huge, landscaped tanks all around the living room… I say yet, because truthfully the fish got a much more expensive set of presents than our cats did this past Christmas. They got a new tank, new plants, and a bunch more friends. But I am getting ahead of myself.
The only reason we even have fish is because there is a rather unloved tank at the venue where I work, full of African Cichlids. Cichlids are fairly aggressive fish, and for months there was one particular fish in this tank who seemed to bear the brunt of the bullying. I started to call him Munchy, because his fins and tail were getting so eaten, but I had great respect for his tenacity and will to live. He zipped about as quick as he possibly could with his shortened tail – eating heartily and trying to stay out of trouble.
After watching this drama play out for too long, I finally decided that I needed to do my typical thing and adopt/rescue the imperfect underdog. So I bought a little tank, and a heater, and a filter, and read up about fish, and set it up all ready to for him to move in and escape the rest of the bully fish. I did this overnight one evening in September… only to get to work the next day (the day I was taking him home) and find that after six months of munching the other fish had decided to pick that night to kill him. It was disappointing to say the least.
But now we had a tank and all the other bits, so we figured we may as well not let the tank go to waste. Later that week, Rob and I went to the pet store and got some fish… honestly the first pets I’ve ever owned that I purchased. Previously all of my other pets have been shelter pets or foundlings. Since the tank was big enough, we got two Dwarf Gourami, two Peppered Corydoras, and four Neon Tetras. We picked the fish that were on special because we figured that we were such non-fish people that we might accidentally kill them.
Suffice to say that since September we have managed to not kill them… except for one Neon Tetra that I think jumped out of the tank by itself. In general our cats have shown little interest, apart from the times that Scrappy has pounced at the glass and donged himself on the head. He’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer.
What surprised us was that we actually started to enjoy having the fish there. At least they all rush up to the glass excitedly when we approach with food. It’s a small connection, but a connection all the same.
What surprised us even more was that one of the Dwarf Gouramis started to collect a bunch of bubbles on the surface of the tank – which turns out to be a kind of nest that they build. Unfortunately they were both male, but we took this as a sign that they were horny and wanted to breed, so we probably needed a bigger tank.
This was how we convinced ourselves to but yet another tank for Christmas… and more fish. We got two female Gouramis, two more Corydoras, four more Tetras, and two Yellow Bristlenose Plecostomus (to help clean the tank). Hopefully now we have enough that the community may naturally grow larger of its own accord. So perhaps we are become one of those strange fish couples after all. They are surprisingly expensive and addictive things.
Scrappy still dongs his head on the glass – he even did it about 15 mins after I got home tonight – but mostly the fish seem to avoid him rather than dart away. It’s quite possible that they’re cleverer than he is.
And I guess, like the story of Scooby, we have the sacrifice of one underdog to thank for our new little family. I’ll keep you posted if our family starts to grow any further.