Monday, March 16, 2009

A Bad Day For Fish

It is the nature of fish to die, suddenly and for no apparent reason. I couldn't even guess how many pet fish I've had in my life. More than 20 for sure. More than 50 is possible. And almost all of the fish I've ever owned have died.

A couple of days ago, Lazlo died. He wasn't looking good, then he was stuck dead upside down in one of the plants. This morning I woke up to find either Apache or Abdullah dead, upside down in the same plant. A couple of hours later, the remaining Apache/Abdullah also died, which was weird because when I fed them he'd been as frisky as ever.

This last death was a little more depressing because a fish death can be hard to identify. First, Apache/Abdullah was mostly dead for awhile, then it seemed like he was all the way dead but it was hard to tell if he was still moving a little or if it was just the current pushing him. Around lunchtime I proclaimed him certainly dead before he got stuck in the plant too.

The one good thing that came out of today's second fish death is that I'm not left with the burden of identifying whether it was Abdullah or Apache that died, since they both are dead now.

The first time I had an aquarium, when I was about eight, my favorite fish right away was the angel fish. When we got him he was fine, but by evening he was delighting me by doing flips in filter current every time he got close. The next morning he was dead and I cried and cried and cried. I was really damned freaking upset about that fish.

Our most recent deaths were less upsetting, though it does trouble me that I don't know why there is this sudden scourge of death in our tank. I'm hoping it's because the tank was too crowded. That would mean the recent die-off will solve the problem. If it's disease, there's nothing to do but wait for the rest to die and see if anyone survives.

But then, there's the dilemma about geting more fish. On one hand, it seems I'm some sort of fish killer, much like I'm a houseplant killer, but a fish death is ever so slightly more momentous than a plant death. On the other hand, maybe they were just going to die anyway, since it's the nature of fish to die suddenly and for no apparent reason, and it was just nice for them to have a few weeks in a not too-crowded tank, two squares a day, and minimal molestation from baby hands.

I do the fish-flushing when LE is asleep because I don't want him getting any ideas about things that can be done with fish. It's one thing for me to be bad at creating and maintaining fish ecosystems. It's quite another for fish to be sent prematurely down Mr. Toilet's Wild Ride.

Three down, four to go. Rest in peace, Abdullah or Apache, whichever one you are.

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