posted 12-05-2002 10:54 PM PT (US)
...so, I've been moving everything out of my bedroom so that it can be recarpeted and painted, and one thing that had to be moved is an 80 gallon fish tank.
I only have this fish tank because of a goldfish. Years ago (15?), a friend of mine was given a goldfish for a birthday present. My friend, being quite a soccer afficianado, used to kick a soccer ball around his apartment constantly - and, you guessed it, one day the soccer ball met the goldfish bowl. The result was a goldfish that he didn't really want living in an orange juice pitcher.
I relieved him from his responsibility toward that fish and put it into a 2 gallon bowl in my own apartment. One day, after being chastised by a friend over having the thing in a tiny little 2 gallon bowl, I moved it into a 10 gallon aquarium. Once there, it seemed quite small for that large volume, and I kind of thought it was lonely. So, I headed to the pet store and bought a "common goldfish" - they're the feeder goldfish that they sell for people to feed to large cichlids - and spared one to become the companion of the fish that I had at home.
I don't remember how long I had that first fish - I suspect that it was less than a year before it died, but I replaced it with a very similar fish, a "comet goldfish" (so named because they've got a long tail, like a comet; other than that, they're no different from a common goldfish).
One day I learned that goldfish are very dirty fish, and rather than needing just a tiny bowl like you normally see goldfish living in, they actually need about 30 gallons per fish!!! Somewhere I acquired a 55 gallon tank and the goldfish found a new home. I remember, one night, while I slept, hearing a splash on top of the water...my brain figured out exactly what was going on - and I drug myself awake from a very deep sleep...and managed to find the comet goldfish down on the floor - it'd jumped out of the tank - rather quickly, and I put it back in the tank. Damned fish.
Later, even though those 55 gallons should've been for those 2 fish alone, I added some tropicals for "decoration". My dad, at about that time, also got some fish.
I don't know how long that comet goldfish lasted - maybe 3 or 4 years - but when it died I didn't immediately replace it.
One day, a friend decided that he didn't want his fish any longer - and I relieved him of an 80 gallon fish tank. My fish now had 80 gallons...luxury - but they also shared space with four large "tinfoils". These tinfoils are the types of fish that people normally buy, as food, common goldfish for - like my last remaining fish. However, my goldfish, now several years old, was way too large for them to bother. It may have been as large as it would get - which was significantly larger than my hand (common goldfish, when well taken care of, get HUGE); it would've made a very large restaurant meal. Shortly after getting that tank, I bought a decorative goldfish - one of those bred by the Chinese for beauty - and it was a nearly immediate meal for those damned tinfoils...and they soon found themselves back for sale on a shelf at a fish store.
I don't remember whether it was before or after that, but I picked up my dad's fish, too - I now had a full tank of fish. 5 of the fish were clown loaches - really attractive black and orange fish which have the rather human quality of sleeping on their sides; he had named them: Bill, Hillary, Sox, and Sox, and Sox. Anyway, I had them for years and years, along with the goldfish.
After about 12 years of living with me, the goldfish finally died. It was about two inches thick at its widest, about 4-5 inches "tall", and about 10 inches long from tip of its lips to the tip of its tail (and, remember, it was a comet goldfish so it had a rather short tail). I still had 2 (river dwelling sucker fish that keep the tank clear of algae - incidentally, they were around 10 inches long), and I had "the Clinton family" of clown loaches.
When I went to Hawaii a few years ago, I asked my dad and my sister to feed the fish. I told them how much to feed the fish and I made a mistake on the amounts - I told them way too much. And, to make matters worse, my sister who didn't know much about fish, was giving them a little extra besides just in case. The result was me coming home to a very smelly house, and a tank full of dead fish - and it was so putrid that I couldn't see through the water. In the end, 1 pleco and 3 clown loaches survied.
Maybe w/in a year the last pleco died, and since then I've had the 3 clown loaches; which brings us to now.
This morning I removed the 3 clown loaches and put them into a bucket this morning with water from their tank, and added the water heaters to the bucket to maintain the temperature. I've worked all day preparing a place in my home for that tank to be moved, cleaning the tank and the stand, and buying new equipment - I spent $200 at the pet store today to buy stuff for the bird and the fish, including a $140 canister filter.
A few minutes ago, I went down to the bedroom and looked inside the bucket. There they were, 2 of the clown loaches, the biggest ones, sleeping on their sides in that human way that I mentioned before.
But where was the third fish?!
I looked around the outside of the bucket - and found the fish on the carpet - it'd jumped out (damned fish). I quickly picked it up, but it was sticky and rubbery - I knew it was too late, that it was dead already, but I put it in the bucket anyway. When it splashed down, it didn't appear to awaken the other two. I thought that was rather odd - I'd have thought that the other two would've been a bit jumpy, considering that they were in a bucket - an environment that they're very unaccustomed to being in. So, I checked: they were dead too.
But why? The water was from their tank, the water was the right temperature...I don't get it. Two fish die, and the other one kills itself by jumping out of the water.
I killed three perfectly healthy and very beautiful fish today - and they had long lives ahead of them. Hell, the largest one was maybe the size of my two biggest fingers - and these are fish that can get as big as a human head. I just don't get it. And I'm feeling pretty guilty.
So, I have no more fish. On the one hand, I didn't really want any fish in the first place - except for those goldfish - I've considered the other fish just nuisances since Grouper died ("Grouper" was the common goldfish that I had for over a decade - he was almost like a friend; most people don't have cats that long). Still, I really feel guilty about those fish. But, I can't think of how I could've known any better.
Hopefully the store will let me return the $140 filter that I bought today.
Death is so final.