Thursday, April 17, 2008

Something smells fishy

Oh yeah, that's Summy's fish.

Summy picked them, Dad brought them home. Summy wrote fish to-do lists. Dad set up their tank. But who spends the whole day with them? Mommy.

We asked for sturdy fish that could survive a family who didn't know anything about fish. The guy at the store pointed at some fish that were kept individually in cups, and recommended that we bring home one male and two females to put in the tank.

At home, we put them all in the tank and went to sleep. The next morning, Kiran left for work, Summy went to school. I was working on the computer but all I could see was the fish chasing each other out of the corner of my eye.

It just so happened that these tough fish were Betta Splendens, also called the Siamese Fighting Fish for a good reason. And there could have been no worse advice than to put a male and females in one tank. The male Bettas are very very aggressive and don't tolerate others of their kind in close proximity, be they male or female. This is why (duh!), unlike the rest of the fish in the store, the Bettas were kept in individual cups. Ofcourse now I know that, after having watched Blackfish (the boy) terrorize Coffee and Angelina (the girls) and nip their tails.

Finally, I couldn't stand it anymore. I went back to the store for advice, and this time the advice was no better. They said I could return Coffee and Angelina for a refund.

How could I return fish that Summy had named? How could I put the fish back into the little tiny cups after they had the whole tank to swim in? How would I know that after I returned them, they wouldn't just be flushed down a big toilet that was specially built for the fish? The truth was that I hadn't "bonded" with the fish (that must be the zaniest sentence I ever wrote). But for better or for worse, we had got them and we had to care for them, even if they were just fish.

I divided the tank into two with a net, and isolated Blackfish on one side. Within two minutes, the two girls figured out that Blackfish couldn't get at them, and they seemed to enjoy staying right on the other side of the net and staring coolly at Blackfish as he went nuts trying to get at them.

So we took him out of the tank altogether, and put him in his own bowl. For now, everyfish seems happy, even though the two girls have little fish fights.

Now that there is less conflict, it's happier to watch them everyday. They are tiny little creatures one inch long, and I expected they'll just swim around aimlessly, all the same way. But each has its quirks. When I turn off the filter in their tank, they know food is coming. They seem to have good memories. Angelina prefers small pieces of fish food, while Coffee will eat anything. Blackfish is kind of picky, but he loves peas (I found out from Mother Internet that some fish can eat some vegetables).

And yes, now we've bonded with the fish.

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Salar said...
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