Tropical Fish. #1

I have realised its been several years since I have updated this blog. It will only get longer if I don’t start now.

I am blessed with having my significant day within a week of Christmas. I am used to this, but even after a pair of decades, it causes my wife some angst. Blessed with a pair of teenagers, a mortgage, and a modest income, the weeks after Christmas are traditionally tighter than a ducks bum. However, I was delighted and surprised with a gift of a tropical fish tank, filter, heater, lamp, and a bucket of bits to make it work. Its a testament to my wife’s deviousness, as this purchase was made several days in advance, from a gentleman who had lost interest in fishes, and the whole lot remained hidden until the big day. A fish tank was oft discussed, but there was always something else more pressing or needful on the family pocket. With a little help from Google, said tank was filled with water, and a trip to the fish shop undertaken. First lesson, no fish yet. The water has to clear its self of all the crap we add to it, so come back in a week, with a sample. Of water from the tank. Lesson two, always seek clarification if there is more than one possible outcome.

Ten days later, clutching a water sample, and full of anticipation, we returned to the fish shop. After a nail biting sixty seconds we were cleared to purchase fish. To be perfectly clear about this, there is no law that prevents you buying fish any time, the satisfactory, and complementary water test did not grant any sort of licence, its just the right thing to do. If you wish to have live fish for a reasonable period of time.

There are a bewildering number of fish types suitable for a 65 litre tank.

The advice was to keep to the smaller ones, and add a few at a time. Based on simplicity, and bright colours, a micro shoal of male guppies was decided upon. We opted for the very scientific method of letting the apparently knowledgeable store person chose six males. Females are duller in colour, and boy fish with girl fish soon leads to lots more little fish, the majority of whom are eaten by the adult fish, including parental fish. I already have responsibility for a wife, two teenagers, two dogs, and two rabbits. Six guppies looked manageable, I was not ready to be part of wholesale infanticide. There was still the question of survival on first contact with the tank, not to mention getting them home safely.

It became clear that I was not the first person to buy fish and need to take them somewhere else. I believe the store person thought I was an idiot. I certainly gave him plenty of evidence, sufficient for him to explain the whole process in low count syllable words.  The first bag held the fish, with a sufficient amount of water and air. this went into a second plastic bag, both independently sealed. this package then went into paper bag, and then into a plastic carry bag. These words were treated with the reverence of Testaments, carefully repeating them back, as if to prove I was worthy of taking responsibility for these six sentient beings. My status as an idiot was confirmed.

Its about five miles through city traffic from fish shop to home. I can only apologise to those very important people on matter of life or death missions who were temporarily inconvenienced by an old snot green car travelling slightly below the posted speed limit. I would qualify my apology by stating its a speed limit, not a bloody target. And no, I was not under the influence of alcohol, or anything else. Yes I was wandering about a bit on the road, but only to avoid the worst of the pot holes. These VIP’s took no cognisance of my new responsibilities. Perhaps a sign in the back window would have helped? I drove like new parent going  home from the maternity unit. The idiot tag grew quite a lot more.

After about a thousand years we got home.

Repeating the words of the fish seller like a mantra, the new fish were introduced to the tank in the thirty minute ceremony. It was like a ceremony, and they were kept in their inner transit bag, floating in the tank, for the prescribed fifteen minutes. Then there was the Opening of the bag. The Adding of the Water. A Little Bit At A Time. At the thirty minute mark, the new fish were introduced to the tank.

They swam about a bit, and that was that. They lived. Blood pressure returned to its averagely appalling level, the stress flowed away. They just swam about, bumping into the glass every now and again, and poking at the plant with no name that we had inherited with the tank. They were alive. I sat down heavily, which considering how much weight I’ve put on the past few years, was quite easy, and watched the fish, my fish, swim about for the next hour or so. What were they thinking? Why was I asking that question? Its a slippery slop….

To be continued……

 

 

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