Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Nobody Died at My House Last Night

I know, yet another sensational title. I do find them quite entertaining though.

Yesterday morning, I made my morning rounds to say good morning to everybody. You would not think this a big deal until I mention that I have 6 bedrooms 4 bathrooms 4 large heartbeats and 5 small ones to keep track of. No, I have not started breeding genetically engineered pack hunters.

My daughter is now 5 and has been wanting a dog for a long time. We are currently between houses and renting and would rather delay a dog until she can help provide more of the care for it. Fish were the obvious answer. We went to the store, looked around, window shopped, checked prices, and left. We actually left without purchasing any fish. How cruel is that?

A little while later, we went back to window shopping at the pet store. Aeryn was so cute with the little fishies. I could not help myself. Yousun threw up her hands and said it was "on you." We picked up a darling little Aerial tank and two female bettas. I like predatory animals. Not vicious mind you. Interactive. Smart. Fast. Sleek. When you walk in the room, they notice you and react. When you do things near them, they are trying to watch and figure out what you are up to. In fact, when we were feeding them about a week ago, one of the pellets missed and stuck on the lip of the tank partially over the edge (it was wet). Before I could get to it and push it in, one of the bettas jumped out of the water, snagged it, and went back in.

They are crafty little buggers. Unfortunately, those two just did not want to play nice. The bigger one was getting bigger at a very fast pace. The little one was not. One night, I came in to feed them and I did not even see the little one. We looked all over. There really was only one place to hide, the huge castle that I was convinced to buy for the tiny tank. I very carefully, very slowly, raised the castle out of the water. Still no fish. I turned it over, no obvious fish. I carefully put it back into the water. We kept looking and interacting with the other fish. Then, Aeryn noticed that the fish was poking its head out the front door. Seriously, it was popping out of a front door in a house that was about the size of its body. It liked its home.

The problem was, the interior decorating of this molded castle was not actually designed to be gentle on fins and scales. The poor little girl was scraping herself raw in spots on the edges. The castle came out. Now that she did not have a good place to hide, the other one got a little bit more aggressive and the fish came out.

We then went out to the store and purchased a tank for me and three goldfish. A few hours later I had a tank with three goldfish and one agressive betta. It turns out that she had probably never seen anything as big as one of these goldfish and they had not seen something like her that they could not eat. One test pucker later and the betta was shooting across the tank at insane velocities. She quickly figured out the narrow places to hang out.

Yesterday, when I did my rounds, I found one of the goldfish was stuck to the filter. Poor little thing. I don't know why it died, but it was only a few days. It might have been the tank or the other fish. No damage was obvious and the filter definitely did not cause it. Aeryn walked in right when I was about to clean it up. Thankfully she does not appear to have been traumatized by it. That night I was off buying more stuff for bettas to hide and two more bettas. Aeryn was finally going to get her replacement betta.

As it turns out, the betta that we purchased for her might have been a boy. If you don't know. Bettas are also called Siamese Fighting Fish. Two boys will fight to the death instantly. The top of the cup said girl. We later found out that the side of the cup said boy. When introduced into Aeryn's tank, they performed some impressive displays, and started to arc around each other and move in slow circles. I thought they were being friendly.

Then the slow circles started to leap in different directions by an entire body length instantly. Occasionally they would end up in odd positions. After one of those lurches, the agressive girl betta had a nice long chunk of fin in her mouth which she slowly proceeded to slurp in like a kid with a spaghetti noodle. She quickly found herself out of that tank.

A little while later she was in my tank with more foliage and hiding places. As I was writing this, two of the bettas were actually snuggled together side by side in a hollow that I had scooped out of the rocks. They are pretty little fish.

The goldfish are acting like they are pressed for space. Many times, one of them will chase and follow around the other fish. I thought he was just being frisky, but I only see one of the signs that it is a he so I am not sure. Oh, the other odd thing is they look pressed for space in a 20 gallon tank.

We shall see. I hope they are all happy. I hope they all live a long time. In the meantime, I will continue doing my daily body count to make sure everybody is still here.


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