Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Joys of Fish Ownership

I love animals. I'm a huge fan of kitties and puppies. As a child we had many kinds of pets; including cats, dogs, fish, mice, rats, hamsters, gerbils (which make horrible pets), bunnies, and probably a few I'm forgetting. I also worked at a pony farm where I cared for horses, dogs, chickens, a donkey and a cow.

While I enjoyed all of that, animals require a lot of care and maintenance. I've cleaned up enough hairballs and scooped up enough horse poop to last me a lifetime. That's part of the reason that Andy and I don't have any pets. Because I don't want to take care of them.

For some reason, which I'm sure made sense at the time, Andy bought Michael a Betta fish last year for Valentine's day. As any mom could predict, the two of them took care of the fish for about two weeks, and then completely lost interest in the poor little bugger, leaving me with the responsibility of feeding it three times each day and changing it's water every week.

In other words. Hey, I have a pet fish!

After a few months of weekly water changes I bought a small tank with a filter. The good part? I didn't need to change the water as often. The bad part? Betta's like to eat food that is floating or falling. Once it hits the bottom of the tank, it's disappeared from that little fishy brain. Unfortunately, the filter in his tank sinks his food faster than he can eat it. So, to feed him I have to hover over the tank dropping the pellets in one by one. Just what a full time working mom wants to spend her time on.

I'm kind of over the fish at this point and I really wish he'd just go to the great big fish tank in the sky. But, he's a living thing, and we took on the responsibility of keeping him alive and well, so I will care for him.

A few weeks ago, the well part of the alive and well started to slip. The fish stopped eating, stopped spreading his beautiful little fins, and became very lethargic. I confess, I was kind of happy and hoped he would croak so that I wouldn't have to spend anymore time or money on a four dollar fish.

A few days passed, he didn't improve but he didn't die. Damn.

A few more days passed. He didn't improve but he didn't die. Double damn.

A few more days passed and I noticed a small white growth on his face. But, he didn't die.

I couldn't deny it. The poor thing had a fungal infection and he was suffering. He was clearly eating enough to hang on. The poor little guy was in pain, in my house, under my care. Unacceptable.

I know that there are people out there that would have just tossed him in the toilet and given him the big flush, but even though he's an itty, bitty little fish, with and even ittier, bittier brain, I just couldn't do it.

So, on Monday night Andy picked up some water treatment, and I started the intense process of trying to heal the very fish that I'm sick and tired of taking care of.

The good news? The water treatment was pretty cheap.

The bad news? The treatment seems to be working.

Does anyone want a free fish?


Lindsay said...

Same situation here: I have a betta fish. Last week while the boys and I were out of town, Bryan was in charge of feeding Swimmer. Friday, I traded texts with my maid to apologize that I had no idea what state Bryan left the house in. She replied with, "I hate to tell you, but the fish is dead. Do you want me to flush it before the boys see?" I was furious that Bryan couldn't seem to feed the stupid fish for a week but luckily didn't say anything out loud. As she went to retrieve the body, Swimmer moved. He had just be resting sideways under a fake leaf. Nice. My feelings about the false alarm were... conflicted. I feel your pain.

Stacey said...

I'll happily trade you my dog for your fish.