Remember my wish to “Learn Gardening” and grow a fabulous herb garden (in The Beginning)? Well, if my lack of green thumbs wasn’t enough of a clue to Hubby Dearest, he decided to raise the stakes even higher and brought home a fish tank with ten tiny fish (two gold, two silver, two black and gold striped, two gold and silver spotted and two shiny black) and a list of instructions on the do’s and don’ts of fish rearing. If only he knew that I am a childhood fish murderer! (Please watch out for “Fish Tales – The Prequel” coming soon for more gory details on this). Well, to be fair, he wanted to bring home a puppy for our son, but I put my foot down because there was no way I was going to clean more poop and pee, that too of non-human variety, after becoming painstakingly free of the human variety just recently (Read all about it in The Poop and Pee Story)!
So, a school of fish it was! And I thought – how hard could it be? Fishes need to be fed only twice a day, poop and pee in the tank itself and don’t need to be hugged, petted, carried in lap or entertained for hours. Compared to taking care of a baby or a puppy, it sounded like a walk in the park (Imagine human babies needing to be fed only twice a day and cleaned only once a month! I am sure all mothers out there, especially the ones with infants or toddlers, are sighing “I Wish!” just about now).
Anyway to continue with the Fish Tales, the instructions from the pet store owner were quite specific and we followed them to the tee:
- Fill the fish tank with tap water and then “de-chlorinate” it with the chemical solution bought from the store.
- Set the temperature of the fish tank at a constant 28 Degrees Celsius (This being winter, a warmer water temperature is needed)
- First hold the plastic bag containing the fish in water for 30 minutes so that the temperature of water in the plastic bag matches the temperature in the tank before putting the fishes into the tank.
- On Day One don’t feed the fish.
- Feed the fish only twice a day and approximately two tiny pellets of food per fish per feeding. Don’t over-feed the fish. Basically a pinch of food pellets is enough for all ten fish per feeding.
- Clean the water filter every month.
- Clean the water in the tank every month (While doing this, again sudden temperature changes must be avoided when moving the fish to/from the temporary holding container)
- Last, but not the least, despite best efforts, fish being fragile sometimes die without any apparent causes. And so, it is bound to happen from time to time, especially in a new environment. Don’t complain if that happens!
And so our journey with Sunny Dearest’s first set of pets began. All of us kept admiring the tiny fish, once the tank was set up in our living room following the checklist above.
Day One and Two were quite uneventful, despite my amazing superpower to kill things with a gaze (The Big Bang Theory Fans, remember Sheldon Cooper trying to blow up people’s brains with his mind-power? Yeah, I can do that and more!). Surprisingly, both days remained accident-free as well, despite my son’s extreme curiosity, leading to some serious poking of all moving objects… and his inclination to using every slit or keyhole in the house (including the ones on top the fish tank’s covering) as garbage can or piggy-bank slots (Garbage/Treasure being his chipped crayons, chalk pieces, coins or anything remotely coin-shaped, stale food etc. Depending on his point of view at that particular instant, same object could become “Chee, chee, Gandha, Garbage!”, or “Arrrr, Treasure!”). Ironically, my son, who is not afraid of any living thing in and around the house or the neighborhood (be it creepy-crawlies, cats, dogs, ants, reptiles, you name it!), developed a “respectful” fear of the fishes, after I named the black & gold striped ones “Tiger Fishie 1” and “Tiger Fishie 2”. In case you are wondering about the names of the rest, they are “Goldie 1”, “Goldie 2”, “Silver Surfer 1”, “Silver Surfer 2”, “Black Magic 1”, “Black Magic 2” and finally “Spotty 1” and “Spotty 2” (Quite straightforward, don’t you think?).
Anyhow, Sunny Dearest’s fear, as amusing as it was to us, was also very beneficial, because no matter how much he wanted to go near the tank and prod the fish, he did not dare to go near, unless an adult was with him, just in case Tiger Fishie 1 or Tiger Fishie 2 decided to attack! Thus the fishes became shielded from his loving, yet deadly, experiments! [He has 50% my genes, so I am sure the “fish murderer” gene is part of his fabric as well!]
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