30 August 2010

R.I.P. Yellowy 2010-2010

About two weeks ago, my friend Eva gave us her 10-gallon fish tank. The excitement of a fish! After years of telling the kids about scuba diving and showing them pictures of fish in books, they would actually get to see one, up close, everyday.

Now, allow me to admit something.

I don't know nothing 'bout taking care of no fish.

Cats? I got. Dogs? I can manage. Fish? Haven't a clue.

Knowing that I knew nothing, I walked into PetSmart, kids in tow, full of questions. When we left, we had a sunburst wag platy and a ton of instructions. We were told to bring a water sample back in to the store in three to five days. That I did, and was then given a completely different set of instructions than those previously rendered. Hmmmm, I thought, which to follow? Well, they're rather similar, so I'll combine the two.

As of Saturday, we had had Yellowy (the name Bubba picked out for our first fish - I know, the damned thing wasn't yellow at all, more orange) for a week and according to both PetSmart fish department opinions, I was to change out 10% of the water. I followed the instructions, tweaking them based on what the AquaSafe bottle told me to do (Shut up! I always do what the bottle tells me to do! Shampoo bottle, rum bottle, AquaSafe bottle, doesn't matter.). All was well. Yellowy was doing his usual "butt-fin shaking happy-to-see-us dance" and everything was la-di-da.

Then Sunday dawned and Yellowy was obviously sick. He was sluggish and not happy. So, back to PetSmart I drove, where I was told the water's pH was high, add some of this here mystery powder, and no, he wouldn't have changed the water the way I did. Third opinion in place and head spinning, I hauled ass home. I added the mystery powder...

... and the damned fish died. Four hours later, it was nose-down in the gravel with nary a fin wave.

You know, I wouldn't be upset if it was me and the Ty-man with a dead fish and a very finicky cat who sticks his butt in our faces every chance he gets. But my Bubba, who named the fish, and talked to the damned thing every day, hung pictures up on its tank so it would have pretty drawings to look at every day, is frakking heartbroken. This was his first pet. J-man and Miss-Miss liked Yellowy, but they weren't as attached to it as our Bubba and it breaks my heart to see him cry.

So, it's back to the drawing board. I know fish are fragile. I get that it's difficult to keep the little buggars alive, but my almost-five-year-old doesn't know that. He doesn't appreciate his pet fish meeting the innards of a toilet.

I hate that I feel responsible and that one little fish can bring all my fears about death to the surface of my mind.


marty said...

I'm sorry Bubba is sad. Perhaps, a more elaborate funeral much like that of the late Sen Robert Byrd, would have made a more meaningful impression. I don't believe he was flushed down the toilet.

HEATHER said...

Heather, there has got to be a store that specializes in fish somewhere in the greater ATL area. Find it and make friends with them. I'm sure that they will be more knowledgeable than the PetSmart people.
I'm so sorry that poor Bubba is heartbroken.

Avitable said...

You know, turtles live in tanks, too, and they're a bit hardier. :)

sybil law said...

Well, Gilda's fish died, and I told her it was dead, and explained the whole death thing, and then we left the stupid fish in the tank for her dad (who get her the stupid fish) to dispose of.
Then hours later, she's running downstairs, yelling, "Goldie is alive!", and that stupid fish was swimming around, all crooked -like, but still - it seriously came back to life!
Try explaining THAT to your kid, after you just explained death. For a while, she thought fish were "like Jesus".
Anyway, sorry for Bubba. Fish really are pretty hard to care for!

Unknown said...

My friend has a fish tank and ALL of his fish died. And he followed all of that good, PetSmart advice, too. I told him that though it's cute, I didn't think fish were supposed to swim upside down, or do loopdy loops. But he wouldn't listen. And they died. Now the only thing that's living in that HUGE aquarium are the snails. And they are procreating like crazy. He's a snail whisperer, apparently. But he doesn't do fish. Hmmmm. You're not Norwegian by any chance are you? Cause, you know - maybe it's genetic.

Patois42 said...

I went through about a dozen fish when the kids were very young. I think my oldest was 3 and my daughter was 1.5. They had no idea we burned through so many.

Then I just gave up because I felt just heartless about having to constantly replace them.

The answer turned out to be inheriting a well established fish from friends when they moved to New Zealand. More than two years later, Moonshine thrives. Got any friends with spare fish?

Grant said...

You should have come to me for advice. I know all about fish. I recommend a nice marinade of olive oil, soy sauce, garlic, and black pepper.

Megan said...

We had a pair of goldfish once (thank you, grandpa). First one died, then the other eventually died (as they do). Lil' M was devastated.

We're never getting another fish. Ever.

MrsRobbieD said...

I have the same story as Sybil Law!! We renamed the fish HEY Zeus! But it did die again for good, now frozen awaiting to be exchanged at Walmart lol

Miss Britt said...

Awwwww, poor little guy. :-(

Try a gold fish next time - they're easy to replace without anyone knowing the difference!

Shelli said...

Start with goldfish or guppies. There pretty good survivors. And don't listen to Adam...Turtles give your kids salmonella.

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

Marty - Senator Byrd probably would have had a sense of humor about being flushed down a toilet.

Other Heather - I actually found one today near the kids' school. I will be picking their brains over the next couple of weeks!

Avitable - Shut it, mate.

Sybil Law - Dude! You had a zombie fish! Way cool!

LceeL - Nope. Not Norwegian. Does German count? ;)

Patois - I may have to put out an ad on Craigs' List for slightly-used fish. But, if I do that, I may get more than what I bargained for!

Grant - You forgot salt!

Finn - That's about how I feel right now.

MrsRobbieD - OK. The dead fish in the freezer? Cracking me up!

Miss Britt - Your mom told me about your parakeet. 8-0 I just can't do that. And sorry about your bird.

Shelli - I know. Miss-Miss wanted a frog and all I could think was "Bacteria! Germs! BLECH!" Yeah, it's either fish or a kitten.

Mommycosm said...

I don't do fish. We had them when I was growing up and they died all the time. Too depressing for me.

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

MommyCosm - I'm beginning to think that way, too.

A Free Man said...

Dude, just get a goldfish. They're impossible to kill. We've had some for a couple of years that outgrew the tank, so I put them in the garden pond hoping they'd freeze or boil or be eaten by birds. Nope. Now they're the size of a good dinner.

My fish rearing advice? Just ignore them, feed them when you remember and you can't get rid of them.

Halalamama said...

AWww....you had me at "put pictures on the tank."

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

A Free Man - I keep hearing that the best way to keep fish is to ignore them. Let the tanks get green and then suddenly remember they're there. I'll give it a go!

Halala Mama - I know. He's precious.

Bob said...

I've had an aquarium for 30 years now. I highly recommend something in the Rasbora family. I bought 10 of them for our tank five years ago. We still have a few. Ours are Harlequin Rasboras. They're hardy, and their dirt cheap. I'm not a fan of the Platy family, they seem a bit more fragile.

I don't mess with PH and all that crap. I use the chlorine remover, but that's it. If the fish won't live in it, then I look for a different species that will survive. My experience is that the less I screw with the water, the better the fish live. Also, a GOOD filter is important. I highly recommend the Aquaclear 20, that's what I used for years on a 29 gallon aquarium.

Also, the comment about finding a local fish store is a good one. I get good advise at PetSmart, but only because there is one girl in the fish department that came from a local store and she knows her shit when it comes to fish. The other employees are all useless.

Good luck, and holler if you have any questions. I'll try to answer them.