Thursday, May 13, 2010

Tank girl

My exciting news of the week: I have five new pets. A. dropped off her fish tank at the house on Tuesday since she is moving away until October (sad). Honestly I never thought I'd have a fish tank. I had wanted to get a fish tank seven years ago and decided against it because it seemed way too complicated. No thanks, I'd rather have a dog, if I'm going to go to that much trouble. Dogs are much more affectionate than fish :-).

Looking over the array of accessories we took out of my sister's car, it did seem like a lot for a few fish -- a net, a bottle of chemicals, a siphon, three cylinders of food, filter, heater, light-timer, bubble-blower, etc.

I saw something move in the water while we were carrying in the heavy tank. "They're in there now?" I asked. "Yup." Five fish were in the tank: a big gold one (puffer), two silver ones (danios), one with a big triangle on it (?), and an algae-eater that usually doesn't come out of the castle.

We carried the tank up the stairs and plopped it down next to the TV in the lounge area. A. brought in loads of water from a white plastic bowl to fill it up. Suddenly I didn't know if I was going to be able to do this. So much could go wrong. I asked question after question: How often do I clean the tank? Do I have to dump out all the water when I do it? How much should I feed them? When do I turn on the light? How do I know when it's dirty? What if the filter breaks down?

My sister went over how all the gadgets work but seemed nonchalant about it. "Just clean it when it looks a little dirty, around every two weeks." Ah, but what if all the fish are dead when you get back?

Two days in and they're still alive, so that's a good sign. They seem complicated to take care of but most of it is automatically controlled. I'm enjoying these fish so far, somewhat unexpectedly. The whir of the tank was there to greet me when I got home late the last couple of nights. I fed them first thing when I got up this morning, watched them come to the surface to eat the particles of fish flakes. I peered into their world and wondered what it's like to spend your whole life in a 10-gallon tank with four other fish. In my nervousness I forgot to ask A. what their names are, or if they even have names. They should have names, I think.

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