Thursday, April 15, 2010

5 Second Fish

In our house - we like resiliency.

There is a reason that I am drawn to plants that say "low maintenance".

There is a reason that I am thankful when the dogs are smart enough to "tell me" that they have a physical unmet need - you know, like food or water.

And there is a reason that when it comes to fish - we like the tough kind.

The kind that can go without weeks without regular feedings, that are strong enough to survive water in less than ideal pH levels, and that are not prone to disease or early expiration.

When I purchase these fish (which is seldom) I know they will not play nicely with others but I also know they will be around for many days.

And then....

For my birthday this year I got 2 parrot cichlids. While the cichlid breed is pretty strong and pretty aggressive, the parrot has some behavior tendencies but lacks the ability to act on it with great conviction for two reasons.

1. They are chicken, skidd-ish fish and like to spend much time in hiding.

2. They have a smaller mouth opening - which slows them down when it comes to eating their tank mates.

Because of their nervous nature, they do better when they have some kind of schooling fish to assure them that all is well in the world. After some research, we found picked out a tank-mate that should have been a lovely match. We added 5 to the tank. Slowly, they began to disappear.

We noticed that this often happened when my work schedule got out of control. (Read as: I forgot to do regular feedings - motivating the big fish to pick on the small fish.)

When I realized that I was part of the problem. I resumed feeding and went to the store to pick up some fish - as I had one lone survivor.

Imagine my horror when I literally released the fish - and it immediately ended up in the mouth of a big fish. It did manage to escape. But only to be captured in the mouth of the second big fish. By the next morning - we once again found the tank with only one lone survivor - bless his heart, the same little yellow guy.

Lessons learned?

1. Fish warranties are no good when there is not a body to bring back.

2. Old fish can learn new tricks when properly motivated by starvation.


Janet said...

Oh dear. Poor fishies.

Megan said...

That little yellow one must be tough. Or maybe he's got something on those cichlids.

Karen said...

I was traumatized as a child when I saw two fish eating a smaller fish in my grandparents 50 gallon tank. I've kind of always wanted my own tank, but it still creeps me out.