June 19, 2010

A Fish Tale

When you travel so much, what kind of pet can you have? Well, I really, really wanna dog. I love dogs, but with my schedule it's just not feasible (or fair to the dog). Loving all animals, I have had about every kind of pet you can have and borrow other peoples' pets when they're away.

Nowadays, I settled on fish and have a big 60 gallon tank filled with white sand. I tried keeping a big, beautiful school of dainty neon tetras, which I love, but alas, they are so dainty that it was very hard keeping them alive. In fact, I ended up just killing a lot of Amazonian fish. Feeling somewhat guilty about this, I finally switched up to a heartier South American fish--a pair of bright orange tiger oscars that I named Diego and Santos, respectively. The tiny fish quickly grew into very large and very aggressive fish (which is what they're supposed to do) and became quite unruly--tapping the glass, splashing and fighting.

Also, Diego became greedier and greedier and grew larger and fatter and stronger than Santos. And then one day, Santos started swimming upside down and then eventually he was just floating upside down. Full-grown oscars are too gigantic to flush, so I had to have poor Santos euthanized (it pays to be married to a fish biologist). It was a mercy killing, given that Diego had already bitten him numerous times and peeled away large amounts of his scales (why, oh why must you be so mean, tiger oscar?)

The next day, Diego finished off the only other living thing in the tank, my 4-year old plecostoma, who I thought was immune given his size (big) and that he had been there first. I nearly cried I was so distraught.
I mean, I understand Diego's nature is to be territorial and aggressive, but the pleco was there first!

And so now I have a very large, single, angry fish who looms mightily in his territory and stares up at me with his fierce jaw every morning. I have changed his name to "Bastard" because it is far more fitting than the more humane and saintly Diego.

Bastard is the perfect pet for someone who travels lots because not only does he not care about me in the slightest, but if he doesn't get fed for a few days, it's not a big deal. He gets his fill when there is food and then makes it last. I still wish I had my itty bitty neon tetras just smiling and glowing in the light, but for now, Bastard will do.

1 comment:

Camels & Chocolate said...

Ha, we also have a big tank of fish in our home office! But they started dying and we couldn't figure out why so we just took all the living ones back to the exotic pet store last month so as to not kill anymore. Buuuut the big news is we had a baby two days ago--a fur baby! My mom's Maltese had three pups so as of August we'll finally be dog owners (only possible as I have a husband who is hardly ever on the road and doesn't mind taking care of him/her while I am!).