For his birthday last year, Clark received a fish tank from his Auntie Dano. She bought him an assortment of fish, including a couple mollies, a couple platys and an emerald catfish. A few died along the way and we replaced with similar fish. That was until we had what I like to call: The Great Die-Off.
You see, I knew almost nothing about taking care of fish. I thought you fed them every day or so, changed the filter every so often and that would be that. I was obviously wrong. All of the fish, except two, died pretty quickly and horribly over the winter from fin rot and ich. Our survivors, who were renamed "Mr. Black" (the black sailfin molly) and "Mr. Cat" (the emerald catfish) went to live in a shamefully tiny hospital tank for a few months while I went about the business of learning how to properly care for these fish who had fought so gallantly for their lives.
They made it through that terrible hospital tank period, but not without many ups and downs. Mr. Black looked like he wasn't going to make it and I went through such lengths as daily almost complete water changes and epsom salt baths. He appeared to have swim bladder disease and I was told by many to just kill him or let him die.
But that's not like me at all.
When I finally had a tank ready for them, they were released and crazy, happy healthiness ensued. I bought friends for them both and eventually set up a second tank that would be tailored specifically for Mr. Black (as the first had been tailored for Mr. Cat). In the end I decided to keep Mr. Black and Mr. Cat together in the original tank because I just didn't want to put them through any more stress, which I was pretty successful at preventing.
This afternoon I was performing my weekly water changes, testing and tank vacuuming. Clark was helping me out so I was a little distracted. After vacuuming I went about putting in the new water and after my second bucket, noticed that Clark was playing with the vacuum and there appeared to be something very, very nasty stuck in the tube.
Yep, it was Mr. Black. He had been stuck in the tube for at least five minutes and I was sure it was the death of him. I scrambled to put him back in the tank with Clark wailing "You trapped him! You did this to him!" in the background. I managed to get him out of the tube and left him swimming in the tank.
So, time will tell if the trauma was too much for him this time. I really hope it wasn't. I've done a lot to keep that damn fish alive!