We have had a fish tank, oh, for about a year now. It started as just a goldfish in a bowl, and morphed into a 26 gallon water world– complete with a percolating volcano and 15 of our fishy friends.
The boy loves it, but I have to say it is a laborious chore. Not to mention, fish seem to have a pretty perilous lifespan. For the fifteen in the tank now, we’ve probably had twice as many that didn’t make it.
The challenge of having a big tank is keeping the environment stable. Much like the climate of a womb, fish can’t survive without a constant unchanging and neutral place to swim around. There’s the water temperature and filtration to consider, the pH and hardness of the water, the constant monitoring of things like ammonia and various chemical compounds that are far more scientific than what I can thoughtfully explain.
We had one catastrophe last summer where we lost all but two fish. I still don’t know what happened but it was one of those events that brought up old wounds. One by one, the fish kept dying, despite all of my intervention. I cried (I’m such a baby) because I couldn’t take care of a basic fish tank, and worse- my son was growing weary of my inability to keep any fish alive. I felt like I disappointed him, oh, how that hurt!
So I did what I’ve always done, which was google myself into a frenzy, read, educate, and then… keep going. I decided I would be the expert on fish care, and that OUR fish would never again die a premature death on my watch. Sound familiar???
Ironically, a few did die, but just a few and probably from old age, not my fish-tending skills.
Three weeks ago, I was sitting in my chair which I pulled up alongside the tank- to watch my kin, and there… in the biggest plant, I saw two baby fish the size of grains of rice swimming around and darting away from my big fish. I had fish babies! In aquarium lingo, my livebearers produced “fry”.
I immediately felt wistful for my two fishy friends. The likelihood of them being eaten by their own kind was high. I didn’t expect them to live and did not have another tank to transfer them to, so I just waited and watched.
They are still here. The are eating flake food, and getting bigger.
How is this possible?
I still am worried for them, but they seem to be little ninja fish. They are fighters, and, for now… they live.
And as with all things in life, I wait and watch.