Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Murky Waters

I don't know where I got this crazy idea that I could be responsible for another life. It is a huge, weighty thing, the full import of which every now and then springs upon me unexpectedly like some homicidal maniac hiding in the closet with a hatchet. The absolute lunacy of it all wracks me with anxiety and guilt, and leads me to wonder what I was thinking when I decided we should add to our family.

I speak, of course, of our fish.

Since the fish came to live with us, I have gone back to the fish store more than once to purchase things to make the fishes' lives easier. More plants for the tank, so they'll be able to hide when they need to rest. A siphon for cleaning the tank. Medicine with the fish equivalent of tea tree oil in it, so their fins will heal, because they are Siamese fighting fish and can apparently nip at each other through the barrier in the tank. The barrier which, of course, has holes in it so the water on either side wil be properly filtered so they won't die.

I siphoned 25% of the water out of the tank yesterday and added medicine to the water, because Marlin, in particular, has been looking pretty raggedy. I don't know how this can be, and it pains me, mainly because I harbor a special fondness for Marlin, because it seems that he is the older and wiser of the two. I assumed he would be the dominant fish, but that honor apparently actually goes to Nemo, who is dumb as a box of rocks, but very quick and hyperaggressive.

An example of how dumb and hyperaggressive Nemo is: prior to cleaning the tank, the water level had decreased somewhat. When we would feed the fish their little fish pellets, Nemo would be so focused on trying to kick Marlin's ass that he would actually ignore the food that plopped down on his side. Instead, he would hover close to the barrier and, when Marlin's food was dropped in, he would wait for the current generated by the filter to pop it through the barrier (this only happens when the water level is lower than usual), and then he would lunge over and eat it. When he did this, Marlin would swim back to the front of the tank, eyes bulging and looking as pissed off as a fish can look, and Nemo would practically turn cartwheels in the water and tell him to run off home and cry to his mama.

Now, I just looked in at my boys, and if anything, Marlin looks worse, despite the medicine. I want to kick Nemo's ass my own damn self.

Thank God we don't have a dog.

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