Monday, September 29, 2008

Tales of pet sitting

I should not be allowed to have fish in my care. This is painfully obvious to those that know me well, but an unsuspecting coworker left me in charge of her small tank while she was gone for a family emergency. And the trials of this tank have entertained my cube neighbors since.

I'll start off by saying this, I'm not good at cleaning algae. This is the primary reason Aaron takes care of our tank at home. I make sure the fish eat just fine, but I tend to ignore the green form of life abounding along the sides, bottom, covering the plants and on the fish. Back when I had my own tank, the algae got so bad you couldn't see the fish inside. When a friend came over for the first time to my apartment, she saw the setup and asked, "How many fish do you have?" "Four," I replied. She lifted up the lid, hesitated, "Um, no, you've got three and a floater..." Oops.

Fast forward to now, I've had my coworker's tank in my cube since the beginning of August. When I received temporary ownership of this tank, it contained two guppies and a snail. A good month went by with everything going swimmingly (albeit green). Then one of the guppies died. This was right around my "Let's Take Care of Two Major Life Events Within One Week" phase, so I didn't replace it right away. As the tank got dirtier (although at this point I did clean the sides so I could see in, you know, just to make sure no one else died), I thought of something brilliant! Why not get an algae eater to replace the guppy? Then it'll make up for the little guy dying and start cleaning the tank! So I don't have to! See the amazing thought process?

But I didn't get a new fish right then even, I waited until this last weekend right before the coworker was due back. Rushing over to PetCo on my lunch break, I found a nice sized plecostomus and considered even getting another guppy. Till I saw the guppy tanks, with a good three dozen dead guppies in each. Umm, thanks, think I'll pass on that. Seriously PetCo, you can't even clean out the lifeless ones? I got Mr. Pleco back to my cube and spent the afternoon slowly introducing him into the tank. I even threw in an algae wafer for him, in case he didn't want to try the smorgasbord that lay before him. And I left Friday evening feeling pretty good about my effort.

I come in this morning and see the remaining guppy hiding out in the plants. Bizarre since he's usually racing around. And I can't find the pleco. And the snail's not moving at all. CRAP! (note: when I first typed that expletive, I wrote it as CARP! Ironic, eh?) I notice that there's definitely less algae on the ground and now I'm thinking the little guy ate so much algae he exploded. If you saw this tank, you would know that's entirely possible.

Putting in a few flakes brought the guppy out from hiding. A half an hour later, after poking the snail with a straw, the pleco suddenly emerged from wherever he was hiding and has spent the rest of today chilling on one section of the glass. I think he's taking a break from the eating, cause he's got to keep up his figure and all. And thank goodness, another half hour after that, the snail got up and started moving around! I now have the sneaking suspicion that the snail and the pleco had a raging party this weekend and were both nursing hangovers when I got in today. So everyone's alive and well. Except that the water stinks like fish poo from the algae wafer that Mr. Pleco did not find satisfactory. Seriously, for the sake of everyone involved, take this thing out of my cube now!

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