Posted by: Modern Mom | January 2, 2012

Adventures in Fish Ownership

My oldest son got a fish tank for Christmas. I was really excited about this, maybe even more than he was, because of my history with tropical fish. I was an avid owner and breeder of tropical fish for years. I have an extensive knowledge of freshwater tropical fish. My skills, however, can’t hold up to a three-year-old’s enthusiasm.

We’ve had the tank for a week now and our casualty rate is almost 50%. I knew starting a new tank that we’d have some casualties in the beginning. So I bought sacrificial fish. The ones on sale for a dollar. We started the tank Christmas day. The next day we went out and got five fish to start the tank with. I figured if those five made it through the first 48 hours, we could get a few more. Now, I would never have started a new tank and run it for less than a week before putting fish in it in my “professional” days, but patience is not in my son’s vocabulary. And, let’s face it, I was excited, too.

Our first five fish made it through the 48 hour test period with no signs of stress and no casualties. Success! Off we went to get a few more sacrificial fish. It’s a 29 gallon tank, so we could definitely support a few more. Well I’ll be damned if they didn’t have some expensive, pretty fish on sale and we bought three of them. They were bright colored and looked great in the tank.

The next day one of those expensive fish was belly up. Aw shoot. The most expensive fish in our tank, I discovered, were infected with Ich. It’s a nasty disease that causes fish to get white spots that are caused by a protozoic parasite. It spreads fast, and if not treated, is 100% deadly. Fantastic.

So, after our third casualty of our new fish, and an obvious infection of the rest of them, I was off to the store yet again to buy meds for these damn fish. Now I have a mission. I’m determined to save the remaining fish, but now I’ve got to start a regimen of treatment. If you know me, you know “regimen” is one of my least favorite words.

To say the least I’m a little less infatuated than I was a week ago. My son is learning way too much about tank maintenance already. This can’t be any fun for him. Well…no more new fish for a while. We’ll be happy with what we’ve got, provided they live through the treatment. Wish us, and them, luck!

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