Saturday, May 2, 2009

Big Scary Fish

Four years ago, we were garage-saleing, and this lady had a ton of aquarium stuff she was trying to get rid of. Eventually she persuaded us to take two 10 gallon tanks, a bunch of rocks, a half dozen filtration units, several dozen filters, some breeding tanks, a bunch of fake plants, and a couple of heaters all for $10. We got home and six months later cleaned everything out (hey, it was a nice wintertime project). We threw away the rocks, because Justin said you don't know if they have anything harmful in them, and it's always best to have new rocks. Justin just wanted to have plants. Ha! We did go to petsmart to get plants, but they were also having a 99 cent fish sale! We ended up getting some zebra and neon tetras, a pleco (algae eater) and an aquatic frog. (oh, and a few plants)

Well..... the pleco died because we were stupid. It was a NEW tank, therefore there was no algae for the pleco to eat, and we didn't know we were supposed to feed it when there wasn't anything else! We took it back and got another. The aquatic frog died after a few days, so we returned it and got another... which also proceeded to die. We got yet another, which ALSO died. At that point, we decided to stick with the 3 zebra tetras, 2 neon tetras (which actually I think originally was 3), and the pleco.

The pleco quickly outgrew the 10 gallon tank, but we didn't want to upgrade. We named him Big Scary Fish, because compared to our 1.5" tetras, this sucker was a good 8" long. Whenever we would replant the fake plants, he would go around and swish his giant tail to free them all again. Eventually we quit replanting them, because obviously, BSF wanted the room.

All this time, we've either had to go back to our house in Ohio, or ask our neighbors to feed the fish on the weekends. Finally, last weekend, we purchased a brand new 29 gallon tank from Walmart, and set it up. We headed out to our house on Sunday, and loaded up the fish in a 5 gallon bucket with the bubblers in it, and covered the top with Glad Press-n-Seal. I plugged the bubblers into my handy-dandy 110v outlet in my Vibe, and we headed back to our apartment. Since the water in the bucket and the water in the tank were two different temps, we decided to let the fish hang out in the bucket overnight so the temps would equalize.

Monday morning, I got up with Alex around 7am, and fed him. Afterwards, we hung out in the living room for a while, and around 8:30, I was walking past his bedroom (where the fish tank is) to ours, where I was going to lay Alex down for his morning nap. I happened to glance on the floor, and I saw BSF on the carpet, not moving! I told the dogs to stay, then hurried into my bedroom to lay Alex down in his bassinet. I then ran back to his room, and grabbed the net. I put the net under his tail, where he was stiff as a board. "Oh no," I thought, "BSF is dead." I put him in the new aquarium any way, which at the time had nothing but water in it. No rocks, no plants, no bubblers other than the filter. It was even only filled to about 15 gallons. He sunk to the bottom and since there were no rocks in the tank, I could see his sucker moving on the bottom. He was still alive!

He looked pretty bad though. He had flopped on the carpet at least 4 feet from where the bucket was, and had hair and other carpet fibers on his body. I let him be for a while, since I didn't want to stress him out more. After a few hours, I added the other fish and more water to the tank. When Justin came home from work, he put in the bottom filters, the bubblers, the rocks, and the fake plants (we have since added some live ones).

BSF was (and is) starting to look pretty jagged. I took these pictures on Friday:

His dorsal fin is even worse, and his tail fin is starting to die off. His back scales are flaking off and they are pretty red underneath. I went to an aquarium shop a block from the house and talked to the owner, and he gave me some medicine to hopefully fix him. I have to put in 1tsp/10gal of water for 7 days. Hopefully he can hold on that long and his fins will start to grow back. If not, he will just be even scarier, I guess.


Heather said...

Wow! Quite an adventure. I woulda let him die. I HATE plecos! Ugh, they are SO grotesque! LOL I gave up trying to buy new fish because they kept dying, and now I have 4 neons and a blue danyo that I've had since September, they even survived the big blackout with no filtration. And I haven't done a water change since November. I just keep adding more water. I'm afraid to change anything and cause them to die somehow.

Kevin said...

We had some pleco's for several years and would joke that we just couldn't kill them! Well, one of them did eventually die in one of our tanks when the heater malfunctioned and cooked him right there in the aquarium.

The biggest one I've seen was about a foot long at the pet store.

Heather said...

My friends had one that lived for 7 years, and when it died their daughter tried to flush it and it clogged the toilet. Those things are monstrous.

Thanks Amber for the suggestions, I'm going to try them. Anything to make the oatmeal taste better. I wanted to eat some cereal, but the only one I could have is All Bran, which is like eating twigs. The oatmeal is actually better than that! lol