Saturday, February 8, 2014

Jump, the Shark

Just before Grammy passed away, she and Grampa gave the kids a fish tank for Christmas. We've collectively had zero prior experience with keeping fish. But Jason did some research and set up the aquarium with child oversight. When I wrinkled my nose at all the visible cords and wires snaking behind the tank, he created a cardboard and hand colored backdrop to hide them. Then we waited for two weeks for the water to be conditioned.

Today we went to the pet store to choose our first fish family. Our goal was to implement an easier to maintain, symbiotic freshwater environment. After much deliberating with an informed and patient pet store employee, we ended up with three Somethingorother Barbs, two Black Something Mollies, and a Somethinginnocuous Shark. We also wanted a Yuckies Sucker Upper, but he was out of stock, so we planned to add him later. Those might not be legit genus species names.

In go the Barbs

We haven't christened our new pets officially, but have thrown around a few name suggestions. The black and yellow Mollies might be Goldfin & Blackfin or Hawkeye &Tiger. They seem to be good friends.

Jason thought Pheno and Pento would be great for the female Barb (ital)s, and Alex wanted to name the male, Gilbert. He also hopes the girls get pregnant, Gilbert. "Come and knock on our door..."  Ben picked out the shark and thought he looked like a Russell.

The Shark

I had to pry the kids from the mesmerizing display to eat. True, it's only day one, and surely the curiosity will fade, but I was happy to see them excited by a new learning experience that involved a different sort of touch screen.

Alex was shirtless, because he'd gotten soaked placing a plant.

With no prompt, Alex tracked down a notebook and started journaling about the day's events. The boys chattered and wondered about how to keep potential babies from being eaten, and weather a particular movement indicated they were ready to school, why they seemed to stick with their own breeds, and whether or not fish ever sleep. As they launched into a discussion about their unique personalities, I asked, "I wonder who studies fish behavior?" (as in, what profession).
Alex replied informatively, "I do! I have a fish journal."

Later, some friends came over and we were distracted from the tank for a bit. When we checked back later, the shark was missing. We searched the treasure chest. We wiggled the plants. We took apart the filter. We interrogated the two-year-olds. No shark. We googled, "disappearing aquarium fish" and pinned the blame on the Barbs, (short for barbarian perhaps?). Though the theory didn't sit well. There was no trace and we hadn't been away long.

Later still, a friend came over and we told him our fish tale. He recalled having fish as a child where some fish were lost by leaping from the tank. We doubted the possibility since the few openings in the lid were quite small, but still we scooted the furniture and peeked. There, adhered to the wall, was our jumper. Gone too soon.

Alex and Gigi were the most troubled by the discovery. I was relieved to have the mystery solved. Alex got a piece of paper and taped it over the openings to thwart any other adventurous characters. Our first day of fish keeping has been memorable. Thank you for the wonderful gift, Grammy and Grampa!

"I'm not sure I approve."

1 comment:

  1. From FB:
    Roger: Alas, poor Russell. I liked your post in spite of his plight, if for no better reason than Leo.

    Carrie: That was so sad and funny at the same time!! I had a beta fish who soared through the air one fateful morning. It was then I realized there was a such thing as flying fish!

    Ellen: Great recap of the harrowing evening and kudos to Justin for recalling details of his fish keeping stint as a child. Without him how long do you think it would have taken for Jump to start smelling?

    Sarah: So this is really, really weird. I had a dream last night that we had a fish tank that was full of baby fish!! We don't even have fish, much less a tank. We haven't even discussed having fish as a pet. I never had fish growing up.

    Kelly: "Adhered to the wall..." So sad for the little guy, but that sentence cracked me up. May your other fish fare better.

    Jenny: Alex got out of bed this morning and went straight to the tank. "I think the Barbs are schooling! Wait. School must be over."