The Fish Ate My Homework

So, I know you’re all tired of my saying I’m late because of a cat or another.  That’s okay.  These last two days it was the fish’s turn.  The fish is a red and blue (with tiny little bit of white on the necktie fins) betta, whose full name is Agile Antelope Betta Version, but whose calling name is Derp, also Derpfish and Derpsardine.

He’s about one and a half years old, his main hobby is building magnificent bubble palaces, in hopes I’ll relent and getting him a bride.  But for the last two weeks not only hasn’t he building a bubble palace, he’s not been eating as usual.  Normally he devours his pellets, and I only clean the product of the other end from the tank.

I’ll start by saying I’m an obsessive aquarium keeper.  This is my first fish, and I feel obligated to him — since he’s alive and I got him (mostly to rescue him from the Petsmart, I’ll admit, but also because of his color) I don’t want to make him suffer, so I try to keep the tank spotless.  It’s five gallons, with lots of places to hide, in two seashells and behind silk plants.

I change the water a little bit every day, when I clean it with the pipette, and before I feed him for the night.  I give him the recommended food.  I warm his water before adding to the tank.  I put in conditioning and aquarium salt.

I read all the books of things that could happen to aquariums and bettas when I got him, of course, but I always KNEW the cotton wool-like fungus that takes over aquaria and kills bettas wouldn’t happen to me.  Mostly because I’m a good aquarium keeper.

I was wrong.  On Tuesday older son who is back for the holidays remarked derpsardine wasn’t moving much from behind his thermometer.  I told him I’d noticed, and also that yeah, he’s not been eating much.

Son’s eyes are better than mine and noticed the swelling below the eye, which after a day was a little cotton-wool like puff.

We spent much of yesterday looking for an open place that carried the spring water we put Derpy in, with no success.

At any rate, I used my last gallon in the secondary tank, (a one gallon) with drops of antifungal medicine.  He seems more animated, but before I return him to the main tank, I had to break it down and soak it in baking soda solution, because (again, son’s eyes are better than mine) son pointed out that there were little white bits in the water.  This morning, when I broke down the aquarium, filters, aerator and all the toys, I noted that there were actual rings of fungal stuff floating in the water.

It is all now in its second rinse, and yes, I do realize I’m going to need to re-cycle the aquarium when all this is done to reestablish the good bacteria that keep ammonia down, but there was no other choice as I must get rid of the fungus.

And yes, I know, all of that sounds incredibly boring and somehow a lot of work.  I agree.  It’s likely when we do lose Derpy we’ll have no other fish ever, because I don’t have time for that kind of hobby, and I’m not even sure what possessed me to pick up Derpy in the first plce.  However, now I have him, and he’s my responsibility.

Oh, and the answer to “how did things get this far he got fungus” is “Because all the time I have I’m not working or cleaning or doing other such things, we’re looking at house.”  I’ve had a lot of nights where I simply lack the steam/spoons to do anything but crash at around 10:00 pm, which means no extra things (like cleaning Derpsardine’s home) happen.  I’ve done the little bit of water replacement I do every day, but instead of replacing all the water and wiping down the toys, etc, once a week, I haven’t done it in a month and a half.

And yes, I feel horribly guilty because a living thing shouldn’t suffer through my being too busy.

I’m trying to edit two very short collections for ya’ll for the holidays, but it will be probably another day, what will all the excitement.  Ditto with Witch’s Daughter and a bunch of the newly-reverted books.

Anyway, this must be the longest excuse note I ever wrote, so I’ll let you discuss fish and stuff, while I go finish cleaning the aquarium.

44 responses to “The Fish Ate My Homework

  1. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    Fish? I love to eat fish but little Derp is safe. Now, Megalodon is another matter. [Very Big Dragon Grin]

  2. in hopes I’ll relent and getting him a bride.

    He needs to get onto your WiFi so he can join in the competition here to get a carp thrown at him.

    I’m really awfully glad I’m a Betta, because I don’t work so hard. And then we are much better than the Gammas and Deltas.

  3. c4c

  4. We had a couple of years when we took the fish on vacation with us. They are more work than you think sometimes.

  5. It’s good to hear that the Derpfish is feeling better. Most freshwater fish respond remarkable well to treatment and get better with surprising speed and bettas are particularly tough little guys.

  6. One of the grad students came back from a long weekend (in February) to discover that the heaters on his two saltwater tanks (one was seahorses) had been unplugged, with predictable results. No one had been inside the house. But his Golden-Shepherd-everything-canine-mix dog seemed to be gloating for the next two weeks. Craig always wondered . . .

  7. Christopher M. Chupik

    You need to get Derpfish in the Shifters series.

  8. When we started naming the goldfish Clorox and Flush, I knew it was time to give up on fish. They are way too much effort for very little return.

    • Not all fish are like that. My dad kept a freshwater angelfish for years. He had a picture of the fish on his phone to show off when we were at the pet shop getting supplies for the tank. During the day he’d watch the fish and the angelfish would watch him right back, swimming back and forth. If he put his finger against the glass the angelfish would hover in front of it and when he moved the fish go to the edge of the tank to follow him. The fish finally died when it was something like six years old, after which my dad decided that he didn’t want to get another angelfish because, as far as he was concerned, that particular fish was irreplaceable.

  9. I’m an obsessive aquarium keeper.

    The English language sucks. I can’t tell whether that means you keep obsessive aquariums or you are obsessive in how you keep your aquariums (aquaria?)

    Similarly, at the grocery store this evening I noticed they had a space labeled for retired veteran parking and immediately looked about for the outgoing veterans’ parking. I still can’t figure out if they spaces they’ve reserved as “customer with child” parking refers to pregnant women and men or could be used by me and my mum were she not entitled to the handicapped spaces.

  10. Sorry about the Derpfish ,,, With all the cats, I don’t think I could ever contemplate keeping a fish. Just don’t – the cattles and the two doggles are enough for me. I can barely keep level with the necessary housework and maintenance as it is.

    • That’s why I said, after Version goes to his reward, that’s it for fish.
      You see, I thought he’d be just like an animated platn. Then I found myself emotionally attached…

    • Back when we had cats I tried and tried to persuade Beloved Spouse that we could get a hamster or two, run habitrail tube around the baseboard and simultaneously provide exercise for rodent and feline.

      It is proof of Beloved Spouse’s unreasonableness and intransigence that this scheme was never adopted.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        Sounds like a smart Lady to me. [Very Big Grin]

      • Should have said you’d hook up a treadmill to the hamster tube to generate electricity and save money on utilities.

      • William O. B'Livion

        I was seriously considering getting 2-3 miniature goats and an Australian Cattle dog for the back yard.

        Keep the grass trimmed and fertilized and me amused all at once.

        • That’s the problem with the World today — too few people give due consideration to the principle of synergy in pets!

      • When I was a wee lad, I had a cat, and also a hamster who lived in a Habitrail. Cat used to sit and watch. One day, hamster figured out how to open the lid on the penthouse. Cat was there to help. Hamster died a few hours later from being half eaten by cat. It was awful. Took me years to forgive the cat, once I grew up enough to realize that he was just being, you know, a cat. Also had fish, but one kept jumping out of the bowl and committed suicide that way. Animals are traumatizing. Good luck to Derpfish; my oldest son lost his beta to fungus.

  11. Sorry about your fish. Daughter and I went through something similar with Fred, our first and only goldfish – hers was the only one which survived Freshman year (why on earth idiots give living things to freshmen, I’ll never understand).

    Fred was beautiful, with amazing fins and tail – but something got him, and even though we joined online goldfish clubs and did everything including putting him in the refrigerator, Fred didn’t make it.

    I still feel guilty – and he wasn’t even mine. Daughter will never have another fish.

    It’s a responsibility and a commitment to a living thing. My houseplants have been with me longer than my children.

    My condolences.

    • He’s still with us and rallying a bit. We’ll see.

      • I hope it works. They are such little and delicate things.

        • Well, derpy seems not to have fuzz on the side of his cheek anymore, but he still has a blister…

          • No matter what Anybody tells you, do NOT add Aquavit to his tank. I don’t care what Google Translate tells you the name means, it does not go well with fish.

          • The Betta fish are amazingly tough. My Elder daughters buddies freshman year decided to go out and get the one pet that Gordon College allowed them, a fish. They came back with it and had nary a clue what to do with it. My daughter who’d had tropical fish from 2nd grade to Junior year in high school intervened to save the fish. The girls on the floor got bored of Electron (Why electron? Because he was a Beta particle, electric blue and my daughter was taking physics). He lasted till this summer when my daughter graduated. He traveled the 20 miles or so from gordon and back many times and survived. Almost 4 years is quite an achievement for a fish. As for the cats, one couldn’t care the other would notice him and trill and call like it was another cat to play with. Needless to say Electron declined to come out.

          • Hoping he’s getting better.

  12. richardmcenroe

    Derpfish IS MegaBettaRanha in MEGABETTARANHA 3: Screw the Cameos, I Want to Kill Something! Coming soon to SYFY!

  13. I was expecting a CARP or three. I…am DisAPPOINT. Over it, I will get as a rainbow, like an optical allusion.

  14. When I was a kid we always kept goldfish. Cheapo ordinary goldfish. At some point we ran out of fish food… so I took a notion to feed ’em live fresh-caught ants, and the occasional leaf-hopper.

    The fish loved ’em … and we never had to clean the tank again. No more fishy effluvient, no more pond scum. Apparently there’s something to a natural diet.

  15. We worked our way up through the animal kingdom with the yard ape before she was allowed to get a dog. As a result, fish came after insects. What we learn from that, may help you.

    The trick is to have two one fish-sized aquaria. Have one easy to clean item for the fish to swim around. Day one fill the back up aquarium with water, day 2, let aerate. Day three, move the fish into the backup aquarium and scrub out the second aquarium and one swim-around item in it. Repeat.

    The trick is to keep it simple. These are fish: do not anthropomorphise them. And all will be well.

  16. yesterday was a travel day for me. Spent Christmas with Mom, Dad, two of my Sisters, A disappointing Nephew, his ex, their daughter, and a Brother-in-Law.
    Spoking of fishes, Mom and Middle Sis were adding stock to the tank when I left.
    Some Tetras, Tiger Spikes(?), and some Clown cleaners.
    They were quite put out with the help at the store who it seemed beat the fish into submission so they were returning two (one didn’t survive the trip home, and one was spotted badly and not acting healthy), and then heading to a different store for some other piscine residents.
    I considered going with to film the return, and seeing how close to The Parrot Skit it came.
    Sis has a rather cutting whit, and Mom can do well also.

  17. If it isn’t one thing, it’s another. Your days are getting to be like my nights (this is a Bad Thing – this particular night saw one person leave way early to tend to ill child, and another just walk off the job). Myself, I have this glass of Laphroaig 10 just now. $HOUSEMATE claims it smells/tastes of medical preservative. I only notice smokiness.

  18. BobtheRegisterredFool

    I just heard about the Tornadoes in Dallas. Emily, Amanda, anyone else in the area; Y’all okay?