About two weeks ago my friend Bethany and I attended a gold fish race. Early that day we went to the goldfish breeding stables to find ourselves each a prize racing goldie. It was an easy choice for me, this fine gilled specimen was true to his name as he was sure to bring home the gold! Only...I didn't expect him to live long enough to come home. Anyway, Bethany had also choosen her purebred, we mad the purchase and with little fish baggies in hand made our way to the races. In order to enter our amphibious friends into the race brackets they had to be named. Due to the uncanny similarity my goldfish has to Mr. Charlie Chaplin, the christening was simple. His name is Charlie. Bethany, for reasons still unknown to me, decided her goldfish was a Rose. So Charlie and Rose they are. The pairing was sure to be a good one, if you have ever seen my favorite movie, So I Married an Axe Murderer, you will understand. The brackets were set and the races had begun. Charlies first race was versus Ashley's fish called I Pity The Fool. (click here to watch the race!) Now, I knew Charlie was fast, you don't survive that long in the goldfish feeders tank being slow, so my confidence was high. The race started and Charlie quickly pulled into the lead swimming like a streamlined dolphin gracefully to the other side and almost...got to the end. Instead, he turned around and swam all the way back to me. Then, all the way to the end again, and once again...back to me. 4 laps he made, like lightning strikes across the pool he swam! He just never crossed the dang finish line. Then finally like the tortoise crossing the line slow and easy just in front of wild Bugs Bunny, I Pity The Fool slowly crossed the line and won the race. Only having swam from one end of the pool to the other in the same time Charlie made the trip four times. But alas, it wasn't a speed trial, it was a race to get from one end to the other, and my little champion Charlie was eliminated. As you will see though, in life, Charlie would refuse to be eliminated! Rose fared much better taking fourth place overall in the event. She was a greater racer than Charlie, but alas...lacked his survival instincts and fight for life. The night ended with some hilarious bravado as young strapping men overwhelming failed at getting all the water outside of the house, and little Charlie and Rose sat on the mantle in tiny plastic cups awaiting they're fate as Bethany and I marveled that they had survived the night at all, leaving us in an unplanned conundrum.
The nights intensity had fused a bond between fish and owner that could not, would not end on this night! So into a popcorn bowl Charlie and Rose went as we planned their future. The next day a small fish bowl with fancy rocks, fun decorations, and yummy goldfish flakes to fill their bellies, became Charlie and Rose's new home. They were happy and healthy...for a few hours. As the poor suffocating fishes gulped desperately at the surface for air, I realized they didn't have enough oxygen in that tiny little bowl. I began desperately stirring the bowl, and even blowing bubbles into the tank with my bendy straw that Bethany so mercifully provided. For three days I stirred and blew, blew and stir, desperately trying to keep my little friends alive. Finally one day I couldn't stand to see them suffer so much. I bought them a new home. A large filtered tank bigger than anything they could dream of! So I thought...After setting up their new home, testing water quality and temperature, and putting them into their new paradise, I did some internet research. Did you know that every goldfish needs 20 gallons of water to live healthily!? Me neither, this 5 gallon toilet bowl was still much to insufficient... And they were still gulping the surface for air. They need a bubbler! But how much more can I get into this? After all, they're 23 cent feeder fish! No! Charlie may have been bred to feed to my roommates turtle, but he is mine! I vowed to keep him and his lady friend Rose alive!
On the day I meant to go get the bubbler I returned from work to a sad, horrible scene. Poor little Rose, was nestled tightly under her favorite little turtle rock. A light tap with the straw revealed what my broken heart already knew...Rose had gone to swim in the giant fish bowl in the sky. I contacted Bethany and we had a small private fish flushing ceremony. Rose was gone. She was a great fish, the stress and owner negligence were just too much for her to handle. In the sorrow and grief, I forgot all about the bubbler that poor Charlie still desperately needed. On the very next day the tragic scene mercilessly repeated itself as I returned home from work to see Charlie, lying quietly on the rocks under the same turtle cave, motionless. His heart couldn't handle the loneliness, and his lungs the lack of oxygen, but mostly it was the loneliness, and he had joined his beloved Rose in the fish bowl in the sky. I couldn't bare to flush him though...not yet.
So the next day, all sorrow forgotten, Bethany and I went back to the fish store. After all, we had this nice fancy tank! We found some fun little fish that could survive in our huge little tank, bought a bubbler, and a heater (since our new fish are tropical) and hurried home to set it all up so we wouldn't be late for the surprise part of the birthday party we were going to that night. We got home and witnessed a miracle! Charlie had moved a little bit and I could see him better in this position. His gills were moving! Charlie was still alive! The joy, shock, and amazement was increased as I hurriedly inserted the bubbler into the tank and Charlie immediately started swimming around like normal again! He was fine! Yay hooray! Suddenly though, the predicament at hand came to realization. The new tropical guppies couldn't live in their sealed baggies for more than twenty minutes, the fish couldn't all stay in the same tank as the guppies need warmer water, they eat different food, Charlie produces too much ammonia, and in all honesty...Charlie could eat the new fish! According to Google anyway... So what the heck are we supposed to do?! The surprise is in ten minutes! I place the bags of guppies in the tank to acclimate water temps and turn my brain to think mode as Bethany desperately laments missing the surprise part of the surprise party. Reason won out over heart this time, as we had just spent an egregious amount of money making sure the tank was suitable for the guppies, and in fact...Charlie cost 23 cents. So the tank was prepared for guppies, and poor Charlie was placed back in his tiny, boring, insufficient bowl.
The guilt and pain I felt over how I had just betrayed my little Charlie nagged at me all night, I couldn't go on living my plush life knowing that after all we had been through together, I had abandoned him for these strange new fish whom I had no feelings for. That night, when I got home from the surprise party(we didn't miss the surprise, yay!), I hastily did some more internet research and learned that the disturbances that the filter makes in the tank is probably good enough to keep the guppies healthy and oxygenated! Which means, I can give the bubbler to Charlie in his itty bitty bowl! I made the switch and again Charlie immediately perked up to good health again. Today, at this moment, all fish are alive and well (more than I can say for me...the dang thing is so loud! ugh). Charlie is still in a tank that is about 19 gallons short of ideal, and his heart still yearns for poor Rose, but at least for now, he is alive. I continue to rack my brain for a solution, and I hope that this story has racked your heart into helping me find Charlie a more suitable home than his bland bowl on my dresser!
The End (for now)
For queries on how you can adopt poor Charlie or help him find a new, suitable home, please contact Dallon. Thank you!
|In Loving Memory of Rose The Goldfish.|