The Little Frantic Fish

Our tank has been looking pretty bare with only 3 tetras swimming around in ten gallons of water. I don’t want more fish. These 3 get along so well and I’m afraid that adding more fish might disrupt the zen.

It wasn’t long ago I watched a couple pregnant guppies get their fins torn to shreds by the tetras. They could no longer swim with their big bellies and died. The male guppies then seemed to loose their will to live, got sick and died also. Eventually, the tank was down to one lone tetra.

My partner is the one who insists on having the tank for the sake of relaxation. I agree to it on the promise that he be the one to clean it. However, I find nothing relaxing about watching fish eat each other. The person who sold them to us said they’d be fine together. He was wrong. Or he lied. Ha. So the other day my partner got 2 more tetras to keep the lone survivor company. To my relief they get along much better than the last group of tetras. Though still a little bare, the tank is finally a view of tranquility and I insist on keeping it that way.

But my concerns are of little matter once my partner thinks he has a great idea. He walks in the door and reveals a bag with two new types of fish. One looks like a catfish the other looks like a catfish bred with an alge eater. It has spots of a leopard. He looks amazing, but spends most of his time inside the suckin pirate ship. He comes out now and then to show off but he’s pretty shy.

The catfish however, if that’s what it is, seems to be in full out panic. Rapidly swishing it’s tail scurrying across the glass as if it must absolutely get back to were it came from. Poor little guy. Being forced into a new enviroment can be hard on anyone. Surely it will adapt.

Later that night as I lay across the bed I notice the fish still frantically trying to escape our tank. It’s terrified. My partner assures me it will be fine once it figures out the boundary of the glass. I just can’t help but to empathize. What if it was friends with fish in the previous tank? What if it was happy and we stole it away dooming it to loneliness? What if it’s little fishy soul mate got left behind? All I can think is that this poor little thing is going to give itself a heart attack.

In the morning I woke to find the fish still swimming the glass. Still desperately searching for a non – existent escape. I think perhaps we should return him. Why keep something against it’s will? But then another idea comes to me. I tell my partner that he should go get another of it’s type from the same tank, if it doesn’t help then we’ll return him. After a little contemplation he agrees.

He goes out and comes back with one catfish and two more striped tetras! Upon releasing them into the tank the new catfish swims immediately over to our frantic one and they sit there at the bottom of the tank side by side for several minutes. It’s probably the first rest the fish has taken. And though it still sometimes looks like it’s searching for a way out, it has calmed down significantly and hangs out with his buddy all the time.

The leopard spotted one keeps happily to himself but is expected to out grow the tank. The striped tetras hang out together and the 3 that lived there before don’t seem too bothered by all the new company. Looks like my partner chose them well this time. Now we don’t only have a tank of tranquility but one that is also very lively and beautiful.

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