Friday, March 9

Oh, mercy mercy me

I want to kill a fish.

This one to be precise:

This fish wreaks havoc in the tank and beats the crap out of every other fish in the neighborhood. You would think it had already established territory as the alpha-fish around here when it beat and killed it's first three victims. Each of those deaths I attribute solely to the reign of the terrible tiger fish. I don't have evidence. Don't press me. I didn't witness the murders outright, but I do have eyes and I watch this fish daily chase, bully and intimidate everything else in the tank. It has been known to nose bash it's own reflection. But this morning when Ian came upstairs to tell me "another fish is dead and you're not gonna like it Mom" I sighed heavily and said "I want to kill a fish."

The latest victim of Tiger's aggression was my favorite fish, a midnight blue Betta male; also known as a Siamese fighting fish. He was a lovely fish when we first brought him home with long flowing fins and a tail at least two inches long. I loved watching him strut his stuff in the tank. All the girls just stopped and stared. Or maybe that was just me. He hadn't been in the tank long when the first attack occurred. Tiger must have cornered him somehow and then proceeded to beat the snot out of him. Next thing I knew the Betta's tail and fins had been chewed down to nubbins. It was actually a wonder that he could even stay upright in the water. I was able to rescue him by isolating him for several weeks in a nursery floater while he recovered from the attack. His fins, his tail and his energy ultimately regenerated; never to their former glory, but back to health at least. When I let him out I was nervous and apprehensive but he seemed to fare well back in the general population and so I breathed a sigh of relief. However, I had noticed lately that his tail was looking ragged and his fins a little shorter, but still I thought he was holding his own and I didn't interfere. I should have, because now he's dead and I want to kill a fish.

In my own defense this is not a normal response for me. I am not a killer of anything. I am the one who gently scoops up the spiders in the house and carries them outside to find a better home. I have been known to shrink in fear over moths fluttering around, but I don't strike them down. I like life. I like living things. I just don't like this fish.
This morning as Andrew and I worked to clean the fish tank and fill it with fresh water, I momentarily considered transporting Tiger straight to the toilet bowl for the grand flush which would end my misery and the misery of all remaining fish in the tank. But I couldn't do it. As I dangled Tiger in the net over the temporary housing facility Tupperware bowl, this thought struck me: Maybe I should just start calling him

1 comment:

  1. I'm late on the uptake, but I've started reading your blog from the beginning and am rather enjoying it.

    That fish is a clown loach. They're bottom-dwelling fish, and prefer to hang out in groups under large flat rocks or under roots/wood in tanks.

    I had three many moons ago and they were incredible. I didn't know mine to be fin-nippers, but I did appreciate how they could terrify the rest of the fish tank in going after a snack of bloodworms or beefheart.

    If nothing else, you could always put you betta in a breeding net/enclosure in the same tank. This would protect the betta from attack while also giving you just the one tank to clean.