I almost killed my fish, Fred. It turns out, my fish is a jumper. I’m a new fish owner. I recently attended the first birthday of the adorable T.C. He’s family so I can pretty much say unequivocally he’s one of the cutest kids ever. In any case, he’s also a big fan of Dr. Seuss and as a result goldfish were part of the décor at the party. I showed such interest in the fish that my cousin handed me a small bowl containing a fish and said, “Here take Fred with you.” And so, I became the proud owner of a goldfish.
It was a rather unexpected foray into the realm of pet ownership, and though I do have a degree in marine biology I don’t know much about fish care. So, I did what I tend to do best and began to research. It turns out goldfish require very large filtered tanks and not the proverbial goldfish bowl. As I said, owning Fred was unexpected, and currently I do not have much space (nor the resources) to fully invest in a large tank. So, I have improvised. Fred currently resides in a very large glass vase. He seemed happy and so I figured it was a nice temporary solution until such time as I can upgrade his home to more spacious digs.
As goldfish are a fairly messy fish, and obviously his home is not a filtered tank, it requires regular maintenance. Despite regular partial water changes, his home was getting a little gross. So, I decided the vase needed scrubbing and everything needed a good rinse. In order to perform this thorough house-cleaning, I move Fred into a very large liquid measuring cup. After cleaning his vase and replacing everything I knew I needed to later the water adjust to room temperature and let the chemicals work to equalize it. So, I left Fred in the measuring cup on the counter close to his vase. When I came back to return him to his home, the measuring cup was empty!
I was shocked. I looked into the measuring cup filled solely with water and a little bit of fish food and was immediately reminded of poor Amelie’s suicidal fish. (Have you seen Amelie? If not, I highly recommend it. It’s one of my favorites). My second thought was “Oh my god did he jump into the sink and go down the drain?!?” Then I wondered if it was possible for him to fit down the small drain in the bathroom sink (Fred lives in the bathroom as it is the warmest place in my home and had the most clear counter space). As I came to the conclusion he probably would have gotten stuck in the drain if he jumped that way I realized he must be on the floor. I very carefully stepped back and looked down. Poor Fred was lying motionless on the bathroom rug. I immediately picked him up and very carefully tried to remove the large pieces of fuzz attached to him and move him back into water. As soon as Fred was back in the water he started breathing, very slowly but he was breathing. He sank ever so slowly to the bottom of his home but continued to breathe.
As I left Fred to readjust and hopefully regain all his vigor, I realized I had probably come very close to stepping on him when I first walked into the bathroom. Needless to say, I was pretty upset about that thought and am very glad it didn’t come to fruition. I can only imagine how horrified I would have been to have murdered my poor fish due to the poor choice of a temporary home. I continued to check on Fred and was able to watch him regain his vitality. He appears to be back to his happy-go-lucky (and gluttonous) self. And I’m all the wiser. My fish is a jumper. I’d like to think he’s not suicidal, but rather just an adventurer. Regardless, any home he lives in from now on (temporary or permanent) will have measures taken to ensure he does not decide to leave it.