Friday, October 17, 2008

Fish Funeral Friday

Hi All!

Hubby has a fish tank. He originally got it because of me. As part of the fifth grade curriculum, the students worked with various "live materials" provided by the district live materials lab. The material included plants, snails, pill bugs, and . . . gold fish. The live materials lab delivered the appropriate number of gold fish to your school and the students did the experiments (nothing inhumane - more along the lines of observation). After the experiments were complete, the lab would NOT take the fish back, the idea was to give the fish away to students.

This worked for most of the years that I had to run the fish experiments. In fact, it worked for all except one year. The year of the inexplicable dying goldfish who wouldn't die.

Confused? So was I!

Here is the deal. This particular year, I got the goldfish and had them in a little tank in my room. Everything was great. Except that the next morning over half of them were floaters. Not a pretty site to see when you first enter your classroom. I took care of the floaters and made an emergency call to the live materials guy to get some more fish so I would have enough for the experiment.

The new fish came, and about two-thirds of them died by the next day. Now, you should know that before the arrival of the darn fish I very carefully prepared the water according to directions from the live materials guy. I put in drops to rid the water of excess chlorine. I allowed the water to sit for about 48 hours to ensure the drops had enough time to work. I ran PH tests on the water to ensure that it was suitable for fish life. The live materials guy even checked the water before handing over the fish (the second time - he assumed I screwed up the first time so this time he was WAY more cautious before handing over the fish!). Everything was PERFECT!

And the fish still died. In droves. The second time, they managed to hold on until about noon so they could die in the presence of about 26 fifth graders. Nice. The students were NOT too happy about so many floating fish. I mean, it looked like a fish massacre in that darn tank!

The students began calling me "the fish killer" even though I did nothing to the little things! Then the class began to theorize about just why the fish would die after I had taken all the proper precautions - which they had seen me do with their own little, fifth grade eyes. The things these kids came up with!

By the end of the day, they had basically come to the conclusion that the fish had to have some kind of a virus and that the ones who had managed to hold on for the day were also doomed to be floating soon.

We did the experiment on the few live fish we had left and then . . . I tried to get rid of them. No one from my class would take any! They were convinced there was something wrong with the fish and didn't want to take them just to watch them die. So - the fish remained in the tank on a table by my desk.

There were about 18 fish who survived and those things just kept surviving. For about three weeks! I would clean the water and feed them and prepare chlorine-free water for them. It was a pain! All this time I was trying to find ANYONE to take the fish!

The end of the school year drew nearer and I still had 18 goldfish swimming in the tank and NO takers. I was begging! I even began asking slight acquaintances and strangers in the Wal Mart fish aisle if they would like some free gold fish. Nothing!

At this time, Hubby and I didn't own a fish tank. As the prospect for the dispersal of the fish grew dimmer and dimmer I began talking to Hubby about what I was going to do. I could NOT just flush perfectly healthy (maybe) fish because no one wanted them so the only other option . . . to buy a fish tank and bring the things home!

On the last day of school one of my students did agree to take about 6 of the fish so only 12 made the journey to my house and to the new fish tank Hubby and purchased and put together for them. It was lovely - it had nice blue rocks, air filters, and fake plants. A big upgrade from the plain tank they were living in at school. Over the weekend, a friend from church agreed to take another 6 from me for his fish tanks. Yeah! I was down to six.

Six goldfish who WOULD NOT DIE. That is right. These darn fish just kept living and pooping (an incredible amount if you ask me!) and living and living and pooping and living. Oh - they also grew. One of the darn things grew to about five inches long! He was a beast!

These goldfish - who the students wouldn't take because they would surely die quickly - lived for a good two or three years in our fish tank. Hubby began grumbling about having to clean the tank so often (did you know that goldfish are dirty fish compared to other fish? Me either! I learned quickly.). We continued to ask people if they would like goldfish. No takers.

Finally, Hubby had had enough. He said that the gold fish HAD to go. But, just where would we take them? I refused to flush them (and I didn't think the 5 inch one would flush anyway!). I got in touch with the live materials guy from school (who, by the way, continued to refuse to take the fish back!) and asked about options. After many days of back and forth, we decided that releasing them in a pond at the district's "land lab" would be a good option. The pond was deep enough that the fish might survive the winter (which, in Texas isn't really too cold) and they could spend the rest of their lives in fishy freedom.

Well, Hubby and I took the little buggers to the pond and set them free. It was a little unnerving to see the Heron waiting on the distant shore for a nice snack but . . . I knew we had to get rid of the fish.

That was a couple of years ago and since then Hubby has had different tropical fish. I am not allowed to get attached to the fish (I named the goldfish and was really sad when we had to "free" them!). However, I still don't like to see them die.

This morning - right before I wrote this - I had to perform a fish funeral. Yes, one of Hubby's fish 320.... (the 320 is a note from Skor who just tried to jump on the desk!) was dead when I walked in the room and I had to scoop him out and send him to the great toilet in the sky.

Poor fishy!


Voice Update: Still doing good. I have been doing my new exercises pretty faithfully. I have one set down and can now do them in the car - which must look interesting to people driving by! I need to do a massage session here in a bit and I want to get out my "thumper" massager to try to loosed up some of my neck muscles which are telling me I slept funny.


Flea said...

I'll bet they did fine in the pond. When in college I had goldfish (they're filthy creatures). Let 'em go in the creek at the end of the year. Not a big deal. Sorry you had to give yours up, though.

noble pig said...

OMG I hate goldfish becuase of their sudden death syndrome. They always die and the kids cry. I'm done with them.

Mental P Mama said...

We had one who lived about ten years. Gomez. We had quite the funeral for that three pound goldfish...

Trisha said...

Mental p Mama-

Gomez? That had me rolling on the floor!