That’s right ladies and gents...the fish have moved onto the other side. They are swimming in seas of clear blue with all the tropical fish flakes a fishy could want! They’re in little fishy heaven as opposed to the purgatory they lived in at our house. These fish, of which you have heard me complain about before, were neglected to a severe extent. Their tank was absolutely ghastly, with left over food, feces and muck. The tank rocks were literally stuck to the bottom of the tank and fake plant life floated at the top.
Two of the sharks had already succumbed to the deadly ways of “ICK”! Doesn’t that sound like a comic book villain??
‘Ick lurked around ever shade plant, every overturned rock, every haven. He loomed in darkness, searching for his next victim.’
Haha! Back to reality. Ick had infected two of the sharks. One we found floating a few months ago, and one finally passed fairly recently. The original owners of the fish somehow got out of all responsibility to the living creatures they left with us. Then, their adoptive owner did the same. Their tank sat stagnant, filling every day with more and more filth. It was to the point that visitors to our house would proclaim, "How neat!! You have a natural habitat fish tank!" Nope...that’s just muck. Sucka, the sucker fish, was working overtime trying to keep his area clean. You could almost hear the voice of Jacques from 'Finding Nemo' running in the thought bubbles above his head. "AAGH!! FILTH!" I called the local pet store to see if they would take a donation, but they were full. I called OSU Vet Med School to see if they knew how I could peacefully euthanize the little guys. I was told that they could do it for me for $70 BUX A POP! Are you kidding??! So, the tank sat. Awaiting a decision by anyone who was within responsibilities range. Nothing happened. They ran out of food...nothing happened. So finally, Caitlin and I gloved up, got brave, and sent the little guys on their merry way. A combination of murder, suicide and death of natural causes went down that day. Let me remind all you animal rights activists out there, that these were severely...diseased...neglected...fish. They were to the point of no return and the most humane thing we could do for them, was let them go.
Time of death...2:30 pm, Monday, September 5, 2005
Caitlin and I proceeded to put on surgical latex gloves, line the hard wood floors with bath towels and prepare ourselves mentally and emotionally for the task at hand. Both of us were unbelievably squeamish about the eewiness of the dead fish and the stench. We began by taking the filters, pumps and heaters off the top of the tank. OMG people. OMG. This was DISGUSTING. The entire thing was coated in brown and green slime. The top casing fell into the water, splashing Caitlin and I with the toxic goo...UGH. Once that was off we began siphoning water into a five gallon bucket. We probably made 6 trips to the curb where we dumped the water. It was BROWN water with plenty of floating debris. Gradually, as the water level lowered, we began using gallon sized plastic baggies to scoop up the fish. We got one shark and one red fin into the first bag and Admiral and the second red fin into the second. We continued to remove water, this time with a pitcher. Sucka was still at the bottom of the tank, now sitting in approximately half an inch of water. Next thing I know, he’s winking at me. HE’S STILL ALIVE!!! Caitlin and I do a little "squeamish dance" as we squeal. OMG! How in the world could he possibly still be alive?! Scuba Cait continues to remove water and rocks as I attempt to "land lock" Sucka with remaining pebbles. I accidentally touch him with the siphon and he FLAILS! I scream a blood curdling, pee-my-pants scream. I flail, I scream some more. My little outburst scared Caitlin more than the fish did and she too, screams. By this point we are laughing so hard that we’re crying and practically hyperventilating. I wish so badly that I had thought to take pictures because the tears streaming down Cait’s face would have been priceless. However, I did not, so you’ll just have to take my word for it. We fall to the floor in a heap of breath sucking sobs, laughter and tears. Edwin comes running to see what in the world was going on. He just looked at us, gave a chuckle and asked if we pee'd our pants. When we told him no, he joked that even if we had, we wouldn’t have told him. Haha! After regaining our composure to some degree, Caitlin began picking up the towels and miscellaneous crap from the floor. I grab the pitcher and attempt once again to pick up Sucka. Edwin stood before me with an open zip lock baggie, awaiting my next move. I fling a few rocks in Sucka’s direction, trying to determine the degree of his reflexes. Caitlin thought this was downright hilarious. We began the silent laughter! You know, where you're laughing so hard your voice just stops. You can't catch your breath long enough to make any audible noise. Your face scrunches. Your eyes well up. Silence...silence... Then it happens! All at once, you take a deep breath and the loudest, deepest laugh you have ever felt comes running from your toes all the way to your mouth. You let out a cry of desperation as your lungs scream for oxygen. That, my friends, is one hell of a laugh. Once I realize Sucka is as slow as lava, I make my move. I touch his tail with the pitcher, he flinches, I shriek...the whole process starts once more. The laughter, the silence. I do some labor breathing, wipe away a tear and Edwin gives me a quick pep talk. I do it. I shove the pitcher into the rocks, lifting Sucka from his refuge at the bottom of the tank. He is BIGGER THAN THE PITCHER. I start to shake. I can’t believe I am doing this. Edwin lowers his bag into the tank where we ever so gently transfer our dying friend into the bag. By this point, I think he HAS to be dead. There is no way he survived life in that tank, murder, natural causes AND lack of water. Not to mention a plastic bag. We seal the dead fish in the bag and place it in the larger trash bag in the middle of the floor. We sit once more, reflecting on the situation we just tackled. We proclaim how proud we are of ourselves and each other for taking care of the situation. Mid sentence, we see the bag move. THE FISH STILL ISN’T DEAD!! He flops around in the bag for a few seconds. The rustle of the bag and the soft thuds are drowned out only by the moans coming from Caitlin and myself. Edwin grabs the bag and hurries it outside to join the others. What I saw at that moment from the window in our entry way, will not be mentioned here. However, I can assure you it will haunt me for the rest of my life. Haha! We finished the whole process by taking the tank and its miscellaneous equipment into the front yard and hosing it down. Then, we TOOK SHOWERS! Blech. I don’t think I have ever done anything quite so disgusting in my life. I have a weird feeling of accomplishment and sadness. I hate that it had to come to this, but I honestly believe we were left with very few choices. They are, like I said, in fishy heaven and what could be better than that? ;)