Saturday, July 4, 2009


My fish in a plastic tub while waiting for their tank to be cleaned and filled again.

I have a 20-gallon fish aquarium that was in dire need of cleaning. You will recall that I planned to clean it last weekend, but found other, more interesting (and fun) things to do. Cleaning a tank is not high on my list of "fun" things to do.

Today I dived in. First I caught the easy fish...fat guppies, old guppies and baby guppies who've never seen a net and don't have a clue. That took care of about 30 fish. By now I've alerted the neons (very fast fish) and the 6" red-tail shark (bottom feeder) that I am, in fact, cleaning the aquarium and eventually will try to catch them too. They are darting around and the shark is even hitting the edges with such force that he can pop himself out of the tank. He didn't, but I've had him do it before.

The scum at the bottom of the tank is swirling around now and the water is very cloudy. I decided to do some painting while cleaning the tank. That allows the water to settle down so I can spy fish again, and allows the paint to dry on the paper while I'm catching fish.

I cornered the neons and caught them with 3 scoops of the net. Not bad! I caught the red-tail twice and he gave me the slip, but I persevered and caught him too. Now on to the rest of the guppies. The thing about fish is they don't know you are trying to help them live a better life and save them from that swirling bowl in the bathroom. I caught 20 or more guppies while the water settled.

Now I'm down to no fish left. I think. I wait for the water to settle again and then slowly move the net over the bottom. There are a few more. I catch them, thinking I am done. But then I find two more little babies in another corner. I catch them too.

Cleaning an aquarium raises ethical questions in my mind. Is it wrong to let a couple guppies die just to save time? How much time is a guppy life worth? If I had not cleaned the aquarium, some of these same guppies would be eaten by their own mother or father. Does that make it ok for me to kill them? I'm a big softie when it comes to guppies though, and it makes me feel bad to think that even one of them might go down the drain. So I'm sure to catch every last one of them. I think. You can never really know for sure.

Final count: 4 neons, 1 very fat red-tailed shark, and about 60+ guppies. I believe my guppies runneth over.


crochet lady said...

We have a fish tank too. It is really my husbands idea, but I am usually the one to feed them and scrape the tank and fill it. It needs an extra deep purge, but that is going to be his department. I only go so far.

Aunt Krissy said...

No, you have to save them all. It would be wrong to knowingley let one die. Letting the mom and dad eat them is better.

Mim said...

We used to have a fish tank but they ate each other or just plain died! very depressing. I liked them when they were clean and happy, but oh boy - cleaning that tank was awful - I was glad when the last one kicked the bucket

tainterturtles said...

We use to have a fish tank too, but we finally gave up since it was a lot of work. Good luck on the fish maintance.

Happy 4th of July to you too!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

This exercise reminds me of why I no longer have a fish tank. I had heard that they have wonderful filters now days and that you don't have to clean the tanks often. Even so this screnerio is what I wouldn't like to deal with.

Judy Butler said...

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