My 50 gallon aquarium is home, primarily, to Sir Glubsalot, my Sailfin Gibbiceps pleco from South America. He is one-and-a-half feet long (a bit longer than a keyboard) and 5 inches wide. 2007 marks his 13th birthday. I doubt I will have a party for him, although, I might pour some Jack Daniels into the tank for him.
But I also have some smaller fishies which I take care of as well. I think a lot of people take fish-owning too lightly. If a $3.00 fish dies, the consensus is usually “who cares? He was only $3.00.” He then rides the porcelain bus down into the city’s bowels as a final farewell.
I feel differently. Just like any pet, I am responsible for their lives. I am responsible for the environment they live in, and if they suffer, it’s entirely my fault.
When we returned from our trip, I decided to relive my childhood by purchasing a pair of dwarf underwater frogs to enhance the lives of the small amount of fish I have. I didn’t realize this was an instant death sentence.
My filter is an Aquaclear 200. Although it’s a reasonably powerful filter, I have, on a regular basis, watched it struggle to pull even the smallest shit particles in. Any living creature with fins or webbed feet could escape its pull.
Sadly, Frog #2 wasn’t so lucky. It’s not that he couldn’t resist the pull of the filter, but rather, an unfortunate case of bad luck.
One day, after work, I discovered his lifeless body wedged into the filter tube, head first. My conclusion? He either had a catastrophic webbed-foot malfunction, or, swimming up to the surface for air, he must have slipped into the suction of the filter and swam straight up into it.
Hopefully, he died instantly, and didn’t suffer. Suffering sucks.