. . . about a variety of subjects

How It Began

An attempt to manage grief, FredFish and a plant.

The Backstory:
When I was a little kid, I took care of someone’s cats while they were away for the summer, all summer. I really wanted a dog. Then I was allowed to pick out a kitten, black with white paws & muzzle. Bandit due to the mask-like face. Few years go by, Bandit II, III, forgot how many of those look-alike cats we had. I wanted a dog.

My little sister wanted a cat. She got what turned out to be a big, fat, lazy marmalade. It died when I was about 11, she 7. I called my Mom at work and told her I had found the cat in the basement. She asked me not to tell my little sister, please bury it in the backyard, she would tell my sister after school. So, I did and that was the first time I ever went to school, late. I wanted a dog.

Another year goes by, my Dad decides fish are the answer. We go down to the LPS, buy all the stuff for a 5g and a 20g. We set up both tanks but this 20g cannot have fish for a while. Sheesh, what’s the point again, Dad? The 5g gets stocked with guppies, tetras and a gold fish, I think.

The house I grew up in was a stick-frame built in the 1920’s, with the original windows. It got chilly. I hate being cold to this day because of winters in that house. After Mom would leave for work, I would crank the heat up for the 45 min before I had to leave. One day, I forgot to turn the heat back down. Busted! When I got home, every one of the fish in the 5g was belly up. (sigh)
I still wanted a dog.

My Dad gets a call, I get a stern lecture, Mom is giving me the silent treatment and that 20 still does not have fish in it. The following weekend, we go back to the LPS, restock the 5g and finally I get to *look* at the livestock for the 20g. Then I get to go home and think about it. I did manage to wheedle a really big chunk of pale green-aqua glass to add to it.

The 5g is being meticulously looked after and the day comes when I can go back downtown to the LPS, having weighed the pros and cons of my choices. Move the neon tetras into the big tank, add some glass cats (that was the “trade” name at the time, they were actually Indian Glassfish), an angel or two, a pleco the ugliest fish on the planet at the time. It was just beyond me why I had to have that ugly monster in my tank instead of a betta fish.

My Dad had bought the 5g to appease my childish notions about what was “cool” by way of decoration and livestock. The 20g choices were almost all his. He removed the rims, a radical move in those days and completely re-sealed a brand-new tank. S.O.P. for an adult or even a teenager with some structural knowledge, but to me it was just a whole lot of waiting and waiting. Finally, my green glass having acclimated itself, no structural damage, we dropped the new fish into the tank. Magic! The lack of rims & side supports made it look like a rectangle of water, the fine white sand, sparkled if the light hit it just right, even my glob of green glass looked great.

Over the next year or so, few fish did not make it. Replacements included the coveted betta, a sleek black over silver something, which they told me was a shark. I have never been able to identify it. I also bought kissing gouramis but by that time I listened to Fish-guy when he said, I could not put a certain fish in my tank.
I still wanted a dog.

I do not remember how long I kept the big tank, longer than the small one because pawning it off on my sister was not happening. Maybe two to three years, maybe longer. I do know that 25 gallons of fish do not make one dog.
I finally got my dog.

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