Yeah, so… The fishies

I just did some long overdue research about fishtank filters.

I bought that tank on eBay for £150 from a deputy headmaster who was just about to retire. He was bearded with socks and sandals. Everything that was possible to obsess about regarding this particular tank of fish? He had already obsessed about it for me. He was a deputy headmaster though, with the lifelong spending power of somebody in education. He’d clearly felt the crunch of every penny spent on these fish. He chose cleverly with them. He read all the books. He did all his homework, natch. These little fishies? They all get along swimmingly.

Brian the Clown Loach is the biggest. He could maybe eat them all alive, but instead he just hangs out under his rock. Maureen and Sadie drift angelically in the light for us. Golfo goes her own way. Atropos, Lachesis and Clotho are still an unbroken threesome, either hiding or racing, but together. Chippy the weatherloach still tries to eat everything always, and has enough personality to make up for the others. The others still haven’t earnt names. I can’t tell them apart. Until they give me something behavioural or physical they are just Tetra. Boringtetra, I think their official scientific name is. I’ll check with my brother.

Anyway, I’ve just realised that that dear old fellow who sold me the tank on eBay? He correctly fitted all the bits to all the things, diligently and completely. Including the “venturi filter system.” Which I diligently copied when I moved it, having no clue and prioritising lack of fish genocide.

The venturi filter system has a little extra valve that pulls air from outside and then blows it out of the filter nozzle. Bubbles! It noisily and visibly aerates the fish. Turns out it’s optional. The fish can be fine without it so long as the surface doesn’t get oily. Damn.

I assumed it was necessary for the survival of my tribe so I haven’t meddled with it until now. Plus Maureen and Sadie the angelfish love it and chippy likes to play in the bubbles. But. It makes a horribly noisy flow of air bubbles across the top of the tank. And it makes so much noise. When I was sleeping on the sofa I hated it utterly. I wouldn’t wish it on any guest. Plus it evaporates the tank at a much much faster rate, which is hard when I’m not home.

Now I know though. I can switch it off if I choose. It’s off now while I write. I’ll leave it off for a while and just see what develops. I’m still an apprentice in fishy matters.

Perhaps I should’ve done my research rather than impulsively buying a load of fish on the day I had a van, and then working things out later. I love them though. They are next to the TV as a more natural alternative to the mindless zone out fodder. The deputy headmaster assembled a lovely tribe of creatures and I can watch them indefinitely.

One day I might bring another fish into the fold and give myself more ownership. But there’s a thing I have to thank the old owner for. He chose his fish friends extremely carefully. They rarely fight. There’d be no conflict at all if Chippy wasn’t trying to eat everybody’s dangly bits.

If I brought a new fish in I’d have to be very thoughtful about what it was. Right now their bubble is secure.

One time, many years ago, Max and I brought in a catfish called Sam to a similar tank. He gradually ate everything else there, but for one loach that made friends with him. We didn’t really catch on he was doing it until most of them were eaten. The survivor slept next to him, kept him close, tried to never let Sam out of his sight. One morning though, no loach. Just Sam looking happy.

We let him hang out in the brackish water on his own. For years. Catfish like it mucky. By eating all the rivals he got the biome he preferred.

I don’t want to bring in a Sam again though. It was like a teen horror movie as the other fish vanished one by one.

These guys are just too pleasant. Calming. Simple. And even cute.

I’m just gonna look at them a while, instead of turning on the telly. Then I’m off to bed.

From left: Maureen, Golfo, Sadie, Chippy. Others all hiding apart from maybe one under Maureen… But that could be light.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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