Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Thursday, November 25, 2021

This Thanksgiving Day started off on a slightly sad note. I awoke to find one of my aquarium fish dead.

Normally this isn’t a big deal. With as many fish as I keep, the occasional demise is part of the ol’ circle of life; I even took last month’s tank plague in stride. And since I try to keep schools of distinct species, the loss of a single anonymous fish doesn’t register.

But this fish was different. It was a painted whiteskirt tetra, and was one of the very first fish I ever bought, some three years ago. The other couple of fish I bought along with him (I’ve always assumed it was a “he”, really no way to tell for sure) long since expired, and I found out later that these particular fish aren’t supposed to last more than a few months anyway. So when he kept going for so long, I found myself impressed with his perseverance. I even granted him a nickname: BlueFish.

I did notice that he’d been struggling more than usual lately. Part of his tail got bitten off, probably by the resident rainbow shark that liked to abuse him (another factor that made his longevity so impressive). The bitemark developed a pretty nasty infection, and his swimming suffered. He also started struggling with his breathing. He had plenty of plant canopy in which to hide, so he was relatively safe; and in fact, I found his corpse among the roots.

Well, he’s gone. I’ve joked with my friends that BlueFish represented the bellweather for the rest of the tank’s well-being. As long as he lived, the other fish were safe; once he died, the streets would flow with the blood of the non-believers! So, I guess the rest of the tank is living on borrowed time. I don’t know if I should actually do anything with them, or just let them die off naturally.

- Costa Tsiokos, Thu 11/25/2004 11:14:06 AM
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