Tuesday, August 30, 2005

when snails attack...

I've written here before, about the fish tank we inherited when we bought our new house. In the 3 months that we've had the fish, we have had a few casualties. The first one, about 10 days after we moved in was caused by ick, we bought two catfish and found out later that they don't like living with goldfish and they both died. The last fish we lost was also a victim of ick. She was sort of small and we think may have had ick when she came home from the store. We have learned a lot about fish the past few months and have had a pretty healthy group of fishies just recently.

Recently, I mentioned that we had picked up a small fish tank and two small fish. The tank was going to live in my office but we ended up returning it so the two small fishes went to live in our big tank until we found a suitable smaller tank. They entered the tank when it was a little grubby. We were having trouble keeping the tank clean due to a problem with our filter. Once the filter problem was addressed, the tank was really clean. This was good for us and for the fish but the two apple snails we have were a little hungry, I think.

Last night, one of the snails had little Klaus pinned into the corner of the tank and was eating his fin. I noticed it happened while I was saying "good night" to the fish. I managed to knock the snail off and Mark got Klaus out of the tank but I was really upset. Like, really upset, so angry at the damned snail that I was crying. A while ago, our catfish, Carl, was really sick and died while we were at work. When we got home, the two snails were going to town on his "corpse." Carl was on the bottom of the tank and the two snails were sitting on him. He was sick/dead and while it upset me to see that, Mark told me that this was to be expected in the "animal kingdom" and I accepted this. Last night though, Klaus wasn't sick, just tiny and caught in the corner (Klaus liked to stay up near the surface of the tank "eating bubbles"). This was a vicious attack and it really really upset me. It feels silly saying this but it's true. It upset me because I hadn't seen it earlier and I felt like I could have prevented it if I'd been paying closer attention. It also bothered me because Klaus was just starting to get comfortable in the tank. Yesterday morning when I was getting ready to feed them, I noticed him in the bottom of the tank in the morning, playing with Ani and Feargal (our other two small goldfish). Right now, Klaus is in a fishy "hospital" on the kitchen counter. He's still alive and swimming around, "Finding Nemo" like, with a mangled fin and a healing sore on his right side. I'm not entirely sure that he'll make a full recovery but I'm hopeful.

Thinking back about it last night, I remembered that over the weekend, I saw Goldie and Roger (the two biggest fish in the tank) hitting the snails on their shells. I just figured that they were looking for food but now I think it was something different, that the snails were getting aggressive because the clean tank meant a lack of food for them. Once the snails were removed, the rest of the fish seemed a lot happier,last night when we got home, they'd been hanging together in one corner of the tanks. This morning too, they were all over the tanks and they looked a lot better, happier if you could say that you see if a fish is happy or not. I'm concerned about Klaus right now but not to the point of distraction. What I hope is that when I get home tonight, he's swimming around his little bowl a little bit more than he was this morning and that he'll eat some dinner. If we're lucky, in a few days, he'll be healed up enough to either go back into the big tank or we'll get that smaller tank we intended to get for my office. Goodness, I feel like such a weiner. Oh, about the snails, they've been disposed of in a far more humane way than they probably deserved. I shouldn't fault them really, they were just hungry I know but still... friends shouldn't literally eat their roommates!!

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