Monday, November 27, 2006

Eleanor the Fish

I recently decided that a little life in the house would be nice—as I mentioned before, to yak to, while I pretend I'm not crazy. Unwilling to commit to cats or dogs at this point, I settled on fish, and bought an aquarium. A little gravel, some plants, and some fish and voila!

Bzzzt! Wrong!!!

Water, chemicals, filters, heaters, gravel, plants, and little cave-y places for fish to hide...and then, you wait a week—an entire week!—before you can buy a fish.

A fish. One. Singular. A zebra danio, a hearty little thing that swims around and stinks up the tank until there is a proper balance of pH, ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites.

I named my zebra danio Eleanor, after my mother, Eleanor.

Eleanor and I are having quite a difficult time getting our water in proper balance so that she might be joined by other fishy friends.

I've been schlepping sample water into The Sailfin petstore every 3-4 days for the last month. Every time, I wait, thinking THIS might be the day I get to take home some fish!

No. First, I was feeding her too much, and Eleanor pee'd up the water, raising the ammonia levels. She's barely the size of an almond; her bladder can be no larger than a sesame seed, and STILL she contaminates 20-gallons of water! You GO, girl.

So, some water changes were in order, which only served to clean out all the good bacterial gook that's supposed to be building, and then some ammonia remover-er, and as of Saturday, we've pulled out all the stops:

1) turn up the heat (to make good bacteria grow)

2) turn off the tank lights (which kill the good guys)

3) remove some of the water (to keep the water bubbling and aerating while we do all of the other harsh steps; and

4) put Eleanor on a diet.

2 more days, and I get to schlep back for more water testing. Wish me luck, that I'll be bringing home 2 or 3 new beauties to keep me Eleanor company. Here she is, circled in yellow, which I think is appropriate considering her extraordinary urinary output.

Click to enlarge. She's smiling.


  1. You should have got a BETA fish. Very easy to take care of. Only one to a bowl, they kill each other if in the same bowl. I have three. I put the bowls side by side sometimes and sit and watch they go at each other thru the glass. Wow. Beautiful fish, and awesome when they see the other one.

  2. I love your tank. Too bad it is so much work so far. Just wait, once all is good you'll surely enjoy all of your new roomates...and they won't steal your wine!!

  3. Sounds complicated. What ever happened to the old one goldfish in a fishbowl thing?

    Yeah or the beta fish, or even the fish version 1.0

  4. How can something so small pee so much? That tank must be 1000 times the size of her, and she turned all the water to acid? Perhaps it's not a mistake - perhaps she knows what she's doing and doesn't want to share her new home. The fish: a tiny but devious mind...

  5. WV: Those betas really are beauties, for being such mean little suckers. I'm afraid all that fighting and anger will just mess up the peaceful zen feng shui...

    Nancy: Oh, I've been sharing the wine with them; maybe that's why I can't get the water straightened out?

    Barry: Exactly! My son and I managed to keep 2 goldfish alive for about 3 years, with tap water and a 2 gallon tank. Pure dumb luck? Fish 1.0--the fish screensaver? Who talks to a sceensaver?!! ;-)

    Oh, and glad you're still hanging out, though I see your blog has been removed. Sorry to see that, but you'll always have my support.

    Sveny: You're probably right, that little sneak. She's purposefully drinking the water just to pee it back out, so she can have the entire ocean to herself.

  6. What a cute post!

    I love wittle Eleanor...


    ;0) (Kidding, of course.)

  7. shannon11:17 AM

    Yeah, aquariums are misleading in how difficult they are to get established. Sailfin is the best, though.

  8. This is one of the funniest posts I have read all week....thanks for the laugh and I hope you or Eleanor gets her balances sorted out so she can have friends come and play!!! ROFLOL

  9. I had a 50 gallon tank one time. I came home from work to find that it had developed a large leak during the day and ruined my carpet. Of course the fish didn't have a chance, so I tossed the whole thing. But it was nice when the fish were alive.

  10. I realize I'm a pisces and shouldn't be surprised at this but...
    complicated fish?
    You should have named her Wanda.
    Happy...uh... fish farming?

  11. I'm so stressed out! But laughing too. I'm sure you and Eleanor will make it work. :)

  12. Hey I need an update on the fish???

  13. I could have tested the water Thursday, but ice storm kept me inside instead. Saturday will tell....cross your fingers!

  14. pfft.

    living + koi pond

  15. PB: I'd have to dig a hole in the backyard, and it's 9 degrees outside!


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