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RIP: Fred, George, and Pending
October 17, 2005

The fish Ben and I got last weekend met his quick demise yesterday morning after killing the other 2 fish in the tank with whatever disease he brought from the pet store. George and Fred were the last of the original 5 fish I got with my fishtank - a birthday gift from my mom in 2003. Of the 5 fish, 4 of them, 2 neons and 2 blackskirts, were named by yours truly after Harry Potter characters (unwittingly); the neons were Ginny and Hermione, the blackskirts Fred and George. The 5th fish was brought into the equation a week after, and was the sole being in the tank to be named by Ben: Dubya. Both Ginny and Hermione died last year, just before and after our move, and Dubya followed just about 3 weeks ago. Dubya was a top-feeder, which spurred Fred and George to eat. Once he was gone, we knew we needed to get another top-feeder to make up for the loss of the other.

Enter Pending. Pending was a blue gourami purchased from PetCo on Sunday, October 9th in Boise, Idaho. He was a very pretty blue, and had funny little whiskers that stuck out at his sides. When he was introduced to the tank, Fred and George were skeptical, not sure if he would fit in. This proved to be his downfalll. Though he was supposed to be a nice (community, or docile) fish, he insisted on eating almost all of the food I fed them, a task only accomplished by eating and immediately digesting the food thuroughly within a couple of seconds, passing through him like a freight train. Fred and George would hover together behind the plastic plants, waiting for just a morsel to float down out of the hungry jaws of Pending, which rarely happened. I started feeding them 2-3x more than they were eating with Dubya, though I had a fear of Pending's eventual explosion.

Last Thursday, I was unable to find Fred. Since the tank is extremely small (5 gallons), the loss was suspect. I had a feeling that someone had eaten him, taking away the competition for food. On Friday after work, George lay on his side at the bottom of the tank, breating, but definitely not long for the world. It was at that time I discovered Fred, just under a plant, dead. I took them both out of the tank while Pending was hovering near the filter, hiding himself from his own shame. Though George wasn't dead yet, I flushed both he and Fred in the toilet while sobbing - it was the first time I had flushed any animal, living or dead. But being without a shovel, and not wanting to toss the loved ones in the trash, I kept my sanity by thinking of Finding Nemo, and the possibility that George, at least, might make it to the river. My annoyance and anger at Pending grew, unabated, though slightly ignored (see: church), through the next day. During the party on Saturday night, many people noticed that Pending wasn't moving much - he was floating oddly, but when one tapped on the tank, he would swim a bit, then float for a while, and so on and so on. By Sunday morning, it was all over. Pending was floating near the same water filter he had hid behind a few days before. I scooped him up and flushed him without feeling nor fanfare.

Last night, I spent 2 hours cleaning the tank and accoutrements completely in scalding water. It is now empty, a sad part of my life which will not likely be used again. Perhaps it is destined for eBay - someone needing a cheap 5-gallon starter tank can take it off of my hands, and I will only have to live with the memories of its previous habitants.

By the way, Happy Birthday (tomorrow) to Sara LASTNAME*! Since she doesn't have a real blog, as she is internetless, she'll just have to take my word for it that I have wished her a great one on the internet. Yay me.

* Last name withheld to protect the innocent. The last name, however, must be shouted.


I've lived through many dead fish in my aquarium as well. It's always traumatic. But I used their dead carcasses to fertilize my plants. Like Squanto.

Posted by: teahouseblossom at October 17, 2005 10:40 PM

oh dear. poor fish. but they had very amusing names.

Posted by: j-a at October 18, 2005 5:44 AM

I use the water for feeding my plants, but I don't think I could deal with the burying of the fish in a houseplant. It kind of creeps me out.

Posted by: Devlyn Author Profile Page at October 18, 2005 8:55 AM

Your fishies always remind me of Herman and the frantic drive from your apartment to mine with a fishbowl on my lap so I could fish-sit him while you went to Burning Man. :D

He was such a good fish! Maybe you should stick with nice solitary betas from now on!

ps - How do you unwittingly name ANYTHING Hermione?? ;)

Posted by: LeeAnn at October 18, 2005 9:38 AM

I think I had just read Harry Potter V when I named them all, and was busy watching AbFab as well... there are characters named Hermione in both, so it was just on the brain. Plus, I just like it as a name. If I could only get Ben to agree with me that it would be good for our girl-child...

Posted by: Devlyn Author Profile Page at October 18, 2005 10:54 AM