Thursday, January 28, 2010

Our Fish Have Fishsploded!

A fishaclysm? A fishpocalypse? A fishamageddon?

My daughter had requested gerbils for her birthday. So, naturally, one of my sons just had to have fish for Christmas. It was supposed to have been one little fishbowl (which we already owned) at first, with some little guppies and maybe a snail or something. Total cost – around $10 or less. Of course, my wife and kids couldn’t JUST buy a couple of guppies and a snail, so by the time the bowl was fully stocked, the water was so cloudy you couldn’t really see through it.

Fifty bucks later, we own a 10-gallon tank with a filter, heater, bubbler, and, heck, since we’ve got a bigger tank we should throw in some more fish and a few crabs. Right? Of course!

Oh yeah, and we can’t tell the genders of our various fish and snails. Turns out, there’s some boys and some girls in there. And you know what girl fish and boy fish do when they’re hanging out in the hot tub all day with nothing much else going on. Something fishtastic! Or fishawful.

Our tank is now bursting with fish, and the fishbowl has had to be pressed back into service as the “girls dorm.”

We currently have:
7 adult “feeder” guppies
2 adult “fancy” guppies (they’re fancy cuz they’re bigger)
1 adult apple snail
1 adult ghost shrimp
12-14 baby guppies
10-15 baby snails

That's a buttload of fish!! Way more than ought to be in a 10-gallon tank plus an auxilliary bowl that probably holds about two gallons. And the big tank? Yeah, it's cloudy, too. And that was BEFORE all the babies hit.

Sure, we mourn the passing of the legendary snail Mr. Sinister. He was the male snail who keeled over dead one day recently, but he’d already done his randy business on the girl. Evidently it took all he had to fill her full of a bazillion eggs. Or maybe he couldn’t handle the prospect of so many children asking him for money or to borrow the car keys. But mostly we’re just trying to figure out what to do with his progeny.

The guppies give live birth, so we didn’t have much warning there except for a few possibly “fat fish.” With the snails, though, we probably should have removed all of the egg clutches from the tank. I did scoop out the second one, but we kind of took a “wait and see” approach with the first clutch. Would they even hatch? What would they look like? How many would there be? After the first bunch actually did hatch, I scooped out the first clutch (which had plenty more eggs in it – no idea whether or not they were viable) and all of the others. Now, I have no idea what we’ll do if all of these snails make it to adulthood. Ugh. This whole fishtank thing is out of control. It’s a fishtastrophe!

Update: (1/28/10, Noon) My wife has provided the following clarification in the interests of journalistic accuracy:
Oh come on! You're exaggerating! We don't have a bubbler - just a filter and heater. Our daughter wants a bubbler, but we don't have one (yet). And they aren't crabs - they're ghost shrimp. And the guppies are fancy because they are more colorful (yellow and blue rather than just grayish with light spots) and they have fancytastic fins. And I have the cloudiness under control (or at least I know why it's happening and am pretty sure it will clear up fairly soon.)

For goodness sakes! ;-)
I stand corrected. And I still think our fishtank project has suffered outrageous scope creep and is dramatically over-budget.


  1. OK. I agree with the scope creep and over-budget. But aren't all so cute? And tiny? =)