For the past three days, I’ve dreaded going into my kitchen.
Is he dead? Is now my first thought when I get up at 5am, because for the past three days, I’ve been expecting to find my fish floating dead in his bowl.
I noticed my fighter fish was not eating and not swimming much, but, you know, it’s just a fish. Maybe fish have some downtime too. Until I see him barely moving. At first, I thought he was dead, but he started swimming around with great difficulty. I was sad and in my mind I expected him to be dead the following morning.
When I got up the next day to make coffee, I avoided looking in the direction of the fish tank. As I went about my task, I couldn’t help noticing there was movement in the bowl. The fish was still alive, barely.
After watching him for most of the day, I decided to take him to the fish shop which luckily is only 100 metres away. In my mind, I knew they would think I was a mad woman for caring about a fighter fish, but I didn’t mind. I also thought they would tell me to let him die or to even flush him down the toilet. They didn’t.
The pet shop owner said he was not dying, but sick. And yes, he might die from being sick but for now, he looked like a fish who was fighting for his life. He was still managing, even though it was with difficulty to swim to the surface to gasp some air.
So, what can a crazy mad woman do to save a fish?
First I was told to add a natural treatment to the water for bacterial infections and then add some salt to his water. I was also told to give him a salt bath, counting 12 “Mississippi.” Yes, it sounded, crazy, but if there was a chance I could save my fish, I would take it.
I was in tears. I could also hear the voices of reason telling me to get a grip and just let him go. How can a person care so much for just one fighter fish?
Many years ago, my son brought home a baby mangrove jack in a bucket, refusing to let him go and definitely too small to eat, thankfully. His father decided to put the fish in a tank where it strived so much we invested in a bigger tank. The fish tank was facing my kitchen breakfast bar so I was used to seeing the fish and that’s when I started to believe that fish were smart. I can’t remember for how long we had him but was probably almost a year when something wrong went with the water and he died of poisoning. I cried.
We got another baby mangrove jack from the pet shop (we had to drive 1.5 hr to a pet shop in Brisbane and paid $100). That fish had a different character and was afraid. If anyone approached the tank and the fish would hide under rocks. I never got attached and let my son’s father have him at his house.
My daughter got me a fighter fish for my birthday and while at the pet shop, she decided to get one for herself and her partner thought it would be good to have one too. She came home with three fighter fish. I put mine on my desk and he died maybe a month later. Hers was on the coffee table and died a few weeks after mine. Jake’s fish was almost hidden high up on a bookshelf. Every time someone walked pass the bookshelf the fish would wriggle against the glass almost as if he was demanding attention even if it wasn’t food. Feeding him was quite fun, because he jumped to get the food from my fingers.
When my daughter moved out, I kept Jake’s fish and moved him to the kitchen on the bench. My flatmate suggested he should be at eye level because on the bench, you can’t really notice him. We found such the perfect spot that the fish became kind of a centre piece in the flat. Everybody admired him jumping when putting a finger in the tank. Kids wanted to feed him. The most active room in our household is the kitchen so the fish saw everything.
Different people have come up with different names but not one name has ever stuck. He’s the fish with no name. We shall call him Fish.
I can’t help but feeling guilty. I should have known there was something wrong and I wished I had had the idea to get Fish checked by a pet shop owner sooner.
At the time of writing, this is Day 3. Fish was not doing any better this morning, but I gave him a salt bath. I also removed as much water as I possibly could to make it easier for him to reach the surface as he is still gasping for air.
When I came back from university after a two-hour class, he was still alive, although moving even less. I decide to go back to the pet store, because I felt like he was suffering and maybe I should not let him suffer?
“The fish has been sick for a while, so you can’t expect him to get better overnight. If he is going to get better, it is going to take while. And if he has a tumour, then there is nothing you can do, but at least you have tried your best. You have to be patient. He is still alive, that is the main thing,” the shop owner said. “Good luck,” she added while giving me a hug.
Fish lays down at the bottom of his tank. My heart stops for a millisecond but as I approached the bowl and put my head up close, Fish starts wiggling then rests again on the gravel, as if to let me know he is still alive.
I won’t lie. It’s stressing me out, but whatever it takes to save him, no matter how stupid that may sound to other people, I will do it.
Before I went to bed, Fish was moving more than he has in the past few days. He followed my hand. I smiled. Is it a sign he is doing better?
Thank you Pets4u for giving me tips on how to care about my fish and I will now see fish in a different light.
Day 4. Fish is gone.