December 30, 2005

rip, little guys :(

Posted in pets at 11:38 pm by Marise Phillips

i suck. really, really suck. hard.

i was so damn excited about the two beautiful goldfish i got today. about a month ago, i spotted them in our lobby, swimming happily about in this crazy-cool fishtank called “The BiOrb.” The tank was part of a full-on “Holiday Gift Idea” display my company sets up each year to showcase our website’s wares.

thoroughly besotted, i put out some feelers to find out whose fish they were. once i located their owner, i wrote him an email extolling their beauty and asking where he got them. he replied that he’d found them at Petco in San Bruno, just minutes from work. and then, much to my surprise and delight, he offered to let me keep them once the display was ready to be taken down. i was ecstatic!!

every day i went to work, i would wave and smile as i walked past my fish-to-be. i bored my friends with incessant gushing: how excited i was for the day they would be mine, all mine.

fast-forward to today, display dismantled — and in comes an email from the nice guy at work, reminding me that i’m welcome to take them. i was beside myself with excitement over the prospect of finally having the perfect goldfish i’d always wanted, set up and thriving in an established tank, etc.

add to that the email we got at about 1pm from the company president, encouraging us to head home early. i didn’t need to be asked twice.

i packed up, logged out, and rushed downstairs. as i had begun to notice earlier in the week, the tank was getting pretty green and in need of a good clean; therefore, i was happy to have the long weekend ahead of me to dedicate to helping my new pets assimilate to their new home.

i enlisted the help of the receptionist and a facilities guy to unplug the tank, lift it up onto a rolling cart, roll it out to my car, and nestle it snugly into my back seat. i drove along surface streets the entire way home in order to ensure the fishies’ safe passage. i tilted my rear view mirror to keep an eye on them, and drove as gingerly as possible, cringing with each bump as the tank, fish and water sloshed around a bit too much for my liking.

it began to occur to me that i should have put them in baggies or something. plus, the tank was really heavy… how was i going to get it upstairs? i called j, who was nearly out the door on the way to an errand, but he kindly agreed to stay home and help me. he nearly hurt his back lugging the heavy thing up to our flat, and definitely drenched his shirt by the time the tank was safely resting on the kitchen table. he then went out on his errand, and i was free to plunge into the daunting task of draining and cleaning… The BiOrb.

i worked as quickly as I could, fearing that the longer the fish were without a filter, cramped in the (large-ish) glass vase i’d found for them, the unhappier they would be. while draining the tank, i pulled out my books on goldfish keeping and care, and made sure not to use soap or cloth towels to clean and wipe it out (lest residual detergent taint the water).

after all the rocks were rinsed, the tank wiped down with paper towels and the filter de-scummed, i put it back together and poured in a mixture of reserved tank water along with cool tap water (which the books said would be fine (though, admittedly, safer to wait 12 hours for the chlorine to dissipate).

i turned on the filter — and voila — The BiOrb bubbled and glowed just like new! i then got the vase holding the fish and more of their original tank water, and poured that in. Added a last bit of cool tap water, fed the little guys, and watched them swim about, a bit dazedly (the fish, I mean — not me!) Since the whole ordeal took about two-and-a-half hours, we were all in need of a bit of rest.

i stayed with them over the next couple hours, trying not to be too terribly alarmed that one of them was kind of listless and neither of them were eating their food. i resolved to go out first thing the next morning to buy a water-testing kit, better food and anything else that might improve their enviroment. as the hours passed, they became less and less lively, until finally, one of them swam no more.

after crying in j’s lap for a while, i went back to the tank and scooped out the little lifeless body, still so beautiful and vivid and iridescent. in the process of removing her, i noticed how badly off the other one was doing, and realized it would only be a matter of minutes before i would have to admit to complete failure.

i was right. i fucked up. i feel horrible, careless, evil, useless, destructive. i fucking hate myself right now.



  1. Oh, NO! I am so sorry, hon! I know how much you wanted those fish. 😦

  2. stacyo said,

    poor little fishies. it wasn’t your fault. sounds like the tank wasn’t kept up at your office. don’t be sad. they were probably never loved as much in their little lives as when they were with you.

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