Sunday, October 2, 2011

Like a Fish Out of Water

This isn't a story about my husband in social situations; this is about our real fish out of water.

Early Friday evening, I went to check my email at my desk in the living room.  My desk is in a little dark corner behind the free-standing bookcase. You really can’t see me unless you know I'm there.  I like it that way. Anyway, this isn’t about me, but the location of my desk behind the bookcase, the location of the betta tank on the bookcase, and flippy/floppy sounds that pierce the darkest corners of the night.

So, I'm sitting there waiting for my email to download and I hear something rustling over near the stairs (my desk is in the corner and butts up against the landing on the dog-leg staircase). I figure it's a bug that somehow got in the backdoor and is now looking for a way out. I hear it again. I think, why is the bug in this darkest corner of the living room when bugs usually seek light? It must be a moth. I read my email. I hear it again. This time, it's loud enough that I turn on the light thinking it's got to be a huge moth.

I see a black and gold shape on my stack of bills. Wow. That IS a big moth! It moves again. EW!

It's not a moth, but my daughter's Betta, Sharkbait Ooh-Ha-Ha, aka: Chum lying flat on my stack of bills three feet below his tank!

I scream, WHAT?, scoop him up, and deposit him back in his tiny tank.

Chum in happier days. Maybe he's no longer a Buddhist.
The family gathers to watch the now dust and doghair covered Betta float in his tank. My daughter freaks out a little. I try to clean the doghair from the fish. He starts to swim around.

Now I don't know how long the damn thing was out of the water, but it was a good three to four minutes from the time I first heard him struggle until the time I figured out it was him.  Additionally, he had moved from the top of the bookcase where he apparently jumped out of his tank, to the edge of the bookcase, and flopped onto my bills!  I know this was his route because I could see his flippy trail in the dust on the top of the bookcase. (Ew for a few reasons.)

By later on in the evening, he appeared okay but began to develop pop-eyes. (Ew.)

It seems that Betta bowl abandonment  is not so unheard of. Apparently they're very sensitive to water quality issues and it's not uncommon for them to jump out of their bowls after the bowl has been cleaned. My daughter had cleaned his bowl not two hours before. Apparently, Bettas, like some other type of fish, have an organ called a labyrinth organ which allows them to breathe out of the water. Who knew? 

So now, while he seems to have survived his time out of water, his pop-eyes, a probably reaction to some type of bacterial infection from his dust/doghair dredging, may or may not clear up.

I hope it does. We've gotten used to having Chum around – just not as a paperweight. 


Debbie said...

I'm thinking a desperate cry for help. But with what? Bettas aren't forthright. Buddha probably knows.

Thanks for sharing this. I have lived with 2 Grow-a-Frogs on my short-on-space kitchen counter for 17 years now. Maybe I'll take that screen top off and see if they wanna relocate.

Lynne said...

You crack me up!

We're giving Buddha one more chance. If the statue topples during the night, we'll know more and perhaps have to replace it with Chum's new spiritual icon.