This morning we awoke to find that Merrimack the Fish had passed away during the night. The truth is, we knew she was ailing – though we’d been doing everything possible to keep her comfortable, in hopes that she might recover. Everyone and every source I consulted gave me the same advice, and in the end, I am confident that we did everything within our power to preserve her little life, and the quality thereof.
Rest in Peace, Merry.
I hope you enjoyed your time with us as much as we enjoyed having you.
But over the last few years, I’ve grown accustomed to having something cheerfully swimming around in the living room tank – and at the risk of sounding callous, I can’t bear to have it empty.
Let me be clear: I loved Howard, who we kept nearly three years; and I loved Merry, though she was with us less than a third of that time. I take all forms of animal companionship as a sincere and serious responsibility, and every single critter under my care receives the best love and maintenance that I am capable of providing. Pet ownership is a kind of contract, after all. “You are mine, and you will depend on me – and so I am yours, and you can depend on me.”
Anyway, as of this morning the household was short one resident … and we had an opening in the Good Home Department. Was it too soon to rectify that situation? I don’t think so. I’ll be the first to admit that if we’d lost the cat, it would be different. We’ve had her nearly ten years, and she sleeps with us, and she talks to us, and she follows us around and snuggles and begs to be hugged. It’s simply not the same thing.
But I missed my fish, and I wanted another one. So I dragged the husband out this afternoon, and together we made a flashy, wet little addition to the family. Click ye the jump below (or simply scroll, if you’ve clicked to this post directly) to make the acquaintance of “Tesla Rex, the Electric Lord” in all his shimmering glory.
AKA, “Tesla, the Difficult to Photograph.”
We liked him right away. He was alert but not aggressive, interested in people, and – perhaps most touchingly of all – he’d begun making bubble nests in his tiny plastic tub.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with bettas and their behavior, the male fish blow bubbles to create nests. It’s usually a sign of contentment, or even happiness. And here was Tesla, near the bottom shelf of a huge wall o’ fish, with little chance of being spotted or adopted, making the best of a bad situation.
Or maybe he’s just too dumb to care, I don’t know. Regardless, he was the only dude making a nest, and he was the one who seemed to most want people-interaction. So now he lives with us.
Tesla is a rich, vivid scarlet with a dark crimson body that’s flecked with electric turquoise. At the moment, he’s settling into his new tank and checking out the scenery – but so far, all seems to meet with his approval. The tank isn’t quite as big as I would like; it’s only a 2-1/2 gallon jobbie, but we don’t really have the room or resources for anything bigger – and hey, it beats the hell out of a plastic cup. Now he has room to stretch his fins, and he has his own plants and a hidey-rock thingy … and his new digs are outfitted with a heater to keep him cozy.
(As a matter of precaution, I threw away Merry’s gravel, plants, and “furniture” – and I sanitized her tank with a small splash of bleach and a whole lot of rinsing, soaking, and rinsing again. All Tesla’s stuff is new.)
Anyway. There you go. New fish in the house, and he’s settling in just fine.
As for me, I have to go freshen up. Ellen and Suezie will be here soon, and together, we’re taking off for drinks.