Jumat, 15 April 2011

Stupid Fish Tricks

By Wlad Franco-Valias

 Tag : Example of Anecdote text

Do your fish ever do something that amuses you? If so, how about sharing your stories with the rest of the membership? Here are a few from my experiences, and yes, they are true.
In my young teenage days in Brazil I built a pond. My mother bought me some angelfish (Pterophyllum scalare) for the pond, and one of them was the biggest angelfish I had ever seen. Being in a tropical country meant bugs were plentiful and all flies that were swatted inside the house were thrown in the pond for the fish. We also had a nest of paper wasps behind the house. One day I discovered I could pick up these wasps as they drank from the pond and crush the thorax before they could sting my fingers. So when I was bored I would sit by the pond and wait for the wasps to come for a drink. I would pick them up, crush them, break them in two to feed to the fish. One day I wasn’t so quick and one wasp started to sting me. I tossed it into the pond quickly and the large angelfish came up to eat it. I should also mention that we had two comet goldfish (Carassius auratus) whose hobby was to take food from the angel. Well, one of them took the angry wasp just as the angel was about to eat it. The goldfish stopped near the surface, then splashed violently and raced along the length of the pond rubbing its mouth on the bottom. It had been stung! The goldfish lived and continued to steal food from the angel.
Another time a friend of mine came across some fishermen at the river and he brought me a gift for the pond: four armored catfish (Callichthys callichthys). They liked the pond but were not happy when I cleaned it once and placed them in a shallow metal pan we used for carrying wet laundry. They panicked when I came by with more fish, slid up the smooth edge of the pan and landed on the floor of the veranda. Then they proceeded to race across the floor and into the grass of the front yard. My friend and I spent frantic minutes chasing catfish on dry land.
On my last year of university studies I owned a beautiful blue male Betta. He was such a hit with my roommates that we named him Max Headroom. He was no ordinary Betta for besides getting carnations from a secret admirer at Valentine’s Day he would come out of the water to take freeze dried tubifex worms from my finger. I would break a piece from a tubifex cube, wet it in the tank water and stick it on the tip of my finger. That was Max’s cue to come up and get a treat. I would raise my finger slowly and he would come up to half a body length out of the water and take the tubifex from my finger. One day I decided to try the same trick with frozen brine shrimp. Well, the shrimp were not as bulky as the tubifex so Max bit the corner of my finger. Unwilling to admit his mistake he hung on to me. I must have been quite a sight trying to shake a Betta off my finger. I recall feeling many small sharp teeth trying to get a chunk of my finger. Though he couldn’t cut though the thick skin he did leave a red circular bite mark. That was the end of our fancy feeding for he decided that it was much easier to eat food that is not attached to fingers. I don’t blame him.
One time I learned how fish sitters must feel when looking after someone’s fish. I agreed to look after a fellow club member’s fish while he was on holidays. After a familiarization visit when I learned how much of what to feed, it all looked easy. One tank had young Texas cichlids (Herichthys cyanoguttatum) and some grown Rift Lake cichlids separated by a partition. I was warned of the inevitable mayhem that the partition prevented. On a Friday some fish knocked the partition down and I found the fish displaying their full territorial behavior. Nobody seemed hurt and everyone was accounted for. What a relief! Saturday morning I found one of the rift lake cichlids hanging vertically in the water, staring at the ceiling, barely breathing. Oh no, and I was on my way out for the weekend. What to do? Euthanize the fish or leave it in the hopes of a recovery? There was no spare tank and time dictated the latter option, even if it meant a stinky cleanup job later. Sunday night I returned expecting the worst and I found the fish alive and well, doing its share of terrorizing a Texas cichlid that managed to squeeze by the partition. Turned out I had only seen the fish early in the evenings; the fish was asleep that Saturday morning! The morals of the story: get to know the fish’s quirks beforehand, have spare tanks ready for emergencies, and don’t trust cichlids.?


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