Friday, January 29, 2010
We bought home a fish bowl along with four fishes. This, inspired by a visit to our cousins’ home where we learnt it isn’t too hard to keep fishes. My 19 months old toddler says ‘mee’ for fish. ‘Meen’ is the word for fish in our mother tongue. Fish is a staple item on our dinner table. And fish was one of the early objects that she learnt to recognize in her picture books - From the grey scaled fish in the food section to the orange gold fish in the colors section. She was fascinated with the fishes swimming in the fish bowl at our cousins’ and that’s where the idea to get one at our place, sprouted.
When the student is ready the teacher arrives. Out shopping to our local shopping street, I noticed, for the first time, this place for pets. On a whim we thought of checking the place for fish and the entire paraphernalia for fish keeping was available much to our delight. We bought two goldfish and two sharks. Uh?? Yes, that’s this shark look alike without the killer jaws. The mouth is more like a hippo’s- wide with moustaches. I jokingly asked the vendor if they would grow up! Were they aggressive? Was it a good idea to put them with the gold fish? I was in for a surprise.
Along with the fish and the bowl, we got an aeration tube and fish food. Apparently, one of these mustard sized granules was enough for a fish per day. With the whole thing set up, I put 4 granules in them - one for each occupant. A little while later on a routine inspection I noticed that the granules had disappeared. Was I thrilled!
Its easier to keep track of them if they had names. Recently we painted our house and the shade we chose was called honey mustard. So that’s what we named the gold fishes. The smaller one was called Honey and the bigger of the two was Mustard. One of the sharks was a pale grey and so was named Ash (Asha, Aishwarya, Ashutosh.. or anything else as the long version of the appellation would be fine according to the reader’s preference!) The fourth fish was a charcoal black and I thought of black pearl as a suitable name. Now that was too long so we called him Pele! There was a free advice from my soccermonger hubby to name them Pele Maradona Messi and Ronaldo! And may be put in a miniature soccer ball inside for their entertainment. May be there would soon be soccer leagues arranged between different fish bowl counties! The Super Fish bowl premier league!!!Hmmm... mercifully all that remained wishful imagination and we stuck to the original names.
The next day after feeding them I noticed that Ash was scouting the floor of the bowl and rarely came up. Honey and Mustard were more sprightly. I was beginning to fear Ash was sick but a tap on the bowl right under it made it jump into a frenzied swimabout. The sharks once instigated moved at a lightening speed and at other times chose to languor at the bottom. At the next feeding time I decided to keep a watch on Ash. As I feared, all the four granules were devoured by Mustard! I had heard that too much food could kill the fish. I was now convinced Mustard would perish with his tummy bursting due to overeating! And Ash seemed to be on a hunger strike.
The next day I witnessed a repeat in the pattern and decided time had come to take matters into my hands. I took this fairly big serving glass bowl and using a tea strainer shifted Mustard into the new but smaller bowl. Now I could concentrate on the starved fishes with the glutton out of the way. I added few granules and found that Honey quickly sniffed it out and gulped it down in no time. All of it. By now I was convinced that the ‘sharks’ were about the dumbest fishes living in a bowl. And it was the need of the hour to separate the golden beauties from the dull greys.
Should I be interfering with nature? Why not let the fittest survive? Which meant that the goldfish would thrive and the sharks would most definitely perish. Two days had now passed and they hadn’t eaten anything. Too much of National geographis puts all sorts of animal preservation ideas into your head! So Action – SAVE THE GREYS – was put into action.
I thought it might be a better choice to put the goldfish in the fish bowl and the sharks in the improvised serving bowl. But attempting to catch the sharks thru’ the tea strainer proved impossible. Using all their reserve energy they suddenly charged all around the bowl to escape capture and I knew even if I caught them in the strainer they would simply jump off before being transferred in to the other bowl. So I did what I could. I caught the more docile Honey who joined Mustard in the serving bowl where they remain as of now. They have separate feeding sessions. Two granules for the Goldies which get polished off almost immediately. And about four for the sharks who take their own lethargic time .
I have seen Pele eat the granules but haven’t yet seen Ash feed. He is still alive so perhaps he is eating. May be the two fish are not meant to be put together. Probably the sharks have a much inferior olfactory sensation compared to the goldfish. And would invariably lose the feeding battles with them.
As of now the two bowls remain side by side with the aeration tube shared by the two in equal measures of time. All four fishes are alive and kicking.