Goodbye, Blondie

 

Blondie in better days

Blondie in better days

We never knew if Blondie was male or female, just that he was very light colored, not albino but lutino, so the name seemed to fit whatever sex it was.  Since our last Oscar fish was named Antoinette and we assumed (or were told–don’t remember now) that she was female, Blondie became male.  We always called him Blondie-man when we spoke to him, as in, “hiya, Blondie-man.  How’re you today?”.  What kind of idiots talk to fish, you ask?  Just our garden-variety type of idiot, I suppose.  We talk to the dogs; why not to fish?  We had him about a year, give or take, but he was never a happy fish like Antoinette was.  He didn’t like the tank and was always trying to jump out which caused a lot of damage to his dorsal fin.  He didn’t like pellets, flakes or any other offerings we made except for freeze-dried shrimp or krill, which, of course, is the most expensive common food we can buy locally.  He would allow us to talk to him and would look at us like he knew who we were but toward the end he seemed afraid of us.  He hated it when we moved his plants when we siphoned the gravel.  Most times he would just tear it all up again.  And they were plastic plants because he would eat any real plants we put in there.  Sometimes when we had been gone for a bit, when we got home Blondie would have moved the plants and the gravel into his own configurations.  He would have his snits when nothing pleased him and he would totally ignore us.  I don’t think he ever figured out that we were the ones who fed him so he felt fine about being rude (“I’ll show those fools I don’t like being tampered with!”).  He was a beautiful fish but he’s the last Oscar we’ll have.  They need bigger tanks and someone with more expertise than we have in order to keep them happy, I guess.  Antoinette was always happy and would eat whatever we fed her.  She and Blondie were polar opposites.  As usual, I’d like to take the blame for his unhappiness but he may have had genetic abnormalities from just being so albino.  From what we’ve read the albinos have a lot of health issues so this may have been a lot of the problems we saw in raising him.  RIP, Blondie.  You’re the end of an era…

And the beginning.  When he died yesterday I had to move fast to get him out of the tank; I couldn’t wait for R to get home from work because if I turned the filter off I’d lose all the good bacteria.  So I did what had to be done then siphoned the water out of the tank down to the gravel.  It was full of medications so I couldn’t put any new fish in there until it was diluted well.  I put in one new filter pad and turned the filter back on and let it circulate for about 4-6 hours.  When the temperature stabilized I went to PetSmart and bought 20 new fish, a new heater and 3 new TI’s.  I set it up about 4 PM yesterday and so far all 20 fish are happy campers.  If we don’t run into any issues in the next few days I’ll add to the stock, put in decorations, etc., but even though my water parameters are perfect I don’t want to miss anything that could cause dire consequences in our fishy equilibrium.  I find a lot of peace in watching the fish tank but must admit I miss our Blondie-man swimming back and forth.  He was hard to miss with his size.  I’ll just have to make do with a new vista now.

 

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