Thursday, August 13, 2009

Catfish Sweepstakes

We have reached an important crossroads in our household and I am caught in a dilemma. We have only one fish remaining in Zoe's fish tank.

There was a time when this tank was the center of her universe. It was a mini-metropolis of sea life swirling and and splashing amidst the fake seaweed and ceramic castles. We always had tropical fish, but for a couple exceptions never any goldfish. We had every kind at one point or another, and many had names along the way.

Like many families we began by overfeeding the fish. The water would turn foggy and little particles would float around stirred up by the electric filter. After a week great algae would grow all over the tank fed by overly abundant food and light. All that is necessary is a pinch of food every other day and a moderate amount of light.

The water filter continuously buzzes and hums around the clock. Our guests stay downstairs, one floor below our bedrooms, and often ask to turn the filter off when they go to bed. It's okay with us as long as someone remembers to turn it back on in the morning.

Before long, Zoe's interest in the fish began to diminish. She had moved on to hamsters and guinea pigs. By the time we got Zoe a dog, she wasn't ever visiting the tank. That left it to me to maintain the tank, change the filters and wipe off the algae. Life sure is resilient! The algae just keeps coming back.

This past weekend I found the silver fish dead, stuck in the seaweed. That means a 4 inch long catfish is the sole (sorry for the pun) resident. All the rest have gone on to their final resting place at the end of the sewer pipe. But Nanny Karen says catfish can live to be 15 years old. Considering we have had this one for maybe 6 years, we still have a decade ahead of us with the catfish. That means cleaning tanks with filters that buzz and make overnight guests want to hit the switch.

Don't get me wrong, the catfish is just fine. It sticks to the side of the tank and minds its own business. Of course, it has no competition. We feed it every couple days, and I clean the tank every two weeks.

So what do we do? Anybody want a really sweet catfish as a starter for your collection, or a partner?

Dear readers: Should the catfish LIVE or DIE? Post your answer as a comment. Thank you

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