Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Fishes and a Mystery

The fish are in the upper right corner of the tank - one is partially hidden behind a plant. Still don't see them? Look for two out-of-focus orange blobs. Yep! That's them.

I am a little embarrassed to admit that I have been enjoying the shit out of these fish. I actually stare into the tank and watch them swim around. Is fun! Really! And much more entertaining than last night's episode of "American Idol".

And I am learning new things, too. Like, these fish do not like to have the light on in their aquarium. AT ALL. If I turn on the light, they get all nervous and jerky and start darting around all over the place and they're all like, "AAHHH!!!! AAHHH!!! BRIGHT LIGHT!!! BRIGHT LIIIGGGGHHHTTT!!!!!" So I turn the light off, and they calm right the fuck down. Back to gravel-grazing (WTF is up with that, anyway? What of interest are they finding in that gravel? I have a sneaking suspicion that it might be their own poop, and I sure hope I'm wrong about that), lazily hanging out, etc.

So now I only turn the light on when I want to mess with their minds. (Kidding.) (Sort of.)

Oh! But I do have a mystery for you! When I was at the pet store on Monday (returning a heater which DID NOT WORK, despite costing twice as much as the heater I was going to buy but was talked out of by the pet store owner himself, thankyouverymuch, and the pricey heater he sold me DID NOT WORK, did I mention that? And did I mention that I went to CrapMart and bought a heater that was half the price, and ACTUALLY WORKED? And was totally submersible, which the other heater was not?) ..... oops, where was I? Oh, ok, I was at the pet store, and I was looking at fish, and they had these fish that were, like, half an inch long, maybe 3/4 inch, and they were white. And some of them had pink and blue vertical stripes, and some had pink and blue polka-dot markings, and some of the striped ones had, I shit you not, heart-shaped markings on their sides. And I was all, like, holy shit, look at that! And then I was all, well, duh, obviously somebody PAINTED these fish to look like that. Fish don't just LOOK like that. But then I was all, like, but how the hell would you paint a fish? I mean, how would you dry them off enough to get the paint to stick? And wouldn't the paint just wash off once you put them back in the water? And who has the TIME to paint all these fish, anyway? And even if you outsourced it to China, to a fish-painting factory, wouldn't the factory employees just eat the fish instead of painting them?

Such were my thoughts in the pet store. And I did not think to look at the front of the tank and get the NAME of this particular kind of fish, because that would be too easy. And now I'm not inclined to go back to that particular store, because of the whole incredibly-expensive-non-functioning-heater thing.

So, what are these fish? Are they born with these really cool stripes and polka-dots and hearts? Or are they painted fish? Please tell me - I'd love to know.


Anonymous said...

Hmmm, Al's brother in law would be able to tell you. He's got an aquarium (very big one) full of very pretty fish and some not so pretty.

He doesn't have any with hearts painted on them though...

Anonymous said...

Forgot to say, your tank looks great! Get more fish!!!

Rockycat said...

Oh, I'd love to get more, but they say not to overcrowd them. Which means that the picture on the front of the box my tank came in is a TOTAL MISREPRESENTATION, because they show about 15 fish crammed into that little tank, whereas the general "rule" is one inch of fish for each gallon of water ......... are you asleep yet? Sorry about that.

historyprof0 said...

The kind with the hearts are called bleeding heart tetras. The kinds with the glow stripes are neon tetras. The endless colored and striped ones were probably platys, which are bred for bright color and interesting markings (like the so-called "Mickey Mouse" platy that has a clear Mickey head near its back fin).

Tetras are great in aquariums because they get together and school. They are pretty miserable if they don't have at least four of their species to school with -- they will lose color if they are unhappy or if the tank isn't working right, so that makes them a good fish to have for a rookie fish owner. (All tetras wash out at night, though. Don't panic.) They are a very non-aggressive fish and they like to live with other non-aggressive "community" fish like platys. You put them with gouramis or angelfish and the angels will go all mob boss on everyone in the tank. Not good.
On their own, though, tetras/platys are fun to watch do their schooling thing. There's sufficient varieties of them (and they're wee) that you can get a pretty and low-stress tank with not much cash outlay.

Both tetras and platys like dark spaces (freak in light), like most little fish. Your impulse to put the greenery in was good, as they will be much more comfortable. You might want to either get a small cat (I like zebra cats) or an algae-eater to add some bottom interest because most community fish will be mid-zone swimmers. The bottom-feeders don't really do all that much for tank maintenance (for that, you'd need an undergravel filter), but they're kind of cool to look at.

Rockycat said...

Fascinating! Thanks so much for the info!