We’ve Lost A Few Good Fish This Year

Note: This post has nothing to do with lobster bisque, other than that part it played in the irony of life.  If you follow me on Facebook, then you’ll know what I’m talking about.


Look, I’m not going to pretend that I know how to take care of aquatic life creatures, even more so pretend that I can keep them alive.  I barely know how to keep my own children and Lego plants alive.  But, four fish and two snails?!  That’s just asking too much.

In March, I had purchased two fish for my son.  Two weeks later, I bought two more, and then added the water snails.  Not long after proudly bringing the two newer fish home from the store, they died.  One of them was floating at the top of the underside of our Hawaiian mountain waterfall, and the other was found squashed by the wheel of the casual beach bungalow.  It was quite disturbing to find.

I lied to my kids for approximately 3.5 weeks about the status of these fish after their demise.  Eventually, they noticed when I did a weekly water change and removed all the decor that the tank suddenly had two less fish.  They are honestly too observant for their own good.  Prior to my kids’ discovery of the two missing fish, I had spent weeks trembling in fear of how or when I’d break the news.  So much so that I caved under the stress and blurted out, “They’re dead!”….to which my kids responded with, “Oh, ok……”.  Needless to say, I was supremely disappointed in their lack of emotion.  I had fully prepared to bust out bereavement support pamphlets and Mr. Rogers Neighborhood episodes to help them cope with their emotions.

Back to the snails…. Read about the prior adventures of Snailo and Snailee on my other blog that I forgot I had.  Anywho, one snail, Snailo (the blue one to be specific), has caused me hours of fevered scouring of the interwebs on more than one occasion to determine the level of his well-being.  It was not uncommon for him to not move for an entire day.  I’d go to sleep, wake up, and he’s in a slightly new position.  Between my acute observational skills and utilizing Google, I learned that water snails are nocturnal.  Who freaking knew?!  Anyway, I’d search the internet over and over regarding determining if a water snail is dead or alive, especially because Snailo is not nearly as active as his yellow tank mate, Snailee.  Finally, I gave up caring because I knew Snail-O would eventually move…. until he didn’t.

Which brings me to the other day when I did a water change.  Many hours of information gathering taught me that the definitive way to determine if your water snail is dead is to smell it.  Yes, I said to smell it.  You can see where this is going, can’t you?  In prior times of worry, I’d pick Snailo up out of the tank, plop him into a cup of tank water, and see what happens.  This was due to the fact that if your water snail were to die, you’d not want his rotting snail corpse to muck up the water.  However, as I said before, I got tired of playing the “Is he?/Isn’t he?” game.  It was worse than dating in college, only I’d get more information from the snail than I ever would a human male in his late teens/early 20’s.

I digress.  The last (I’ll be honest) two weeks (ok, three) have gone by without Snailo moving…. I mean, not even the teensiest bit….at first I let it slide….then I started noticing that his shell was changing from a calming, soft blue to a dingy, concerning brown…..then some fuzzy stuff starting growing on top of him……and then I noticed how the two surviving fish started hiding…. for reasons of which I can only assume were to avoid the decomposing carcus of their friend, which I negligently let stay in the tank.

Today, I realized that I had could not bury my head in the sand any longer.  I needed to determine if Snailo was truly what I had feared…. not extremely lazy as per usual, but dead.  I began with taking out the tank decor….and dropping my hand slowly into the tepid, slightly cloudy, tank water to grasp Snailo with my timidly pointed fingers.  While I’m being honest, I’ll go ahead and admit that it’s been a while since I’ve done a water change, as evidenced by the level of cloudiness in the water.  The other fish scattered.  Snailee was doing his normal surprisingly-fast-for-a-snail squeegeeing of the tank, but I got no reaction from Snailo, not that I’d had any reaction in the past.

I knew what I’d have to do next…. I’d have to smell him.  After emptying the tank of its solid contents (fish not included), I picked up Snailo, and before I could put his fuzzy, brown shell up to my nose, I knew he was a goner.  Just to be certain, I did the single most regrettable action in aquatic pet ownership.  I put Snailo’s body up to my nose…. wanna know what a dead snail smells like?  Poop. Straight up poop. Like, did my terrible dog dig in the trash can and grab my child’s dirty diaper, or is this snail dead? Honestly, if you had told me to close my eyes and guess which one is which, I’d have no idea.

After confirming Snailo’s death, I grabbed a tissue and threw him away in the kitchen trash can.  Due to my terrible dog’s habit of digging in the trash (see previous paragraph), I knew I’d have to take the trash out A.S.A.P., cuz, like, my dog is a jerk.

And honestly, I haven’t told my children.  Probably never will.  Those smart things can figure it out on their own.



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