Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Our Fish Fiasco!

It's long, but I just didn't feel like it could be condensed! Just read it--you may even get a few gigglies!

So do you remember THIS -where we purchased more fish for Aleeyah's fish tank? It also has a link to HERE-from back when one bully fish tortured all but one to their deaths, but then got ick and died. Leaving us with 1 lonely fish. Well, the new kids and our original survivor had been doing great in their tank. We were feeling quite confident that these were going to make it. They played well together. They looked healthy. Their tanks levels were good........errrrr.......up until yesterday morning when I went in Aleeyah's room and found that she had dumped an entire 3 oz bag of algae wafers into the tank.

If you don't know how bad that is-trust me...it's BAD! Just to give you an idea---you are only suppose to feed a pleco like 1-2 wafers a week and those wafers are smaller than a dime. It was bad enough that even all the snails (that made their way into the tank via the live plants we bought from the pet store and multiply like rats) had decided they didn't want to be in the tank any longer. In a mad rush (you know, as fast as snails can rush) they all slimed their way up the tank glass and stayed above the water line. They wanted nothing to do with any of that stuff.

In short, what happens is algae increases the nitrate levels in a tank. When nitrate levels get too high they burn the fish's gills.

I quickly took the fish out of the tank and put them into a temporary hold cell along with their own algae infested water. I figured it was better than putting them into water that has not been cycled. Aleeyah and I jumped in the car and ran up to the store to get a gravel cleaner/pump type thing. My intention was to clean the gravel as best as I could while also eliminating 50% of the water. Fill it back another 25% and hoping for the best.

As soon as I got home with the gravel cleaner/pump, I hooked it all up with the 25 ft hose running to the kitchen faucet to drain the gunk while maintaining half of the water. I checked on the fish in the pot with just enough water to cover them. Yes, I said pot-it was the quickest, closest thing I could think of at the moment. They seem to be doing okay at this point. Scared, but okay.

I began the processes of sucking out the junk in hopes of getting out all the algae wafers-which at this point have dissolved into tiny particles sprinkled on the rocks and floating in the tank. I get down to the remaining 50% water and I know that I have to stop. I can't do THAT much of a water change without a great risk.

I shut off the pump and check on the fish again. Because I can't attach their heater to the pot, they are getting too cold. I rush into the room and get their lamp and put it over the pot. Hoping that it would be enough to heat the water.

I will admit that since they were in a pot.......with water........sitting next to the stove........they were cold......I needed to heat them up.......(are you seeing where this is going).........it crossed my mind for a SPLIT second to put them on the stove on low heat. NOW, I would never do such a thing and my mind immediately processed that it would be TOO hot for them! It was just a brief moment of insanity.

Fish need oxygen in the water to survive. So I also got a straw from the cabinet and proceeded to blow some "oxygen" into the water for them since they didn't have their pump attached to the pot.

Going back to the tank again, I turned the valve the other way to begin filling it up. Of course, Aleeyah is wanting to help (aka-get in my rushing way). In the process of trying to keep her away from the tubes, I took the tube out of the water and sprayed water all over the wall which ran down the back of her dresser to where the power strip is. I shut off the pump again and began cleaning up the mess.

Before beginning again, I check on the fish. Now the water is TOO hot from the lights. I left the lights on, but laid them leaning against the pot with the lights shinning over the opening. I gave them a few blows through the straw again and headed back to finish putting the water in the tank.

Just before the tank finished filling, the tube knocked off a spray bottle from Aleeyah's dresser onto the floor. The top busted off and water began pouring on the carpet. SERIOUSLY? I wanted to scream at this point. I shut if off again, cleaned up that mess, and checked on the fish again. Their water was too cold yet again so I put the lights back on them and began checking their water temp every 5-10 minutes. I gave them a few more puffs of "oxygen" before heading back into the room.

I finally got the tank filled back up and that is when I realized there was no way that this is going to work. I didn't even get all of the algae out in the process. At this point, if they would have been less than $8.00 fish, I would have had to just say sorry and restart the tank, but that isn't the case. We had nice fish in there. I had every intention of saving them. No matter how many times I had to remove their lights on and off the tank to maintain the temperature or how many times this asthma ridden girl had to go in there and blow into their water.

I called Chris almost in tears. He was at work. There is nothing he could do.

I called my dad. He came over with his mega filter that he made from a house water filter, a large bucket, and some chemicals. I took out all the rocks to be rinsed thoroughly while Dad worked his magic. I kept checking on the fish as I had been all day (yes this has been an all day thing now). The 3 fish were sucking air from the top of the water. I knew that they were struggling to breath. So, I finally figured out a way to rig up the fish's filter/pump to get them oxygen. About 5 minutes later they were feeling much better. Then 2 completely clogged and gunked up large filters (they kind of look like paint rollers) , we had a green water tank, but no particles floating. He put the needed chemicals in. I checked the levels of the tank and all were good. I breathed a sigh of relief.

We returned the fish, plants, and decor. Everybody seemed to be doing fine. Chris and I checked on them multiple times throughout the evening. The water began clearing up but still had a green tint. Chris and I made bets on which one would die if any of them did happen to die.

We went to bed and slept peacefully. Chris woke me up this morning and informed me that something happened to the tank. I was having a hard time comprehending what could have happened to the tank that was any worse than what I had already seen in the last 24 hours. Sure enough, the water was still green, but so cloudy that you couldn't see anything.....well.....what you could see was all the fish bodies laying there-dead. Checked the levels of the tank-nitrate levels were skyrockected! No question as to what killed them, but how it happened-we don't know. Way too many things to calculate into it.

So there went all that work! Now, it's time to completely empty the tank and start over. Well, I was in the middle of doing that earlier when I moved the piece of driftwood and saw the pleco moving!!! I was ecstatic!!! I had put off draining it until this afternoon because I hated walking in there seeing all the fish that I babied dead. Now our poor pleco has been trying to survive in there with bodies laying every where. I can only imagine how frightened he must have been! I could almost here him singing his victory song as I lifted him from the depths of death.

I put him and some water back into......(you guessed it)......the pot! He is going over to my dad's house tonight to live in his tank for a little while until we get ours up and running again. I have a key to dad's house so I was planning on just rushing him over there. Well, Chris' truck started overheating again yesterday so he has my car. So now I'm back to checking on him as he sits in toxic water without any oxygen and no heat.

If only I would have put my bet in a little different for Mr. Pleco!!!!

Oh, btw-were you questioning the "oxygen" I was blowing into their water to save their lives? Have you realized how wrong this is? We don't breathe out oxygen. Yeah, I thought of it later that evening. GO ME!!!!!!!


Domestic Goddess said...

Oh my gosh, you are hysterical. I am sitting here wiping tears from my eyes I was laughing so hard (with you, not at you!) I would have done the same thing, that is too funny. Sorry that you lost them, especially after all that work. But the one lone survivor is better than nothing!

For a brief moment I wondered if it would be cruel to keep our cats and dogs in a fish tank. A self contained area would be nice! LOL! SO KIDDING, I would never!

Britt said...

I am literally laughing out loud!!! I'm so sorry for all that trouble though!

Jill Foley said...

You are hilarious! What a great way to start my day....we gave up on fish after the 3rd round of death!

The Leeth family said...

The first thing I thought of was you blowing into the straw... and it not being oxygen!! Too funny! I think you need to go with the $15 goldfish until your baby girl gets a little bigger! :)

Da MiMi said...

Oh, please - I seriously cannot stop laughing!! That was too sad/hysterical for words!
I am so sorry about your fish but haven't had that good of a laugh in a longggggggggg time! It's a good thing this mimi had her depends on. Gotta love it!

Juli Jarvis said...

Oh my -- "fiasco" is right! What a story!

Abbie H. said...

That's right-everyone laugh at MY expense! Just kidding. It's funny now! lol

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