Fish Saga: Meet Fish 7 & 8

When last we spoke, we were saying goodbye to Gem, our longest-lived fish from the original batch. We didn’t want Seashell to get too lonely or spend too much time alone in the tank, so on Monday we went out and Young Owner got two more fish—#7 & #8. She named them Glimmer and MiniSeashell.

New fish #7


She named the more orangy one Glimmer because of the way the sun shone off his body when we were driving home. And MiniSeashell is patterned like Seashell, but he is very tiny. He is also much paler than the other two. I am worried he is sickly, but Young Owner is hopeful he is just young.

New fish #8


Seashell took to his new tank mates much better than Gem did. There has been no vicious attacking, just some flaring fins and chasing around the tank. Perhaps because there are two new fish, so he can’t focus on one. Or perhaps because he didn’t spend almost a month alone like Gem did. Or maybe Seashell was just happy to have company—he had looked a bit forlorn all alone in the tank. Much of the day I see the three swimming around rather leisurely, and the chasing seems more playful than predatory.

The New Trio (from top): Glimmer, MiniSeashell, and Seashell 3.

MiniSeashell has already given me several heart attacks when I have turned on the light to find him on the bottom of the tank. The very first morning, I couldn’t even see him breathing. Several minutes passed before I saw an eye twitch, and a few more before the other 2 fish swam down to him—and suddenly he was swimming with them! I hope he survives and thrives in our tank.

Young Owner is ecstatic about her new fish, gushing about how much she loves them. My hope is that she gets to enjoy them for a long time.*

*Seashell 3 died unexpectedly on May 30th. Cause of death unknown.

One Fish, Two Fish–We Got a New Fish

We bought our first fish January 7th, 2017. Much drama ensued. (Who knew fish had drama?) A year later, the fish saga continues. We are on fish #6.

For quite some time, we had 3 fish. They periodically battled fin rot, but overall seemed happy. Then December came.

First we lost Seashell 2 on December 6th:

RIP Seashell 2. Overnight, the guppy Seashell 2 passed away. Seashell 2 replaced Seashell 1, who died his first night with us when he jumped out of the tank while we slept.

Seashell 2 was a fighter. He was the aggressive one of our 3 fish, always asserting himself against Flower, with Gem acting as peacemaker. He and the others survived the ammonia scare of January 2017, and led a happy fish life until August of 2017.

In August, we went away for 4 days, and when we came back all the fish were showing signs of fin rot. Seashell had it worst, with a huge red streak down the middle of his tail. Emergency actions stopped the fin rot, leaving the others with ragged-edged but whole tails–however, Seashell was not so lucky. The red stripe developed a tumor of some kind, and slowly the tail behind it fell away. Eventually, he only had a thin strip of tail at the top. He was unable to swim to the top of the tank to feed, and I was certain he would die within a few days.

However, he was a fighter. For weeks I watched him scamper around the bottom of the tank, eating algae off the plants and ornaments, and snagging fish food as it sank to the bottom. I was beginning to think he might make it after all, when he was found laying on his side on the bottom this morning. Grade-Girl said a tearful goodbye as we sent him on his way to the ocean.”

Then we lost Flower on December 8th:

RIP Flower. Flower was the most beautiful fish of the surviving trio. A luxurious orange tail that is probably why my daughter named him Flower. He was gorgeous to watch swim around.

Flower took the brunt of Seashell 2’s aggression, but he was not a pushover. He would fight back until Seashell left him alone. He liked to hang out with his buddy Gem and graze on algae.

He survived the Ammonia Scare of Jan 2017, and was the least affected by the Tail Rot Scourge of Aug 2017. Soon thereafter, he began exhibiting neurotic behavior–hiding a lot, hanging in the water head up-tail down, curving his body into an apostrophe, and sometimes dashing madly around the tank and actually hitting the walls. He eventually started coming back out of hiding, but it became obvious something was wrong–his belly was slowly growing. The tumor finally got him today, sometime this afternoon. When found, his belly had begun to tear, and his tail was blood-red, possibly from an artery bursting. Although sad, he had obviously been in pain from the growing tumor for the last couple of days, and probably far longer, so its better he finally went.

Flower has joined Seashell 2 in Fish Heaven, and his body, with a few words by Grade-Girl, has been sent on its way to the ocean.”

So, Gem reigned supreme. Our smallest, most peaceful fish was the lone survivor. But we felt bad for him, because guppies are social fish.

So after we got back from our Christmas vacation, we decided to get Gem a new friend.

Meet Seashell 3:
New fish, Seashell 3







Gem didn’t like this invasion of his kingdom. Our formerly peacemaking fish (who would literally move between two sparring fish) became a tyrant, harassing Seashell. Now I feel a bit bad about getting them together. Things seem to have calmed down a bit, so maybe it will work out.

A year in, the fish saga continues.

The Fish Mafia: Something’s Fishy Here

I wrote about our newly acquired Fish Mafia a little while ago—including cannibalism and a war for leadership. At the time of that writing, we had 4 surviving fish. The most aggressive fish was Sparkleshine, the one who we believed cannibalized his tankmate on his first night (Jan 7th). But no other fish had mysteriously vanished, so we hoped things would settle down.

Then two things happened:

RIP SPARKLESHINE. Sometime between 10 PM Monday (Jan 16th) and 1 AM Tuesday (Jan 17th), the guppy Sparkleshine passed away in his tank. He was a pioneer, first populating this tank with Seashell. He ate his first tankmate in the dead of night, and waged a constant battle for dominance with his 3 new tankmates. An unexplained midnight leap from his tank left him mostly dead, and he survived only a couple of days thereafter. His young owner found him expired half-hidden under a seashell decoration this morning, and he has received the proper burial at sea. Young owner has agreed to stick with the three surviving fish for the time being, as they seem to get along without the fights and harassment seen with cannibal fish Sparkleshine.

Sparkleshine of the Fish Mafia

RIP Sparkleshine

We closed off the 1/8th inch gap around the top of the aquarium with some mesh. The remaining 3 fish—Seashell 2, Flower, and Gem—live peaceably together under the leadership of Seashell 2.

And then this happened:

FISH NEWS FLASH: SPARKLESHINE EXONERATED! Yesterday (Jan 21st), Young Owner’s Father noticed something by the back leg of the aquarium table. Further investigation found it to be the remains of Seashell 1, who vanished under mysterious circumstances on his first night in the aquarium. Young Owner’s Parents feel bad they did not discover this earlier, because immediate anti-leaping deterrents would have saved Sparkleshine, who leapt to his own death just last weekend. This discovery clears Sparkleshine of the suspicion of cannibalism which had clouded his short life since Seashell 1’s unexplained disappearance. While this clears Sparkelshine’s name and puts Seashell 1 to rest, the mystery of how both these fish managed to leap through a 1/8th inch opening in the top of the aquarium in almost total darkness in the middle of the night remains open. RIP Seashell 1. RIP Sparkleshine–no longer known as the cannibal fish.

The mystery of Seashell 1’s disappearance is solved, Sparkleshine’s name is cleared, and peace reigns in the Fish Mafia. But for how long? The aquarium experiment continues.

Seashell 1 of the Fish Mafia

RIP Seashell 1

**Seashell 2 and Flower died within 2 days of each other in December 2017.

***Gem died May 12th, 2018.



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