I got an urgent email Thursday. The room mom for my son’s class desperately needed someone to please get Blue Fin, the class fish on Friday for the holiday week. I somewhat foolishly agreed. It’s a single beta fish in a 1 gallon aquarium. How hard could this be? My acceptance was greeted with a warning: the water needs changing.
Ok. I’ve had fish before. I’ve done some changing of water–you trade out some for some fresh. No biggie. Right?
Wrong. I ran over during my planning period to grab the fish. The plan was just to bring him to my classroom until the end of the day and then take him home.
The plan changed when I got to my son’s class. The aquarium was disgusting. You couldn’t even see the fish unless he happened to be against the edge. There seemed to be some type of turtle in there too, but the water was too brown to tell.
The teacher said the kids had overfed the fish while she had been out due to illness the previous week. My son says it’s been getting worse since the first week of school. I don’t know. I just know I found a disgusting brown tank that may or may not have a fish and a turtle.
I put the aquarium on the floor of the van behind my seat. I got in. Within minutes I was nearly gagging from the smell. Instead of returning to my school, I ran the aquarium home. I couldn’t take it at school. I went ahead and filled a bowl of water to come to room temp beside the aquarium.
I left to get back to work, while praying there was a Blue Fin in there.
I regrouped quickly. I borrowed water conditioner from the biology teacher. As soon as we could leave, we came straight home and started the process of rescuing Blue Fin.
With the “help” of 3 7 year olds, I started by pulling out the filter and the plastic plants. I filled a small bowl with some of the room temperature water I had fixed at lunch. I had no net and there was no way I was saving even a drop of this disgusting water.
So I reached in and pulled out the turtle. That turned out to be a decoration. That left rocks and a fish. I grabbed the fish and dumped it into the small bowl of fresh water.
I then washed every inch of the inside of that aquarium. I washed the plastic plants and the filter. I rinsed the rocks several times. The amount of gunk was disgusting. I rebuilt the aquarium scene, minus the goo and the fish.
My son had a birthday party to go to, so we went, leaving a weak Blue Fin in a small bowl and an aquarium of clean water running through a nasty filter.
The party was next to PetSmart, so I ran in to check on a replacement filter. $3 for 2. SOLD! Blue Fin would have a clean filter and a spare!
As soon as we got home, my son was all about Blue Fin. We needed to get him in his home. I wanted to get the new filter in and working before we moved him home, so I changed that out and sent my son to get ready for bed.
Since we had been gone over 2 hours, and home for nearly 30 minutes, I decreed the water set enough to take Blue Fin.
We dumped him in. He stayed perfectly still for a long time. Then he seemed to realize he was home again and could see!
So, we have a happy Blue Fin. We didn’t feed him last night because his old tank was so filled with food. This morning my son put in 2 tiny granules which Blue Fin ignored.
Tonight I added 3 more tiny granules. No movement from Blue Fin toward them. But he’s happily swimming around. 🙂
I like to think we saved him. He’s got a happy home now. I’m also afraid I’ve done such a great job I’ll earn the “privilege” of having him here every break.