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Ugly Fish

February 17, 2012
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Pterygoplichthys multiradiatus (Syn. Liposarcu...

We have an Ugly Fish in our tank.  Plecostamus was bought to clean the algae off the sides of the tank, and he was billed as a vegetarian.  When we got him he was about the length of my hand, with beautiful leopard print mottled flesh and a fin like a rippled sail down the length of his back.  Now he is as long as my hand, kicks up a flurry of gravel when he decides to change location, and sends the other fish scurrying out of his way. Also, the guppies have started disappearing…

Female and Male Guppies

If you have a fish tank, I highly recommend guppies as part of the community.  With a male and female, in short order you will have baby guppies!  I worried that the population would explode, but apparently daddy guppies can’t resist the tender young morsels, especially when there are a dozen or so new additions – mommy won’t miss one or two, right?  So the population expands and contracts, and it provides an interesting opportunity to observe fish life cycles.  (I try not to dwell on my role in sacrificing the young ones to the greater scheme of things.)

So our guppy population hovers around 12 or 13, sometimes as few as 6, sometimes as many as 20, and I have never flushed one.  By last week, however, we were down to two small, brightly coloured males.  Without adoption, those two were never going to have offspring.  So, off to My Fish Tank yesterday for a couple of new guppies for the community.  The owner of that store is wonderful.  He’s from Mexico, married a Canadian and settled down in Nanaimo, of all places, to open a store selling fresh and salt water aquarium supplies.  His customer service is excellent, and I am always pleased to have an opportunity to support a local business instead of a multi-national chain store, especially when it comes to purchasing live animals.  He said it is probably Pleco who is picking off the adult guppies at night, even though I give Pleco a healthy diet of algae biscuits in addition to the scum he sponges off the glass.  The store owner sold me a beautiful guppy couple, and gave me a tiny frog as well, since he has developed a relationship with my Big Boy.

Ugly Fish		written by Kara LaReau, illustrated by Scott Magoon		Scholastic Australia 2007		A gripping, cautionary tale set in the ruthless badlands of the domestic fish tank, Ugly Fish pulls no punches, there is no fairy-tale ending for these fish…  But there is a humorous little story with some great characters and a wonderfully satisfying moral to wrap it all up. The illustrations are delightfully ugly; drawn in pen and ink then digitally coloured, presented on a matte stock.  The perfect book for the little bully.		Buy on Amazon /		Buy on Book Depository /	By this morning, the frog was gone!  A snack for Pleco worth $5 and the trip into town to pick up new fish!  We made a joke of it by scolding Plecostamus (calling him by his full name brought appreciative laughter from the Big Kids) for eating his new friend and explaining that this was his community, not a snack bar!  Reading this book extends the enjoyment of watching this all go down.  I’m sure there’s some life lesson to be learned, but I’m having trouble drawing a direct connection.  Don’t Eat Your Friends?  Treat Others as You Would Like to be Treated?  Or maybe Laughter is the Best Medicine.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. seethesea permalink
    February 17, 2012 10:52 am

    Oh no !! I’m sorry for your loss…..
    Time for Ugly Fish to move out maybe . He’s outgrown his space ? Are you sure ‘Giggles’ the frog is not hiding out somewhere in there afraid to come out ??

    • Mairi King permalink*
      February 17, 2012 12:07 pm

      Aha, yes! Turns out froggie was hiding behind the heater. So Pleco is off the hook and the Big Kids will be amused, again, to know he was accused unfairly…

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