Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Fish Tale

He's the smallest fish in the fish tank.
Like the rest of the fish, I don't have a name for "him," in fact, until recently, I never really took note of him.
A couple of days ago, though, he got my attention...he was in the bubble tube. I got really nervous, because he looked like he was distressed...fighting his way down through the bubbles, panicking because because he didn't know how to get out. I called John in from outside because he's the fish tank supervisor; I had no idea had to get the fish out.

John opened a few things, pulled out the air bubbler thingy, and then fish gradually swam to the top of the tube and with only about a 1/4 in of water clearance, made his way out. Phew. Crisis averted.
...until about an hour later. The little fish did it again. Apparently, there's a little plastic piece that broke off of the top of the tube thingy, and he's so little, that he's the only fish we have that could fit through this new opening. Once again, I felt a little panicked, but not as much as before. Once again, John got him out. And once again, okay, several more times over a two day period, this fish ended up in the tube. Each time, I felt I had to rescue him (I paid attention to the rescue operation John had performed so that I now could perform it.)
So I wasn't at all surprised today to see the fish in the tube, only as I started to take things apart, he showed me that maybe I was rescuing someone that didn't want or need to be rescued. He quickly swam to the top of the tube and made his way out the tiny space that he had entered through before I had a chance to take things apart. Hmmm....maybe he's not so helpless after all....
But now there's a new dilemma, or at least I perceive it as being one. As the kids and I stood there watching him (it is entertaining), he kept struggling more and more going against the bubbles, trying to reach the bottom, which in hindsight, is what I think he's been working towards the whole time. And reach the bottom he did...and more. He "disappeared." He went "under" the tank.
Once again, panic set in.
Chelsey got her phone (also known as an emergency flashlight) and opened the doors to the cabinet.
And there he was.

He was below the plastic bottom that is below the gravel. Now, in this underneath world, there's very little room for movement. There's pockets of water among "ick" and rocks that have slid under there . He can't freely swim or turn around. I thought I was going to have to somehow disassemble the flooring to free him.
He proved me wrong again.
He wiggled, scooted backwards, and made his way back into the tube. I thought for sure, he was now as panicked as I had been and wanted out. So I again removed the air tube to assist him in getting out, which he did slowly, and I wasn't sure if this was a sign of how tired he was or if it was a sign of his reluctance to come out.
Phew, he won't do that again! Wrong again. After a 10 minute break, he went right back in, and forced his way to the underneath world.
Now, here's the thing. The piece where he's entering should be replaced. But, yet, I'm so "proud" of his perseverance...I've never seen such a purposeful action from a fish. He's having an adventure, although this adventure could end his life.
Fix it, and he goes back to his hum-drum life of swimming in the water. Leave it be, and he continues his dangerous, thrill-seeking ways.....


FraggleMom said...

Nemo in a whole new light :) Luv it!!

Jen said...

Yes! Nemo was the first thing that came to my mind, too! He managed to get across the entire length of the underneath...and up the other tube. Problem is, the top of that tube doesn't have an opening...he tried going that way a few times. So then he had to try to swim against the bubbles to get back to the bottom, but he was so tired; it wasn't working. I took the bubbler out, and after several minutes, he swam out. I think he is worn out (or dying); he's spent the last few hours in the same area of the tank. What a little trooper!

Bonnie said...

Love this post. Love the message -- look for the challenges, don't always swim the way the current takes you!

Jen said...

Yes, Bonnie, completely agree. He's a fish on a mission...exploring new territory...not taking the easy path; I'm kind of fascinated by him! Hope he sticks around for a while so I can see what his next adventure might be.

Vicki Davis said...

This is a great story, I hope he makes it and has more adventures.