So, yeah. I'm not allowed to look at our fish tank anymore.
Yeah, that may require a bit of back story.
My mom, for her birthday, got herself a giant, fifty-six gallon fish tank. It's beautiful. It's got some roman-esque decorations and a weird little Temple of Zeus in there, a bunch of plants –both live and plastic. It's fantastic. So, naturally, we filled it with fish.
Things go fine for the first couple months, before I notice one of the betas was looking pretty sickly. Its fins were all jaggy and its usually blue coloring was off. I mentioned this.
Within the week, it was dead, along with a couple guppies and an angelfish.
So we figure it was some sort of fin rot or fungus or something and put in some medicine for the remaining fish. They're right as rain within the next week, and Mom decides that you know what we could use? More fish. I go with her because- hey, fish! I like fish.
We pick up a little red-tailed shark, another angelfish, a sucker fish and a few more I-don't-remember-what-they-ares.
When we got home, I noticed that a couple of the new ones were looking a bit sickly. I told her. She shrugged it off and said that hopefully they wouldn't die, but worst case scenario, we'd just go back and get a refund. (PetSmart gives out refunds/trade-ins for dead pets. That's both cool, and worrying). Of course a couple were dead by the next day and we went to get more. Eventually, after a few trials and errors that had us on a first name basis with a couple PetSmart employees, we finally managed to reach a tank-equilibrium and everything went smoothly for a month.
Then the red-tailed shark (who had gotten pretty damned big) decided to commit fishy suicide and leap out of the tank for no particular reason.
I warned Mom not to replace him. "We've got enough fish," I said. "If you add in another, they'll just start dropping off dead again like before."
Of course, my sage advice went unheeded, and along with another shark, we got two more sucker fish, a few grombie thingumies, and a few more whatchamacallits.
"If you put those in there," I said, "Half of them will be dead by morning."
Were they dead? Of course they were dead. There's a reason PetSmart has that whole 'three day warranty" on small pets.
We let it be, after that. For another couple months, we were perfectly happy with out little giant fish tank.
Then last week, Mom decided the tank looked a little on the empty side. She came home with a red-tailed shark. Cute little fella.
"Mom, that's a dead fish swimming."
"Zephronias," she said, placing the bagged fish into the tank to float, "He's fine. It's a perfectly healthy fish. I got him over at that other PetSmart. Look, he's perfectly fine."
I looked. He did seem like a happy little guy.
"Then the old one will be dead tomorrow."
"If it is, I'll give you ten dollars."
Later on, we let the new guy out and he and the old red tail started hanging out. Not fighting, there was no territorial nipping, they just swam around getting along swimmingly. It looked like the old one was actually showing the new guy around. It looked like this time, maybe, the karma lord of fish tank equilibrium would forgo his usual smiting habit and let the fish live. It was only one little fish, right? No need to balance death's books, right?
Yeah. The old red tail was dead in the morning.
We aren't going to replace him.
I didn't get ten dollars.
Somehow, my mother has come to the conclusion all the fish-deaths were my fault.
"You thought bad thoughts at them!" she says. "You jinxed them."
So now I'm not allowed to look at our fish tank. I'm not allowed to mention our fish tank. I'm not allowed to compliment or admire our fish tank.
Yesterday, I noticed one of the little sucker fish was looking a bit off color. I didn't mention it. He was dead this morning, but I flushed him before she noticed. It's a big tank, she probably won't notice.
Dammit, I like fish!