So my aquarium was leaking. We rushed out to get a new one. And more nonsense happened.
The worker at the pet store – he looked like a Brent so let’s call him Brent – was overly helpful. He kept asking questions about everything – which is awesome – but I kept picturing my leaking tank like an emptying hour glass. And Brent’s smiling and chatting about corals and trying to get me to invest in a coral, but all I could think about was the leaking tank and the fish wondering why they can’t swim as high as before. When he asked me about corals again, I spat, “My tank is leaking. It’s an emergency. I need the tank and a lighted hood.” Brent asked about filtration. “I have a great filter. I don’t need another filter. I just need a tank and a lighted hood.” He asked if I needed anything else. “Just the tank and the lighted hood.”
We paid for the tank, and back at home, I scrambled to make the transfer. I collected buckets of water to fill new tank (I wanted to use a lot of their original water so the fish wouldn’t go into shock), and I moved their live sand and rock into the new tank as well. Hannibal was the first to be transferred because it tried taking more nips out of my hand, but trying to catch her in the cloudy water felt like a scene from Jaws. I moved to find the second clown, but it insisted on reenacting Finding Nemo.
After it too was relocated, it was time to find the final fish: Blue, the yellow-tail damsel who’s a master of hiding and disguise.
Now Blue is the oldest fish of the group and has even survived Hurricane Sandy. Now, in the cloudy water of the leaky tank, he was nearly impossible to find. I pictured it wearing a fedora hat with the trench coat as it hid suavely behind the rocks. We even used flashlights to decipher any fish-shaped silhouettes on the wall like a Bat signal. Finally we found Blue and transported him to the new tank.
All were saved. With the tank topped off with clean saltwater, all I had to do was to set up the equipment. Lighted hood: check. Water pump: check. Thermometer: check. Aeration: check. Filter: dead. Wait, what? I tried again. My filter made no sound. It was dead. Somewhere at the pet store, Brent was having a laugh as he sat in a villain chair, with a villain martini, with a villain cat, dog, bird, reptile (because it’s a pet store). We had to go back and get filtration.
I moved quickly because I didn’t want Brent to see me. When I found him talking to another guy, probably trying to sell some corals, I grabbed the same model of filter I had, paid for it, and rushed to assemble it when I got home.
It was missing a piece of plastic tubing. Holding back the urge to fling the device against the wall, I yanked the piece from my previous filter and attached it in place. Plugged it in. Water rushed out. It worked. And that leaking hexagonal nightmare is no longer a menace.
As of now, all fish are happy and healthy and have no idea how close they came to doom.
As frustrating as it was, all I could think about was how Mama would’ve loved this story. And then she would’ve scolded me for investing in a fish tank in the first place.