January 14, 2005

The fishtank

There was an aquarium in Fredrik's kindergarden, and at the end of the school year last June the teacher asked him if he would like to take the fish. We had a nice little tank at home, nothing fancy, a few plants, tetras, mollies, and a guppy, and the newcomers added something less than a dozen new fish, including a cool spotted algae eater and three cichlids. Cichlids come from Africa and are known for their complex courtship and mating behaviour. They form pairs, build nests, defend their territories. Some are known as 'mouth breeders' and carry the eggs in their mouth until they hatch. Anyway, two of the cichlids formed an evil alliance. First they harassed the third cichlid until he spent all his time hiding behind the filter. He died. Then, one by one, they bumped off all the fish in the tank, saving the algae eater for last. Then they had babies. It was kind of fun to see the mother herding the little ones around, until the father started eating them, one by one. They had a second litter after awhile but we're not sure anymore where the little ones ended up. Maybe Dad got 'em. Anyway, we long for the days when we had a diverse happy ecosystem in our aquarium, and have decided that this weekend, the cichlids' time is up. We'll clean the tank, and then restock with colorful, tolerant species.

2 Comments:

At January 15, 2005 10:50 PM , Blogger Tim said...

pets give great life lessons.
We had some good lessons about death recently because two goldfish we kept in a bowl died. One suddenly, one very slowly. I don't know why. we buried them in the garden and they have been replaced with rubber goldfish that have many advantages over live goldfish.

 
At January 16, 2005 10:02 AM , Blogger Matt_J said...

Yeah, Fredrik was really into this life lesson. He'd go to the tank every morning and report, 'Mom, they killed another fish!' He has been leading the leading voice to get rid of the cichlids and restock. A real 'nature red in tooth and claw' experience that will serve him well as an adult.

 

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