Category Archives: Fish

Pet Trauma

They look so very sweet. But they are out of control. This one in particular.

*cue Damien music*

Yes, the one that bears more than a passing resemblance to Hitler – Kitler as he was politically incorrectly termed until ‘Bobby’ stuck.

He has destroyed whole rooms. He has broken the bottom of the bed AND the sofa. He has peed on Wes while he sleeps. He has clawed Wes’ back and meowed incessantly while we drove at 70 mph down the interstate, and his reign of terror on the fish continues unabated.

I had 2 dempseys. I now have 1.

I had three Balas… I now have 2. While one seems to grow from strength to strength the other is permanently scarred. A slight, withered thing with half a tail from all the stress.

He teemed up with his brother got into the fish food and ate every last piece.

Together they have worked out how to unplug the fishes heaters.

And tonight, tonight, just to f*ck with us, Bobby came into the front room, sat with his back to us, and licked the wall over and over again. Then walked out.

Out. Of. Control.

Bala woes.

Ergh. I love Bala sharks. Even though they are plain and simple they are easily my favourite fish, I think I love their graceful yet languid movements. I tried to keep them in Britain but they are very shy, schooling fish. I would buy three, one wouldn’t make the move… it would die after a  few days… I would have to get another one to make the school, but it would take a couple of days to get to the pet shop. By this point, one of the remaining Balas would have cast a beady eye around, figured out it was no longer in a school, and started its slow but inexorable decline into death – usually occurring about 2 days after I had put the new Bala in. Leaving two Balas. Leading to one of the remaining Balas to look around, see there was only one Bala… and refuse to eat until it was floating upside down, stuck to the filter, distressing the remaining 2 Balas (because I had of course replaced the 2nd dead Bala) and so the exorable cycle continued with me literally throwing money into a fish tank and watching it waste away. If by some miracle a Bala did survive and three schooled, anything could set one on a ‘I’m not eating, and I am going to die painfully and look mournful until then’ trip. These included:

1) Noise near the tank

2) Changes of light around the tank

3) Looking in the tank

4) Thinking about looking in the tank

5) A day ending in ‘y’.

It was a distressing time for all. Now, afresh in this new country of freedom and choice, I decided it was time to give the Balas a go again. I set up a tank. A large tank. I actually cycled the darn thing properly (so frikken boring). I put a big plec in it – a peaceful but bacteria promoting little buddy. Eventually, I went and got 3 beautiful Balas. I slowely lowered them into their new haven, I kept the lights in their room dimmed, the dog was banned (too big, too noisy), ‘im indoors was screamed at mercilessly if he moved too quickly around the tank. All was zen. Until my cats decided that this was the best toy ever and took to jumping up and hurling themselves against the glass, meowing endlessly by the tank, and – I kid you not – dropping things into the feeding hole at the top of the tank.


2 Balas stopped eating. They wasted away in literally days. One took to swimming upside down. They stopped schooling. All was lost. I hid the signs of my failure under a black blanket and mourned the loss of my buddies. Eventually I removed said blanket, and lo! The fish were fat, healthy and swimming about. Until they caught sight of me, when one glared (and yes, it glared) and slowly turned himself upside down and floated to the top. I threw the blanket back on, and peeked under it. The fish was zipping about happily. Until it saw me looking, whereupon it stopped, practically gave an audible sigh, dropped 2 lbs immediately and floated upside down.

I am at a loss. I am being bullied by Bala sharks. They’re winning. I even built them a special covering:

It looks crappy. My beloved study looks crappy. I have to tiptoe around in it and be quiet. I can’t have guests in it. ‘Im indoors has to peek at them from the doorway. I feed them expensive bloodworms. The whole house is miserable. Only the Balas are happy. I hate Balas.