The $500 free fish

7 12 2007

HERE’S THE SCENARIO: My friend Gina’s beau-friend, Rob, was remodeling his house over a year ago. He had this then-5-year-old pleco (and he is already about a foot long—the fish, not Rob) in a 55-gallon tank in his kitchen. Apparently Spot did not figure into the remodeling scheme and since we already had goldfish (and knew a bit about the fish world), he asked us if we wanted the fish—tank and all. We enthusiastically said yes!

And so, renamed Spot for obvious reasons (don’t recall his original name), said fish made his bumpy journey the 4-5 miles from Rob’s house to ours in a huge tupperware container. We already had a 29-gallon tank housing three goldfish in my studio. After heading out the next day to the aquarium store to buy a black metal stand for the tank (Rob had a homemade pine 2×4 contraption that just didn’t fit into my studio decor, so we politely declined that accessory), we assembled the free 55-gallon tank on the stand and inserted free Spot into his free home with his free pump and accessories. (While out buying the metal stand, Michael upgraded the pump and impulsively bought decorative items and such at the store).

Later that evening, after Spot’s big move was completed, Michael sits down to dinner and casually says, “the tank is bowing.” I notice there is no panic on his face, so I begin to do the freaking-out for him. He says, “oh, don’t worry, I braced it with vice clamps!” Ugh…men! The strut across the center (depth-wise) of the tank was broken, so the tank appeared to bow a bit front to back. I could just imagine it exploding in the night and Spot fending for himself on the Berber carpet….and water, water, everywhere! Knowing I would lose sleep from that point on (not to mention how unsightly bright orange clamps look on the tank), I sent Michael out to buy a new 55-gallon tank. While en route, he pondered the size of the (rather large) goldfish we had in the 29-gallon tank and decided they needed a larger tank, too…and why don’t we just buy another 55-gallon tank to house them? It would be a nice balance side-by-side to Spot’s new home. Of course it would…so I put my stamp of approval on that idea (I know, let’s blame it on my star sign, Libra, the scales—we’re all about balance, you know). Of course, that necessitated another stand, pump, accessories, etc.

A few months later, declaring that Spot “must be awfully lonely,” Michael adds in a few new gourami friends (four separate trips required to purchase these friends due to the fact that they all kept wanting to go to “rainbow bridge”) …now you can see why we call Spot our “$500 free fish.” Many thanks, Rob. 😉

(I must confess, though, that Spot has been a model fish-pet. I really have no complaints—other than the fact that he wasn’t really free after all.)

SIDEBAR: Wikipedia claims they can grow up to two feet long. Egads, this fish is going to end up costing even more than $500, if that proves true!




2 responses

13 03 2008

Everything associated with the number 55 tends to bow in the middle.

Your fish started its public life in an office fish tank of a major energy trading firm. He is the lone survivor from a very active community. Gone are his tank mates, Enron, Dynergy, and many others. He survives because he takes the right risks, and never lies.


25 05 2008
Hershel Dyer (Cindy's dad)

Your shot of Spot could be an intergalactic ship hovering over a rather gravely landscape, perhaps the moon or Mars. Those outriggers in front are probably sensors analyze the air for oxygen content, and which detect any signs of life on the planet.

I can imagine the evil Darth Vader at the controls, peering through one of the ports. Is that Princess Lea with him? Nah – if she were with him, he would be leering rather than peering.

Kudos to Rob for his observation that everything associated with the number 55 tends to bow in the middle – I experienced the phenomenon when I reached the 55-year milestone (my bow, however, was outward rather than downward).

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