Wednesday, April 17, 2013

R.I.P. Leo and Beamer

On March 28, we lost Leo H. Rasbora. By the time we noticed he was gone, he had been mostly consumed by his tank mates. Born into a schooling breed, he became a loner following the Great Fish Tank Catastrophe of 2010. He never took to the four perky harlequin rasboras we added to the tank this past winter. Maybe they're the ones who ate him.

S usually tries to ease the transition from life to death for our aquatic pets. When he notices a clearly dying fish in the tank, he prepares a small container of tank water, gently transfers the fish, and then puts it in the freezer. This is an "old school" method. There's heated debate online regarding whether freezing is humane compared to other methods of euthanasia, but it does seem kinder than being eaten by your cohabitants.

As sometimes happens with couples that have spent their lives together, Beamer followed Leo out of this earthly realm last Sunday. She was 11, and had spent her last year in a frenzied procreative love affair with her unnamed mate, who in his time of loss appears to be less morose than hungry. It's hard to read the emotional state of a fish.

S froze Beamer. She was floating on her side by the time he got to her, quite likely already dead, but he wanted to ease her along just in case. This morning, I opened the freezer door and saw what I thought was a container of shiny silver toothpicks--another one of E's experiments, perhaps. But no, it was Beamer's dorsal fin, which hadn't quite fit into the plastic casket (a clean Chobani yogurt container, pineapple flavor). It was shocking to see her so undignifiedly frozen into a funerary chunk of ice.

Pondering these weighty thoughts, I googled "fish death," hoping to find something meaningful to say about fish and ice cubes. Thus I discovered a Wikihow article on How to Get over a Fish's Death: 7 Steps, for which someone was surely underpaid. My favorite suggestion is #5: "If you have things that remind you of your fish, put them in a scrapbook," although the photo of the toilet for #1 ("Give your fish a burial") comes in a close second. Don't miss the link at the bottom, How to Tell If Your Fish Is Dead: 9 Steps.

R.I.P. Leo H. Rasbora
In the staring contest with death, you emerged victorious

Good night sweet Beamer
And schools of Angel Fish swim thee to thy rest

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