Nearly Killing Nemo

We nearly lost Nemo yesterday. Our oversized goldfish was flopping around struggling for air in his gills at the bottom of his tank.

My four-year-old said he was flopping like the dead fish we catch at the pond. He was twitching while floating sideways – not a good sign. Although it sounds like I am being dramatic, it was an intense situation for a while.

Especially because I was sure I had killed him.

I cleaned out his tank on Tuesday and I probably didn’t do it as carefully as I should have. It had a bunch of algae on the sides so I scrubbed the glass extra hard then siphoned as much of it out as I could. Since it was really dirty, I measured an extra amount of algae-thwarting medicine and dumped it inside. You’re supposed to wait 24 hours before putting a filter cartridge back in so the chemicals can disperse through the water.

Well, not only did I wait to put the cartridge in, I waited to turn the filter back on altogether. Nemo’s tough so I didn’t think anything of it until I saw him swimming sideways in the corner.

I raced downstairs in a panic to find a filter cartridge so I could turn it back on. I thought Nemo was a goner but despite his body arching backwards, his gills were still slightly moving so I had to take a chance.

We’ve had Nemo for 2 years now. We got him and his 10-gallon tank for free on after my son begged for a fish for months. Although I hate cleaning his tank and it’s hard for me to remember to feed him each night, I’ve gotten attached to the orange-gilled guy.

He’s getting really old for a goldfish – he’s going on 4-years now- and so I suspect he’ll die soon anyway, but I wasn’t ready for it happen today.

Maybe it’s the guilt of nearly killing him or the emotions of my son’s one-year-memorial carrying over, but I seemed a lot more stressed about Nemo’s near-death than my sons.

The oldest kept screaming, “Yes! We get to get a crab now!” The youngest didn’t really know what to do. He kind of sulked in the corner.

I know I have complained about our family pet, and I have probably secretly wanted him to die, but I wasn’t serious. I was terrified that he was going to go belly-up while the three of us stood there and watched.

Luckily for us, turning the filter on and dumping some extra food in the top of the tank seemed to miraculously heal Nemo. I am happy to say that he is once again swimming around happily.

What has this experience taught me? To never again be flippant when caring for another living thing – even if it is as small as a goldfish. Heaven help me if we ever get a dog.

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Christie
    May 05, 2011 @ 16:15:06

    Ahhh…I can so relate. Unfortunately, ours didn’t end so happily. Apparently, guppies aren’t as hardy as goldfish.


  2. Trackback: Nemo Update « Boogers on the Wall

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