This is me, Valentine:
Yeah, I’m in a hole. In a floating log. Why? What do you do for fun? Probably some stupid human thing like imbibe alcohol until you vomit. Yep, hanging out in a log is way lamer than that…
….he’s kinda shy. That’s why he needs the fierce name. Here’s a better look at him:
Oops…heh heh…maybe that was too close a look. Third time’s the charm….
He came to live here in early October, about two weeks after I did. He’s never really been healthy. He has issues with his digestion. *cough cough constipation cough* See, the problem with this is that my people are kinda prone to such digestive disorders, and it creates a complication called Swim Bladder Disorder. The swim bladder is what lets us maintain and adjust our buoyancy: a healthy fish is perfectly neutral. When we get SBD, we get either negatively or positively buoyant. Dracula gets so much of this he’s even been to the doctor for x-rays to see if he’s normal inside, which he is; no injuries and a perfectly formed swim bladder.
My neighbour Dracula is a floater; positively buoyant. He bobs at the surface, struggles to dive, then shoots up like a cork. When it’s really bad, he flips sideways. It seems he can’t handle freeze-dried food. See, me and Dracula, we get freeze-dried bloodworms twice a week. Dracula kinda had SBD when he arrived, then evened out — then ate his first bloodworm. It was even pre-soaked in tank water so he didn’t get no dry-rice astronaut food that swells in your gut. We figured it was because bloodworms are so fatty. They tend to be a big cause of SBD, or so we’ve read. He had to bob around, fast for days, and treat in epsom salt. He even got fed a pea, which is a controversial treatment for SBD. He passed his mass eventually, though not until after he went to see the doc.
He was fine for a while, until he got a freeze-dried brine shrimp. The next day, he was doing his cork imitation. Seems it’s not just bloodworms he can’t handle, it’s all freeze-dried food, and never mind how long it gets soaked before consumption.
He’s in the hospital tank right now. At the moment, he’s enjoying a period of neutral buoyancy, his first in days. But that’s how it went last time; a few hours here and there of being normal, then bobbing around, until finally he was neutral most of the time, then all of the time.
I’ve stated that we’re neighbors. My people tend to like our space; we’re territorial, and you don’t come on our lawn. We’re called Siamese Fighting Fish for a reason. So Dracula and I don’t share a tank. We’re neighbors. This is both of our homes:
Dracula’s on the left. We each live in our own 3.5 gallon tank. We had unadjustable little pad heaters buried under our gravel, but as the weather got colder we got Topfin adjustable heaters.
Mine almost killed me. I’ve blogged about that before. Topfin brand heaters leach poison into the water. I got a face full of it, and this was even after the heater had been rinsed prior to installation. Dracula got lucky: he was off treating in the hospital tank for the bloodworm bout of SBD when his heater got installed. He got his before I did, and before the nights cooled: the idea was that warmer water speeds the metabolism and helps with digestion, so the landlords wanted him at a constant 82 F. Fortunately, there had already been a few water changes done on the empty, fishless tank before he ever returned to it, and it seems that by then whatever toxin the Topfin heater was oozing had soaked off and been water changed out.
He wouldn’t have survived what I did. We’re all shaken at how close we came to losing him.
It’s hard to say if his Topfin poison was completely gone before my episode happened and we realized there was a problem with the brand of heaters we both had. The landlords did notice that a slight foam appeared on the surface of his tank by the filter right after they had added his heater, and had been wondering what it was. The foam got less and less, but didn’t disappear until they removed the heater. So maybe there was still some measure of toxin in the water. When the heater was still in there, he spent a lot of time on the surface, not doing much; mostly packing himself between his floating log and the aquarium wall. He’s never been an active, healthy fish, so we don’t know if that was his normal behavior or if the heater had affected him. And now he’s going through the brine shrimp bout of SBD so we’ll have to wait for him to recover from that before we really see what he’s like.
The real question is, when will Dracula be up to enrolling in R2 Fish School and joining our circus? When he does, we’re going to add his name to blog.
Valentine the Crimson Wonder