Five years ago sitting at the county fair, some teenagers came over, at the end of our night and asked if my kids wanted their fish. My head went NOOOOOOOOOO but looking at excited little faces well yeah we ended up with a fish tank containing two goldfish - at that time, John and Kathy.
John and Kathy died very quickly, and were replaced by John 2 (John 1 died right on Louis birthday omg) and Elvira. They started out as little stupid feeder goldfish in a ten gallon tank.
And they grew. And grew. And grew.
John got swim bladder disease, my husband fed him by hand for like two weeks until he healed.
We moved them to a big 37 gallon tank in our dining room so that they could have more room. Then they grew some more.
I had lots of fish growing up. I have very strict rules about them. You don't love fish. You don't WORRY about fish. Fish are just fish. They don't love you they don't care about you omg don't bother with them just flush them and be done with it.
Except that, we didn't. We took care of them, and every meal I'd look over and see these amazing creatures swimming with their beautiful, flowing fins. They would twirl around each other and nuzzle one another. We used to joke that they were mates. We also joked that we had their genders wrong. We're not actually sure one way or the other, because I have no idea how you sex a goldfish. But, it was obvious - they were together.
We added two plecos years ago, Snake Plisskin and Rico. They were the local enforcers. Poor Snake Plisskin got some horrible disease and died but we managed to get the tank healthy again.
Two nights ago my husband realized that the nitrites were too high in the big tank. After breakfast on Saturday he was going to go to the pet store, get plants, chemicals, do a big water change etc etc etc.
Apparently they had been too high for too long. As we started to eat, Elvira started to drift. My husband said "She's not dead is she?" I looked over, and saw her gills moving slowly and said "Well...I don't think so..." and he took one look at her and darted out the door.
I pulled up a chair and as I watched her, thinking JUST HOLD ON ELVIRA OMG WHAT ARE YOU DOING she just stopped. And drifted.
I would say at this point, I wouldn't much care, because FISH WHO CARES GET A NEW FISH. Right then though, John came over and nudged her. Then John nudged her again, and again. He swam away and came back, nudging her like "Get Up. Get UP!" And my heart broke and I started crying like a crazy woman, over a damn fish.
Because she had a mate and he was mourning her and he's just a damn fish and WHY IS HE MOURNING HER. I didn't even know they were capable of caring about each other.
We did an emergency tank transfer so we can clean out the big tank and start over. Ever try to catch fish the size of kittens without killing them? Not easy. My husband will attest to how horrible it is to try to hold onto a pleco with your hand.
I looked through all my pics this morning to find a pic of Elvira and I'm sad I only found one, she's the orange fish behind John who is white.