Joshua’s Fish

Joshua has been begging us for a pet pretty much since he could talk.  He wants anything – hamster, guinea pig, cat, rabbit, fish – anything apart from a dog as he’s petrified of dogs!  Dan and I have ignored this request for as long as we could.  Obviously with the whole Hong Kong move in the pipeline there was no way we were going to get a pet during the last year but since we’ve been here, I have been thinking about granting Joshua his wish, especially with his birthday coming up.  I nearly came home with a rabbit a few weeks ago as someone was leaving the country and was looking for a home for their rabbit but grumpy Daddy Dan said no!

I had formulated a vague plan in my head to take Joshua to the famous goldfish market in Hong Kong during the summer holidays and let him pick whatever he wanted as his birthday present – within reason obviously, nothing that involved hard work on my part and only fish that could go in a regular goldfish bowl.  I’m not ready for proper tanks yet!

I wasn’t expecting anything to get in the way of my plan but it was almost ruined when, on an afternoon of exploring on trams and the MTR (underground train system) with Pops, the 2 of them ended up at the goldfish market!  Fortunately for me, Pops didn’t dare treat his grandson to anything there without my permission which was lucky as he didn’t even know about the birthday present plan.

Joshua returned obviously wanting to go back immediately so a few days later we all went there together and I revealed the birthday present plan.  He was beside himself with excitement.  He knew exactly what he wanted having seen the selection already.

The goldfish market is one of 3 markets all very close together – flower market, bird market and then the goldfish market.  We meandered through all of them, saving the goldfish market til last as it was obviously the most sensible thing to buy the fish and head straight home.  Joshua was of course impatient just to get to the fish!

We got there in the end and Joshua selected 2 bags of tiny fish, each with a neon coloured stripe on the top of them.  We had pink, yellow, green, about 8 fish in total.  We were told these fish would be fine in a regular bowl with water that should be changed every few days.  I also bought a glass bowl, the requisite fish food and oxygen balls to sit at the bottom of the bowl which would provide the fish with the oxygen they needed that they would otherwise get in a proper bubbly tank.

Joshua also wanted a bag of little puffer-type fish and after double-checking with the guy selling them that the 2 types of fish could live in harmony together and being told, “Yes, yes, no bite, no bite,” we bought those ones too.

Joshua couldn’t get home quick enough to transfer his new fish to their new tank and was proudly looking at them on the train on the way home.

So, once home, into the bowl went plenty of water, the oxygen balls and of course all the fish, topped off with some food.  Joshua was practically in the bowl with them he was so happy.

Why is there always a twist to my stories?  I’m sorry to say that this one isn’t going to end happily.  Within minutes of being in the bowl together the 3 puffer fish started trying to eat the tiny neon ones.  The yellow-striped ones must have been the tastiest as they were the first to go.  With a big chunk out of it, we had our first floater and another one looked decidedly wobbly.  So I dashed around the kitchen trying to find another bowl and quickly transferred the puffer predators out so that the 2 types of fish were separated.  Of course I had to take out some of the oxygen balls, give them more food etc, what a mess!  Not the pretty goldfish bowl scenario I had imagined!

Now, I know that most fish, particularly the teeniest ones, don’t have a very long life expectancy when they are brought home as pets but by the end of that day Joshua had to say goodbye to every single one of his neon fish.  I couldn’t fish them out quick enough!  Joshua was beside himself wailing that he was a terrible owner, that it was all his fault and maybe he’d jigged them about too much on the way home.  With bereavement counselling well and truly in session I obviously told him none of it was his fault, that it was the fault of the man who had told us the 2 types of fish could live happily together.  Maybe the others were traumatised by what had happened to their buddies or maybe they would have died anyway, either way, this wasn’t turning out to be the best birthday present Joshua had ever had!

So once all the neon fished had been flushed down the toilet, I transferred the puffers back to the original tank and just as I thought the dramas were over for Joshua, one of the puffers started to look dodgy.  It keeps turning upside down and being very still but then seems to revive itself and carry on swimming.  However, whilst I’ve had a quiet afternoon today catching up on my blogs whilst everyone else is out, I think this fish has finally met it’s maker.  I looked at it about an hour ago and it was lying on the bottom of the tank.  Jolting the tank about hasn’t revived it so it’s now gone down the loo too and I have to wait for Josh to get back any second and break the news – bereavement counselling in session once again!  He’s been expecting it, he’s been on edge all week waiting for something to happen to these ones and he could see this one going a bit dodgy but he’s still going to be devastated.

Next birthday I think I’ll just stick with a trip to Toys r Us.

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