I crept quietly downstairs, the gurgle of water in the fish tanks a soft constant sound, disguising the patter of my stealthy steps. I remember reading somewhere that if it’s dark, to look to the side of my target. By doing so, I will actually see what’s in front of me better than if I attempt to look at it directly. Which is how I avoided cracking my shin on the coffee table. That and the glow from the green digital clock on the microwave.
Who says reading stuff on the Internet doesn’t come in handy sometimes? Or shin-saving, as the case may be.
I grabbed the utensils I had set out earlier that evening, prior to the house darkening; a small flashlight, fish transporter and two fish nets.
Then I lifted the lid on the tank, turned the flashlight on and set it at an angle on the counter. My prey was floating softly, drifting really, at the bottom of the tank. I have about 30 seconds before she wakes up enough to realize something is coming for her, so I easily swooped her into the net and went to put her into the transporter… except the net didn’t fit into the transporter correctly, and she woke up more quickly than I expected and darted out of the net back into the tank.
I turned the flashlight off and waited a minute. The reset button for fish capturing. Using the smaller net this time, I again captured her easily and moved her into the transporter. I hung the transporter on the lip of the tank for a minute while I set the net down and then carried her across the room to the big tank. I acclimated her for a few minutes and then dropped her in.
(It’s much easier to catch non-nocturnal fish, such as cichlids, when it’s dark. Also, since they’re such aggressive, territorial fish, it’s better to relocate them when it’s dark, too. Their tankmates don’t see the new addition until the next morning and then assume they’ve been in there all along. Which saves us all a bunch of injuries and suffering.)
The glowing green clock from the microwave sufficiently lit the lower part of the house for me to rinse the transporter, fill it with sterilizingly hot water and then head upstairs to bed. Again, avoiding my shin on the coffee table.
The next morning she was swimming around with the rest of the fish as if she’d been in there all along. Somehow, she’d already established a territory of her own, and came out to eat when I fed them.
What that means is, the fish hospital tank is now just an empty tank. It’s a little weird, but it’s a good thing. Once again, Fish Whisperer was right — she’s been ready to go back into the big tank for a long time.