Shadows Cast by Clocks.

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.



Filed under Kid Substitutes

12 responses to “Shadows Cast by Clocks.

  1. Grace

    Glad your fishie is okay. Also, fish are silly. They assume they’ve been there all along! That made me laugh. hehe.

    • Ha… well, that’s what Fish Whisperer people say. I mean, I put mirrors up on the backside of their tank and they think the tank got bigger or something. Fish are weird. Especially mine, they’re neurotic.

  2. Grace

    Also, really??? Look to the side when it’s dark? I would love to test that theory, but I will never remember that when it’s dark.

  3. Aw, what a sweet story. I didn’t know about looking off to the side, either. I’ll try it — I get plenty of practice, our resident 16-month-old and our resident cat take turns waking me up throughout the night!

    • Yep, it’s weird that peripheral vision works better in the dark than straight on vision. Have no idea why, just something I read somewhere.

  4. Lynne

    Is there some sort of celebration that occurs when a fish has been released from the hospital and re-introduced to their home? Will the others have some sort of party? I’m afraid I’m not up on appropriate fish social mores 😉 This post made me smile!

  5. Cat

    This post made me smile, too! I am happy your fish is all better and now in the proper tank!

  6. Obviously fish have very small brains. The thought of you sneaking around in the dark to surreptitiously relocate fish makes me laugh. Were you dressed all in black?

    • Someone told me they have 10 second memories… not sure if that’s true, my male fish seems to have only one thing on his mind (mate, mate, mate!). Until the light comes on, then it’s “hide, hide, hide.”