You wouldn’t think you could have a climate change caused ecological disaster in our fish tank. But last week’s heat wave was so extreme it overheated the water, killing a few of the fish as well as unseen zillions of microscopic algae. Days later they clogged the filter in a rank slimy dark mass and very quickly turned the water anoxic and disgustingly rank. Lost a couple fish. I think the last of our herd of danios was rendered extinct. I was looking for the clown loach in the cloudy water. It’s five inches long, tiger striped and a furiously active beast, but there was neither hide nor hair. Nor scale. Suddenly like a vision out of Moby Dick it appeared, it’s creamy white underside a flash of light in the gloom, desperately trying to reach the surface and oxygen. It hung vertically in the water, gasping, slowly suffocating. I reached in and grabbed at it but it slipped out of my fingers and disappeared into the plants. I began thinking about where to get his replacement (they’re champion snail eaters .) Then it was there again, hanging vertically, surreal, dying. I took a bucket, put a couple inches of water in it, and grabbed the loach again, it was too weak to wriggle free. I dropped it in the bucket. It rested on the bottom with its mouth at the surface, barely breathing. Nothing more I could do. An hour later I heard some furious thrashing about in the bucket. A temper tantrum was a good sign. I added more water. Within two hours it was back to its surly self. When I’m done with the aquarium clean up—you don’t even wanna know what comes up when you siphon the floor of a fish tank—and replace a third of the water, I’ll put him back in. The filter has already cleaned and oxygenated the water to such a degree that the platys and wandering about picking up food on the bottom—they spent the last couple days at the very top. I had a fan blowing across the surface all night as well, and though I’m not sure how it definitely helps to oxygenate (and cool) the water, like a cooling ocean breeze. The fish certainly dug it, all of them scurrying about where the air flow is strongest. Fish, who the fuck knows. Anyway, another crisis averted. Not quite as creepy as when the zebra danios became pescicidal maniacs, but definitely more icky.
I suppose you want a picture. Better yet a video. Here, a perfectly healthy clown loach. Animal Planet, call me.