Solution

 

Current state of the 6-foot glass box in my dining room:

 

Dibs has lived with us for about a month and I just caught him chasing a fish.

 

Slowly.

 

He broke off pursuit when he saw me and switched to begging for snacks.

 

 

aquatic turtle, yellow and black striped, gazing expectantly into the camera; he will hypnotize you into giving him food

U haz foods, yes?

 

I’ve got 50+ constantly breeding fish living peacefully in a tank that was supposed to be my very own Colosseum.

 

 

In short, this glass box full of nature had gone Disney in exactly the wrong way.

 

HIM:  Some of your fish have Hidden Mickeys on their tails.
ME:  What?
HIM:  (points)
ME:  I don’t… OMYGOD HOW DID I NOT SEE THAT?!
HIM:  I know—
ME:  How did I miss those?  That’s so effing cute!
HIM:  And I noticed it before you did!
ME:  Oh no.  They’re going to revoke my Disney Princess card.
HIM:  (nods solemnly)

small fish with Hidden Mickey on his tail

 

What to do, what to do?

 

Well step one was—obviously—to go buy another glass box and fill it with water.

John Krasinski in a hoodie rolling his eyes and saying, "Obviously"

 

 

Then I moved the baby fishes over to that, so they’d quit getting dunked back out of their playpen by one curious turtle who demonstrated not the slightest awareness that they had nutritional value and then sucked into the filter (where they would die anyway but without feeding anyone.)

 

Fun fact: baby fish are not hardy.  Rather, the survival of their species seems to depend on the sheer numbers each female spits out.  So while transporting 20 or so Small Fries[1] I lost all but six to whatever they didn’t like about the new tank.

Nicole Kidman, smoking and through tears

 

Dibs watched all of this with the interest of a primitive brain wondering when his mercurial goddess will present food.

 

The next step, since platys will never stop breeding—no matter how sincerely you plead—was to get rid of the adults.

 

One way or another.

toilet flushing

NO, you sicko!  That’s horrible… and I’m pretty sure it’s actually illegal.

 

ME:  … Hello?
LOCAL FISH GUY:  Hey, how’s everything going?
ME:  (grimacing)  Not sure if you remember me… (points to face)  Crazy Turtle Lady.
LFG:  (glances at my hair)  Nah, I remember you.  What can I do for you today?
ME:  Okay, so we got the turtle—his name is Dibs and I love him—and I got all those platys, remember? [2]
LFG:  (nods)
ME:  Well… the turtle’s not eating the platys.
LFG:  … He won’t even eat the platys?
ME:  (shakes head)
LFG:  (ponders quietly)  Gimme a sec here… (sets up something complicated on three tanks at once, then wanders the aisles with me)
ME:  He honestly isn’t even going for vegetables, which I know he needs.
LFG:  (nods, grunts)
ME:  He’s enthused about his pellets, but I know turtles are lazy so I tried withholding pellets for a few days and he still won’t eat the greens!
LFG:  (pauses)  What’chu got in there?
ME:  Aquatic plants, kale—
LFG:  He won’t eat the kale?
ME:  (shakes head)  And I’m trying other lettuces but… (gestures helplessly)
LFG:  And you’ve got those loaches in there, right?
ME:  Yeah, he’s not going for those but I figured they’d be too quick for him.  And the plecos are… well, huge.
LFG:  Right, he might take a nip at those but they’ll get away and get him back.
ME:  (nods)
LFG:  (sighs)  Here’s what you need.  (pulls out styrofoam box)
ME:  What’s that?
LFG:  Worms.
ME:  … Like—
LFG:  Regular ol’ earthworms.
ME:  Okay… am I going to end up with worms in my tank now?  Because the platys—
LFG:  No, because you’re going to put one in—maybe two—and you’re going to watch him eat that.  Then, if he’s got that down fine, you can give him another.  No more than two or three a day, mind.
ME:  (skeptical)  And he’ll eat these?  Because the platys—
LFG:  Oh, he’ll eat em!  Watch.  (takes box, leads me down an aisle)
ME:  (follows, peers into tank he stops at)  What are these?
LFG:  Crawfish.  (incredulously)  You never seen—
ME:  OMYGOD!  You can keep crawfish as pets?  (contemplates neverending supply of crawfish)
LFG:  (laughs)  Nah.  Those are food!  Now, you’re gonna rinse the worms first, see?  (scoops out crawfish water)  ‘Cuz you don’t want dirt in your tank.
ME:  (nods)
LFG:  Then we take it over (collects crawfish to accompany worms) and see this li’l guy?
ME:  Hi little turt!  Aren’t you the cutiest?
LFG:  Now watch.  (drops in worms and crawfish)
ME:  Wow, lookit him go!
LFG:  That’s what your Dibs is gonna do.  Trust me.
ME:  But the platys—
LFG:  He just needs to learn that if it moves, it’s food.  The worms will teach him.  And they’ll peel a crawfish too—look!
ME:  (gasps)  Oh my—is that safe?
LFG:  Yeah, he’s fine.  I wouldn’t leave ‘em alone, but… (watches turtle take off claw)  Yeah, he’s fine.
ME:  Wow.  Worms.
LFG:  (passes box back to me)  Keep ‘em refrigerated, rinse ‘em in your tank water, and give him one at a time until he learns.
ME:  Okay.  Dibsy’s gonna learn to hunt!
LFG:  He sure will.

 

 

We’re two boxes of worms in.  Dibs has turned into the mightiest worm hunter there ever was.

 

Yesterday he shoved a fish out of his way to get to the worm.

aquatic turtle basking under heat lamp, back legs outstretched because he's too lazy to pull himself up all the way

Too lazy to bask properly, ffs

 

 

 

 

[1] Baby fish are called fry, so I named them all Small Fry.  It saved time and tears.

[2] I’ll be honest: I was really hoping he’d just take them back.  I didn’t even need store credit, just a tank with fewer platys.

 

 

 

7 comments on “Solution

  1. Rivergirl says:

    Well ffs, why didn’t they just give you worms to begin with? No one needs a fish orgy.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Arionis says:

    Does he lay on his back as you feed him the worms?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Bex says:

    Yay Dibs! We’re all rootin’ for ya little guy!!

    Liked by 1 person

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