Tuesday, December 18th, 2007...2:18 am

It’s getting fishy

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My apartment has a bit more life in it these days.

A few months ago I bought a ten gallon fish tank and since then I’ve been creating one heck of an aquatic ecosystem. Paired with my new HD television, my optical senses haven’t been awed like this since my first visit to Scores. In fact, I want to get an HD webcam that I can point at my tank and then have it broadcast straight to my television. This networked contraption makes both no sense and perfect sense to me at the same time.

I’m a big fan pet fish. My first experience with pet fish was actually through the adoption process when I was 12 years old. My big sister brought home some goldfish from a school fair. She soon grew tired of the littler suckers and they were soon living in conditions worse than a Cambodian farmer under the Pol Pot regime. She kept on buying more fish and throwing them in the tank but they would all inevitable quiver, put up little fight and pathetically die (kind of like when Eddy Curry goes for a rebound). I was intrigued that one particular life form showed a knack for surviving murky green water and being fed less than Nicole Ritchie. So I brought him into my room, hooked him up with his own clean new tank with oxidizing plants and a scuba diver that bubbles. It was everything a goldfish could ever want. He lived splendidly through my high school years and at times it seemed as though the virility of my trusty goldfish (along with seventeen year old Persians driving brand new BMW’s) were the only constants in my adolescence. It was tough for me to part with my fish and leave it on my dresser as I left for college. It must have been even tougher for him as my mom forgot to feed him for a month. As the story goes, one day she walked into my room and the fish had exploded into one million little pieces. I still refuse to believe that this world can be that cruel and I needed to spend years in San Diego gazing into the Pacific and debating the merits of reincarnation as it pertains to domesticated guppies.

In fishy 2.0, my first big decision was what color gravel I should get for the tank.. I asked the guy at the store what the best color was and he looked at me like I was asking him what’s the best sexual preference. I couldn’t decide between the red or blue so bought them both and now the bottom of my tank looks like a Ole Miss pep rally. ( I just image googled “ole miss” and came up with this photo and this photo.

Once I got the tank up and running I met Elly at the pet store to pick out some fish. We found four cool community fish after a metro asian dude told me about how he bought a tank full of aggressive fish and then watched them tear each other apart till their bitter deaths. Elly picked out an elephant nose fish but when the girl took him out of the tank the fish went into shock. Despite the best efforts at resuscitation the elephant nose will never snort again. Luckily, I didn’t have to pay the $12.99. When we got home and put the fish into the tank you should have seen elly’s face as he presumed certain death/shock. After a few minutes elly looked up, rejuvenated by the gift of life, and joyfully retorted “they really might live!”. They all have to this day!

Last Saturday I was a bit down in the dumps, a bit hung over and oh so very cold and decided I needed a bit more companionship. So I met Kras in union square and we soon ventured on over to the pet store. I gave Kraz the privilege to pick my new roommate but he pouted because only the saltwater fish were “cool”. I ended up with a black ghost fish that my sister Lisa said freaks her out. I also bought a snail and a bamboo plant.

The snail fascinates me. The more I look at it the more I wonder about it’s life. How did it get its shell? What did the shell do before the snail? Does a snail have feeling? Senses? How will I know when the snail dies? How will the snail know? What does he eat? The sticker on the tank said algae but I’m not sure if my tank has algae. When I come home from work and I see that the snail has moved by heart flutters with the joy only to have the feeling quickly turn to disappointment as I didn’t get to watch the snail move. The spectrum of emotion is definitely worth the $1.99 I paid for it.

I’ve told a few people about my new fish tank. I get excited when I have a little nugget to use for small talk because I’m so bad at it. I’m doing a good job of milking the fishy thing. Interestingly enough, every single person asks me the same question. Have you named your fish? I haven’t. To be honest, I’m not sure if I should. The whole species hierarchy, food chain pyramid thing that dictates I’m supposed to name the fish makes me uneasy. It’s not like I named the Big Mac I eat for lunch today or the sushi I had last week. What happens if I’m actually living in a human tank and some superior life form is watching me. I wouldn’t want him to call me Mr. Bubbles.

If you do come up with a catchy name for some of these little creatures do let me know.

Here’s a little video of the tank that is occupying most of my mental bandwidth these days.