One of my guppies gave birth, and the wife and I got really excited seeing this tiny thing swimming in my 3-foot tank. I believe there may have been more, but they were probably eaten and this lone fry was the only one who survived. We didn't even know that one of my guppies was preggers until this happened, or I would have taken the mommy guppy out of the main tank.
Because I did not have a spare tank, I placed the baby guppy in a clean instant noodle cup, with an air pump in it, and some crushed fish food.
I couldn't bare leaving it in a cup like this, so I told the missus on Saturday afterrnoon that I was going to make a trip to Grouchy Uncle's aquarium at the interchange. And to give her some personal space to rest, I even volunteered to take my daughter along.
Er, Big Mistake number one.
When we reached the shop, Grouchy Uncle smiled at me (I am a regular) and I told him what I needed. Before I even finished getting my supplies (I needed some filter wool and a mini-tank for the baby guppy), Faith bolted from my grip and started to play with the water in the tanks.
Faith has an intense thing for water, because it is a sensory experience that her autistic senses crave. I forgot all about this.
She kept wanting to be carried so that she could reach the upper tanks too, and in the end, I had to hold on to both her hands with one hand, so she wouldn't splash water all over the place.
In the narrow aisles of the aquarium, I had another brainwave. What don't I buy some more red-eyed guppies for my tank?
Struggling with my increasingly agitated little girl, I placed a mug of water in the middle row of tanks, and used one hand to hold on to Faith, while using my free hand to catch the very quick-swimming red-eyed guppies.
When I caught the ones I wanted, I had to drop them into the mug perched on the tanks below. All with one hand. Along the way, one of the fish decided to drop on the floor, which meant I had to let go of Faith for a millisecond to push it back into my net. Which also meant Faith had more than enough time to play with a few more tanks of water.
I caught hold of her hands again, and finally got the four guppies I wanted. I gave Faith a gentle tug and said let's go, relieved that I had I kept her from wetting the place too much, but for some reason, she felt heavier than usual and something seemed to be stopping her from walking with me.
I then realised that her right leg was completely submerged in a bottom row tank! Well, tank to you and me, swimming pool to her. Thank goodness the tank had no fish in it, but she was wet all the way to her skirt.
She stood next to me as I quickly paid the uncle, and the whole time, I was hoping he would not notice the puddle forming beneath her feet.
Drip, drip, drip...
As we drove home, I gave her a gentle chiding, not knowing if she completely understood me, since she has no speech. And when we reached our lift lobby, knowing she likes to look at fishies, I kneeled down and asked her, "Would you like to see Papa's fish-fish?"
Big Mistake number two.
Besides playing with water, Faith also has a thing for squeezing balloons, and bags filled with water. The tactile response is very appealing to her senses.
I told myself, I will just move the bag of fish out of her reach when she tries to squeeze it. Clever me.
"No, dear. Cannot squeeze the fish ah!" I said, pulling my hand back to move the plastic bag away from her grasp.
"No, no, cannot squeeze ah," I said, pulling my hand back again, "No, cannot squee..."
Her hand was quicker than mine. In one swift movement, she caught the bag, squeezed, and her thumb pierced the bag filled with water, guppies and compressed oxygen. Almost all the water burst out.
My T-shirt was wet, my face was wet, and I was holding a broken plastic bag with fish and a small amount of water in it. Just then, ding, the lift door opened, and my neighbour walked out, saying hello.
"Er, hello," I smiled, covered with fish water.
Drip, drip, drip...
I got home with my rascal and my pathetic plastic bag, and quickly put the fish into the tank – one guppy, two guppy, three guppy...
The lift door opened at the first floor, and that last guppy was there on the ground, alive and waiting to be rescued. I scooped the hardy little fella up and into my broken plastic bag, and tilted the bag so that it could at least have a little water to breathe in.
"Breathe little guy, breathe!" I said. And as we took the lift up together, I could see it taking big breaths, happy to be semi-submerged in water.
Next time I take Faith along to the aquarium, I am bringing reinforcements.
My Flickr set of the fish adventure is here.