Lazarus: The Miracle Fish

Lazarus:  The Miracle Fish

A few years ago I stumbled upon an aquarium at a garage sale. The price was right, and having a need for a hobby, I decided to purchase the aquarium. My tank is now established and I have the rare good luck of having a thriving fish community.  But this was not always the case.  When I first started I did run into a few roadblocks on my road to successful fishkeeping.  The following is just one incident – the incident of “Lazarus: The Miracle Fish”.

My tank being set up and established for awhile, I was ready to do my first tank cleaning.  Like all responsible fish owners, I visited PetCo and received expert advice from their fish lady. I got my gravel vacuum ready and I removed the plants so I could begin the graveling process. I had been assured by fish lady that the fish would all migrate to the opposite end of the tank while this process occurred. This was partially true. However, one of my clown loaches had been hiding in the plants and when I pulled them out of the tank he came with them.

I discovered my clown loach first by stepping on him. Yes, that is right. I stepped on something and thought I had been bit. I moved my foot slightly and stepped again and this time it really hurt (apparently the poor guy was sticking up his fins in self defense). There was the loach, inches from the dog’s nose, stepped on not once but twice by me – a veritable giant to a fish. I screamed. Chris came running, expecting that a disaster of epic proportions had occurred and stopped short when he saw me, tears streaming down my face, pointing at the stepped on fish and saying, “I think there is internal bleeding!”.

Chris picked up the fish, and hoping to calm the situation, dumped it back into the tank. At this point the loach shot from one end of the tank to the other in half a second and then rolled over belly up and sunk to the bottom. This whole event took less than two seconds. I was heartbroken. I took the fish out with the net and laid him to the side so I could conduct a proper funeral service at the toilet at a later time. His mate swam around the tank looking lost. Not only had I painfully killed an innocent fish, but I had broken up a home. Despair weighed me down.

However, I had a job to do so I continued to change out the tank water and add new water in. I counted fish one more time to be sure all the others were doing well, considering the trauma that had occurred. I tested the water levels. I cleaned up the mess. All of this took almost 30 minutes. Then I looked at my poor loach in the fish net. He was breathing!!! He had sat out of water for 30 minutes, been stepped on twice, and yet he was breathing!!! I quickly filled a cup with water and gently put the fish in. Chris was in the background telling me to flush him because he probably wasn’t going to live anyway.

After 10 minutes of still swimming, I dumped the clown loach, now named Lazarus, into the tank. There was a happy reunion between him and his mate. I checked this morning and all is well.

SO ALWAYS REMEMBER:  When you feel like you have been crushed more than once by a giant, thrown into a stressful situation that made you want to go belly up, been discarded by those around you, and felt like life was ready to flush you down the toilet . . .just remember Lazarus the Miracle Fish. There is always hope!


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