For a time, all was well. There was space for all, a perfect temperature, and minimal nitrite/nitrate/ammonia. The was no aggression, no predation, and food came regularly and in plenty. The fish grew complacent in their idyllic haven, each having identified for themselves a corner of the tank they could call their own. And everyone was happy.
Then, one morning, their humans discovered that one of the Waterlights (Neon Tetras) was missing. Not dead, not injured, but missing. There had been four, but now there were three. The oldest of their humans understood the grim implications, but withheld any announcement in the rapidly fading hope that maybe, just maybe, it was hiding. Or something.
Then another neon went missing. No body to speak of to examine or return to Petco for a new one. The oldest humans looked to the algae eater and ghost shrimp for clues, but they remained silent. The mood in the tank was decidedly muted, as each fish – especially the neons – wondered who was next.
But just as time heals all wounds, it also numbs anxiety, and after several more days without a loss of life, the mood in the tank returned to normal. Also, the oldest human did confirm that all of the chemical levels in the tank or appropriate, the temperature was right, and that the fishes’ needs were being met. And indeed, all was well, at least until one of the youngest of their humans realized that two of his fish were missing. After explaining the “circle of life” In the stilted and limited terms that are at once acceptable and comprehensible to the four-year-old, the oldest human determined that it would be appropriate for more fish to join the tank community.
And so it was that five new residents came to join the community – one a red gourami, dubbed “Starfire,” a second dalmatian lyretail molly called “Zebra,” and three more neons to add to the Waterlights.
Other aquarium upgrades include a yellow submarine ornament, a gravel vacuum (which should really be called a siphon, but whatever) and a flat black background applied to the rear of the tank. It may or may not be construction paper and Scotch tape.