We arrived at PetCo, and I started looking at the small tanks for beta fish. I wanted a low maintenance, hardy fish that we wouldn't be likely to kill. (Knowing my track record for keeping plants alive, I thought this the best route.) In the meantime, Brian finds an employee and starts looking at much larger tanks. Turns out while the kids were napping he did quite a bit of research on fish, and was super excited about this endeavor. Next thing I know we have a 20 gallon tank along with about 12 accessories that are required for keeping fish alive! So much for my tiny little beta fish tank!
The PetCo employee was quite knowledgeable and told us which fish would get along well and were the hardiest. She recommended that we wait a week to let the tank settle until we put fish in it, but when she realized that our kids would be super disappointed she told us that we could get a few fish today and then come back and get more later. (Apparently our tank can hold 20 small fish!) So we chose four lucky winners, all different types of Mollies.
Matthew chose a Black Molly, Caroline chose a yellow spotted one with a big belly, Lily got a bright yellow one, and I picked one that was black with silver spots. They were all put into a bag that I very carefully held as we began our adventure home.
All the way home in the car Matthew kept saying "I'm so excited to get home and put them in the tank" and Caroline echoed with "I can't wait to feed the fish". (We then proceeded to hear these same phrases 17 million times for the next few hours while the kids waited for the tank to be ready.) We turned the conversation to naming our new fish. Matthew decided to name his fish Turbo, and Caroline went with the ironic Pussycat. Matthew suggested the name Banana for Lily's yellow fish, and I named mine Mack.
When we got home Brian and the kids worked hard getting the tank ready. We cleaned it out and then put the gravel in. The kids had each chosen some "special rocks" to put in as well, so they put them on top of the gravel. Then they chose the perfect locations for their plants and the little fish hideout they picked out. After everything was in, Brian started filling the tank with water and treating it. I tried to distract the kids with dinner and baths, but I'm not sure how successful I was because they continued to ask when they could put the fish in the tank and feed them.
Finally after letting the filter run for a while it was time to start acclimating the fish to their new tank! We floated the bag that they were in on the top for about 15 min to let them get used to the new water temperature. It felt a bit colder in the tank, but that's why we got hardy fish!
When they had floated long enough, we cut open the bag, drained most of the water in the sink, and then returned the bag to the tank and let them swim out. One almost got suffocated in the process, but it made it out. The kids then each got to give the fish a pinch of food. The fish were more interested in exploring than eating, but the kids still had fun watching them swim around.
I found myself enjoying watching our new fish swim around too. It's kind of relaxing to look over at the little guys. Brian's interpretation of getting fish was definitely better than my initial idea!
Well, all 4 fish died. Like belly up, floating at the top died. Like before Brian and I went to bed, only a few hours after putting them in the tank. Yep, we can keep 3 kids alive, but apparently fish are too much for us! I have a feeling in 10 years we will be saying to each other, remember that time we bought fish and they died a few hours later? We are awesome parents.
Thankfully PetCo guarantees their fish for 15 days (there must be a lot of inept fish parents out there) and we can get some new ones. Probably in a few days when the tank has had a chance to warm up and settle. And thankfully we warned our kids that these fish were pioneers and may not make it. Still not looking forward to that conversation in the morning though!