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Hobbies are an important part of a healthy life style. I have friends who knit, quilt and paint. Me? I read. Buck enjoyed a game of golf but in general really wasn’t into sports. When he was in his fifties, he discovered the art of stain glass and became quite skilled. Early on though, his pastime was work. So, when he suggested that we, as a family, might enjoy fish, I agreed. Not fishing with a pole, but, fish in an aquarium.

Because we are who we are, we did not purchase a fish bowl and two gold fish from Wal-Mart. No, we traveled to LaSalle to a pet store that had many aquariums and a salesman that seemed to know what he was talking about. He was thrilled when we came into his pet store, because, not only did we purchase the tank…we bought lights, pump, filter, a little bridge, a little man in an old fashion scuba diving suit, flowers and pretty rocks to add color and interest. $$$. Our new best friend in the pet store suggested the type of fish we should purchase as beginners. We would need angelfish, guppies, beta fish, fan tailed gold fish and little catfish and snails (to help keep the tank clean); I do not recall any discussion on water PH monitor or removal of chlorine, etcetera. This is how we roll…trial and error.

We got along pretty well, although, our tank was never as clear as the ones at the fish store. Still, we enjoyed our new-found hobby.

One morning we noticed that some of the fish had white spots and some were missing their tails. Tails are pretty important to a fish, so I made the trip to LaSalle to ask our all-knowing fish man, how to solve the problem. When I describe the symptoms to the salesman, he said, “ick”. I responded, “yes, it’s icky.” He said, “no, I mean they have 'ich'”. He sold me some drops to treat the problem. $$$.

This would be one of many times we would travel to LaSalle to fix our fish, but the worst was yet to come. Buck’s parents brought us some live coral after vacationing in Florida. A couple of days after adding the coral to our tank, the fish began to float on top of the water. Gradually, one by one, the fish died. I can’t tell you for certain if it was the coral, but I think it had something to do with the demise of our fish population. This time, it wasn’t “ick”, but it was icky. The water got cloudy as the days passed and we became discouraged. $$$. Buck’s sister said she would give us $20.00 for the aquarium. SOLD!

The day arrived when his sister was supposed to pick up the aquarium. Buck, having a rather weak stomach, wasn’t able to tolerate the idea of cleaning the tank. So, the job of cleaning the murky tank fell to me. (I’ll explain later about his stomach. It acted up when dirty diapers and empting the garbage were involved.)

I went into the garage and found a siphon. I put one end of the siphon in the tank and got started removing the water. When there was about two inches of water left in the bottom of the tank, the siphon stopped. I was struggling to get it started again when Buck arrived home for lunch. Realizing what I was doing, he said, “get out of the way and let me demonstrate how to use a siphon”. (Beware, you might not want to read the rest of this.) He took one end of the siphon into his mouth and put the other in the fish tank. Then he sucked, really hard. YUK! He got a mouth full of murky, month old fish water.

I was very relieved that we had not yet eaten lunch. He made it as far as the kitchen sink. Kim, who had been observing this disaster, ran screaming and hid behind the door. Me? I was laughing so hard I could barely breathe. I’m pretty sure we didn’t have lunch that day. I know for sure if we did it wasn’t fish sticks.

Hobbies can be great but, I suggest you do research before you invest time and money. Your local library is a great place to begin. LOL…Betty

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