Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Holy Moly, Molly!

The other day - last Wednesday, to be exact - one of our little molly fish went missing. We weren't too worried though. That had happened before with another fish, and a few days later it turned up again. Well, we kept waiting for "Red Rainbow" to come back...and waiting...and waiting...until the other day I decided to check the filter box. But no, Red Rainbow hadn't died and floated into that. So we waited a few more days...and then finally, Bret started digging around in the plants and fixtures this morning. But still, no Red Rainbow.

The tank needed to be cleaned, so Bret's rummaging around in the gravel sent all kinds of nasty stuff floating around in the water. The boys thought that was cool - especially when Micah decided that one of the floaties was a baby fish. "That would be cool Micah," Bret said, "but I'm afraid that's all just fish poop."

"But no Dad," he insisted, "I see its eyes, and it's kind of see-through. I can see its skeleton!"

"I'm sorry," wise old Dad said, "but we don't have any baby fish. I'm sure some of those things might look a little bit like a fish, but they're not really alive."

By this time, the commotion had brought Conner and Josiah in. Micah showed them where to look, and suddenly they started screaming, too. "Dad! Dad! There IS a baby fish! Come look!"

We finally went to see this magnificent floatie...and sure enough, it was a baby fish! Holy moly. Were did that come from?? Bret even suggested that it might not even be a fish - it could be the larvae of some kind of nasty bug. Or maybe even a sea monster. ;)

Well, Bret had already made plans to clean the aquarium out this afternoon. So I told him that I would try to find the little creature again, and catch him before he got home. That way we could put him safely in a little container by himself while the tank was being cleaned.

And wouldn't you know, when I started looking for him again, I found three more. Holy moly. Where did those come from?? Surely these must be baby fish. So I got on google and did some research. Apparently, mollies breed very easily, and have oodles of live young. The adult fish in the tank like to eat them though, so if you want them to have a chance to survive, you have to put them in a separate container.

In the meantime, I called Bret's parents. His dad knows a lot about fish. He said the same thing - breed easily, lots of babies, get them out of there. And I called my parents. We had a fish tank when I was a kid, and I vaguely remembered baby fish. The said the same thing - breed easily, lots of babies, get them out of there.

Holy moly! I've gotta get those guys out of there! Let me tell you, they are teeny tiny, (see how small they are compared to those marbles?) and they are good at hiding. That was hard!

Then Bret got home and we told him the "good" news. And as he was cleaning the tank, he found four more babies! More than likely the rest had already been eaten. I went to PetSmart and got a special little Breeder Box that floats in the water. It keeps the babies in the same water, but keeps them separated from the adult fish until they are big enough to fend for themselves.
We've also learned that we have one male dalmation molly and two female red mollies. (I'm guessing the one that disappeared might have been a male? And maybe the other fish ate him after he died, just like they do the babies?)

And I'm also a little concerned that one of the other female mollies might be pregnant, too. Good grief.

Holy moly, mollies. We learned a lot about you guys today! But I guess that's all a part of the adventure of having pets. I'm just thankful that we are dealing with baby fish instead of puppies. (And escaping crabs instead of escaping hamsters!)
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A Blessed Wife and Mom said...

Wow... you make me really NOT want a fish tank. :)

Bret Wells said...

Heather, it's actually been pretty fun...we're getting to do all kinds of science experiments with the boys...watching tadpoles grow into frogs, rescuing baby fish from cannibalistic parents...

Amber said...

We had mollies in one of our previous tanks and they bred like crazy!! At one point we had 30+ fish of varying sizes - you might want to prepare yourself now. (Also start looking into petshops that will take them off your hands for you - sometimes they'll even give you store credit. Petsmart isn't one of them, you have to find some of the smaller local stores.) GOOD LUCK!!!

Rachel said...

Thanks for the advice, Amber!

Rachel said...

wow!!! the boys and i went to petsmart this evening and they got a beta fish. they are beyond excited ;) but don't think i can let them see y'all's super cool tank! ;)

Bonnie said...

Very often parents become students of their children...I think you've just experienced that!