I do know that that little guy lived through a crap ton in the brief time that he lived with me. Sitting on a ledge, talking with the above mentioned friend just after I'd won him, she accidentally kicked the cup he was in to the ground. It broke. He lay amongst the shattered plastic gasping in the ever shrinking pool of water. I leapt up and desperately ran across the parking lot to the Taco Bell clutching the broken plastic cup and ever diminishing water with fish in hands. Slapping my fish in his shattered cup down upon their counter and splashing water all over the place; I demanded a cup of water from the ESL cashier. He handed me a glass of ice water. Fred's little body went rigid in the cold. I had trouble conveying that I wanted lukewarm water, but finally I got it across.
After another bout of moist mess making, I got my newly acquired fish into the lukewarm cup. At first, he floated there rigidly. Then he started swimming normally with a nonchalance that surprised me. He seemed to be saying, “What? This is how I roll. I won't let near death by falling, icy cold immersion or ammonia keep me down." Fred survived the weekend despite my ignorant ill treatment and a lack of food and oxygen. I kept him in that Taco Bell cup with tap water and carried him around for three days because I 1) had no tank for him and 2) didn’t go straight home. Once I even left him in a car with the windows up and it was full summer. Finally, he died a week later in a Goldfish bowl with untreated water and no aerator. My ignorance resulted in his death, but this seems to be a theme with fish and me. R.I.P. Fred. I'm sorry.
Many years later, I won a second Goldfish at the Del Mar fair, probably in '99. He was named Fred Squared in honor of the first long lived Fred fishy. He lived for many years in a 2 gallon tank quite happily. I did some research and obtained the basic skills to not murder him within a week. Then he started swimming erratically. He began slamming himself from the floor of the tank to the ceiling. I thought it might be because his tank was now too small for him so a friend of me purchased a...terrarium for my birthday sometime in 2004. It worked for awhile. It was five gallons and he stopped swimming erratically, but he looked lost in all that water.
So just before a birthday dinner with James and another friend, Alex, I received a Calico Fantail Goldfish, also in 2004. We had been window shopping while waiting for our table. The fishy ended up spending a couple of hours in a plastic bag in the car while we ate. We weren't sure if he'd make it so the boys kept suggesting names like Drop Dead Fred and Nearly Dead Fred. I named him Fred Zombie because he had a black patch over one eye that looked like a blown pupil.
He joined the 5 gallon tank with Fred Squared. This is when I discovered that Goldfish are kinda xenophobic. Not only do they hate other fish species, but they don't even like different subspecies of other Goldfishes. Fred Squared was a Comet Goldfish; nice gold color, streamlined body, approx. 4 inches. Fred Zombie was, as I mentioned, a Calico Fantail, which means he looked like those Goldfish in Disney's Fantasia; he was also on 2 inches or so. As Fred Squared was bigger than Fred Zombie, it became readily apparent that he could easily bully him without repercussions; what a nasty little fucker he was. He would slap Fred Zombie aside and steal his food. So, I decided there needed to be more fish to distract him.
I initially purchased 6 (although it turned out to be 5, cause 1 died right away) Whitecloud Mountain Minnows to be Goldfish Companions on the premise that they were the only fish that got along with Goldfish. But since they were so small, I put them in a separate tank from the Goldfish because I thought that their existence would be reduced to that of a Mobile Biscuit until they grew bigger. I dubbed them the Fred Whitecloud Mountain Minnow Collective as they all looked the same and showed no particularly disguising personality characteristics.
Then the terrarium gave way. Early in the morning, upon waking to go to work, I discovered a watery wonderland in my living room and the fish were warily swimming in their severed depleted leaking tank. I had to purchase another tank last minute. So the fish went from 5 gallons to 15. They looked lost in the wilderness.
Well, time passed and the minnows never really got that big, but I figured either they would serve their intended purpose as Goldfish Companions or I was gonna have to sell them back to the fish store. So, I amalgamated the tanks. Well, at first Fred Squared (official bully of fish everywhere) and Fred Zombie did, indeed, try to transform the Whitecloud Mountain Minnows into Mobile Biscuits at a underwater tea party, but the Fred Minnows weren't having any. They swam like the dickens. So, all was happy on that fluid front for many years.
FRED WHITECLOUD MOUNTAIN MINNOW - THE COLLECTIVE
See, this is what they looked like...only more boring.
Later, I received a fishy named Fredpoleon from a friend would had to move and couldn’t take him with. He was a golden fantail, very small and very pretty. He was not long for this earth. He got swimbladder when I went away to Thailand. I suspect my sister overfed him. He would often float/swim sideways, but seemed happy and to suffer no lasting ill effects from it.
In the interim, I saved the life of a Beta fish. I removed him from the Pestilential Pit of Petco and set him up in the old fish tank. He's hid at the bottom, but eventually came out of his fishy shock to see the new Posh Palace of Fishdom that he was now ensconced in. At a client's urging, and some research I found out that "Fred" meant "peace" (according to this baby name site) and "Xian" means "peace or peaceful" in Chinese, (I think). I had originally named my fishy "Xian-Fred" but since they mean the same thing, I have now shortened it to "Xian". But really, his name is still "Fred" just, you know, in a different language. Around Feb. 21st 2007 Xian died. No ick, no fin rot, no funny swimming. Just upside down on the bottom of the tank. R.I.P. Xian. Why the hell did you die?!
Around Mar. 20th 2008, just before I changed residences, Fred Squared got sick and just laid listlessly at the bottom of the tank. I went to the store and put him in the medical tank with some salt as was recommended. He died anyway. It may well have been my fault for overfeeding him at first and then for immediately changing his environment (albeit in an effort to save him) and throwing him into shock from which he couldn't recover. I mourned him for months with black organza ribbon hung from my lamp. R.I.P. Fred Squared. I mourn you still. You were a nasty fucker, but secretly I think I liked that best.
Then around June 27th 2008, right after I moved, Fredpoleon died and I never knew why. HE WAS FINE AND THEN HE WAS DEAD! and I NEVER KNEW WHY! Shock, angst, who knows? R.I.P. Fredpoleon. You were never really "my" fish since you belonged to someone else first, but no fish deserves to go that way.
A couple of days later, Fred Zombie collapsed (if you can apply that verb) on his side on the bottom of the tank and never got better. I couldn't stand to see him that way, so I consulted the internet and found a way to euthanize him using clove oil and vodka. Unfortunately, I didn't have the time to properly do it and his end was heart breaking and violent - which was the last thing I wanted. I called my friend Anthony in hysterical tears and made him finish the job as I had to leave for work. That day was horrible. R.I.P. Fred Zombie. You broke my heart.
I didn't even want the Whitecloud Mountain Minnows any more as I had only gotten them as companions for the Goldfish. But I kept them and for several years they lingered on past any affection I could ever feel for them. One got pregnant and then died from complications. Others randomly floated to the top of the tank after showing no signs of illness and the rest of the fish seemed fine. R.I.P. Collective. I'm not really sorry you're gone. Hopefully, in the next life you'll be more interesting fishes.
Finally, there was just one fishy left. I dubbed him Fred Whitecloud Mountain Minnow – The Survivor. A couple of days ago, he started swimming crazily around the tank, right after the last water change. I found him floating upside down this morning, gasping and barely alive. This time I took the time to do it right and used the clove oil to put him down. He peacefully (for the most part) went to the fishy Elysium this morning around 11. R.I.P. Fred Whitecloud Mountain Minnow – The Survivor. No more fish for me.
I am reconsidering plants at this point. Maybe I’m just not up to taking care of anything living. Heck, lately, I feel ill suited to taking care of myself. This is a long entry, so that’s all I’m going to say.