|He had been a gold gourami.|
Because, one day, the gourami looked a little fat … and over days, he kept getting fatter.
My daughter consulted tropical-fish experts, both at pet stores and the many who stand ready online to tell you what you are doing wrong. The consensus was that he was constipated.
Several said to feed him a shelled pea. I’m here to tell you that shelled peas drop like stones to the bottom of the tank, where all the more able-bodied fish rush to eat them. I ended up standing at the tank, one school day, per my daughter's request, holding a shelled pea on the end of a fork tine in front of the gourami’s face, who by this time wasn’t eating anything and really didn’t like having a fork in his face.
The guy at the small, independently owned fish store sold us a mysterious powder in an unmarked baggie. My daughter dropped it in the tank, per his instructions, where it turned the water suddenly green and caused all the fish to immediately and copiously poop … all of them, except for the gourami.
He was, by this time, so swollen that his eyes looked bulgy and his scales had started to stick out. My husband unhelpfully pointed out that the poor thing “couldn’t even scream.”
We euthanized him the way the Petsmart lady said was painless: we put him in a water-filled container and stuck him in the freezer.
It was sad.