|Anybody want some molly fish?|
But it fascinates me that this little ecosystem that she carefully set up – with water prepared and filtered and heated and regularly changed, with thoughtfully chosen plants and hidey holes – is its own miniature circle of hell.
Fish lead horrible lives.
When gourami fish get old, they tend to get dropsy, which is when they swell up so much, their scales stick out, making them look like pinecones, before they finally die.
And molly fish continually have babies. Mollies give birth to live young. Like 100 to 150 of them at a time. And they will, if given any chance, eat those babies in a horrible feeding frenzy. (So will the other fish.)
The first few turns of this “circle of life,” my daughter attempted to save the babies. But clearly, mollies are one of those animal species that have many, many young because only a few of them survive. Therefore, if you intercede and save them, you end up with a hundred or so baby fish and no idea what to do with them. Which leads to an interesting philosophical conundrum: should you save them since, in the grand scheme of things, they really weren’t meant, most of them, to survive?
And when my daughter did save them and put them in a little separate container that clips onto the side of the main tank, made for just this purpose, she had to leave the aquarium light/cover a little askew – which led to two of the other fish leaping out of the tank in the middle of the night, landing on the floor and dying what I am sure were agonizing deaths. (Stupid fish.)
Then, my daughter found them in the morning by stepping on them barefoot.