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This is a true story about Hilda the Fish.  Hilda was an Oscar, a gold and black South American fish that is very popular for aquariums.  

Some time ago, when Clinton was still president, my teenage son had a tutor for German.  She was a German woman who went to the same church we did and loved my son ... he takes after his Schultz grandmother in looks and wanted to learn German ... so he and Hilda were close. Oh, he also loved fish ... to keep, not to eat.

Hilda's daughter was moving out of state and had some fish that she could not move, so Hilda offered them to my son instead of throwing them out. Of course, he said yes. So his trusty mom drove him over to get the fish.

Thus begins the story of Hilda the fish.

We found that there were two 10 gallon tanks ... one with some minor fish and one with Hilda.  Hilda was about 10 inches long and could only tread water as swimming was out of the question in the aquarium which was about 20 inches long, 10 high and 12 wide.  Hilda's life conssited of treading water and waiting to be fed.  When it was feeding time, Hilda's mouth would open and the food was poured in.  Hilda did not need to move to eat.  Also, since the owner was a busy mom with several children, finishing her degree and busy with life, the tank was almost never cleaned.  In fact, the day we picked up the fish, Hilda the tutor told us that the tank smelled so bad she sometimes poured in a little beach in it to clean out the water.

We were aghast ... and felt even more need to rescue the fish.

We took Hilda home. But Hilda almost drowned when introduced into the 100 gallon aquarium since swimming and company were totally foreign concepts. So he cleaned the old 10 gallon tank and put Hilda in it.  Again, Hilda was not a happy camper ... the water was clean and that was a stressful thing.

He worked on one thing at a time. First, he got Hilda used to clean water. Then he got Hilda moving a little to eat by dropping the food just beyond the open mouth. Then we bought a 20 gallon aquarium to accustom the fish to bigger space. In a few more weeks, Hilda moved to a 30 gallon. Finally, after several months and much work, Hilda went reintroduced to the 100 gallon aquarium and to company. At first, Hilda was shy and hesitant ... but then became more confident and able to move around the tank.  Then, Hilda became so aggressive that Hilda was the ruler of the tank.

Eventually, we moved and gave Hilda to the fish store where Hilda lived happily in a tank in the middle of the store, all by alone displayed as the most beautiful fish.

Oh, by the way, Hilda was a male.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (5+ / 0-)

    "Life without liberty is like a body without spirit. Liberty without thought is like a disturbed spirit." Kahlil Gibran, 'The Vision'

    by CorinaR on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 12:55:09 PM PDT

  •  Good on both of you (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CorinaR, SilentBrook, OrdinaryIowan

    for rehabilitating a very messed up fish. I've kept Oscars and love them. Anyone who says fish aren't smart hasn't owned an Oscar. I had one that would wait until I went to work and then push a piece of bog wood he didn't like out of the tank and onto the floor.
    My only gripe about him was that it was like keeping a cat in a tank full of water along with the catbox. Oscars eat a lot, and most goes straight through. I bought a lot of filters on account of that fish. Luckily I worked for a wholesaler and got them cheap :)
    Thanks for the memories.

    You..ought to be out raising hell. This is the fighting age. Put on your fighting clothes. -Mother Jones

    by northsylvania on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 01:08:10 PM PDT

    •  Fish! (3+ / 0-)

      We had Oscars, angels, arawanas ... even an eel what was amphibious and liked to get out of the tank and under my bed ... that was creepy.

      "Life without liberty is like a body without spirit. Liberty without thought is like a disturbed spirit." Kahlil Gibran, 'The Vision'

      by CorinaR on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 01:18:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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