Thursday, June 01, 2006

Pescan depression

My fish is sulking.

Now, this fish used to be a bully. It's been lord of the tank for years, although recently not had any subjects. Its behaviour consisted of biting others, bounding up and down in anticipation of food and headbutting the glass walls. He's happily weathered being called Antigone despite a change of gender (this having occured by simply a change of house and with no apparent anatomical basis) and the occasional leap of faith - most recently being found by my kind fish-sitting friend on the carpet, having been there for an unspecified length of time. This Acquired Brain Injury has had no visible ill effects - but I guess a short-term memory loss hasn't changed the situation much.

Anyway, the fish is no longer interested. He sits at the bottom of the tank, an occasional fin-flap letting us know he's alive. The chilled water may have put him into hibernation (our house having no heating and all) but I have another theory.

The bully has got a taste of his own medicine. Two of my housemates - who, I acknowledge, are largely responsible for the survival of this fish by supplying food much of the time - have fessed up. You know who you are.

You may recall my recent Whale Shark expedition. At the end of this day, to prove our bravery, we were presented with a shiny certificate and a rubberised Whale Shark figurine. Now, my own Whale Shark joined the menagerie of farm animals and Yowies overseen by Hagrid that is a feature of our ever-stylish household decor. The Other Whale Shark, arriving into the state a week later, was placed atop the glass fish tank cover, casting a menacing shadow into the tank. After protest, he was repositioned alongside the tank, at about fish eye level. Poor
Antigone suddenly had a competitor for power.

After a few days of submissive behaviour, another housemate thought a bit of stimulation was required. The only tank ornament happens to be a bright red glass seahorse, the fish equivalent of one of those scary after-the-hunt still lifes (lives?) on the wall. Imagine a routine day at the office, swimming along, trying to keep your head down lest your new boss pounces, when the art on the wall suddenly springs to life and attacks. Chases you around the tank, to be precise.

I'm actually quite proud of my fish in this circumstance - he cooly turned his back and faced the wall. But I think he's, quite rightly, developing an unacceptable level of anxiety.

So, this is a plea for any aquatic psychologists to come forward. His wellbeing depends on it.