Feren (feren) wrote,

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Goodbye, Scratch.

My plecostomus has died. He'd been with me for about five years, acquired sometime in 2000 -- not too long after the Battle of the Snails, if I remember right. I think I was living in the upstairs apartment in Autumn Chase at that point, but that's really neither here nor there. At the time the tank was in desperate need of an algae eater and this little fellow filled the bill admirably. I named him "Scratch" because, well, he looked sort of demonic with his dark coloration, huge fins and sucker mouth. I was reminded that the Devil is sometimes referred to as "Old Scratch," and the moniker seemed to fit. Scratch wasn't a terribly personable fish (he was often found clinging to the rear pane of the acquarium, upside down, tucked behind the water filter's intake) but he did a good job of keeping the glass clean and the rocks visible. He also grew to a respectable size over the passing years. Scratch never got as big as some I've seen, but he'd come a long way from the little two-and-a-half inch fish I bought back then.

It's weird, but I have a lot of fond memories of Scratch. Probably my absolute favorite is from two years ago, when yotogi was staying with roho, enveri and I at the apartment in Wheeling. One morning over brunch Yotogi just up and confessed to me that he was afraid to sleep in the living room. When I asked why, I was told "Because I woke up in the middle of the night and saw that horrible sucker fish you have. It was glommed onto the front of the tank and I swear it was looking at me. That thing... that thing isn't going to climb out of the tank and lay eggs in my throat while I sleep, is it?"

I've also just realized that unless my tiger barb is doing a fine job of hiding he is gone as well. That means the tank in the livingroom is now almost completely devoid of occupants save one: my opaline gourami. I haven't had an empty tank since I first set up in 1997 so I probably will restock in the next week or two. Still, after nearly a decade of keeping fish out here in Illinois, part of me wonders if it's time to pack it in with the aquarium hobby1.

1: Of course, I could always just get another, bigger, plecostomus and have that be my main attraction in the tank. This would necessitate extending an invite to Yotogi to come hang out at my place for a weekend. Naturally I'd find some excuse for him to have to sleep on the big futon in the living room. With the fish that's plotting to lay eggs in his throat right next to the head of the bed, of course.

Locomotive 8, Southern Crescent, hear the bells ring again

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