This morning as I hurriedly fed the cats and got ready for work, I stopped by Nemo's tank to give him his daily food. I had just gotten him a new tank a few weeks ago because 1 clown fish in a 20 gallon algae-covered tank was inane. So I bought this nice, small tank for him to enjoy.
Nemo was down in the air pump when I looked in there. This didn't alarm me particularily. I bought Nemo 4 years ago when I was trying to cultivate a thriving 10 gallon tank full of various fish. He was very nervous around the others; his whiskers shook and he did what he could to hide. Somehow though the rest of my fish died (as they usually do) yet Nemo remained alive. He started to thrive in his new mansion...and despite being a bottom feeder he enjoyed swimming up and down and all the width of the entire tank. He'd literally lay down to sleep...use a rock as his pillow (NO JOKE) and fall asleep. Nemo also was an amazing magician; he'd disappear for days on end and no one could find him. I'd empty the entire tank and he wouldn't be there...but then he'd re-appear the next day as if nothing had happened!
Often times he'd scared the crap out of me for fear that he was dead. You see, Nemo liked to play dead. He'd float up to the filter or the top of the tank and just lie there, belly up...not moving at all. Then I'd reach in to take him to his new home (down the toilet and OUT), he'd suddenly wake up and run away as if to say "neener neener neener! I fooled ya!". For this very reason I figured he was doing the same thing today.
I started knocking on the tank and calling him to eat (yes, he'd come when I called him). I then saw him floating in the air tube and started to laugh. I then bent down and looked closely and then I saw it -- his eyes glazed over in that frightful stare of the dead. I called out for my roomie to come help me make absolutely SURE he was dead....and she came out of her room laughing and telling me he was just up to his usual tricks.
She bent down to look at him and then said, "well, that right there is DEFINITELY a dead Nemo."
So we said adieu to our dear friend and flushed him down the toilet.
Nemo had personality. I've never had a fish like him. I don't normally miss my pet fish because there is no real attachment there; but with Nemo it was different. He had such character and vitality, and he lived at least 4 years (unheard of for most freshwater fish). He loved his home; he loved playing tricks...and he loved greeting me in the morning.
I will seriously miss him.