Who knew that a certain theme would permeate my Pennsic?
It actually all started on the Monday before my vacation. That was when we found out that the retired CEO of our company passed away.
The Monday following, the new water cooler I bought three months prior leaked like a sieve on its first use.
The next day, Tuesday, one of the brand new dish pans cracked at the bottom and no longer retained water.
The Sunday following that, one of the oil lamps I had purchased broke when a bottle just tapped it. The resulting hole allowed all of the oil to pour out all over the table cloth, which also became a loss.
The Monday immediately after that, the aluminum frame on my cot decided to bend and collapse. I managed to get it to last two more days, but finally it was done when one of the legs decided to go to.
By Tuesday, the bottom of Helene's lantern fell off and became unusable.
But the tale doesn't end there.
On Saturday, we arrived home around 11:15pm. I was unloading the car as Keith put away the remaining food that had returned with us. Moments later, he read the note left by the girl who was taking care of our animals while we were gone. She had found my goldfish, Rocky, dead that morning.
Keith told me that he had noticed Rocky was looking kind of sick late Tuesday night, but really couldn't do anything because the stores were closed and he had to catch the bus to Pennsic by 2am that morning. He didn't think Rocky was going to die.
We looked at the tank and saw that the other goldfish, Creamsicle, was there but he wasn't looking too healthy either. There wasn't much we could do at that time of night, so we had to hope that he could hold on until this morning.
Sunday morning dawned and Creamsicle was still around, though he still wasn't doing well. His normally erect dorsal fin was flattened against his body and he was having trouble breathing. That was also the time that we found Rocky's body still in the tank, hidden behind some rocks. The girl hadn't removed him.
I think that was the hardest part of the whole situation. If Rocky had been disposed of before I got home, it may have been a little easier to deal. Having to remove him and take care of the body really pushed the emotional buttons. We took him out to the back yard and buried him in my Moon Garden, right next to the Bleeding Heart.
The next task was to try and save the fish that remained. I did a quick search on the internet to figure out the possible disease that Creamsicle had. Then I used my digital camera to take a few pictures of him. Keith filled a vial with some water from the tank. With camera, water, and notes in tow, we headed out to the pet store.
Using the symptoms described, the pictures provided, and the sampling of the water, the pet store employees determined that the ph balance in the tank was off and that Creamsicle had a fungus. They gave us a list of instructions and medicines we went home to see what we could do for Creamsicle. (Note from the pet shop: the lady who helped us said that she wished more people would bring in pictures of the sick fish. It's an invaluable tool to assist them in determining the illness.)
Keith changed some of the water in the tank, removed the carbon filter, cleaned the gravel, poured in some ph balancing liquid and the anti-fungal medication. By mid-afternoon Creamsicle was perking up and by early evening he was swimming around with his dorsal fin very much erect. He's got at least four more treatments, but it's looking good right now.
Unfortunately, the moment is bittersweet as we have to say goodbye to Rocky -- the silly little speckled fish who loved to swim sideways and do loop-the-loops in the tank. (More than likely, his swimming behavior was probably caused by a deformed swim bladder -- which is a typical genetic deformity which can happen to fantail goldfish -- but it probably contributed to the reason why he couldn't hold on as long as Creamsicle.)
So long, Rocky.