Today I bought a Plecostomus (algae eater) for the backyard pond, having been reassured by Petco that it was indeed a cold-water fish. I stuck the bag in and noted with delight that Squirtle the Turtle had come back from his winter’s hibernation. The pond was warming up!
I returned in a few minutes and let the fish loose, where it promptly sank to a rock. I left it alone and returned 10 minutes later to find it in the same position. Gingerly, I turned it over. It lay on its back. Dead.
I went inside for the net and scooped it back into its Petco bag, planning on taking it back. Had it died due to oxygen deprivation? Was the pond too cold? Surely not; the turtle was there.
I put the plastic bag with the fish in it in the kitchen and a few minutes later decided I’d better put some water in the bag, so it wouldn’t stink. Lo and behold, the fish SPRANG back to life! I quickly got out a bowl of treated water and put the fish in there.
My husband and I discussed it. The fish had probably been in a heated tank at Petco, despite its cold water status; the shock had caused its paralysis. I admired its resilience in the face of me, poking at it.
I put it into our beta bowl, also in need of de-algae-ing, until the water outside warms up a bit more.
I let Little Girl name it, and she called it Mr. Fish. So that’s his name.