I cleaned the fish tank this morning. It was long overdue and hence a priority task on my To-Do list for today. It was as if the female adults were just waiting for this moment, to give birth. I've read somewhere that the guppies need a 'conducive' environment to have babies. Obviously, the yellowish water wasn't conducive enough and the transfer helped enable up the process.
The blackie was very restless when I moved him out. He used to adjust better when he had a mate but now he's quite moody. He has grown bigger than my net and was annoyed that I put him in it. He went around nudging the little ones and snapping at them. A while later, the husband found one of the female adult guppies without a tail. Not sure if he bit it off but I wouldn't rule it out. Poor guppy has been suffering ever since! I immediately shifted him into a separate bucket of water. He still wasn't too pleased but atleast he couldn't do any more damage. I tried to feed him but he only came up to sniff the food in my fingers and turned away. The arrogance!
Once I cleaned the tank, I started putting them inside, counting them one at a time. I got 32 and I was happy. The husband said there had to be 36. So I got 3 more and we thought one might have died. Then we found a few more at the bottom of the tub. I casually mentioned to my husband that I was surprised to have so many, I'd only expected 32 because we had given away four to the sis-in-law. Suddenly, the husband springs up. "Uh-oh, we're having babies again!".
I instantly grabbed the net and a bowl and started to transfer the new born fries into another bowl. There began the adventure. As the tail-less one struggled and started giving birth, the husband and I got busy rescuing the little ones. There wasn't as much havoc as the last time, possibly because of the thirty odd fries from the last time creating a bit of a confusion. The guppies might have been as confused and hardpressed to find the new-born babies as us. So, they weren't being eaten as quickly. The 3-month old guppy, barely twice the size of the babies, swallowed one too. So painful to watch, with the tail of the new-born sticking out of it's mouth for over half a minute, while she swallowed it with difficulty. That might have taught her a lesson, for she did not attempt it again! Thank God for that!
The blackie was extremely bothered by the constant flashing of light in the tank, as the two of us tried to find the fries that were hiding behind the water filter (where the blackie mostly spends his time) and using the black floor of the tank as camouflage. He kept flying out of his hideout to show his irritation by swimming in a restless manner and trying to pick at anything he could find - little fish, flakes of food or just the glass walls. He hated the entire time we spent, which was about 3 hours, while we rescued the fish. He did not like the sound of my voice in the vicinity of his abode. Good lords! How can a fish be so intelligent and so fussy? He was very unhappy with the little fries constantly trying to hide behind the water filter. Whoever heard of such a cranky fish? He reminds me so much of Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory!
A little more than three hours later, we finally decided to abandon the rescue operation. It was hard, thinking of any more babies that could be born and destroyed. We already watched a few being eaten, one still-born drop out of the mother (oh dear!) and one that fell out of my net and died in transit. As we went about getting ready to leave to a friend's place for lunch (the invite was for 12.30 and it was 3PM already!!!), we kept an eye out for any more new ones. In the time I took to clean up the remnants of the fish-tank cleaning expedition and took a shower, the husband rescued another 7 more. We have over 30 fries born today, nearer to 40, I think, all of them sharing a little transparent bowl as a temporary arrangement. It will be a good six weeks atleast before they are big enough to be moved into the home tank.
In the meanwhile, the tank itself has the blackie, the male adult guppy, two female adult guppies, one female kid guppy and 33 baby guppies. What a huge family! I wonder if the tank will get crowded as the babies grow. Too early to say. What will happen when today's fries grow big enough to go home? No idea! I might have to get the blackie a companion to calm him down. At the rate at which he's growing, I might just need a bigger tank for him and his yet-to-come-home partner. How am I going to manage that? I don't know! For now, I'm too beat to think. Happy to donate the babies to families that will take care.
The husband's friend wants about four fish and we are more than happy to oblige. I might give them some from the last batch. What worries us is how we can manage the addition of 40 guppies every 6 weeks? Is there a way to neuter them, I wonder! Fortunately, the 33 babies are all female too. I cannot begin to imagine what a mess it would be if we had had more males. The current male will have a bigger range of females to mate with once they grow up. I only hope that it doesn't mean larger and more frequent batches of birthing!! Aaaaah, just the thought worries me. No more rescue operations, we will just let the survivors live and the rest should take the course Nature has devised for them.
As we now have a way of identifying each of the older fish, we have decided to name them. Of course, the 33 six-week old babies or the new-born ones cannot be named, they look too alike to be identified. So, here we go (as is obvious, TBBT has a big influence on me at the moment).
Sheldon - Blackie
Howard - Male Guppy
Baldie - Fin-less Female Guppy
Winkle - Tailed Female Guppy
Penny - First Female Survivor Guppy
For more pet-fish-names, here are links. There are more links leading out of these pages.