One of my exes, one of the rare ones that I'm still on good terms with anyway, works with a coworker at a pharmacy who was looking to get rid what was SUPPOSEDLY a 40 gallon. She thought of me and asked me if I wanted it. I said sure. Then she mentioned that it had a...
dun dun dun duunnn.. dunn...
Purple Bloody Parrot. I was both shocked and not shocked because I know these guys need at least a 75 Gallon, IMO. A 40 was way too small for one of them. I wasn't shocked because most people don't know better. Then something hit me even harder.
There was also a Pacu.
I will admit that my immediate thought was NOT of a charitable nature for the owner. How could someone put a Bloody Parrot and a Pacu in a 40 gallon? I asked how large they were and she responded that they were the size of my hand. Then I knew what I had to do. I had to take these fish and find them homes. I couldn't give them one myself, but I could make sure they went to someone who knows what they're doing. And I would get a free tank out of it.
So I took it.
What met my eyes when I walked into that home stunned me. The first thing that hit me was this was not a 40 gallon. It was a 30 Gallon or most likely a 29 since it looked exactly like a 20 Long but taller. Then the second thing that hit me was how low the water level was. Apparently my ex had just started emptying the water, but it was already halfway down.
The third thing that floored me even further was the filth. The slime that coated the filter was... at least one inch thick. I couldn't even SEE the fish. It looked like there was nothing in there. My brain kicked into cleanup mode, taking out water into the cooler I had brought then the fish themselves. Next up was the filter media. What met my fingers was nothing but slime. Slime, slime, slime, and more slime. When I pulled out the filter cartridges, over half of the reservoirs was filled with slime. I scrubbed the best I could of the filters in the pitcher they had so kindly provided. Immediately the water was black. Not green, not brown, but black. Deep, dark black. I rinsed them out as much as I could in a limited time since the woman was trying to get out, but I wouldn't take the tank as it was. It had to be at least made manageable. I put the cartridges into a ziploc bag and put it in the cooler with the fish.
Took the tank outside and hosed as much as I could out. The bottom trim cracked. Great. I found the label, "Made by Marineland 1992" at the bottom. Then I packed everything up... except the heater. In the woman's rush to get us out of her house, I had forgotten the heater. I had already left and so had she. I took the tank home and cleaned it up. Hopefully soon the woman will answer me and I can go get the heater.
Here's the dirty tank emptied -
And the god-awful background it came with -
I took my trusty razor blade and went to town on it. It took me a good solid hour and more to clean everything up. By the time I had finally filled the tank up with water and gotten the filter running, I noticed the Pacu was listing, almost lying down. In the cooler -
So I quickly acclimated them in 30 minutes by taking out a cup of water then adding the fresh water in every 15 minutes. The Pacu was getting worse and worse by the minute until I was finally forced to dump the entire cooler, contents and all, into the tank. Both fish floated down to the bottom and didn't move.
The light that came with the tank didn't work. The switch was sticky, so I took one of my other tanks' lights for the photos. Now the water is starting to clear up thanks to the filter. For a bit there, I was worried that this thing, this Monster of the South, was not going to make it. I had forgotten one of the cardinal rules of rescuing fish: Don't do a complete cleanup. Allow them time to become used to a clean tank. This is my first actual rescue, so I had completely forgotten this. Fortunately, both fish seem to have recovered and are swimming around. I've turned the tank light and the room lights off to allow them to become more comfortable.
And so we come to where we are right now. I don't think this is a Red Belly Pacu. I'm not familiar with the different Pacu species, but hopefully someone here can ID this one for me. Once the water clears, I'll take a clearer photo.