My office has a beautiful collection of fish in a tank. At first I don’t really appreciate it because I’m not a big fan of keeping fish in an aquarium. It’s morally wrong, I think. I remember my father and my brother used to have one at home. I was against it and refused to help cleaning the tank. Of course my father finally was the one who takes care of it until he got so busy at work and the fish were abandoned. I’m not sure how they finally get rid of those fish.
Lately, after being consumed with work, I like to spend a couple of minutes staring at that fish tank. I mean the fish tank at my office. I wish I knew what those fish are but no, I call them by the colour or pattern or function instead. The yellow one, the white one, the one with black dots which we call it Dalmatian, the cleaner, the blue one that glow under the lights, and a few others. Surprisingly, staring at them soothes me. They are really beautiful and cute. Some of them look clumsy, some other look very elegant. They play, they eat, they kiss, they fight, and they meditate too, I guess hehe.
So, I browse a bit about them in my leisure time. I found out that the Neon rainbowfish has a sophisticated species name: Melanotaenia praecox and its habitat is actually in Papua Barat, Indonesia. We also have Beaufortia kweichowensis which is responsible to naturally clean the aquarium. Its popular name is Hillstream loach. Some common species that you might often see are Gold barb (Puntius semifasciolatus) and angelfish like Pterophyllum altum and Pterophyllum leopoldi. The Dalmatian I mentioned before is truly called Dalmatian molly and it is a hybrid generated by crossing some species of Poecilia, like P. sphenops and P. latipinna.
But naming those fish is not my original intention of writing this. I wanted to talk about something else. Something related to freedom, border, and small world.
How does it feel to live in a small tank for the rest of your life? Isn’t it depressing? How does it feel to know only two friends with the same species? And then have to socialise with other species? Maybe it feels like a Javanese cat meets a Persian? But isn’t it hard? I even have difficulty sometimes to socialise with another Homo sapiens. Let alone with another Homo or even other primates. Those fish live with the same fellows in a box all the time (until one dies and replaced by another or until new fish join the tank). Pfff!
They don’t work either. They’re only swimming around, eat and play and breed. They depend on one of us who feed them every morning, turn on the lights and circulator. They depend on us also to regularly clean the tank because our hillstream loach is not very reliable. It is sad to be a fish in a tank, isn’t it? There are so little things to do, so little use.
I would never want to be a fish in a tank. Even if a natural river, lake, and sea are dangerous at times, living in a tank is scarier.