About 4 years ago, I was working away this particular week Darn'Sarf, and on my way home, the "present" Mrs. rang me to say could we buy a fish (& tank) for the boy (aged 3 at this particular time)...
being not of sound mind OR body, I gave in and said, "Aye... go on, we'll go tomorrow"
"As it happens, were actually at PetSmart now, so I'll just go ahead and pay for it shall I?" was her reply...
So I gets home, some hours later, walks into the kitchen and there it is....
a rectangular tank, not too big, about 18 inches by 12, bubbling away, with 2 fish, a number of fake plants (not a bad idea, going off my track record with plants)
and 2 plastic characters embedded in the sand... "Spongebob" (SpongeBob Schwammkopf to my Austrian friend)
As such, the 2 fish were called "Spongebob & Patrick"
Now, these Fish, Tank, 2 bags of grit, 3 crappy plastic plants, a pump and filter along with various other tank-estate cr@p cost somewhere in region of £50, not a bank-breaker by any means (just yet) and it put a smile on my boys face (at this time I was a good Daddy!)
Flash forward a week, and the tank was green, had been ignored by the boy after about 2 days, used to make a humming noise that you could hear at night in bed.... and annoyed the sh*t out of me every time I went into the kitchen as it stank!
So, I would read up on it (Google) emptied about 40% of the water, put freshly boiled water in...
No... of course I wasnt that stupid, I'd let it go cold obviously, and then top up the tank.....
Next Day... NOTHING!..... it was still full of cr@p and the fish weren't looking too healthy either, in fact, Patrick was looking decidedly not happy at all....
Belly up, he wasn't at his best!
So, I flushed him, went back to Petsmart, got a new one, and also got conned into buying some crap chemicals and new 'charcoal' pellets (for the filter), put it all back together and said no more...
Harry (the boy) never noticed anything... like I said, he'd got bored by this point, probably sat in a corner and found that wobbly thing down his trousers far more interesting....
a few days later, down for breakfast, and checked the tank, DEAD....
another dead fish, God knows which one it was, they looked the same to me...
Off I went back to PetSmart, another fish, some more chemicals, one of those glass cleaner things that looks like a back scratcher But it had a razor blade on the end (Don't Worry... it had a "This Is Not A Back Scratcher - Not To Be Used By Mark" Warning on it!) and I think I had a PetSmart 'Pay on the Never Never' Credit Card by this point!
Got home, emptied the usual x% of Water, cleaned it out, fish back in (in a bag for an hour)... emptied out.... Child non-the-wiser...
BUGGERIN BUGGER BOLLOX!
Another Dead Fish!
"Jesus Christ" (I said a little prayer) and Flushed.....
We told Harry that "Spongebob" had gone to Spain (for his holidays....)
He's easily lied to my lad (makes it easier for me to be a bad Daddy!) and Off I went back to PetSmart, No more Fish, No more chemicals (I seem to recall telling the salesman to go Bugger Himself when he offered me some) but I resigned myself to buying a tank hoover.... not one of those battery powered ones (that would have made sense had I seen what was coming) but a much cheaper option.... a Manual Cyphon that you had to SUCK, meaning that someone as stupid as me, should have been videoed using it, cos I must have swallowed half the friggin tank (so it went in the bin, along with most of my stomach contents.... and my underwear, cos it came out the other end I think!
So... here we are, some weeks later, down to just "Patrick", with still a smelly, skanky tank!
I get home, Wife and Boy not home yet, and "Patrick" is on his side, on the top of the water, gulping but lookin real cr@p!!
I ring my Dad (he has Koi Carp bigger than Me in his outside Ponds... He'll know what to do...
"The Fish are dyin.... I aint spending anymore money.... whats the most Humane way I can put it out of its misery..?"
"Well son.... when I have to 'cull' one of my carp, I get it out of the pond.."
"...and then put a knife across the back of its neck... Done!"
"WHHHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAT!?!?!?!?!? I cant do that.... Jesus Man, how were you EVER a Parent?!"
I ended the telephone conversation, and went to PetSmart... Sickened!
"Hya... Me again (looking sheepish)... Whats the most humane way of putting my fish down..?"
< dumb look >
"Seriously Sir? Why... would you want to put a fish down?"
"Cos its really not well, I've spent my mortgage on it and its a £3 bloody fish... I COULD have just kept buyng replacements" (that just dawned on me by the way!) "but... NOOOOOO I had to let you lot keep conning me into buying chemicals and any old Tat you had lying around... well NO MORE MISTER!"
"ok sir.... you could flush it down the toilet?"
"Seriously.... NOOOOO thats awful... it'll get trapped in the soil pipes under my house, and lie there... FLAPPING..... for hours, GASPING.... WHEEEEEEZING.... DYYYYYING!"
< dumber look >
"Ok Sir... this is what you do.... Get a plastic SEALABLE bag..."
"catch the fish in it, with some of the tank water...."
"Seal the bag....."