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					                                                                            Ryan Yeung 1




                                   My Own Fish Story



       Every since I was five I have enjoyed raising fish. It has been very satisfying to

see fish that were once half the size of my finger, grow into fish twice the size of my

hand. Whenever I'm having one of those days when it seems nothing is going right, I

look at my aquarium and my one remaining fish, and I feel better; because I think to

myself, "Ryan you can do something right." My hobby has allowed me to relieve a lot of

tension and frustration I have had to deal with in my life because my hobby itself began in

stress, but ended in success.

       I've never liked visiting my relatives. My aunts would squeeze my cheeks and do

all the things a five-year-old or a seventeen-year-old for that matter hates. Whenever I

went to my relatives, I would of course have my cheeks squeezed, but after that

proceeding was over with I would sit down by my older cousin’s 30-gallon aquarium. It

held one huge fish. I was in awe as I watched this huge silver fish glide gracefully across

the water. So when I was five, I pestered my mom to let me get some fish. My mother

was skeptical of a five-year-old's ability to take on such a task but bought them anyway

because she saw how much I wanted them. Dogs and cats were out because I thought

they had “cooties” and was scared to death of getting ill if they licked me, so fish were the

next best thing. I thought it would be so easy to take care of them, fill the bowl, dump the

water and you're done. My ignorance soon changed.

       So I went with my mom to Woolworth and got a fish bowl and a couple of comet

goldfish. I filled the bowl to the top and put the fish in. They died the next day. This
                                                                              Ryan Yeung 2


incident troubled me, as I felt responsible for their deaths. But my mom is a wonderful

person and bought me some new fish. They died the next day as well. I couldn't

understand it. Fish, water. You put the fish in the water. You feed the fish. What was

going wrong?

       I called my cousin, the one with the 30-gallon tank.

       “You need to dechlorinate the water,” he said.
       “Dechlorinate the water?” I asked.
       “Chlorine kills fish.”
       “What is chlorine?”

       So I bought the dechlorinating solution, or the red bottle as I used to call it. I

bought some books on fish husbandry and learned what solutions were necessary and

what they did. Chlorine is put into drinking water to kill bacteria and other microbes. I

also learned I needed to change the pH of the water and create a biological system where

bacteria eat the nitrates. This was pretty interesting I thought to myself.

       At this point I discovered science is cool. The world consists of thousands upon

thousands of different relationships, all in a unique harmony. To simulate the world on a

smaller scale was quite remarkable.

       My fish did very well. After six months, the fish outgrew the bowl, and I bought a

10-gallon tank. I was so proud. I laid the gravel out and put in all the filters. The

finished product was breathtaking. I took a whole roll of pictures of this moment.

       Cleaning the tank was very difficult with the gravel and all, but I learned to use a

siphon to pick up all the uneaten food as well as the yucky doo-doo. Soon my fish were

double their original size and one of them actually gave birth to two fish. One of the

babies was eaten, but I did manage to save the other from the same grizzly fate. My fish
                                                                             Ryan Yeung 3


eventually outgrew that tank and I got a call from my cousin. He offered to sell me his

30-gallon tank, as he was moving on to a 55-gallon one.

       Finally that tank I watched when I was five, five years later it was mine. I have

never been so proud as that moment. I continued to clean that tank regularly and my fish

grew until they were twice the size of my hand. They were very old and they died one by

one. I still have one fish, the one I saved from being eaten. Once the size of a rice grain,

it is now about a foot long from head to tail, completely white, with protruding eyes, and

a bellowy tale. It has the entire tank to itself now. And when I look at that fish I think to

myself, sure I can do something right.

				
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