We have this fish tank in my family that has been passed from household to household for almost twenty years. Long ago in my former teacher life I also worked part time at pet stores. Let me rephrase that to say that I worked in pet stores for the privilege of giving them my check each week. My whole check. Usually.
Actually, my first "real" job ever was in a pet store when I was 13. Looking back, I can't believe someone actually hired me at 13. But this guy not only hired me, he left me alone in the store for hours at a time. At 13!!!! Really.
I have several clear memories of that job. One was hanging out with a little neighborhood boy who would come in on weekends to look around. Together, he and I screwed up enough courage one day to HOLD THE TARANTULA!!!! Oh. My. God. Crazy. The other is my boss coming back after being gone for a while and finding the feeder goldfish tank running over the edge with bubbles. I had no idea what happened and hadn't seen anything unusual. He said rival pet store owners sometimes sent in undercover customer agents to do dastardly things, like put soap pellets in the tanks. All the goldfish died. It was sad.
But I digress.
I continued working in pet stores through high school and then again for a while after college. During the Pet Store Days (hereafter known as PSD) I bought the following. I am sure it is not a comprehensive list.
…..1 ten gallon fish tank and tons of fish
…..1 complete hamster set up and three pairs of hamsters
…..1 ten gallon fish tank and umpteen anoles
…..1 bird cage and two sets of parakeets
…..1 ginormous bird cage and 1 spectacled amazon parrot
…..bunches and bunches of cat toys, food, and treats
Also, towards the end of my last pet store stint I bought a used 40 gallon tank with the gravel and two pumps from a co-worker for my dad for Christmas one year. It was the best Christmas present I had ever bought for him and I was so proud. I think he loved that tank too.
Eventually he gave the tank to my brother, Ryan, who had it while he was in massage therapy school. After he graduated he was moving to Denver and couldn't fit the tank in his luggage, so it made its way back to me. With the tank I inherited a few fish including a red tailed shark and blue gourami who lived for five years and one pleco, which this post is about.
When I got the pleco he was about four inches long. Just a regular common pleco. Nothing unusual. A darn good algae eater, one of the best if I do say so myself.
I proceeded to stuff him full of yummy algae tablets, seaweed, shrimp pellets, and zucchini and he got bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger. And then a little bigger. He outlived every other fish in the tank several times over and successfully moved with me to my new house without much fuss.
Lately, this big beautiful fish has outgrown the tank. From tip to tail he measures out longer than 14". He's huge! He's so big that people who come visit often don't even notice him in the tank – even when he is sucking on the front glass – until he moves. He is so big he just doesn't register as a fish. Ha!
For the past two weeks he's been swimming around, violently banging his nose into the walls and jumping up towards the glass top. Some of this kind of thing is typical pleco shenanigans, but this has moved from normal thrashing to where I have been worried about him and he has actually hurt himself.
So last week I made the decision to try and find him a new home. I placed a few personal ads. Yes, I really did. On a few aquarium enthusiast websites and on Craig's list. Lo and behold I got a response! Two, actually. But only one seemed to be a good new home for Plecy. So yesterday Plecy's new owner, Don, came and picked him up and today I got an email saying he is doing fine and has adapted nicely to his new extra large 55 gallon tank and tankmates.
This is my ode to Plecy. I am glad he has a new, better, home and I hope he lives many many more years and grows to be 24" long. It's possible!