Month: January 2008

Jumping the Shark

Photo of my fish tank

It all stems back to a faulty thermometer. I’ve liked pet fish for as long as I can remember, but I’m appallingly bad at keeping them alive. Growing up, I had serious allergies so a dog was out of the question; I kept tropical fish instead.

At some point, my fish started dying—one fish every few days until only a small shark remained. A few days later, my little sister saw the shark jump out of the fish tank and land on the carpet; luckily, we were able to get him back into the water quickly and he survived a few more days until he jumped the tank again. His second suicide attempt succeeded.

While the fish were dying off, we noticed that the water heater wasn’t keeping the temperature warm enough and necessitated raising the heater power to keep the temperature at a healthy level. Cleaning the tank after the shark died, we noticed the water seemed fairly hot; it was much warmer than than what the thermometer stated. Further inspection revealed that the thermometer—not the water heater—was broken and the fish were dying because we were slowly cooking them alive.

I set up a fish tank in my apartment this past October and have had two die-offs since then; only one of the original October fish remains. On Monday, I replenished the tank with a half-dozen new fish, including a three-inch, red-finned shark. Sometime later that evening, my shark jumped the tank.