Wednesday, June 14, 2006

My social experiment

I started a fish tank as a hobby, but it's become a social experiment.

In said fish tank are creatures that -- I'm assured by various "fish experts" from the guy at the local super pet store to online sources -- should never be put into the same tank. Some are "too agressive" for the tank, some prefer water "too brackish" for others in the tank.

I have a tropical fish tank, primarily South American cichlids. In my aquarium are:
The Cichlids
1 electric blue jack dempsey
1 green sevrum
1 geophagus seteguada
2 blood red parrots

The Plecos
1 sail fin plecostamus
1 golden nugget pleco

The Others
1 S. Am. dragon goby (violet goby)
1 dwarf flame gourami
1 figure 8 puffer

What I was told about my tank by those "in the know": The sevrum and the gourami aren't supposed to get along. The jack dempsey isn't supposed to get along with anything but the plecos. The goby is supposed to be too passive for the tank. The gourami is supposed to have been eaten by now. The puffer and the goby need more brackish water than the others will like. Oh, and "what's a seteguada, anyway?" (it's a rock-eater, btw).

The water is brackish enough for the goby and the puffer, and the others are the (*the*... THE) most colorful of their species that I've ever seen. The dempsey is gorgeous, both plecos are delightfully colored, the flame gourami has just as much blue as it does orange --very vibrant, much more so than its former tank mates at the store -- the blood red parrots are exactly where they're supposed to be in their color evolution, if not ahead. The sevrum is fun to watch just because he's so quick to change colors/stripes at will. He's also very healthy. The seteguada is a lovely irridescent white, and the puffer and goby are doing fantastic. All fish have all of their fins, no damage, and they don't fight with each other.

Wow that's a lot of useless information if you don't care for fish. So let's skip to the point.

Here is a tank full of fish that aren't supposed to be in the same tank because they 1) have different needs or 2) have different temperments. Yet in my tank, they thrive. Granted, they are well-fed, have plenty of hiding places, and plenty of room (till a few of them grow a bit more), but I'm told it shouldn't be that way, with one exception... a fish expert who thinks that if the fish's basic needs are met (food, shelter, space), many fish will get along just fine that otherwise shouldn't.

So what does this tell us about life? That when basic needs are met (food, shelter, space...) life will adapt to survive and thrive. This is true of fish... this is true of people.

Does this mean that an end to poverty will solve the world's problems? No. But it does mean that if we were collectively evolved enough to get past the pettiness that plagues so many of us (I personally blame pettiness on boredom, egocentricism, and self-esteem issues), then we could get down to something more substantial -- and key -- to fundamentally "getting along".

Even this little bitty opinion-of-a-blog will not have much ripple in the pond, figuratively speaking, so I'm not going to rant about hate/racism/intolerance/prejudice/sexism/phobias.... Those that are smart enough to see what I'm saying can figure out all the possible applications of my little social experiment.

1 comment:

MoJoe said...

Aquariums as social experiments? Wonder what that says about my guppies-only tank. Except for the plecots... plecothssmms... plakoth... pullacroppiss... that one algae-eater I have.