Friday, October 15, 2010

Ichtheological Ethics 1A

Have you ever been confronted with a fish ethics dillemna? Being into philosphy and fish at the same time, I probably think about this way more than the average hobbyist (as in way too much). Here's the situation...

A few days ago, Ichabod the yellow tang managed to get himself trapped against a powerhead in my aquarium. Upon getting home for the evening, I noticed and freed the little guy. I will admit, he looked awful, with some creases in his side where he had been pressed against the grill. I didn't expect him to last the evening and started the vigil (after feeding him Nori with garlic for strength).

To my suprise, he was alive in the tank the next day and improving! I continued to feed aggresively to give him strength, and began to hope he could be saved. Four days passed, the creases had dissapeared, and he was looking much better.

Unfortunately, last night he took a turn for the worse. I though he was dead behind some rocks, so I got my aquarium tongs out and went fishing. To my surprise, he began floating around the tank in a daze. I figured there was about a 5% chance of survival.

I considered Euthanizing the poor little guy (bag in a freezer for the slow cold sleep) right there, but remembered how he had looked like a goner only a few days before. While I was flip flopping on what do with Ichabod, he cruised under the rockwork and wedged himself so that it would be impossible for me to remove him without disassembling the entire structure. Thanks little guy.

I am now packing to go away for the weekend (rooms already paid for) and have a trapped dying fish in the rockwork. Do I remove everything to save him? Do I leave him to his fate? Is there such a thing as fish fate? Was he simply engaged in a losing battle with natural selection? Do I cancel my trip and prepare for water changes in case the ammonia spike endangers the rest of the tank? Is it even right to euthanize a "suffering" fish?

Sorry if you thought this would be a lesson... like Socrates I'm all questions and no answers on this. Be at peace, little Ichabod, whatever your fate may be.