Friday, March 22, 2013

Fish are friends

In the sizzler's world every living creature is a potential friend. A moth that slipped inside at night becomes his friend "mothy". The earthworm stuck on the sidewalk in a rainstorm becomes "wormy" and gets saved by the sizzler. I know they have become friends because the critter has a name. If it has a name then it's "somebody". Just like Dory in Finding Nemo when she finds her new "friend", squishy. Well, until it stings her, then it becomes "bad squishy".
I find it quite amusing that kids love to name things with the ending "ee". And usually the name describes who they are or what they look like. A brown dog becomes "browny" and a white rat becomes "Snowball".
So, I would like to introduce our two new fish friends, Rainbow and Redface.
I'm totally shocked that one of them is not named fishey. I guess it's a sign of maturity. I'll take it!
However, their names totally describe how they look. Rainbow is black, orange and white (not quite the colors of the rainbow, but...) and Redface has a big orange splotch on his head (awesome! I love redheads ;)
Now the thought that pops into my silly brain right now is "I'm so glad our parents don't use this naming process when we are born!" My girl would have been named "cone head", big bubba would have been "bruiser" (he seriously looked like he just came out of the boxing ring) and the sizzler, well, maybe "bloody mess" or "hungry"! I'm sure my mother would have named me "peaceful" or "angel face" ;)
Back to our fish friends, or, should I say, fish family members. I blame it all on homeschooling. In our Zoology book we are learning about swimming creatures and just finished the chapter on fish. At the end of each chapter there is an experiment. This one called for a goldfish. Goody. Another mouth to feed. So we got two! Hey, they were only 10 cents each. Except they needed a bowl, colored pebbles, decorations, food, drops for the water........ So 20 cents worth of fish cost me about 10 bucks. Not too bad.
Guess how long it took the sizzler to name 'em?
Yep, about 10 seconds. He looked at them pronounced them Rainbow (because he has lots of colors) and Redface, well, you know. I love that he has to give the justification for the names.
As soon as they had names he begins the conversation. That's what you do when you have a new friend, right? He talks to them all the way home from the feed store (that's about 30 minutes). He's telling them all about life at Appleby Farm. He thinks they will like it. These fish sure got lucky!
I did warn him that goldfish don't always live that long. Then he told me where we would bury them. Poor kid. He has said goodbye to a few animal friends. He suggested we bury them next to Penelope the rat. I told him we need 't make burial arrangements yet. He obviously hasn't heard about burial at sea.
Yesterday we let them settle into their new home and waited until today to perform the experiment. The sizzler loved watching them swim around. "Mom, look, they're by the finger sponges!" "Look, now they're pooping." Who needs TV!
The experiment was to hypothesize (yes, we use that word, we are scientists after all!) about how the behavior of the fish might change if the water temperature was warmer or colder. Poor Rainbow got selected to be in the experiment. We had learned that there is less oxygen in warm water so the little guy had to resort to some serious breathing in order to get enough oxygen in 80 degree water.

Writing his hypothesis
Reading to Redface while Rainbow is under the heat lamp
Taking the temperature reading

Then we had to plunge the water temperature down to 50 degrees. Now our little friend could breathe easier! It was quite a difference. In the warm water his respiration was about 210/minute then when the temperature dropped he was breathing about 108/ minute. It's pretty tricky counting the breaths of a goldfish!
I would have to say Rainbow has earned a new name, "good sport". Even though he didn't really have a choice in the matter he did perform like a trooper.
Now we just have to introduce sissy to our fish friends. She comes home for spring break today. I think she will love her new "brothers".

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