Farewell Bottom Feeder

Since my mom has been in a physical/occupational rehabilitation on the Upper West Side for the past month, I’ve passed by twin aquariums on the main floor across from the  elevators. I usually check in and look at the various fish.  One particular fish that caught my eye was the Hypostomus Plecostomus aka sukermouth fish.

This little fish went along his/her way, sucking on rocks, the side of the aquarium and minding its own business. While the other fish seem to aimless float along, this one was always working hard. Never have I seen such ambition in a fish. I found time before and after visiting mom to check in on the fish.

A few days ago tragedy struck. The little fish died. I don’t know exactly when but my sister notified me on a visit to mom that the bottom feeder was belly up at the bottom of the aquarium. I had introduced bf to sis and she had also started to look in on the fish when she was at the center. She told me that the other fish were nudging it and felt terrible about its loss. No sooner did I see the fish later that day, I noticed that this huge goldfish was keeping others away from it. Initially I thought it was protecting and honoring the dead. I soon found out it was more insidious. It was protecting what it considered food! Poor little bottom feeder became feed for the fish. Since that day, less and less of the fish existed. What I had experienced was the Circle of Life. This is how things must continue in the wild. It isn’t about being cruel or desecrating of the dead, but it is about survival. While the little bottom feeder may be physically gone from this Earth, its memory will carry on. RIP Hypostomus Plecostomus. You fulfilled your duty.


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