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In which I Apologize to Parents Who (did not) Eat Their Kids

Parents who ate their kids...not!

Black Angel

Remember the time I told you guys about the parents who ate their kids?

You don’t? Here it is again. Read it, go ahead, I’ll wait.

Now that you know what I’m talking about…turns out I owe said parents a public apology.

The pair of ย are very much in love, and they’ve laid eggs thrice since then. And yes, the eggs have disappeared each time.

So this time, I had the (brilliant, if I say so myself) idea of plucking the large leaf on which they had laid the eggs and putting it in a mini-floating aquarium. So now the parents could see the eggs, not reach them.

After two days, the first tadpole-tail emerged from one of the eggs. Very soon it became a writhing mass of minute tadpoles attached to the leaf.

Research on the internet revealed that these ‘tadpoles’ will detach themselves in a day or two and become free-swimming.ย Problem was, my mini aquarium had holes big enough for them to wriggle through and get eaten by the parents.

So, I went to my aquarium shop and got me a ‘breeder net’….feeling all kinds of professional, of course! A breeder, imagine that!

Then came the tricky part of transferring the leaf with the wriggling ‘tadpoles’ from the aquarium to the net, without losing any.

I tried, but despite my feeling of professionalism, I had unfortunately not overcome my clumsiness, and managed to lose a bunch.

A few minutes later, sitting beside the aquarium in utter doldrums (my husband said the net held a few, so look at the bright side, but I’m not naturally gifted with a bright disposition), I noticed some wriggly bits on a leaf.

‘Wow, they managed to land on a leaf!’ I squealed to my husband, who by this time had had enough of me, my fish, and their wriggly bits.

Being the patient man that he is, he came over to have a look, and with slow horror we watched the parents gobble up the wrigglers, one by one.

I wanted to strangle them. My husband went back to watching television, and I went back to aforesaid doldrums.

A few minutes later, one of the parents spat out a stream from its mouth, and lo and behold, there were the wrigglers, back on the leaf! The other parent did the same. Of course I squealed even harder, bringing my irate husband to the aquarium, but this time even he had to smile, the parents sucked up and deposited the young…and were every bit as solicitous as parents ought to be.

I’m no ‘professional’, or I’d have known that when articles mentioned that parents ‘move’ their young, this is what they meant! These parents rescued their kids from certain death by catching them and depositing them on a leaf
when I managed to drop them!

So I went and removed the remaining egg-demolition suspect, the Pleco fish, which I thought was a vegetarian and ate only algae that grew on the glass of my aquarium. Shows how far I have to go in learning about fish.

The wrigglers have survived, both in the net and outside, and the parents are ‘moving’ their kids every now and then.

So, in this rambling, incoherent post, I hereby apologize to my pair of black angelfish (who, of course, don’t have a clue about my entire dilemma).

In the coming days hopefully at least a few of the wrigglers would actually become fry, and some of the fry become angelfish.

And all those things I implied about my fish…monsters, cannibals etc. etc.? I take that all back.

P.S: Just wanted to write an update on the anthology ย Stories for Sendai edited by the awesome partnership of J.C. Martin and Michelle Davidson Argyle. The book is now available on Amazon in the print version, and tomorrow it will be released on Kindle! They would like everyone to buy their kindle books on the 30th June, so it can hopefully get some exposure on the bestseller lists. Go buy a book and help a good cause!

 

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her forthcoming literary crime thriller, The Blue Bar is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency, and will be published by Thomas & Mercer on January 1, 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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