@loripalminteriTweets by @loripalminteri
When I updated Gertrude’s (my beta fish, who is actually a male, the genders of my tank are like the water inside— fluid) tank, I decided it would be best to get a little snail to help regulate algae. I’ve had a number of different tanks and lots of fish in my life, so I’m no stranger to managing an fresh water tank.
But I had to consult my best friend, and fish tank enthusiast, Jimmy. Jimmy literally has three fish tanks in his one bedroom apartment. When we were in college, Jimmy and I frequented fish stores and aquariums. It was a favorite past time for us.
Jimmy has lots of snails in his big tank. And different kinds too. The issue with snails is they reproduce like crazy. So I adopted just one snail from his tank and put it in my small tank, which my friend Katrina helped me name “Johnny Depth.”
So, Johnny Depth had a new home with Gertrude who mostly leaves him alone. Until a week or two later, I noticed three baby snails. I texted Jimmy, “damnit! Johnny Depth was a pregnant female and had babies.” And then Jimmy suggested I name the babies “Sander Heard.”
Ha, ha, ha, very funny Jimmy (actually it is).
I’ve noticed four babies, but I suppose there could be more, I just don’t see them all the time. I keep thinking Johnny Depth is dead because I’ll go days without seeing him, and then suddenly he’s there. Jimmy says the tank won’t be overrun with snails. That the eco-system will naturally balance itself out. But the brothers and sisters will mate at some point and make more baby snails. It’s a real garden of Eden, some incestuous Adam and Eve vibes happening in there.
It’s like I always say (because Jeff Goldlum said it in Jurassic Park), “life finds a way.”
Gertrude, like other male betas, will make a “bubble nest” from time to time. This means Gertrude wants to mate. The problem is, however, even if I got a female beta (you know, a real female, not one that identifies as female) it doesn’t mean they will mate. Actually, it’s more likely they’ll try to kill each other than mate and have babies. Oh beta fish, you’re more like humans than you’ll ever know! Additionally, if they did mate proper, I would then have to separate them and the babies because the male and female would eventually battle to death and possibly eat their own babies.
It’s just me, the sometimes horny Gertrude, and a mystery amount of baby snails. I tell Gertrude stories and pitch ideas for my new screenplay. It’s a tiny habitat for Gertrude and the snails. But my habitat is tiny too. And I love it and it’s home. I used to dream of owning a big house, and while that would be cool, it’s hardly the most important thing to me anymore. I’d rather have the money to travel and good people to drink and dine with. If only beta fish understood the value of quality company.