About six months ago I was feeding the fish in our 100 gallon office waiting area fish tank, when I spotted him – this insane looking half fish flopping around in circles, and half dead. It took me an hour just to get him into my net, to place him somewhere so that the other fish couldn’t get to him. I knew I had to help him, but I didn’t know how. I just knew I had to get him away from the fish that were hurting him, and perhaps someplace where he could heal. So I went to Petco and bought a simple one gallon fish bowl.

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Mr. Mustard the day I removed him from the tank

He was scared,depressed and in pain.

Pretty much everyone at the office was shocked when he lived past a week. But I did my research, and learned that he needed to heal and fight the infection, a good way to do that is to keep its tank clean and to use tank salt in its water.

I had become attached to this little creature; maybe it was because he was different, maybe because he needed help, or maybe it was because I was the only one who cared.

He could hardly swim or eat, so I did more research and found out that he was very sick. He had an infection and swim bladder disorder that I learned I could fix through salt in his tank and peas. Frozen peas. Peas I warmed up every day and hand fed him.

I also learned he was a Cycloid, (that is a type of fish) and that if he felt scared to try and provide him some place to hide, so I went out and got him some covering to make him feel safe.

This is Mr. Mustard healing with his plants

This is Mr. Mustard healing with his plants

Even after a few months passed people were telling me to put him down. He was still lingering at the bottom of his tank, hardly eating. But he was healing, and with my research and attention every day I could see him doing better. Some days he was better then others and some days I was afraid he wouldn’t make it, but I kept feeding him his peas, changing his water and after a bit of time he completely healed

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This is Mr. Mustard a year later

It was hard to get a picture of him because he swims so fast now. When I get to my office in the mornings he comes out of his little stone home and swims around a circle, until I feed him his pea. Then he will swim around and stare at me for a bit, like some weirdo and then swim around poking his face into the small stones around him, or hovering over his heater. Sometimes he likes to re-arrange his home…for variety I guess.

I will still go into the waiting room and feed the fish in the large tank (the same tank where I found Mr.Mustard). They are nothing like him. They are aggressive and generic…you cannot tell one from the other. But then I go back and look at Mr.Mustard and he is graceful and inquisitive, and delicate.

I cannot help but think that his injury and the struggle that we went through together made him the fish he is.

A few weeks ago, I found out that my husband and I will be moving to Puerto Rico and I won’t be able to take him with me.

I might be able to find someone else to take care of him, or put him back in the tank with the other fish. But it makes me so sad to know I won’t be here for him. Nobody in the world even knows he exists the way I do and they won’t appreciate his little weird fishy quirks. I am the only one in the world that loves him and now I am leaving him alone. I am afraid to put him in the tank with all the other fish. What if he can’t make it? What if he is not strong enough to exist with the other fish? What if he goes in the tank with the other fish and looses all those little things that make him Mr. Mustard?

I cannot speak fish, so I cannot tell the other fish that just because he is different, it does not mean he is weak. I also cannot trust someone who does not love him the way I do to take the kind of care of him he needs.

I know this is crazy, because after all he is just a fish, but even though he cannot talk I know he will miss me.

I really hope he makes it.

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