“going UP!”

To read Part I, click here

Eggivation!

After he had been back in the goldfish tank a while, I got the idea that changed Eggdrop’s life. I installed a bubbler in the tank to aerate the water at the bottom better, since the tank was pretty tall. One day we looked over at the tank and there was Eggie, shooting up to the top of the tank on a geyser of bubbles.

After watching this for a few weeks, I got another idea – give him MORE bubblers. I put a row of four bubblers across one half of the tank’s back wall. Eggie took to them like he had been born to fly! He would surf from bubbler to bubbler for hours. When tired, he would sink down and go into a flower pot to sleep.

Eggie stops for a nap

A video of him surfing is HERE

However a side-effect of all that the bubble surfing began to occur. His
tankmates had never nibbled on Eggie before, but now that he was in their faces
all day long, someone in the tank started chewing on him. We could not tell
who it was at first, but Eggdrop’s fins started to look pretty ragged. At first
we accused Piggum (the orange fantail) and watched him carefully, but it turned
out it was actually Tottle that was sneaking midnight chews. I don’t
think Tottle wanted to hurt Eggdrop, but those shiny fins floating in
front of his nose must have looked pretty tasty, and Tottle was always hungry!
He was definitely trying out for the Oranda Olympics in the size category.
When I figured out that he was eating his brother, I took him out of the tank,
and dropped him into another tank with my parrot cichlids.

Ordinarily mixing goldfish and cichlids
wouldn’t be such a great idea, but Tottle was as big as the biggest parrot
cichlid, and twice as thick, so he could take care of himself. After a little
pushing and shoving they settled down and accepted him. Meanwhile, back in
the goldfish tank, Eggdrop began to float, all on his own, apparently as a
result of guzzling so much air from the bubblers, and so we turned them off.
In a few weeks, he sank to the ground again.

After a nice long "time-out" period, we put Tottle back in the goldfish tank
and he was so grateful to be back, he was good for about a year. But eventually
he started chewing Eggdrop’s fins again, and we had to move Eggdrop out of
the goldfish tank to recuperate.

Eggdrop’s new home is a little 10 gallon tank next to the piano. He loves
music, and starts wiggling vigorously whenever Chopin is played. Eggdrop’s
center of gravity changed again, and he now lay on his side all the time,
so his mouth could not reach the gravel to forage for food. So, we started
hand feeding him cichlid sticks and peas. He would rip the cichlid sticks right
out of our hands, so I knew he was very healthy. But he seemed bored with just
lying there all day. His bright eyes would follow us as we moved around the
living room, but he couldn’t move much. I tried putting one bubbler in the
tank, and he would scrabble over to it and surf it as best he could, but it
didn’t go nearly as high as in the bigger tank, so the ride wasn’t as much
fun.

Finally I put all 4 bubblers in a row again, and started an
Eggie renaissance! He began surfing all day long. We’d go upstairs at night,
after seeing him "go
to sleep" in his corner, then come down at 2am and see him surfing!
The constant air guzzling caused him to float again after about two weeks,
so we removed the bubblers, since he does not need them to get around. While
he is floating, he has the run of the tank since he can use his fins as little
"propellers" to push himself around like a toy boat. His big challenge
these days is to reach the bottom of the tank to get a piece of gravel to chew
with. He manages to do this about 5 times a day with a superhuman effort, after
which he shoots back to the surface like a cork! To make it easier for him
I put in a "feeding station" where he can reach the gravel more easily.

At first
when he began floating, I panicked because I was worried he might get dropsy,
which claimed poor Tottle a few months ago. But it turned out that Eggdrop
was fine, with no signs of infection. He just can’t get rid of all that air
right away. He is now starting to sink down, and rises to the top more slowly
after getting gravel.

Eggdrop in his feeding station

Update: It took a few weeks, but Eggdrop finally sank all the way to the bottom, so I decided to “gas him up” again. I put one bubbler back into the tank, and he immediately hopped over to it on his nose, and sat on top of it, as if to say “I’m waiting to fly!” With only one bubble stream, it took him a while to catch the bubbles under his fins and tail, but he finally shot up to the top of the tank, and then slowly drifted down. This morning I came in, and he was floating up at the top of the tank again – he must have been sucking on bubbles all night!