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Clowns Do It Again

Posted By: Mr. LeadFoot <leadfoot@sbcglobal.net>
Date: Friday, 1 August 2003, at 2:55 p.m.

I have four clowns, 3 over 4 inches, and 1 at about 4 inches. I've had these guys for about 1 1/2 years.

The littler one seemed to stop eating about 5 weeks ago. He never lost color, never clamped fins, and otherwise showed no signs of anything, so I let him be. Everytime I fed the fish, he would come out for a bit, but never eat. Now, this tank has some very aggressive eaters, so I doubt he was able to eat some scraps, cause the plecos and other fish never leave anything around. Maybe he was eating fish poop, who knows, but I never saw him eat in those five weeks, which might explain why he's the only one NOT over 4 inches.

Well, after a month I noticed he looked a little more elongated than the rest of the football-shaped clan, and I assume he was beginning to lose weight. I tried all kinds of foods over this whole period, even his favorite krill and brine shrimp, to no avail. He would turn his nose up at any food.

3 days ago, after lights out I had to turn the lights back on again for some reason, which of course stressed eveybody in the tank out for a bit. I noticed the littler clown was not in the cave he had been in for over a month. After looking everywhere, I finally caught a glimpse of a bright orange tail laying on its side at the back of the tank behind a log. "Oh, great," I thought to myself. "He finally kicked the bucket, poor guy." I had been expecting it anyway, so I resignedly got the net and a "pole" I used to move things around in the tank.

I worked the pole into the are where he was and started pushing him out into the open so I could net his dead body. It was slow going because while dead fish are ususally easily moved in the water by the pole, he required a bit of effort. On the 3rd push with the pole, he suddenly righted himself, and calmly swam away! It was unbelievable. He actually had just played dead, even though I pushed him twice with the pole, and he didn't budge, or care for that matter!

After that night, he's been eating like a horse, and is now chasing all the other larger clowns away at feeding time. I don't know what was ailing him all those five weeks, or what he was doing playing dead, but it seems like it all it took was a couple of pokes with the pole to get him back to normal.

The moral of this story is that no matter how long you've had clowns, there's always going to be a way for them to trick you with their play-dead game, cause this guy set me up for 5 whole weeks before excuting the best acting job I've seen yet! LOL


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