He was always wedging himself down into any little crevice he could find in his tank. Once or twice I had to move some pebbles or decor or something because he was stuck. I was always worried that he would end up getting stuck for good so I tried to keep an eye on him.
But I had moved him because I was painting my room and I was fasting him that day and there were people over so I didn't check on him at all. I wish I had, but it might not have helped anyway.
He did end up getting stuck and drowning, sometime early yesterday I think. He was so far down under his river rocks and pebbles that I didn't see him until I started moving his cave around to find him and he floated up.
I wouldn't say I feel guilty, as I don't think I could have done much to curb his taste for exploration of every square inch of his tank, but I do feel a bit bitter. He's lived through so much: such severe SBD and depression that I went out and bought a bottle of clove oil, fin rot, untreated tap water, flipping out of his net and into the sink several times, and fin rot. Despite the fact that he was a sickly and accident prone thing, he made it through a lot. And to go in such a random accident.... it just sucks.
So here's to you, Jalen. You went from being a sweet and shy little pale thing to a grumpy and nippy and skittish curmudgeon, and I will admit that more than once I looked at my friendly little Sushi and wondered where I went wrong. Catching you was what turned my water changes into 45 minute ordeals, and you could bite nearly as hard as my mice could.
But now that you're gone I miss you. A lot. And I wasn't sad when I started writing this but now I am. It was a good year that we had together, and you taught me a lot about loving something even when it is an ungrateful little bugger than bites your fingers and gets sick every chance it gets. You were my first real rescue; I bought you because I knew no one else would and you would die on that shelf. And because of you, I won't stop rescuing.
Rest in peace, my first little baby.