So, after purchasing the fish, I was informed by the breeder that he would be shipped from Thailand that weekend. What this ended up meaning was that he arrived on February 24, 2015. This was only a week from when I had purchased him. A week sooner than the earliest I expected him to arrive. So, of course, my tank wasn't finished cycling and I was freaking out about that.
I decided to name him Arausio, for several reasons. I like the sound of it, and it's the name of an old Celtic water god, a local deity. I love anything Celtic/Gaelic/Irish and I use that mythology frequently in my writing, so it was perfect.
One thing that I was exceedingly grateful for was that he was due to arrive on a day when I wasn't working. We can't get mail at the apartment, but my parents live in the same town as us, only about 5 minutes walk away. So I had put their address as my address, not only because I can't get mail at the apartment, but because there is almost always someone home at my parents, which would have been good if he had been due to arrive on a day when I was working.
The day that he was supposed to arrive, I went over to my parents house at about 9am. My mom reminded me that we are about last on the route, and that he wouldn't get there until the afternoon. Thus the waiting commenced.
I almost died of nerves that day. The thought of him sitting on the vehicle while it drove around town all day was terrifying. Somehow, I made it. At about 3:17 or so, I saw the UPS truck (what he was being shipped by) drive by. It goes down our dead end road, turns around, and then comes back to our house. So I was literally waiting at the door as the driver approached. I yanked the door open, and the UPS man was holding my fish box on its side, jiggling it. This despite the writing which I could see on it which clearly said, "Live Fish, This End Up" with an arrow pointing.
Yes, I knew I was supposed to sign for him. But all I could think about was getting him out of the hands of this inept UPS worker. So I reached for the box. Of course, the UPS man withdrew, jolting it around more. "You need to sign first". He told me, looking at me like I was an idiot.
I gave him a look to equal or outdo his. "Will you please turn him right side up?" I gasped. "He's alive!" ('I hope!' I thought snarkily). I snatched at the signature pad with hands that were literally trembling, and signed it as Mr. UPS man replied.
"Oh, really?" Jostling the box around even more than he had previously, he looked at the words on the box and finally turned my poor fish right side up. By this time, I had finished signing and snatched the box from him and walked inside, trying not to let my jitters shake the box.
My mother and little brother gathered around as I put the box on the dining room table and began cutting the tape with a knife. This took a little while, and I had a stomach full of butterflies by the time I finally was able to open the flaps and pull back the newspaper. And my heart sunk at my first sight of my poor little fish.
This is the first picture I took of him. I took it and the following picture as proof of him being DOA, or dead on arrival, so that I could get a refund.
I don't know if you can tell from these pictures, but he was laying at the bottom of the bag, on his side, completely still. My heart broke for him. He looked as fragile and small as a butterfly, and I felt like someone who has seen a child crush a butterfly under their boot.
I wasn't positive that he was dead at this point, but I was pretty sure that he was. I knew that even if I was 99% sure that he was dead, I was still going to take him home and attempt to revive him. Since my husband had the car and was at work, I waited while my mother got ready to drive me to my apartment, where I had the tank all set up to acclimate him to it. My brother and I stood their waiting, staring at my poor fish. I fought back tears.
Then, after about five minutes of standing there, my little brother nearly jumped up and down. "He's moving! I can see his gills moving!" My fish has a small patch of iridescence in back of his gills, and my brother could see it shifting colors in the light. I stared at him, too, and thought that I might maybe, possibly, be able to see the shifting that my brother was talking about.
This was when my mother came out, and I carried the box to the car like he was made of a glass bubble, and sat in the passenger seat. I lifted a flap on the box and peeked in, and felt my heart leap when I saw my fish sitting right side up on the bottom of the bag, fluttering one of his pectoral fins. I did what any sensible person would do. I immediately burst into tears. Seeing him sitting up was when I was certain that he was alive.
We had to go by my in-laws house (they also live in the same town, only a few minutes away) to get my API test kit which had arrived that day so that I could test his tank water and make sure it was safe to put him in his tank. And once we got to the apartment, I realized that I had forgotten my keys. So we had to race back to my parents and grab them. Then we went up the stairs to my apartment (poor fish, been through all that and now had to handle stairs)!
When we opened the box up in my apartment, he was on his side again. But this time it only took a minute or two to sit back right side up. My mom helped my figure out how to stack containers in his tank so that I could put his bag in the top one and acclimate him to the water temperature in the tank, because his bag wasn't big enough to float it or tape it to the side or anything.
Then I cut his bag open (we were concerned about the amount of air he had, because there wasn't as much air in the bag as I had seen in pictures of people showing how they pack their fish to ship), and we put him in the container in the tank. I could tell very quickly that he appreciated being warm, he began perking up almost immediately. He had a heat pack in his box, but it wasn't very warm by the time he got to me. My mom left, and I spent the next six hours acclimating him slowly to his tank. As he got more active, he began touching his nose against the sides of the bag, trying to get out.
At one point, I touched my finger to the surface of the water in his bag to see what the temperature felt like. My little darling swam up towards my finger! Not wanting him to over stress himself, I removed it before he could reach it, but oh how that melted my heart. If I hadn't been before, I was now officially wrapped around Arausio's pectoral fin.
Here's a video of him during the acclimation process. Sorry for the poor quality, it was taken with my phone and not my camera. https://plus.google.com/118396901615...01615726803657