There’s an on-going debate at our house, “Pet or No Pet?” The kids and I would love nothing more than to add a furry, waggy member to the family. A doggy to play with, eat leftovers, chase away solicitors, keep me company on the couch while I attempt to watch all 4 seasons of Heroes in one sitting (it’s a comfy couch).

The kids would love a dog to swim with, play fetch, chase and keep them company on the couch while they watch Spongebob Stupidpants.

Scott, my computer programming geek husband, is more of the practical, reality-driven sort.

“The MySQL query “SELECT first_name FROM Family_Members WHERE (after_the_first_week_who_will_feed_dog_daily =’YES’ && who_will_exercise_dog_daily = ‘YES” && who_will_wash_stinky_dog_weekly =’YES’ && who_will_scoop_up_dog_poop__from_yard_daily =’ YES’)”

……results in only one Family Member name as answer to the query — Scott. The reality is that Scott will probably end up doing all the work around pet ownership after the exciting first week.

So we’ve “compromised” (in other words, he won) and bought a tank and filled it with 3 baby aquatic turtles, 4 fish and 25 cute shrimp.

The baby turtles are quite cute and definitely have distinct personalities. “Scotch” here is the curious one.

Oh, the kids naming their pet after an alcoholic beverage? Don’t ask.

This one is the grouch.

I named him Soup.

There’s not much that makes his guy happy.

Especially not camera flash.

The small shrimp we got are so incredibly adorable, they are about an inch long, see-through so you can see their bodies working (okay, so you need a magnifying glass to see it all, but still cool).

We added a few fish to the mix, bought fish food, turtle food and shrimp food. $600 later and armed with specific instructions on tank cleaning, filter operation and interior tank decorating tips, we welcomed the new members of our family to our home.

What the pet store clerk failed to tell us was that we just bought ourselves a fancy little foodchain.

The turtles aren’t vegetarian as I previously thought (those are tortoises)

SHRIMP!?! SHRIMP! Where’s the shrimp? I smell SHRIMP! Gotta be shrimp! There’s only one thing that smells like shrimp and it’s SHRIIIIMP! (oh you remember the Beggin’ Strips Commercial don’t you?!)

Where’s the shrimp? Is it here?

Maybe over here?


We now have 4 fish, no shrimp and 3 very fat turtles.

Curiously, the fish had no interest in their fish food, but ate the pellet shaped turtle food instead.

Mmmmm turtle food must be tasty.

With no more shrimp to hunt, the turtles went after the fish food.

Mmmmm…..fish food must be shrimp flavored.

Okay, the turtles ate the shrimp, the fish ate the turtle food, the turtles ate the fish food.

Still with me?

The next day, the boys noticed something floating in the tank.

Ewwwww…..POOP! WHO DID THAT????? Which one of you made that mess???

Uh….sorry Mom….that was me.

Don’t think for one moment that the dysfunctionality starts and ends in the tank.

Only a very dysfunctional mother would channel her Johnny Depp obsession….

….onto her kids.

With matching hats.

Though I wonder if Scott knew that we could train a dog to wash windows, do dishes, clean the counter, make the bed, would he change his mind?

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Comments 65

  1. Alta

    Thanks for an entertaining read! We had a fish tank once, complete with aquatic frogs. Did you know frogs eat those little neon fish? Then they get big and fat. So you have to sell them back to the pet store, because you would rather have pretty schools of neon fish than some stupid frog that eats said fish. 🙂

  2. bparker

    I love your post! I have been reading your blog for about two years and have never posted a comment. I teach 6th grade science and our topic right now is “the food chain”. I love your illustration of the food chain happening within your fish tank!! I keep telling my students that “nature happens,” but you have defined it!! I will share this with them!

  3. Veronica

    I really like the turtles, even the grouch. Too bad about all those cute little shrimp! Good luck with all your new family members!

  4. Vix

    My Dad said the same thing and it is true, he is always the one who feeds our cat.

    Isn’t there one problem with the solution? As a foodie aren’t you gonna be tempted to eat the shrimps?

  5. Jeni

    I have an aquatic turtle like yours – mine is a red eared slider. though, and not a map turtle. Be prepared for your little guys to get BIG! My slider is about 10 years old and has a carapace about 8″ long; she lives in a 75 gallon tank, which is really a bit small for her. She’ll eat anything in sight – fish, shrimp, and a steady diet of fruits and veggies that I feed her. Your map turtles will eventually start trying to eat the fish in your tank, so separate them out if you desire to keep the fish at all.

    They make great pets, though. I love my slider and have spent many happy hours watching her swim and chase fish in her tank. She’s tame enough to take mealworms from my hand without biting me, and she loves the occasional scratch on her chin!

  6. Jane

    When my boys were young, we went through all the stages of parakeets, hamsters, gerbils, turtles, fish, etc. However, we also had dogs, and even a few cats….cat-hater that I am. I think there is nothing harder to keep clean than a caged animal. Dogs are easier!….. Jane

  7. Georgia Yankee

    Wonderful story, thanks so much! You’re right about how such innocent looking animals can be so bloodthirsty. My (then) 6-yo daughter was thrilled when her pet mouse was having babies – the thrill turned to torrents of tears when she caught the mother snacking on her brood.

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