Many aquarium hobbyists seem to have a love-hate relationship with the hobby. One day you are delighted to find half a dozen eggs from Aphyosemion cyanostictum, and then the next day you watch in dismay as Rivulus rectocaudatus eggs are bursting disastrousy within minutes of the fish laying them. You find and buy the rare fish you always wanted—you love the hobby; you accidentally kill the fish you loved the most—you hate the hobby.

Recently, something very similar happened to me. I attended the American Killifish Association 2016 Convention a few weeks ago. I bought a pair of Gnatholebias zonatus at the auction there. When I brought them home, I realized that the male had some sort of an infection on his mouth. He was eating fine but always had trouble diving into coco peat for spawning with the female (male and female dive head-first into the coco peat and lay the eggs in the peat). I knew the person these fish came from. I contacted him to ask if he had more, and he said he’d like to send me a replacement. I couldn’t be happier. This is a brilliant Killifish that develops thread-like filaments on the top part of its tail. They are very bold and do great in warm temperatures.

Gnatholebias zonatus male that had got infection in his mouth. A beautiful species to work with.

Gnatholebias zonatus male that had an infection in his mouth. This is a beautiful species to work with.

When my friend packed the fish and sent the package through USPS Priority mail, he forgot to put my apartment number on the box. I have had this happen to me before; even though the package had the correct street address, the mailman took the package back because there are a hundred apartments in my building. Although it’s not impossible to find out a person’s apartment number if you have their name (the mailman can ask the apartment office), I wouldn’t blame the mailman for not doing so.

It was different this time. The box contains live fish and it doesn’t have my apartment number on it. All it has is the correct street address and my name. A few people suggested that I contact my local post office. I tried that. What I found was that the packages don’t necessarily come to a specific local post office. There are multiple small post offices around where I live, and no one had a clue which post office would get my package. The only way to find out was to get a hold of the mailman and request that he hand the package to my apartment office. I have gotten enough packages labelled “Live Fish” and “Perishable” that my apartment office knows me very well and respects my packages a little more than others. Since I work far away from the place I live, I couldn’t be present to meet the mailman personally. That was when I decided to print the above poster for my mailman.

What happened then? I was tracking the package online. I was refreshing the page every 5 minutes. At about 1:00 PM, I saw that the package had been delivered. A few minutes later, the office manager called me to tell me that she got the package and the mailman was happy to know that he had delivered live fish.

I was happy, but I was still a little worried about the fish. The package had been delivered, but I didn’t know if the fish inside were okay or not! The mailman had done the job, and I was very thankful for that. I picked up a nice “Thank You” card for the mailman on my way back home.

A thank you card for the mailman

A thank-you card for the mailman

I took the package from the apartment office and rushed to open it. To my relief, they were all doing fine. They were all alive. There were two trios (a trio is one male and two females) in the package, and all six fish were doing fine.

Fishes made it alive

Fishes made it alive

Fish were very well packed in Kordon breather bags., which was placed between foam peanuts.

Fish were very well packed in a Kordon breather bag, which was placed between foam peanuts.

They are being acclimatized right now, as I am typing this, and will soon get a light dinner and a good night’s sleep in their permanent tanks.

I am loving the hobby right now 🙂