It’s now 1:00 AM on March 2nd.  The reason you hadn’t heard about the February 28th planned move of the Lightning Maroon into the new final digs is that it didn’t happen yet.  Short and sweet – left Thursday for Dallas and Next Wave (put on by DFWMAS).  The plan was to be back on Sunday night.  Of course, due to freezing rain, I got stranded in Chicago.  Of course, flights to Duluth are sporadic and with the cancellation, I think the direct Monday flight was booked before I even managed to get off the plane!  So TWO days spent in Chicago to get a flight home…thankfully the company I work for is in Chicago so I spent 2 days at the office and with family.
Well, finally, after a very over extended trip, I return home.  Everyone is asleep but my wife wakes up to welcome me home.  The first thing I notice in my rounds is that the Ecoxotic has been taken over by hair algae in just 5 short days.  I go downstairs to check on the fish and turn off the lights.   When I get to the Lightning Maroon’s cage, it is nowhere to be found.  I think my eyes are playing tricks on me, so I pull the cage out of the tank.  It’s EMPTY.
Surprisingly, I think I handled it pretty well.  I asked my wife if she had seen the fish and she said she hadn’t noticed it go missing but hadn’t been paying really close attention.  I wound up tearing apart the entire tank (lights were already out) and after a little bit of searching, found the Lightning Maroon tucked in the back.  I netted it and then noticed that its fins were quite tattered…definitely the result of being in the tank with the 3 Centropyge argi.
So, “screw it”.  The Lightning Maroon was moved tonight.  It was drip acclimated which resulted in a 5 gallon water change.  3 large Turbo snails from the Lightning’s original home were brought over as well to help deal with the hair algae issue.  I removed the carbon and the skimmer cup and dosed the tank with Maracyn as a preventative and to knock back a little bit of Cyanobacteria (red slime) that was also showing up in the tank.
Frankly, how a fish gets out of a well-covered cage is beyond me.  Of course, last week I found the crispy body of a female Mandarin who ALSO managed to jump out of a screen-covered tank.  And if I had to place a guess, I think this escape of the Lightning Maroon of course, likely happened today, and it wouldn’t have happened if my flight home hadn’t been canceled and the fish was moved on time.
On the bright side, the fish is moved (the Labrador Maroon was returned to the tank with the 3 Centropyge argi).  I’m truly ticked at myself for not having moved it before I left, but then again we all also know the advice that you never make big changes in the week before a trip.  This experience just goes to show how even when everything is done right, things WILL go wrong in this hobby.  I’m bummed that the fish is tattered and honestly a bit worried that the splits in the spiny dorsal fin may not heal…a reminder of this incident going forward.  I HOPE that isn’t the case, but as a hobbyist, I’ll have to learn to roll with it.  It is just as likely that there will be MORE tattered fins and bruised fish when I attempt the first pairing…possibly later this week although I may wait until the Lightning is well healed.
So that’s the update.  Fish moved, but things are not in tip-top shape at the moment.  Working on fixing them.