that sick male guppy was missing from the hospital tank this morning. i thought maybe he jumped out and looked around the floor but didn't see anything. maybe he got sucked into the filter so i took that apart and found nothing either. i sifted the gravel and came up empty as well. how can a fish just disappear? maybe i was sleepwalking in the middle of the night and flushed him down the toilet. or maybe he jumped out of the tank and a mouse snatched him away for food. it was so mysterious that i gave up on trying to find an answer. sometimes life's little mysteries go unsolved.
sometime in the afternoon i decided on a whim to check underneath the plastic plant inside the hospital tank. i was surprised and relieved and saddened to find the missing male guppy - very much dead but still present. i noticed he had two little shoelaces poking out of his stomach when i scooped him out of the tank. i figured maybe after he died, some of his guts spilled out, which is kind of gross. i didn't flush him right away and kept him in the plastic cup. when i came back to look at him again, I COULD HAVE SWORN I SAW THOSE WHITE TUBES MOVING. i kept on staring. the movements were subtle, but they were definitely moving. OH MY GOD THOSE ARE NOT INTESTINES. OH MY GOD THEY'RE WORMS BURSTING OUT OF HIS STOMACH! i almost vomited. when i came back an hour later, the worms had poked out even more, about an inch long and who knows how much more still inside. i couldn't quite figure out what sort of worms they were. tapeworms? but they were definitely tubular. nematodes? too large and they weren't tapered.
in a strange way i'm somewhat relieved that this guppy died of intestinal parasites. it means that i'm not responsible for his death because i couldn't have known this was what was slowly killing him. but at the same time, it grosses the hell out of me. viral, bacterial, fungal - i can deal with those fish diseases - but parasitic? worms? that's the worst one, gives me the heebee jeebees just thinking abou it. could my other fish have worms as well? and where did it come from in the first place? it could've came from some snails that came with my recent water plant purchases. instead of picking them off and throwing them away, i crushed the snails (smaller than a poppy seed) and let the guppies eat them. there's nothing really i can do at this point. there are medication i can add to the tank that will kill the worms, but it's hard on the fish and i don't want to do it unless i'm sure there's an outbreak and not an isolated incident. a while back i was sort of regretting buying these guppies and sort of secretly wished that they'd die. careful of what you wish for! now i'm hoping they're going to be okay.