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I went to two local pet stores with my father this weekend. We were on a quest for fish.

Ever since I can remember, we’ve had fish tanks in our house. Not just one, but multiple fish tanks that range in size from 10 to 50 gallons.

These tanks go through stages of life at the Dize residence. Sometimes they are empty and bone dry, sometimes the water is green and it’s hard to tell if anything is alive inside and sometimes they are filled with happy swimming fish.

We have two thriving fish tanks these days. Guppies, neon tetras and mollies are house favorites.

Sunday we were looking for juli corycats, to no avail.

We’ve had mostly freshwater tanks, with one extended trial with a 50-gallon saltwater tank. We even had a crab for a while.

When I was little the abundance of fish used to bother me. I wanted a pet I could play with, and let’s face it, you can’t really snuggle with a fish tank.

When we went to the store, I would wander from the fish to the fuzzy critters.

We eventually got guinea pigs and a cat, despite my dad’s allergies, but fish remained a constant.

I inherited my father’s allergies, so fuzzy critters are less inviting these days.

My cat and I used to be best buddies. When I had a loft bed, she would climb up the ladder so she could sleep in my bed with me.

After I developed allergies and went away to college, her allegiance switched to my brother, but I still had the fish.

My favorite part about having fish has always been the trips to the fish store with my dad. Sometimes the trips extend beyond fish shopping to the bookstore.

This weekend my dad and I trooped around Bel Air carrying a fancy guppy in a bag. You can’t leave a fish in the car in that heat and expect him to live.

When we got home the fish went into a small tank. The plan is to slowly integrate the water in that tank and the water in the bigger tank so the little guy will have minimal shock.

Elaborate tank setups, homemade bubblers, pH test kits, fish medicine and book shelves filled with unused fish tanks have been a staple all my life.

I’m not sure I could put all that energy and effort into managing a fish tank, but I may change my mind when I live in a home without fish.

There’s something relaxing about watching fish swim and listening to the gentle splash of the water filter and I think if we didn’t have fish I would miss them.

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