One of the tasks I had Tuesday before leaving home for a business trip (Connecticut this time) was to give the tadpoles more room. The plan I had been talking about for over a week was taking the tank they were in, pouring half of it into another container (along with half the tadpoles) and then adding water to both containers. End goal being to give all the tadpoles more room. They were growing very rapidly. Most over three quarters of an inch. Some maybe an inch including the tail. And while they did not have legs yet, they had froggy heads. They would definitely need more room, and more room soon.
I followed the plan. I filled the tanks back up from water from the hose.
Brandy had apparently tried to warn me, but I never understood what she was saying or why. She said we needed to clean out the pot we were going to use. And I did that, rinsing out the muck from the bottom. But she had meant more than that. I’m not sure what she said and how she said it, but I never got that there was more to it than that.
As it turns out, tap water, such as comes out of a hose, is apparently poison to most aquatic animals, including tadpoles. I knew not to use the water from the pool. I had no idea that I should not use the water from the hose.
I poured the water as planned from one container to the other. The tads just poured right out. It wasn’t quite even, but it was close enough. I thought about just leaving it like that, but the whole point had been to give them more room, and to do that water would have to be added. So, I turned on the hose…
A couple minutes later all the tadpoles were running around like crazy in both containers. I thought they were happily exploring their new environments and reveling in their newfound room to swim. They were not. They were in a horrible panic, trying to escape the poison I had put all around them.
A few minutes later, most of the tadpoles were still. Only a couple swam around when I came near. I thought they had done the things that frogs do when you catch them and they are nervous… tense up and get hard as a rock to be inconspicuous. They were not doing that. They were dying.
Right after filling the two pots, I had sent Brandy a happy email saying that the job was done and the froggies had plenty of room now. Right as just a few were still moving, I got an email back from Brandy saying essentially “Don’t use tap water!!”. But itr was too late. By the time I got back outside, they were all dead. All of them.
I called Brandy’s cellphone, distraught and bawling like a baby. But she was at work, and I only got her voice mail. So I emailed her. Later she called me back and tried to talk me down. But I was very very upset.
The tadpoles had been THRIVING. And HAPPY. They were growing rapidly, and not a single one had died. There were 30 some of them (I never did do an exact count). I had saved them from certain death…. Only to kill them with my own stupidity two weeks later.
I had been so proud of them. Proud that I had saved them, proud that they were doing well. And every day when I checked on them I was excited by their progress, and I was eagerly anticipating them slowly turning into frogs and then hopping away.
But I killed them.
IT has been almost two days since that happened. In the time since I have not really been able to stop thinking about it. On the way to the airport, on the planes on the way to Connecticut, during my business meetings during the day Wednesday. I was distracted and every once in awhile would just get very very sad. And the guilt is overwhelming.
Brandy keeps saying that I “tried” and that is what counts. But no, it is not. Ask the tadpoles. Oh, you can’t, cause they are DEAD. And I killed them. :-( Trying is a good thing, but what counts is succeeding. And what also counts on the other side is abject negligent failure. If I had killed 30 children, or even 30 puppies, maybe the reaction would be different. Just because they are frogs, it is somehow less important. But they were still innocent little things under my care, and I failed them.
I guess with the arrogance and inappropriateness of the title of my first post on the frogs, and my pride and superiority over saving them, I needed to be put in my place or something. And so I screw up majorly.
All I needed to do was listen to Brandy better (she says she tried to tell me, although she never made a big point of it, cause she assumed I knew I guess), or just wait to do it when she was home. Or if I had just decided I didn’t have time and had just left them alone until after my trip… any of these options and they would still be alive and happy.
I am still very sad. I was so happy that the tadpoles were doing well. And I thought I was helping them, but instead…
Poor little baby froggies.
I am so sorry. :-(
Ok since I was kid, I knew you can't use tapwater so Brandy assumed you knew that too. In order to use tapwater you have to buy this little chemical at the pet store which neutralizes all the stuff in the tapwater. At 33 years old, can't you learn yet to be more careful? Please?
I know, I know. :-( I knew that what you mention was true for FISH. The thought just never even entered my mind that it might also be true for tadpoles. And Brandy had said something about "preparing the pot" but I thought she just meant rinsing it out, so that is all I did. Letting tap water sit for five days will also do the trick. But if I knew that, I didn't know I knew that.
It was horrible.
I am still upset.
you know how in that other post you said that you guys were practially behaving like a married couple....
well, the difference there is that as a husband you have no choice...you *have* to listen your wife. one thing i've learned from marriage...the more you don't listen to your wife, the more the chance increases that you'll screw something up.
I thought she meant rinsing it out!