I stared at them for about a month or so before I had an epiphany at a local hibachi restaurant. Koi fish! Of course! No, while not exactly a northern Ohio species, they are a common backyard pond fish, so I think they fit the show.
Each tile got a coat of sage green pickle paint, which helps seal it from the oils.
Jade bead is from the fantastic "bead paradise" store in Oberlin, OH. It will be sewn on the finished piece.