Goldfish peril

16 Jan

I promised a goldfish update. Sorry it’s late, but I have spent much of the past five days repeatedly imperilling and then saving the lives of my goldfish.

What I didn’t mention to the Fish Social Services is that I have a pretty good track record with goldfish (apart from Gilbert’s suicide, but we don’t talk about that). I actually cracked out my first word in order to save a goldfish’s life. True story. Our fish, Goldie, had jumped out of her tank and was struggling for life on the carpet. I toddled to my parents and cried, “Fishy!” I imagine that they, delighted at my acquisition of language, took a little while to realise that I was actually trying to tell them to save the dying goldfish, but she was saved (so I’m told), and I became the world’s most heroic baby.

My lifelong fish-saving skills have come in handy over the past few days.

Happy to say, I passed the gruelling fish ownership questionnaire the second time around, although I had a moment of panic when the pet shop lady asked: “Are there any real plants in the tank?” I stared at her, stricken, and then admitted: “No..” to which she replied, “That’s all right then.”


So, I brought home little Belle and Sebastian and carefully introduced them to their carefully prepared perfectly regulated fish habitat.

Within four hours they were practically dead.

I hate to see anything die (and I’d invested three days preparing for these fish), so I performed the only intervention possible, scooping their near-lifeless, floating bodies out of the tank and putting them into a small tupperware of neat Oxford tap water.

And hey, presto – they instantly recovered.

I sat for a while watching Belle and Sebastian swimming happily around their little box of tap water, and glancing at the tank with its specially prepared, treated water and filter that had almost killed them.

My faith in the pet shop decreased.

Having changed most of the water, they now look as happy as goldfish can feasibly look. Although I am rather chuffed to have them back from the dead, I’ve now become a little paranoid, and spend quite a lot of time watching Belle and trying to work out whether she looks more lethargic than yesterday. This evening I came home to find Sebastian (so far the hardier of the two) floating on his side on the surface. He swam off when I approached, but I was then late for zumba, because I spent ten minutes anxiously googling “why is my goldfish floating to the surface” and biting my fingernails about whether he might have a problem with his swim bladder.

Honestly. I thought it might be relaxing to have some goldfish to watch. And maybe it will be, in two month’s time, when I’m more confident they’re not going to die the minute I leave the room.


3 Responses to “Goldfish peril”

  1. Simon T 16/01/2012 at 11:59 pm #

    I love you, Mel. And I know you better than you know yourself, it seems ;)

  2. thepygmygiant 17/01/2012 at 12:40 pm #

    I know, I know, you told me I would end up too attached to the fish. I should have listened.


  1. We need to talk about Susan | Mel is a geek - 01/02/2016

    […] don’t know if you recall my ongoing struggle to own some goldfish, several years ago? It became, rather, an ongoing struggle to keep any goldfish alive for any […]

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