Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Death of a Fish (or three)

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, we were the lucky winners of a goldfish at the NC State Fair. I use the word "winners" loosely, as I really didn't need another being to care for. But, the kids were really excited, and I went the next day to get a small tank and some rocks for our new pet. Sydney was welcomed into our home with love.

Well, about ten days ago, I walked past the tank and noticed that poor Sydney was floating, belly up. Luckily for us, the kids were asleep, so Morgan swiftly flushed Syd with a prayer that the kids wouldn't notice the empty tank in the morning.

Luck was on our side - the morning was hectic, and we were off hook. I ventured to Pet Supermarket where I bought two fish (one resembling Sydney, and one to serve as Syd's companion). I also forked over some extra money for a filter, because the water that I poured from Sydney's tank smelled so foul I could hardly stand it.

The plan worked perfectly. The kids thought the new fish was Sydney, and they thought I was the best mommy ever for getting a buddy for their fish. The fish seemed really happy in their filtered water. Until a few days ago. I noticed that Sydney II was looking a little off. Swimming slowly. Not going after his food like he had. Sunday morning, I woke up to find him dead. Poor Sydney. Again, the kids were still in bed, so I went to get our net, which was resting in the sink. I got Sydney out, flushed, and when I returned to the tank, soap bubbles were pouring out of the filter and covering the top of the tank. All I can figure is that some dish soap got onto the net when it was in our sink.

So, I got fish #2 out (he never really had a name - Davis called him Davis, and Ava called him Frank) as fast as I could, rinsed him in clean water, and temporarily put him in a large mixing bowl so I could clean the tank. You know where this is going. After being exposed to those bubbles, that poor fish didn't stand a chance. He was dead within 20 minutes.

It took until that afternoon, but Ava was the first to notice the empty tank. I thought she would be crushed, inconsolable, beside herself. She is, after all, super-sensitive.


She actually giggled a little at the news of the deceased fish. It might have been that kind of uncomfortable laughing-when-you-should-be-crying kind of reaction, I'm not sure. I do that sometimes. Inappropriate reaction. Her only sad comment was, "Awwww.....now  we only have one pet!" She's a bit of a hoarder.

Davis, on the other hand, burst into tears and sobbed uncontrollably for a few minutes. He wanted to know if the fish were ever going to see their mommies again. Or their daddies. He also wanted to know if he could just feed the empty tank. So, it's possible that his sadness came not from the loss of the fish, but from the loss of getting to feed something.

So, for now, there are no fish in our house. I really would like to keep it that way as long as possible, so I think I'm going to put the tank away and hope that the kids stop asking when we're getting more fish.


  1. Oh Carter! Too funny. Love the saga of the family fish.

  2. Oh, that is too bad. I think they must be so hard to keep alive. Great story.