The Quiet Death of Goldfish

Two Goldfish by Kara-Anne Fraser
Two Goldfish by Kara-Anne Fraser

You know how some people say they are terrible with plants; the opposite of green-thumbs? Many of my friends tell me this. It mystifies me. I just think well if you water them, and give them some light then they’ll be fine. And my plants thrive.

Fish Killer
However I am a fish killer. Goldfish killer that is. I just can’t seem to keep them alive. I don’t know why. I feed them (not too much), I clean their tank regularly (but not too regularly as I was told not to do), I check the ph (it’s always green), I put the drops of whatever it is you’re supposed to use into the top-up water, the tank has a filter and is near a window so that they get light but not too much direct light. Hell, I even talk to them and tell them I like having them around.

Sounds like I’ve got it nailed right? Well I damn well haven’t. They keep dying on me. In the past six months I’ve killed four goldfish. My sons name them, so first of all we had to have a toilet burial for King-King. Then one for John-John. Then for King-King the Second, and yes, you guessed it… Next came John-John the Second as well.

Brassy Minnow
Brassy Minnow

Minnow Murder
I love having a fish tank. I like the water bubbling away, the fish swimming (I imagine happily) about the tank and the colourful water plants swaying in the current created by the bubbles… So I persisted and moved onto minnows. They’re those little fish you probably caught in creeks as a kid. Remember how they’d live in a bucket for ages?

Well my pampered (but not too pampered) minnows started as a school of 10. Over the past month I’ve lost an average of one per week. There are only three remaining now and of those three, two are permanently stuck on their side. Each time I go to scoop them out and give them a burial at sea their little fins start fluttering. Poor little things.

I wonder if they’re in pain? Or maybe just bewildered? Must be very annoying at the very least to be stuck on your side.

I don’t know a whole lot about Fung Shui but I remember reading somewhere that it’s good energy or whatever the lingo is, to have moving water in the house. But I have to tell you, it’s starting to get me down. It’s like I have a miniature model of genocide happening in my livingroom. So I’m pretty sure this is not raising the vibration of the house.

You know how some parents go to great lengths to replace deceased pets with identical replacements? Well now my boys just ask nonchalantly if there are anymore dead fish today. Hope I’m not raising cold, hard war correspondents!


So, in my house there have been 10 deaths in the past few months… Oh and that’s not counting the cockroaches who appear dead from time to time. Why do cockroaches always die on their backs with their legs in the air? It seems like a lot of effort. I guess you don’t want to go over on your back too much as a bug… Looks a bit tricky to get back on your feet… Guess the roaches that die don’t… Get back on their feet that is!! …Or maybe it’s more of a swoon… leg held up to antennae in a tragic proclamation of “oh why me, is my life to amount to naught?”

Anyway that’s the end of my sad little story about the quiet death of goldfish (and minnows and cockroaches).


And another reminder that my extremely scientific, hard hitting, controversial and far from trivial blog posts will soon be moving to Love you to follow me over there. 🙂


Oh, and if, like me you’ve always wondered exactly why cockroaches always die on their backs well curiosity got the better of me and I went hunting for answers. Here’s what I came up with…

The Cockroach – A model system for biologists: If you ever wanted to know ANYTHING about cockroaches this is your site!

Straight Dope: This one is from 1983 apparently! Not quite sure how that works. Pretty sure the web wasn’t invented way back then… Wow in 1983 I was busy playing in dust during a drought and wondering why mixed tapes always had so many bad songs on them.

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