Tuesday, 3 December 2013

A Very Fishy Tale a.k.a. How I Accidentally Killed our Fish

For those of you who don't follow me on Twitter you may not have heard the very sad news that our fish, Marcus and Andrew, are no longer of this mortal coil.

You will also not know that the sole reason they are no longer on this mortal coil is down to me.

Yes. Really.

Marcus & Andrew spent most of this year living a bachelor lifestyle along with The Person after I moved out to go and live with my sister for my job on 1st January 2013. They had a great time, ducking and diving and wheeling and dealing and generally floating about doing fishy stuff.

There was a lot of discussion about how they would get to the Midlands when The Person moved here to join me and in the end it was a very low tech travel arrangements. The boys were put in a large tupperware box and came to Leicestershire, sitting on the knee of The Person, who was in the passenger seat of the lovely van man's van who moved The Person from Preston to our current residence.

We were worried about whether they would make the trip but they had a jolly old time and as soon as they arrived, I got the tank filled up and they were settled in before even a box was unpacked.

However, in the craze of The Person starting a new job, sorting out a flat in which we had no furniture (that's a tale for another time),  and just generally living together again we became pretty neglectful fish parents. The tank looked a bit cloudy and the water really looked like it could do with a change and we kept saying "This weekend we need to change the fish" but we would never get around to doing it and the weeks passed us by.

Finally, at the end of the first week of October, so just over 2 months after we moved in *hangs head in shame* I decided I needed to get that water changed.

So I gave the tank a good scrub, filled it up with lovely new tap water, put Marcus and Andrew back in and sat back and admired my handiwork.

They merrily swam about all afternoon and evening. The Person and I, sat on the sofa in the evening, remarked how happy they looked having a good swim.

About 10pm I looked over at the tank...

Marcus did not look well.

In fact. Marcus looked decidedly not like an alive fish.

I called in The Person to investigate and, as I watched nervously from the doorway, he confirmed my worst suspicions, we were indeed one fish down.

No wait...we were two fish down as Andrew was also dead.

It was horrible. Horrible. I don't know if you've noticed but I kind of like animals, and the realisation that I was solely responsible for the death of my two pets was almost too much for me to bear. In fact I didn't bear it, I promptly sat on the bed and burst into tears. For a long time.

Marcus and Andrew received the most traditional of burials and were flushed down the toilet on Sunday 6th October 2013.

A quick consult of Google has led us to believe that our fishes' deaths, whilst tragic, are not uncommon. Apparently fish don't get overly bothered about living in a dirty tank, they just go with the flow and adapt to their surroundings. However when you perform a complete change on the tank and put in fresh water - whilst it might look nice and make you feel good about yourself - it unbalances the pH and nitrates and all those other invisible things that the fish have got used to and the change is so dramatic that their poor little fishy bodies cannot cope with it any more.

If you have let the tank get dirty and want to change it, you have to perform percentage water changes where you take some water out and replace it with clean water and gradually increase the percentage you change until it's all clean.

We do not have new fish.


  1. Awww! No. Sorry to hear this. Don't blame yourself, you weren't to know about the pH. I would've done the same. And this whole things - fish dying on me, or any pet for that matter - is why I Haven't got one.

    Not sure if I was supposed to laugh at "We don't have new fish." or not, but I wanted to. Just sayin'.

  2. ah yes...this is how I think my mum might have slowly/accidentally killed our first lot of fish...those the last lot lived AGES...Sidney died like last week of old age (like 8 years or something).

    So sorry to hear this... I guess it is one of those live and learn experiences... :(

    1. I think they were just weak fish. I had a fish for about 6 years - still had it when I went to uni and couldn't take it with me so it lived at home. Mum refused to clean it out so he used to live in a dirty tank until I came home from uni in the holidays and then I'd give him a full tank clean and he was totally fine!!

  3. I only know about the ph thing because the pet shop we bought our last office fish from wouldn't sell any to you until you'd brought water in and they'd tested it and decided that it was safe for fish. It took bloody weeks for our first tank to be "ready".


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