mardi 23 octobre 2012

Fish hospitalization, Day 3

Cat water bowl

No. It's not what you think. Shadow is just doing what she always has; she is drinking from the fish water. Usually, she is up on the edge with her neck bent to get that little pink tongue to the "pond" surface, but the recent catastrophe has made her life a lot easier. Now, she merely needs to stand at the edge and drink from a bowl. The fish is in no danger from her, only from the fin rot and the fungi that have come to feast on the bacteria still present on her tail fin.

I believe this one is a she. I can't remember. It's less important than getting well and returning to the fish-pond-in-the-fountain.

Yesterday started out a better day; everyone was still alive. Then, three small gray young ones died, one of my favorite orange and white young ones threw himself from his hospital room while I was out getting more, different, better, who knows products to treat them, and expired, and this morning saw the demise of one whose swim bladder was affected. Still, I found another larger gray one from this year in the nearly empty "pond", and I know there is still another, a little pink one my husband saw the other evening, we have not been able to catch and isolate. A furtive little guy.

Blasted swim bladder

All the others seem vigorous. We must be down to just under 30 fish.

I counted. 28.

I also bought a test kit for the water. Granted, we were a few days past when all of this began, and the weather was gloriously sunny and hot yesterday, for a wonderful change from the rains of biblical proportions (and they appear to have returned during the night), so the results might not be what they would have been over the weekend, and all the week before, when it was raining without stop, but they were all normal. It's not the water quality that did the fish in, so what was it?

Was it the shubunkin, caught between the reeds and the wall of the fountain, whose body had rotted in the water, that was responsible for the proliferation of bad bacteria? He had clearly been there for a little while, but I had not thought to scrutinize that hidden spot until I saw the others dying and becoming weakened, sick. Was his death the work of one of the neighbors' cats? Every now and then, a fish disappears, and we wonder if it is the cats or a heron, up from the Seine down below, just past the field on the other side of our garden wall. Or, was he just the earliest victim? How many days does it take the body to turn to nothing but fin and bones?

It's time to bring them in their bowls, vases, and various containers out from the guest room to the garden, change their water and medicate again. If no one else dies between now and tomorrow morning, I might put them all together in the large black plastic container we bought for a similar sad purpose when the fountain was leaking three years ago.

Please do not let me find that anyone suddenly took a turn for the worse since I last went out to visit them earlier this morning. I am developing a thick skin, but enough is enough.

I still haven't found a trace of the maman fish, who was probably responsible for a vast part of the now deceased population. I miss her.

This one is missing its gill

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