mardi 23 octobre 2012

He lept and survived, the excitement never ends

Dirt-covered goldfish

Great God in heaven.

I walk out the door to the garden compulsively, every few moments, to go and check on the fish in their containers. I had let a little more time go by than usual, watching the women's Masters, and I was supposed to be heading up to the stable. I wandered out the door, just to see, one more time, just to make certain everyone was alive, still. Just out the door, I look over, and on the other side of the table covered in fish I see the dog Fia and Shadow, both concentrating on something between their two heads and four front paws, separated by inches.

Then, Fia's head dipped and lifted, and something moved. It looked like she had torn at her old rawhide bone that is now a flatted piece of hide. It was about the same color, but no, Shadow wouldn't be interested in that.

I hurried across the terrace and looked between the two of them, and there was a dirt-coated object in the very shape of a goldfish. Fia looked at me, and then looked back down.

"Oh my God," I breathed, staring at the still and lifeless fish there on the ground, several of its scales in the marks from Fia's paws, where she had scratched near it, surely trying to keep it alive, one of the last two originals, as far as I can tell, from before the freeze and the subsequent thaw.

It looked like breaded sole.

"Oh my God."

I leaned down and picked it up, and it jerked in my hand. Alive? It was still alive? Covered in dirt? I hurried it into its empty bowl and carried the whole thing into the house.

A photo. Take a photo. 

"Right. A photo."

I hurried the bowl out to the edge of the fountain and returned to the house to grab my D300 and AF-S Nikkor 18-200mm DX VR lens, and the strap caught on the edge of the low table, sending it to the terra cotta tiled floor with a sharp noise.

"Damn. Damn damn damn."

The center ring had shifted out of place. I pushed it back, tried the telescopic movement and noted that it caught.


I ran back out to take a photo, cursing myself, and thanking the dog and cat. First, they had not eaten the fish. Not only had they not eaten it, Fia had not ripped at its flesh. She might have tried to pick it up, though, like she has done with the frogs she finds in the lawn from time to time. Second, had they not stayed by it, I would not have noticed.

No, that's not so; of course I would have seen the empty bowl and found the fish lying in the dirt.

A blade of grass stuck out of his tail, and he was covered with dirt. I took him back inside and lifted him carefully in my hand, making certain to keep him under the water, while I gently wiped the dirt from his gills, his flanks, fins and face. I picked up the pail from outside and added more medicated water, slid him and the water from his bowl into the larger container and set it down next to the computer and Googled How long can a goldfish suvive out of water?

The this came up:
I managed a pet store for 8 years.

Occasionally, we would open the store and find fish on the floor that had leaped from the tanks in the night. Most of the tanks had at least a partial glass cover on them (he ll, they were inventory!) but some fish are determined. Most of those fish were dead. Some were alive.

Now the alive ones were mostly determined to have leaped within the hour before we opened, which means they were out of water for only an hour. These fish were still wet and covered with slime. 

However, I did find some fish whose bodies were dry and covered with lint and debris because they had thrashed about on the ground and when I lifted them as dead, to throw away, a few surprised the he ll out of me by moving around.

For a fish's body to be dry but the fish still somehow alive I have got to say at least 6 hours out of the water. A fish produces slime to lubricate its body in times of stress and that's what kept those little guys alive for that long.

However... Even when we put them back in the tanks, the ordeal of lying on a floor, stressed and thrashing and covered with debris...very few of the "jumpers" made it back to good health.

A lot died right away. Most developed a bacterial or viral infection and died shortly afterwards. Some rotted off a lot of their fins, hung in there, survived, and lived scarred up. (profits down the tubes.)

Fish jump.


Thanks. Like by now I do not know this.

So, tonight each bowl is getting at least partially covered with plastic film. I think. Maybe it's not worth it, given that fish, as the pet store manager knows, are determined.

Wiped off and alive, for now

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