To paraphrase a saying: “what is one man’s pet, is another man’s poison.” Some would have no other than a dog or cat as a pet. Our family has had our share of those, but goldfish have played a very important part in the “stories” of our family.
When our two boys were little, each had a goldfish, sharing the same bowl. Of course, they were duly named and recognized by the owner. One day Mitch’s fish died! Soon afterwards, we noticed a long line of black streaming out of the gills of Lance’s fish. Expecting it to die also, we rushed it out to our large pond in the back of our property, where it was promptly swallowed up by the vastness of the pond. Two years later we were amazed to see this large goldfish swimming out there. We did not realize that the size of goldfish depended on their environment!
It was not until as adults, when we were recalling this event that Mitch admitted that he had been very angry that his fish had died and not Lance’s, so he had sprinkled black pepper into the bowl---thus, the gasping fish!
Later on, at the same house, we made a small goldfish pond close to the house, rimmed with limestone rocks and flowers. However, we were plagued by the build-up of algae, which turned the water green so that the fish could not be seen. Bryant bought a box of algae-killer and carefully read the directions. He decided on his own that if a little of the powder would be good, a little more would be better. One half hour after the application, he went out to check, and most of the fish were “belly-up.” He yelled for help, and we all frantically scooped out fish and put them into pails of fresh water. This was all to no avail. We had to start over from scratch.
The lesson learned was not only to read directions, but FOLLOW THEM!
On Exchange Street we also had a small goldfish pool. We stocked it with Japanese Koi and four special ones that swim near the surface of the water, so they are more visible. When winter approached, it was time to bring in the fish. They were put in a 50-gallon oil drum in the basement near the sump pump hole. Bryant fed them each morning and noticed one day that the surface-swimming fish were missing. They were jumpers (a fact we did not know) and had jumped out of the drum, but they were not dead on the floor. No, they had landed in a narrow trench around the perimeter of the cellar, heading for the sump pump and the “great beyond!”
In this same pool, the fish bred, and the little ones hid in the vegetation. When it came time to take them in, the pool had to be drained in order to get them all. We had a 25-foot-long garden hose siphoning the water out. As Bryant stood at the end of it, along came a little goldfish. What a traumatic first trip that must have been for him!