November 8, 2010

No One Is Talking

Do you ever walk into the garden and wonder what in the world has gone on since your last visit?  This was my experience last week when I found the stock-tank pond amiss.

The leaves of the Colorado water lily were shredded and disheveled.  And most distressing of all, one of my fantail goldfish was upside down.  I know what you're thinking...upside down?  Can't be good.   He wasn't, you know...dead.  But he was definitely hurt.  If prodded, he could swim a bit but he couldn't right himself.  We were all terribly worried about him and felt completely helpless...what do you do for a goldfish?

The next morning I convinced my husband to head out there with the net, thinking the fish can't possibly have survived the night.  So off he goes, net in hand.  Sorry for the photo quality, but remember, this is first thing in the morning!

Sure enough, the fish was floating.  As he went to scoop it up, it startled and tried to right itself again and swim away.  What stamina!  We felt like he still had a little life left in him and left him to die peacefully...

That afternoon, I headed out there with the net.  To my surprise, the fish was gone!  Nowhere to be found.  I'm filled with guilt because I left him there unable to defend himself.  I can only guess that whatever came by the day before came back and found him to be much easier prey the second day.

I've interviewed everyone at the scene that could bear witness to the crime...

No one is talking...


  1. Hi,
    Fantail goldfish can often suffer from a swim bladder problem which causes them to swim upside down. If you Google swim bladder problem you'll find lots of information

  2. GLA, Thanks. I appreciate the advice and will do some research. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.

  3. Poor fish. I wonder why he disappeared. Do you have any other fishes? I hope someone gives in and confesses. Nice pictures to go with your unfortunate story.

  4. We also lost our goldfish in a similar way. They started floating then a day or so later they died.
    Love your blog

  5. Thanks for the condolences Bom. Yes, the other fish are fine. I guess I should have interviewed them as well!

    Wow Keewee, thanks! I appreciate your compliment and look forward to stopping by your blog soon. Thanks for taking the time to leave your comment!

  6. Have you talked to the raccoons? They are usually the culprits when I have fish missing. Well, that or the snakes or the blue herons. We live less than 1/2 mile from Lake Grapevine, but the critters come to our pond for their feasts. Easy pickin', I reckon. I used to name all of our koi, but I had to stop because it was so heartbreaking to lose them. I had to detach myself. Now they are just collectively "fish." We built a "fish cave" a couple years ago when the pond was rebuilt and that has helped tremendously. It gives the fish a place to hid from predators. Sorry about your loss. Clever post, though.

  7. Love this post, though not the sad story of the goldfish. Are thinking a critter of some sort got him?

    Textures in the photos look great, by the way!

  8. Dear Toni, Just not sure what to think. The leaves were really a mess, all torn up and scattered about. I'm thinking it was a bird - seems like it landed on the lily pads and the pads wouldn't support the weight so it started flailing about...just not sure. Like you, I live in an area where there are a multitude of suspects! There are hiding places in the tank but because he couldn't swim well, we was easy prey ;-(

    Thanks Martha. I found all kinds of textures to download and have been experimenting!

  9. One of my pond plants was knocked to the bottom of the pond overnight. I always suspect raccoons, as we've seen them in our yard numerous times, but I've never caught one in the act. But grackles can make a mess of lily leaves too if they land on one to take a bath.

    The fish does sound as if it suffered from a swim bladder problem. That's happened to some of mine from time to time. I never know what to do for them either.

  10. It is hard when we encounter wildlife in distress. I had a blackbird earlier in the year which was stunned and couldnt stand upright. I put it in a box and had to leave it overnight, but it survived and still couldnt stand up so in the end I took it to the vets and they gave it a steriod injection and the bird was OK - it was quite upsetting but a nice ending

  11. Hi Pam, Good to know about the swim bladder condition-I'm new to fish! Did your fish survive the condition? In reading up on the internet it sounds as though they have a chance to recover. My guess is something got mine before he could get better.

    Patient Gardener I'm so glad to hear that your story ended well! The blackbird was blessed that you came alone ;-)

  12. It does sound like a swim bladder problem, they do sometimes correct themselves though. A good way to try and cure it is to put the affected fish in very shallow water, just enough to cover their body and they do sometimes `right` themselves!(use pond water, obviously!)
    Cracking shots of the suspects, by the way!
    Follow me @ Hedgeland Tales
    (You know you want to!)

  13. Well of course they aren't going to tattle on one of their own. Probably they are worried about their own safety. I'm sure you have raccoons although I don't think we have them here. They haven't made their way out of the city. Too many rich pickings to leave.

  14. Thanks John. I'll try that should any of the others come down with the same condition.

    Lancashire, I used to say the same thing about Grackles although they have now found their way out here! Grrrr...

  15. I, too, am suspecting raccoons. I also shared your horror when one day, years ago, I discovered a poor creature floating upside-down in my small pond. Of course, in my case, it was actually a dead raccoon! Perhaps the goldfish had their revenge...

  16. I really liked how you presented the story, but now how it ended up. Poor guy.And someone there should have had an explanation. They were all stone cold silent, huh?

  17. So sorry about your fish! But enjoyed meeting the witnesses.

  18. The only goldfish at our house come in cracker form but even they swim upside down. Personally, I think the statue of the girl knows something. Maybe a liason with a handsome boy statue might get her to talk...

  19. I hope you solve the crime.
    Sad story, but beautiful photos!
    I used to have a goldfish too, inside the house tho, sometimes they just liked swimming upside down, it wasn't a disease, they were ok a bit later. I guess sometimes fish are weird, but so are we, so is ok

  20. RBell, Yikes, I guess I should consider myself lucky!

    GWGT, thank you. You would think that at least the dog would talk. After all the food, love and attention he gets!

    Garden Sense thank you for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I enjoyed visiting your blog and will stop by again soon.

    TS, love your sense of humor! I just know you're an awesome teacher!

    fer, you're right we're all a little weird sometimes but it does add spice to life ;-)

  21. I would recommend interviewing the trees - most people forget to do this. They have quite the view from up there and don't miss a THING.

    Lovely, clever post, btw. So sorry about little goldie, though....

  22. You do great photos, and the dog is so beautiful. Sorry for the fish.

  23. This lovely post has one glad and sad at the same time. I hope your fish did not have a dis ease. You will have to bribe your witnesses to get them to tell all or stand guard yourself to see the goings on in your pond. I hope your little fish is now a happy part of some other wild creature. Condolences on your loss. Beautiful photos! ;>)

  24. Poor little goldfish! I know how helpless you can feel. Bummer none of your possible witnesses admitted to what happened:)

  25. Thanks for visiting Rebecca and for your condolences. I appreciate you taking the time to comment.

    Thank you Ellada - he is a great dog and much cherished.

    Carol - Thank you for the reminder. It is the circle of life but funny how on one end it can make us happy (like when the anole ate the katydid) and on the other so sad...

    Thank you Tina. I appreciate you visiting. Have you thought anymore about the mosaic you'll make? Please keep me in the loop if you decide to make one - I'd love to see it!

  26. Ha ha - no wonder none of the 'witnesses' could talk - they all look a to be in a state of shock at what happened to Goldie; perhaps some reassuring words from you will loosen their tongues ;-)

    Lovely post Cat; my theory says it was likely a heron.

  27. I can't believe you got me all concerned in this post about a goldfish! But I was. And I love your gallery of suspects. Each one seems to look a little guilty of something. Cute post (except for the dead pet part)!

  28. None of my goldfish have ever righted themselves once they got the swim bladder problem. I did try putting one in a fish hospital once (the shallow bucket of pond water), but it didn't help.

  29. Thank you Rick. The folks at Hill Country Water Gardens warned of herons during the winter months when the vegetation has died back...could be.

    Laurrie, I agree, each suspect does look a little guilty, especially the last!

    Pam, I guess the "fish hospital" would at least be worth a try giving you the peace of knowing you did everything you could to help...

  30. Loved reading your blog this morning. This post reminds me of my raccoon experiences this summer, little devils!



Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind.
"Pooh!" he whispered.
"Yes, Piglet?"
"Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's paw. "I just wanted to be sure of you."
~A.A. Milne

Thanks for taking the time to visit!