One Fish, Two Fish, Blue Fish – Dead Fish

Red and blue Betta splendens.

Beta Fish

This post is to make my mother-in-law Kathleen feel better about her dead fish – and since fish seem to be a major part of our family — I felt it was appropriate to write a little piece about the fish that have died recently at the hands of individuals within the family.  I’m not talking about the fish we catch with a hook and bait – those fish are actually luckier – and safer than the ones we keep in our homes in a nice little (or big) aquarium!  Let’s just take a quick look at some of the unfortunate fish and their demise.  It should be noted that no fish have been killed by my side of the family except for eating purposes – we didn’t keep any fish as pets since the only good fish for the Hogan side of the family (mine) was a trout cooked over a campfire!  All the fish who met their deaths in this story were in the care of the Gurnett side of the family.

The first one that I was told about involved a goldfish Pat (my husband) had when he was very young.  Apparently, the goldfish was left alone with a young neighbor girl who was visiting.  Kathleen (my mother-in-law) left the room for just a few seconds and when she came back, the fish (not the bowl, just the fish) and the little girl were gone.  It turns out this little girl was very hungry and decided that the fish looked especially appetizing.  This was in the days before sushi was popular — so the little girl must have been VERY hungry!  From that day forward, Kathleen made sure the little girl was fed when she came over — she didn’t want the dog disappearing next!

The next incident of fish murder of which I am aware involved my own children.  We had received numerous goldfish from a local grocery store for free.  They eventually outgrew their small bowl and my husband got a free 10-gallon fish tank for these dirty little fishies!  The fish gradually ‘disappeared’ until there was only one big goldfish.  I’m pretty sure he was the Al Capone of fish world and had gotten rid of the competition.  He was very resilient and even survived a broken tank (the boys claimed the dog had been chasing the ball and knocked over the tank – but I’m pretty sure the boys knocked over the tank with the ball and the dog was just there to lick up the water – yuck!).  He laid in the corner of the room in a small puddle of water for about 30 minutes before anyone found him – and yet – he LIVED!  Definitely a mobster fish!  For some reason, the boys felt that Al Capone needed a friend, so they bought a new goldfish who soon developed a strange tumor and tended to swim upside down.  I think Al poisoned him — nothing could be proved so Al was not sentenced to death.  Al finally met his match when my granddaughter, Lizzie took over his care.  She decided that he looked hungry all of the time — so she fed him enough food for all of the fish Al had previously eliminated.  It seemed like karma had finally taken care of Al – he was found floating in a scum of uneaten food – if only he hadn’t gotten rid of all the other fish!

Since Lizzie had only committed involuntary fish-slaughter, it was decided that she needed some different fish – all her own.  So, we bought her 5 little guppies.  They were all different colors and Lizzie named them after Disney princesses.  The first princess to bite the dust was Ariel – who would have figured that the Little Mermaid would be found floating in the fish tank.  I think the other princesses were jealous and wanted all of the attention for themselves — which is exactly what they got!  Once again, Lizzie felt that the way to show her love was to feed the fish an entire canister of food.  We should have warned her that princesses would rather die than get fat – and that’s what they did!

Then we have yesterday — when Kathleen’s blue beta fish died.  Kathleen had ‘inherited’ the fish from my daughter, Becky’s college friends about 3 years ago.  We thought the fish was living on borrowed time — not only because the Gurnett’s were now in charge of its fate – but also because beta fish don’t tend to live very long.  Kathleen had almost killed her beta a couple of times because she had forgotten to treat the water when she cleaned the tank and before she put the fish back in – Blue Beta, being very attached to Kathleen, always rallied and pulled through.  However, this past week was different.  Kathleen noticed that Blue Beta was a little sluggish – but she just figured he was taking it easy – after all in fish years, he was probably about 102!  So when she found him lying on the bottom of his tank, she just figured he was taking it easy – after all, fish floated when they were dead – so he must be taking a nap.  It wasn’t until she noticed that he was beginning to mold a little, that she decided he must have gone to fish heaven!  So – once again, a Gurnett fish was loved to death!

I don’t think we will buy any fish for a while — it seems that the Gurnett side of the family just loves these little guys too much and sometimes –  love kills.


4 responses »

  1. OMG!!!! The fishy died!!!! That fish has been around for 4 years! Sweet wounded who knew that little beta fish in my friends room would last so long.

  2. Morning Katie. Was the fish tank that Pat provided one of his trash finds?
    You have amazed me this morning ! Truly! How can one write such an interesting piece just on dead fish? I think that you may be right …no more fish for any of your family…supplies will be sorely depleted.

    Very amusing but in a way sad! i think maybe Blue fish died of old age!

    Happy Day my friend..keep smiling

    • Actually, in addition to being a ‘dumpster diver’, he is also a pack rat – so he had the tank stored in the garage and it was from his childhood.

  3. Fish are a pain to take care of. I had goldfish for a while, and after two years they started turning a streaky red, then died. So many goldfish die of overfeeding. Apparently they will eat until they die — no room for an “Off” button in their tiny brains!

    My brother was the “fishmaster” in our family — he had them when we were kids and they flourished. Well, after my mother made a cover for the tank. Before that his fish mysteriously disappeared, until one day he caught our cat, Misty, with her paw in the tank. Mystery solved!

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