Carbuncles can swim

Bruiser has a carbuncle, but it doesn’t seem to have stopped his swimming gymnastics. As fish go, he is pretty agile; despite the bulbous lump near his tail that is about a fifth of his body weight. Still, he was never delicate (hence the name!), and at 20cm in length still manages to dominate the tank. Indeed he seems to proudly flash his gross pink lump at visitors; not one for the squeamish!

Over it

Frankly I have been ‘over’ the fish for some time, and when the carbuncle appeared, was  hopeful that it would take bruiser off to fishy heaven. But that was over a year ago, and since I mentioned (to the universe at large) that I wasnt going to replace any fish and would get rid of the tank, not one fish has died! Bruiser is 4 years old and showing every sign  getting a lot older.

Operation

The nurse in me wants to do a quick lancing with a sharp knife and a nice clean cut-off; but have never been convinced by the argument that fish don’t feel anything…..so, thus far have chickened out.I could of course numb the area for Bruiser before the mini-operation, but so far the best  idea for a fish anaesthetic that I have come up with is ice……freeze it off in a kind of crio procedure, or just numbing it and lopping it off with knife. But I would have to hold his head under the water, so he could do the weird fishy breathing thing, and have his rear out the water and hold an ice-cube to the lump…..but he is a slippery little sucker’ and on the one (brief) experiment; he wouldn’t oblige by staying still and I didn’t have enough hands. Besides, if I used too much ice he could have turned into a very strange fish finger.

Carbuncle 1, Wimp 0

So the carbuncle stays, and if it gets any bigger will need its own postcode. There is of course the option of a full-scale assault (sorry re. pun….they just pop out unannounced like a non-swearing form of Tourette’s; I have Pun-ettes!)…and flush him off to the great oceans to swim free. I know, I know, there are many reasons why he wouldn’t get from loo to sea uninjured; but my conscience prefers to think of it that way. Besides, he is too big to flush and may block the loo; and I wouldn’t like to explain that one to the plumber!

*Mindful I don’t have the stomach for fish dispatching, so will take “learn to fly fish” off the ‘to do’ list for retirement.

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Goldfish in disguise

The goldfish have faded and I don’t think it has anything to do with daylight saving. I have a sneaky suspicion that it has something to do with  how I feel about ph. You see it has never made sense  to me that a low ph is acid and high is alkaline; for some reason my brain thinks it should be the other way around and so balancing the  fish tank is a regular juggle between what my head thinks and the reality of the litmus.

Chemistry teacher to blame

The history of this ph black spot  can be traced back to a Chemistry teacher I once had; so ultimately HE is responsible for the fish turning white……. they could be a teeny bit bleached. If only he had embraced my creativity, when  during a lesson on acid and alkalinity, a bored me asked ‘which tube of powder do you add to make it the pretty  aqua marine colour?’ Like many time poor teachers he seemed to equate artistic with not smart, so following his suggestion that I should move to the art class I took up Physics instead and became head of class that year; not least because I got to do experiments that were far more fun, if a little dangerous!….but I digress…..the fish…..>

A whiter shade of shale (groan, I know)

Six of the nine little darlings are now goldfish in name only; with only Bruiser, Eric and No Name holding onto a wee bit of colour; although Eric is supposed to be black and is now a peely-wally grey around the gills. The liberal chucking in of bicarb or  acid  I will admit can be a little erratic if it’s a busy day, but before you call the RSPCF it should be said that its only the once (I think) that I have grabbed the cream of tartar from the baking cupboard instead of bicarbonate of soda, and frankly they didn’t seem to react to that by swimming any differently. I have no idea what it does to a fishes insides (cream-of-tartar), but know that it keeps meringues nice and soft in the middle; so maybe it has just made the shoal tender. However, I do know that said cream of tartar is an acid, so I probably added to an already acid bath for the poor wee things. As  most of the fish have been with us for more than three years, am thinking they are mostly tough little dudes.

No Name’ goes for gold

‘No Name’, so-called because of his sparkling personality, has now taken on a whole new level of interest, as am curious why he is still holding his colour where others have succumbed. His gold bits now have him looking rather distinguished, sort of like he is wearing a small gold waistcoat. He seems to be enjoying standing out from the (now pale) crowd and has expanded his horizons away from sucking algae off the same plastic plant day after day to digging in the gravel!  {tunnelling for freedom perhaps?}  In fact, he has become so interesting that he has graduated to a name & will now be known as Digby.

Not sardines on toast

In truth, I have never had much luck with fish, and seem to attract the suicidal variety. One tip I will give you though is to never keep your goldfish on the kitchen bench; mainly because the wee devils can jump! When my kids were little ,one of our fish jumped from its perfectly comfy bowl on the kitchen bench straight into the toaster; unfortunately I didn’t witness the leap as was busy getting the kids ready for school and it wasn’t till I had added bread and turned toaster on that we discovered his demise! Not a smell I will ever forget. It took all my best mummy fibbing skills to distract the children from the smell (and the crime scene) long enough to get them safely to school and find an identical one as a replacement before they returned, (a new toaster was also purchased as couldn’t use that murder weapon again).  Not sure the charade worked, but the kids played along me thinks, just to make me feel better.

* Mindful of the tranquillity watching the fish can bring. and conscious that they seem to survive despite my best efforts. Should keep my white powders for cooking, where the equation is just Cooking=Chemistry /Alchemy+ flavour.