Home > Family > Death of a Goldfish (with apologies to Arthur Miller)

Death of a Goldfish (with apologies to Arthur Miller)

Sonny died last night. I actually had never seen a goldfish in the grasp of death before. He was still breathing but he was upside down and not moving much. His bowels had emptied and he was trailing a stream of stool. He was in the last stages before death and I knew it. Zachary was asleep, thank God, and I went back to my room and Suzanne and I talked about strategies on how to assist Zachary when he awoke the next day.

Sonny, may he rest in peace

Sonny, may he rest in peace

We had purchased Sonny about a week and a half ago, after we set up Zacahry’s biOrb aquarium that Santa had brought him. We couldn’t find him at the local pet store because they stopped carrying fish. We resorted to buying a fan tailed goldfish, as the manufacturer had recommended from WalMart. Now, I’m sure the people taking care of the fish were competent employees; however, one does wonder about the amount of expertise they had in managing and caring for the fish.

Nonetheless, we purchased a fish for Zachary (Santa had left him a $20 to buy the fish, too) from WalMart and we took him home, carefully following all instructions fro the company as to how to acclimate him to his new environs. Zachary fed him in the morning and in the evening and watched him constantly. It was wonderful to see your progeny developing a relationship with a pet, even if said pet doesn’t interact with you in the same way as other domesticated animals.

We set upon naming him that night and settled on Sonny/Sunny simply because it wasn’t gender specific (we had no clue if the goldfish was a male or a female). We were diligent about feeding him, read up on amounts, bought some fake plants for him (are aquarium decorations for the fish or for us???), and generally made sure he was OK.

A few days ago, Zachary noticed he had white spots all over his fins. Uh oh… Apparently, he had ich which is a common and potentially fatal parasitic infection found in goldfish. As soon as we realized what was going on, we went to the pet store and got the proper medications. We applied the medications and inadvertently doubled the strength (we thought the bowl held 16 gallons when we actually had an 8 gallon tank) which may or may not exacerbated the issue. We tried to save him but Suzanne and I knew that it wasn’t going to end well.

Zachary took it hard this morning. Inconsolable wailing. It’s amazing the depth of emotion for a pet, even a pet that’s been with you for such a brief time. As the ground is snow covered and a bit frozen, I’m not sure how to make a proper burial. We’ll figure it out, though.

Oh and our washing machine died last night as well. We won’t have a burial for it, though.

Categories: Family
  1. Jackie
    January 14, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    My daughter had set up an aquarium too with light and filter and she bought fish from walmart and the same exact thing happened, they all died, same white spots. We buried them with a simple flush down the toilet…
    Im sorry for zach..

  2. Ody
    January 14, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    Thanks, J. How’s the siding business today?

  3. January 14, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    Hi! I’ve had a ton of fish (as I tweeted to you). Only two had ever come from Walmart. One was like what looks like the fish in the bag and he got the white spots. And killed my other goldfish that was in the tank, that I had won at a fair and had lived for about 5 years, I hardly fed him or cleaned the bowl he lived in, until we got the damn Walmart one. My second one was a feeder goldfish, and he lived in my bathroom, and I kid you not I hardly ever fed the thing, maybe once a week, and in the two years I had him, cleaned the bowl all of three times. My best friend had little goldfish, she cleaned the tank a lot, feed them every day, and they didn’t last more than a few months.

    The rest of my family’s fish came from this big name fish store a few towns over, and other than a few mis-readings of the water heater, they all lived over a year. We never had heaters for the goldfish.

    • Ody
      January 14, 2010 at 1:07 pm

      You picture made my teary eyed. Thanks, E. I love my tweeps!

      • January 14, 2010 at 1:42 pm

        Oh yeah… sorry… the banner is actually of said friend’s fish before it passed on…

  4. Charlie
    January 14, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    My condolences. I had a fish named Herman when I was about Zachary’s age. I won him at a carnival by throwing a ping pong boll into the bowl he was in. I had him for a few weeks, but then my brother, trying to be helpful, dumped about half of the fish food container into his small bowl, with predictably fatal results for poor Herman. I cried, buried him under a small rock outside my house, and took a picture of him before replacing the rock. May sunny’s life and death teach Zachary valuable lessons, and give him a nice story to tell when he grows up as well.

    • Ody
      January 14, 2010 at 1:38 pm

      Thanks Charlie. Does Oliver have/want a pet?

      • Charlie
        January 15, 2010 at 4:34 pm

        He’s got a goldfish that I get more pleasure out of, actually. He sort of ignores him.

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