The day started out with a blush of promise. There was a watery sun wanly pushing its light through the window pane. I opened the door to allow the cat out to do her toilet and got smacked in the face by a cold wind. I was a little excited as the frogs had been mating and I was anticipating frogspawn and so made my way over to the pond. The birds were dutifully calling … it’s time to look for a mate. The path gave way to crunchy pebbles which usually brings the fish to the surface of the pond looking for breakfast, lunch or supper. Today, I could see no sign of them until I got right to the edge and they were all gathered in a small circle with the bottom feeders. On the far side by a small rock one fish was at the water’s edge. I walked round to it ……. it was upright and motionless. It was dead.
I have seen many dead fish before – in rivers, brooks, streams, the sea and in my garden pond but I have never seen one die in a perfectly upright position until now. I think it had been dead for about four or more hours as there was a slight coating about its corpse.
This particular fish was in some ways non descript apart from having a wide and long tail fin and top and bottom fins that fanned like soft seaweed peacock tails. It was a fifteen year old goldfish that I had purchased as a baby when it measured just three centimetres long. The strange thing about its death was there were two depressions one at each gill point. The gill had appeared to indent or compress and either side of its head there was a dip as though it had been pressed in with a marble. I have never encountered this before.
Has anyone seen a fish death like this? Does anyone know whether this is a disease? Do I have to worry about the rest of the shoal?
Finny (the dead goldfish - at the bottom of the picture with the large tail)
This particular goldfish remained a medium sized fish all its life and was buried under a shady Bramley apple tree near to the gooseberry bush.