I’ve mentioned my goldfish a couple times, but always in the context of how I came to the guppies. The goldfish tank kept going for years, growing big, graceful fish with flowing fins. Every time I wrote about the guppies I would think I owed the goldfish a post, and now, as last week, they are past tense.
The whole thing with goldfish started so I would have some mosquito eaters under the water lily. The first thing I learned was the ten gallon tank (where now a zillion guppies procreate) was laughably small for goldfish, but a twenty gallon tank was fine. The next thing I learned was that fantails don’t last long. Ten cent feeders outlive a fantail. So do comets. So do shubunkins.
My most beautiful goldfish was a shubunkin, mottled with gold and black, and speckled with a scattering of bright scales. I called him Flash. Flash always seemed a bit of a bully, which might be why he kept outliving other fish. Whenever I added new little ones to the tank, they would always dash to the far corner and huddle together until they managed to convince themselves that Flash wouldn’t eat them.
The biggest was a white comet that I called Ghost. He got to be about a handsbreath long, with long flowing fins. He seemed to half fill the tank all by himself as he cruised back and forth. The beauty of the way he moved was very soothing. He was also the only one that I managed to save when he got sick, with a couple rounds of antibiotics. Once.
Some succumbed to various forms of finrot. Fantails bloated and lost the ability to dive. Some were attacked by the other goldfish. Some got eaten by raccoons. Mostly they just died with no external sign. They would start to mope, stop eating, and die. Poor fishies.
After Ghost fulfilled his name, the tank seemed to go into a spiral. Now they’re all gone to the great fish pond in the sky, shouldering each other aside to gulp down the endless supply of food. They hunt for mosquito larvae to earn their keep. And through the cool waters, they drift like veiled torpedoes of gold and red, black and white, with the occasional flash of light.