Another death in the garden


Despite desperately convincing myself with encyclopedia facts that the lethargic fishes’ behaviour was normal in winter, my worrying instincts proved right. They were unwell somehow or another. It could be the cold, but it was more likely due to an imbalance in the pond eco-system.

In recent months, the pond has become murky with the water smelling like sewage. I thought that it was due to the fallen leaves decomposing in the water and it would sort itself out, but it just didn’t. R noticed that the normally fresh pond weed was dying as well.

Yesterday we found Wally dead, floating on the surface of the pond. R buried him under a small carpet of grass. This morning, I went to the pond expecting to see Phantom’s body but I didn’t and I decided that if he is alive, I had to do something immediately to prevent his death. He would have otherwise ended up like Wally, asphyxiated in the polluted water.

After almost emptying the pond and pinching out noses as we drained the water, we found a very weak Phantom. Luckily we had half a bucket of rain water outside so we quickly put him in there. He swam around in the fresh water and we decided that we would release him into a small stream nearby. The pond needed serious fixing which we could not do till the weather gets warmer in Spring and Phantom couldn’t possibly live in a bucket for so long.

“He would have a better chance of surviving if we put him in the stream. It would be oxygenated and there would be plenty of food. Also, being dark coloured, he would be well camouflaged. If he stayed in the pond, he would most definitely have died,” R said.

So despite me not really wanting to let Phantom go, I had to think of his best interests. He may not survive in the stream, but there is that possibility that he could live. With that, we tipped him into a watering can and headed for the stream.

R found a spot with a less rocky riverbed and let him go. We saw how he struggled against the current, a pond fish unused to swimming in the stream. Hopefully he will be brought to a deeper end where the water would be calmer and he can slowly get better.

I’m sorry about Wally’s death, but at least I know we have done our best for Phantom. We’d get new plants and new fishes in Spring, and I’d make sure we do better at keeping them healthy.

Explore posts in the same categories: Life, Pets

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