Theft of the Blog: Formica the Goldfish

Reader Steven Bailey has provided this contribution to today’s Theft of the Blog theme (details in this post).

Formica was not in the tank. One morning last March, I had just got up to let the dogs out, and I noticed the goldfish was not greeting me. I checked the tank and around it, nowhere. Then I looked between the wall and the tank stand, and there she was. I immediately moved stuff out of the way and reached to get her, but she was dry and stuck to the floor. I poured some water on the floor to see if that would unstick her, and it did. When I put her in the tank, she rolled to her side and floated to the top of the tank. I was very sad and went to tell my wife our goldfish of almost 10 years was dead.

When I came back to the kitchen, I decided to see if she could be revived in any way. If figured if she was alive at all, she needed to move and get water flowing over her gills. I gently put my hand around her and started moving her around the tank for a couple minutes. It didn’t seem to help. I started making coffee and decided to try again. It didn’t help. As I went about making breakfast, I decided to try again. This time after a couple minutes I felt her slightly move. For the next hour (or more) I moved her around the tank, and eventually, remarkably, she started to swim, but just barely. She wasn’t doing well, but she was alive, so I ran to my studio to get some things done and then checked on her throughout the day. Nothing was improving. I could gently coax her to move, which I thought was important.

By the following evening she was laying on the floor of the tank behind some plants and did not move. She didn’t look like she was breathing, but she was upright, so I just watched her but didn’t try to move her. For the next 8 or 9 days she didn’t move, and a sheet of her scales had fallen off. Her fins were now skeleton-like, and the tissue was mostly gone. I was ready to give up, and then she moved. When I came home she was at the front of the tank, still moving very slowly with only her front lower fins working to keep her upright. This went on for a couple days, and then she was back on the floor of the tank. For a couple more days she didn’t move again.

Then she moved. And she slowly started to move around more and more. She looked pretty rough, but there were signs her scales were going back. Within a couple weeks she was moving much better, and her scales were slowly filling in. Her fins still looked bad but they were growing too.

By mid May she was back to her old self. Today all of her fins are back, and she is very busily moving around the tank swimming in and out of the plants and checking for anything to eat. She is definitely the goldfish that wanted to live.

After 10 days:

This morning: