The other day when I walked past the mermaid pond, I noticed a big goldfish playing in the fountain’s splash zone. I know from having aquariums that this can happen when there isn’t enough oxygen in the water, but it can also happen when a fish just likes to play. I asked this goldfish why he was zipping around where the fountain’s spray hit the water.
I knew that he’d been the only fish in the pond for a while because of attrition that had occurred over the past few years, but some goldfish are quite happy to be the only fish, so I hadn’t thought much about it. He said that the oxygen was fine (I figured as much because of the water plants). He confirmed that he was playing because it was fun.
He also said that he was lonely, and he would enjoy having friends again. He didn’t count the frogs that mated in the pond as his friends, and they didn’t like him much either because he ate the tadpoles that resulted from the frogs’ dalliance. Those frogs and their offspring weren’t his friends. He would like to have fish friends again.
I’ve been doing The Artist’s Way again, and one of the integral parts of that process is a weekly artist’s date, one dedicated hour in the week in which you take your inner artist out to do something fun. So my inner artist and I went to PetsMart and bought four fish-friends for our goldfish, plus a couple of hardworking algae-suckers.
I wish I could share a picture of the fish, but the mermaid pond water is so dark-stained from tannins caused by falling oak leaves that even though the water is clean, it isn’t clear. Anyhow, the fish all come up to the surface when I feed them, and everyone is happy and relaxed in their new environment.
The old goldfish is happy to have new friends. The new fish love the darker water, because they don’t feel as exposed as they did in the clear water of the pet store’s small tank. Also, they are thrilled with the expanded space they have now. They’re comfortable in the new environment where they can live more like wild fish that get to nibble on plants and catch tadpoles for their dinner.
There’s a perfect place for everyone. I’m glad these little fish have decided that the mermaid pond is the perfect place for them.