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Go Ask Mom

Amanda Lamb: Fish tales

Posted May 8, 2011

"Mommy, it's really bad," my youngest daughter said in between sobs on the phone.

"What is it, sweetie," I asked as I struggled to understand her words.

"Confetti died," she replied still crying.

Confetti was her beta fish that had outlived the other fish in our house by several months. He was proceeded in death by Purple Buddy and Blue Buddy before him. I used to tell my husband we should just name fish "Belly-up" when we bring them home because the second they cross our threshold they have a death sentence painted on their little scaly foreheads.

We try to follow all the directions the pet store gives us. My husband cleans the fish bowl on a regular basis. The fish has minimal "stuff" in the bowl to attract bacteria - no little treasure chest, or sunken pirate ship or shiny rubber scuba diver. And we keep the little guy on a strict feeding regimen as directed on the fish food package. Still, it seems hopeless.

"They live forever," the man at the pet shop always tells us. Maybe at your house, I think to myself silently. "You can't kill these things." It's the same stuff people always used to tell me about plants I couldn't kill-yet I did kill them.

So, of course, my husband ran out and got a a new fish that day. His name is "Firework."

"Mommy, something is wrong with Firework," she told me this morning. No, please, let this one live for a little while, I silently pray. "He's spitting out his food. I guess we need to take him to the fish doctor!"

Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including two on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.



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  • DWH4sure May 9, 2011

    This sounds about like our house. We've tried to keep fish alive, but for whatever reason they just don't survive longer than about a week. We've done the water thing, keeping the tank clean, strict feeding schedule - all the steps you've tried - but they die anyway. We tried a hermit crab, with the same results. Now my daughter wants a puppy... not sure that's a great idea given our track record with pets!!

  • Bklyn2Raleigh May 9, 2011

    AManda... I feel your pain. We won a fish at the state fair and he was doing just fine...we decided to buy him a friend. They were doing great. There were a couple of iffy moment where I found myself silently praying. The tank was in my son's room and they lulled him to sleep everynight. Well, theis one last time, I had let the tank get dirtier than usual, so I decided I needed to clean it better than usual. I cleaned that thing spotless and was so prud of myself. I thought for sure the fish would be so greatful in their nice, clean tank. They would just do flips over it. WRONG!!! I guess the drastic change in the water sent the little guys into shoc. It wasn't long after I put them back in the tank that they s-l-o-w-l-y started to go downhill. I frantically ruches to get them out of the toxic tank I put them was to no avail. Both Zack and Jack died on our kitchen my son watched. Talk about feeling like a stinky mom! He took it better than I thought...I think we

  • AWOL May 8, 2011

    Again, thanks for the laugh today! Your stories are always so cute!!!

  • shsmith6174 May 8, 2011

    I am going to assume that you have city water and not well water. Do you treat the water with a neutralizer everytime you clean the tank? I usually place the fish in a container with some of the old water, clean the tank or bowl, then add new water and squeeze some of that solution in it and let it sit awhile. Then, I put the fish back in the tank. This may not be your problem, but we won a goldfish from the Johnston county Relay for Life 3 years ago and he is still going strong. Hope this helps!