The Houdini Disappearing Fish

Houdini Fish

            We’ve gotten a fish tank since we began living here in England.  We like them and had one in Korea where it sat on a low entertainment stand and Puff, our cat, would sit and watch it for hours.  It was our live kitty TV entertainment.  Now we have a bit bigger tank so had to get a proper stand for it.  It’s much taller and Puff doesn’t see the fish very often.


When you start a new tank, apparently you get sacrificial fish – fish you don’t mind losing if they should happen to die while you are trying to get the tank up and running.  Once the tank is at its proper pH and whatever else it is supposed to be, you get the fish you really like.  We started with 10 Danios and not a single one of them sacrificed themselves to balance out the tank.  Imagine that.  So we got a couple of Plecostomus as I really like the way they suck up the trash and such in the water.  They are quite fun to watch.  We also got some Platies, I think, and some Mollies.  This went well for a couple of weeks but then one of the Plecostomus died and a couple of other fish as well.  Tried to get another Plecostomus and some small little Loaches that do the same kind of thing, suck up the algae and such.  I like watching them as well as you can see them suck up the side of the tank and then back down again.


Well, darned if the replacement Plecostomus didn’t die too.  The first had a wonderful burial by toilet flush with a hand over the heart and a sincere goodbye.  Then I realized I am paying for fish meal for my garden so I started burying any poor dead fish in the garden where it is hoped they do some good for some poor plant (I kind of have a brown thumb).  One more replacement Plecostomus and some sword finned Mollies (I think – they are bigger and have very long dorsal fin which is usually sucked up close to their body but when they put it out, it’s quite lovely).


Can you guess what happened next?  The replacement Plecostomus died again.  Maybe the original Plecostomus is killing them.  This now gets me to the title of the blog.  Once again, I stopped by Notcutt’s and got some goldfish for the water butts because we saw some mosquito larvae in them.  Don’t want to use chemicals and besides, couldn’t find any chemicals that seemed safe and good or do what we want.  As I was getting the goldfish, I saw another Plecostomus and a really pretty orange and black stripped fish that is a Clown Loach.  Couldn’t resist.  I bought them both.


Put them in our tank after a while and they seemed to enjoy swimming around and meeting the other fish J  Told my husband that we had two new fish and he went and looked in the tank and only saw the new Plecostomus.  The Clown Loach was nowhere to be seen.  We searched and searched that tank.  We picked up and moved every rock.  We ran our fingers through the plants.  We tried looking in and behind the filter but that fish wasn’t anywhere.  My husband is thinking I’m delusional to have this invisible fish in the tank now.


This morning, the Clown Loach was back!  Is the dang thing jumping out and going for a walk?  It didn’t make any sense. But my husband saw him so I’m not delusional.


My housekeeper comes on Wednesdays.  I told her I had a couple of new fish and she went and looked and saw the Clown Loach right away.  Later, after she had been cleaning other rooms and got to that room, the Clown Loach had disappeared again.  Again, I moved all the rocks and ran my fingers through the plants and nothing, nada, zilch.  We both kept going to the tank all morning to see if it had returned.  Nope.  We looked up on line and saw that Clown Loaches like to hide.  No fooling!  She finally finished her work and left and was bamboozled by the Houdini disappearing fish.   Have to say that 10 minutes after she left, I went to look at the tank and there was the Clown Loach again.  It is a conundrum but two people have also seen it and know that is disappears.  I will have to start dragging my fingers through the gravel to see if it buries itself.  That can be the only possible place, I think, where it can hide.  Dang store.  Didn’t tell me I was buying a Houdini fish.   And good magicians never reveal their secrets.


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