True stories with a twist!

They say in sports that “almost” doesn’t count. Don’t waste the fans’ time with lame excuses such as in “I almost got that ball into the hoop.” “We almost won that game.” “I almost stopped that puck.”

Having said that, I admit that I am an “almost” murderer.

Readers who have read my “Little Blue Fish” story know that Sparky is my Siamese Fighting Fish. He is now blind, living in the equivalent of a one room condo, underwater as many post-storm homes are.

He can no longer appreciate the landscape of his tank. The pretend palm tree goes without his appreciative glances, the pretend castle remains uninhabited by Sparky’s imaginary friends. The blue pebbles on the bottom no longer delight him.

Feeding time for Sparky is frustrating. I drop one piece of pink flake fish food at his nose. He seems to look right at it, but it slowly drifts away, down to the bottom of the tank. Try another piece. One single flake just to the left of him. He remains in one place, unmoving and unaware of the succulent snack gliding past him. Now two flakes sit at the bottom of the tank. Sometimes he snaps at food, but misses the piece. Down it floats.

Every piece of food on the bottom of the tank causes pollution in the water. That pollution translates into many more time consuming water changes. The water must be spilled out of the tank, tank walls scrubbed, plants and decorative structures cleaned. Then with fresh water with a few drops of “R.O. Right”, a chemical that puts minerals back into the water, the fish and fancy furnishings go back in.

My husband, fish fancier and hobbyist since boyhood, informs me that “Serious collectors euthanize fish requiring so much extra care.”

“Well, I could never do that,” I assure him.

“If you want me to do it just tell me.”

The time costing routine continues for a while, until one day I lose my patience and say, as I leave the house, “O.K.; do it. Just don’t do it while I’m home.”

He understands what I mean when I say “do it.”

Late that afternoon I return to an empty house which seems quieter than usual. Don’t be

ridiculous. A Siamese fish doesn’t make any noise; why should the house seem quieter?

Yet the feeling remains. “Oh, he did it. Sparky is gone.” I sidle up to the tank and see nothing but a plastic palm tree and a little castle.

I never wanted this creature but I feel surprisingly sad.

My fish-experienced husband probably matter-of-factly swished a small aquarium net into the tank and swooped Sparky out. I imagine a splash of water and hear the sound of a toilet flushing.

Sparky is forced through the sewer line and comes out right into a treatment plant.

“Oh no.” What a cruel end for a little creature whose only fault was losing his eyesite.

And it’s my fault. I wished this fate for him. What kind of human being am I?

As I stood near the tank a small blue fish waved its fins and swam up to the top.

Sparky is alright! Nobody swooped him out of the tank. Nobody threw him into the toilet bowl. Nobody sentenced him to ending his life in a treatment plant!

There must be a way to feed him. I will figure it out. It just will take a little more time. But never will I cause such a sad ending to the life of my blue Siamese Fighting Fish!


  1. My heart almost broke when you thought your hubby flushed him. I know what you mean though when the tank gets a mess, I used to have two turtles they never wanted to eat those long gray logs they loved shrimp. I gave them away because they were talking too much through the evening and my school and work schedule was out of control. I couldn’t keep up with the cleaning. I’m glad your blue fish is still alive and well!

    • Thanks for your comment. My husband decided to try a new diet for Sparky. Instead of dry flake food he rolls up tiny “meatballs” of frozen blood worms.He puts them on the end of a dowel and puts it near Sparky. I guess h can smell that food and naps it right off the dowel.

      I’m sorry that your turtles didn’t have as happy an ending. These pets are a lot more work than we realize when we buy them.


  2. Poor Sparky! Best wishes for his recovery! I also had a Sparky in my life, but she looked a little different:

  3. Have you tried giving him a few little pieces of cooked peas? I’ve kept fish for about seven years now, and when they have digestive problems they sometimes don’t have an appetite, and peas help move things through their system. It’s actually funny because I hate peas (hence my blog name), but I usually do have some frozen ones in my freezer just for my fish.

    Hope he makes it!

    • No, I haven’t tried peas. But I use a chopstick to draw his attention to the new food in the water, and that draws him toward it. Then I dunk out down a little and when he senses something moving he chases after it.

      Thanks for your comment.


    • I think the problem is that he can’t see the food. I now use a chopstick to stir the water a little and get his attention. When he swims up I drop one piece of food and guide it around to him. Thanks for your comment. I feel as if i am responding to a celebrity! Congratulations for being selected by Freshly Pressed.


  4. What a sweet post. My heart goes out to Sparky. You’re so kind and compassionate for caring for him even thought he’s “just a fish.” I hope you find a way to feed him.

  5. Aawwww, hope a miracle heals Sparky!

  6. I’ve seen a blind dog leashed to a seeing eye dog for guidance, but that’d be tricky to do with a fish…

  7. Barbara Balioni said:

    I cannot believe I am going through the same thing with my “blind Siamese Fighting Fish” I have not the heart to euthanize the poor thing and feel terribly miserable to watch him try to swim up to the top of the tank to get his small “pellet” of food. Instead, I throw many small pellets into the tank, in hopes that he will get at least one, and inevitably he does. Of course, the “bowl” is full of algae and sooner than later I need to change the water. I wil tell you that I have three fish in three different “bowls”, since I must be the nursing home for siamese fighting fish. Each time I approach the bowl I dread the thought that my fish will be dead. But alas, there it is literally sitting at the bottom of the tank waiting for a feeding. A friend donated two of her fish into my care because she knew I would not give up on them. Another bleeding heart hits the dust! Thanks again – always enjoy reading your blog! Barbara

    • Maybe misery loves company, but I prefer to think that kind hearted folks band together too.

      Good luck with your Siamese wounded warriors.


    • We just got back from an aquarium store, where I asked whether Siamese Fighting Fish have a tendency to blindness. The salesman said “no”, but in Thailand, where they’re originally from, they live in small mud puddles. Since there is such little water in those spaces the temperatures get quite high: about 75 degrees. Therefore when hobbyists put the fish into room temperature water it makes them more susceptible to infection. A bacterial infection has been shown to develop in back of the eye.

      They recommended a small heater(7.5 watts). But once the fish is blind the water temps won’t make a difference.

      Maybe next time…….


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