Friday 10 May 2024

The Fish Survived

    On February 2nd, a tiny section of ice around my pond’s inflow had melted.   I looked with dismay to see the corpses of about a hundred Redside Shiners, pale white and floating on the surface.  Redside Shiners are small, minnow-sized fish (about 3 inches, 7 cm long) and the only fish I have in my pond.  When I saw the tiny corpses, I feared that I had a fish die-off caused by the lack of oxygen, due to the ice blocking oxygen from the air, while decaying aquatic plant used up all of the oxygen in the water had caused all of my fish to sufficate.  

    This fear stayed with me for months, because once all of the ice on the pond had melted, I still saw no fish swimming around, even though normally I saw myriads of them darting around in the spring.  I was left saddened every time I walked around the pond. 

    Years ago I had netted the shiners at a local lake, and introduced them into my pond, and they thrived.  There seemed to be thousands of them in the shallow water along the shore.  They attracted diving ducks and Kingfishers to my pond, which I had built to attract wildlife.  I was afraid without them, those birds would no longer come to my pond.   I started thinking about making an expedition back to the local lake to capture some more.

    Yesterday we made one of our trips up to Prince George to replenish our supplies.  As always, the hours of driving left me exhausted.  In an effort to regain normalcy, Kona and I walked around the pond.  I had pretty much given up looking for fish, accepting the fact that they had all died, when I happened to glance down into the shallow water and there I saw about 25 Redside Shiners darting and chasing each other around.   I was so happy to see them.

    Wildlife is so important to me and watching the rapid decline in worldwide wildlife populations, because of the destruction of their habitat, leaves me with an ongoing worry about their survival.   Seeing all of the dead fish in my pond in February and then not seeing any for months, made me fear the worse for my Redside Shiners.  I am so happy I was wrong.

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