The Haunted Aquarium of DEATH

I swear, it must be a miracle that my kids and four-legged pets haven't kicked the bucket under my care. Because apparently, I'm not all that great at taking care of stuff: I can't even keep a fish alive. This morning when I woke up, our last shubunkin goldfish was belly-up at the top of the tank. The second one in three days. Ugh.

Actually, I'm pretty sure I'm not the guilty party. I mean, my houseplants are thriving, so you'd think if I were that negligent I'd have killed them off too. Right? The thing is, I believe our fish tank to be ... *cue scary music* ... haunted.

Why do I say that? Because every. single. fish we put in there ends up dead within two weeks, despite our best efforts.  I'm not exaggerating when I say that we've probably had fifty fish in our tank since we bought it a couple years ago. All different types. At first I thought maybe we were choosing fish that were too high-maintenance, so we switched to hardier goldfish - but now, like thirty-plus "hardy" goldfish later, I'm fairly certain it has something to do with the tank.

And that really pisses me off, because I do everything I can to ensure that it's sparkly-clean, and that the environment has the proper levels of everything. Between every batch of ill-fated fish, I empty the water, scrub down the tank, change the filter, and clean the gravel and plants (with a special toothbrush, y'all!). I never use cleaners, only fresh water. I refill the tank, add stuff to make tap water safe, add stuff to start the cycle of beneficial bacteria, and wait for days until the aforementioned bacteria has had time to colonize or whatever the hell it does. Every time, I re-research how to set up a tank properly, and do it to the letter. The fish are never overcrowded. And it's not like I forget to feed them.

So the only answer? Paranormal activity of the aquatic kind. It has to be, like, the fish version of The Grudge where the ghosts kill people. Although in this case, it's some goldfishy ghost peeping openmouthed with its sunken eye sockets from behind a plant or something, and the new fish just can't take it and they, like, have little tiny heart attacks. Or something.

Or not.

I just don't remember it being this hard when I got my first fish tank, three thousand years ago in the '80s. I seriously think my mom just filled the tank with tap water and plopped the goldfish in and that was it - and those things actually outgrew the tank!

So what's the fatal flaw? Is it something I'm doing wrong, or is my tank cursed horror-movie-style?


  1. Hey stopping by from SITS as your title caught my eye, because seemingly I had the same problems until I bought the feeder fish, no, not the bottom feeders, the, "hey, give me 40 of them little sickly fish you feed to other fish for a $1!"

    They weren't pretty, they were small, and a year later I still had TWENTY of them! In fact, when we moved out of state I had to kill the last of them off! Best bang for a buck yet.

    But, yeah, I think you're right. A fast exorcism should do the trick. Or $1 feeder fish...

  2. First off - Happy Saturday Sharefest! And secondly, I'm no fish expert, but I have managed to keep two tiny zebra fish alive for over a year now. I only take half of the water out each time I clean it (like every 6 weeks) and then I fill it back up with distilled water from a jug. That's it. Amazing, huh? It's only a gallon tank - that's about all I can manage. But when we first got it, the dude at the pet store said we could put four fish in it, and then two died right away. When we went back to the store, another person told us that size tank could only hold two fish max. So that's what we've had ever since.

    Good luck with your haunted fish tank. This may be a job for the Ghostbusters. haha :)

  3. This is too hilarious... I have the same problem. I have 3 fish barely hanging on for life right now. Happy Sharefest Saturday! Visiting from SITS but if you don't mind, I'm gonna be a follower now!!!

  4. We seem to have the same problem with any living plant. They die within 3 days under our care. As a consequence, we have a house full of fake plants.

  5. *giggle*
    Maybe you should put a bible on top of the tank or something? Oooh! Or a cross in the water. OR EVEN BETTER - maybe you could snag a few drops of HOLY water from a local church?! THAT'D do the trick!
    Good luck!

  6. your mom has the right idea - all that special care - when we did it, we had dead fish. Morgan got one of those fair goldfish prizes and we threw him in a bowl with tap water, changed it every month or so and gave him no special care. even have jumping out (my theory - he was trying to commit suicide) and laying land locked for who knows how long, the darn thing lived over three years. Hardy, make 'em tough.

  7. I had to laugh at this post when I saw it on SITS. I just found a dead black molly in my tank, which my husband and I are making into a murder mystery drama. Anyways, we've had our tank a year, the guppies and mollies have made it fine. We now have a puffer fish and two fire tales. But in the beginning we must of lost about 30 fish. Add salt is a thought I haven't seen anyone say. It's a certain amount so be careful but it helps keep them health. Also look for ICK it's this white scaly looking stuff that appears on the fish sometimes. Might I also add this website, I look their often if I have a issue Fish lore . Hope it helps and look forward to reading more from you :) Happy Sits day!

    Frazzled Wifey

  8. Wow, I don't remember doing anything special to your fish tank when you were little! While I cleaned the tank, I just plopped the fish in a plastic butter container of water and then threw them back in the clean tank. I do remember once getting too many drops of that stuff that takes the chlorine out of the water and making them sick. After that I used less of it and they were fine. Maybe simple is better.....or ignorance is bliss, whichever! ;o)

  9. Hey we have a tank too - and I was so sure that all the fish would be dead within days, but no...(touch wood, not wanting to tempt fate and al that) - none have died. However, we've had it for just over a month. How long after you put your fish in did the first one die?? Just asking so I know what to expect. Having said all that, I'm so scared that they're going to die that each morning when I wake up the first thing I do is check the surface of the water for ant 'floaters'!! Not sure what to suggest sweetie, other than mayber, erm, sticking to something with four legs instead! x

  10. Hmmm...can't help you there. But I wouldn't go buy Mollies- they breed like rabbits. But then again, maybe you'd constantly have fish in your tank. I have a sucker fish that REFUSES to die.

  11. That's why I avoid fish. I know they'd probably die within a few days.

    I don't have plants either. The last one I had lasted about a week before dying on me.

  12. I know nothing about fish. Except that salmon and tilapia are very tasty and easy to make at home.


  13. I'm sorry to hear the bad luck your having taking care of goldfish. I know you mentioned you do everything by the book and still have bad luck taking care of things.

    There could be a few causes for your problems.

    1. You already bought sick goldfish from the pet store.
    2. Your nitrite levels are through the roof.
    3. You clean your filter at the same time you do a water change and don't replenish the good bacteria.
    4. Your water is either too soft or hard.

    I'm not sure if you check all things for water chemistry like PH, Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate and Water Softness and Hardness. I'm suspecting that your water is either too soft or hard as I once had a lady that had the same problem and her fish kept on dying.

    Hope this helps! You have a great blog!


    Jamie Boyle


Post a Comment

Commenting makes you big and strong! Okay, maybe just strong. Okay, so it's only your fingers. But still ...

Popular Posts