November 9, 2008


Last week marked the passing of a large pumpkinseed sunfish I had raised in my tank. I returned home from work one day last week, only to find the fish belly up. I had the fish for almost 3 years and it had grown to about the size of your hand. The fish was known to spontaneously leap out of the tank and hit the hood in the middle of the night, scaring you half out of your wits. It had shared the tank with other sunfish, pumkpinseeds, bluegills, and hybrid sunfish, as well as other species like walleye, black crappie, central mudminnow, logperch, black bullhead, spottail shiner and the ubiquitous fathead minnow. The difference was, unlike the other fish, that this fish was able to survive dirty water, brown algae, fasting diets, and a pesky four year old who liked to harass it. It had staying power.

koi, Cyprinus carpio, aka ornamental common carp.

So as we say goodbye to one of the numerous family pets, we welcome two new additions, the koi. I had been wanting to raise the common carp for sometime now; Goldfish wouldn't cut it, I wanted a carp. I don't know if it's the boredom attained through raising game fish, or a deep underlying urge to celebrate a part of my suppressed heritage, but I was up for a change. I'm not sure if I'll naturalize these fish and add other native fish species to the tank down the road. Who knows if these fish are even half as hardy as their wild brethren. They could croak in a week. Regardless, they will provide some entertainment and enjoyable viewing. My four year old is already intrigued. Carpe carpio!