I wanted a pond and got a mozzy pit, so no one wants to be outside in the summer evenings. I thought I might clean out the pond this winter and grab a couple of fish who could eat the mozies. Perfect solution… I thought.
Anne said yes we have fish in the work pond but a bit of a mission to catch and why don’t I just buy a couple, they’re only about five bucks? So I head to the local pet shop and ask the girl who looks like she should be in Intermediate school, but is wearing a diamond ring on her engagement finger that is so bulky on her delicate hands, I wonder if its real.
“Why yes we do have goldfish, she replies and waves her ring finger towards the aquariums. Which kind would you like?” Now if you’re like me you would expect them all to be orange but just like dogs they come in every strange looking breed you care to imagine. Bubbled eyes and bulging bits, vieled, tufted and multi coloured. She reeled off the names and the prices and they went up to as much as $36 each. “The cheapest”. I replied. She cuts to the chase too, and tells me the bronzes are $6.30 on special this week.
“Do they eat mosquitos?” I ask. She replies that she expects they might if hungry, but Im not to worry as it probably won’t harm them if Im ensuring they have a balanced diet. “I’m not worried I tell her. I have a heap of mosquitos and want fish that will eat them”. “Then yes they will,” she smiles. I sense her running a critical eye over my no nonsense shoes, non moisturized skin and unruly grey hair which no, I have not brushed yet and frankly doesn’t look much different when I do.
“OK, I’ll have two bronzes” I decide. She fetches her net, and her and her diamonds try to catch two. “Make them the biggest, I tell her leaning forward watching the diamonds glint as she swings the net around the aquarium, I have a lot of mosquitos”. She pops them into a liquid filled bag and then asks me if I have pond food. “Why yes I do”, I answer, thinking about my mosquitos. “I mean proper, well balanced pond food, she says, its important to feed a balanced diet so they dont get sick and die”. “OKAY, OKAY, Whats the smallest container?” She smiles again as she tells me it’s $16 on special, adding as she takes a container off the shelf, “its your lucky week!”
“So you must go straight home and put this bag on top of the water to let the fish acclimatise to your water temperature, and after about half an hour lift them out of this bag. I have put some anti stress in there to help them. Do not just tip this into your pond as it will poison your water and your fish will die”. “Then how come they won’t die from being in there now?” I ask. She explains its OK for just going home, but over time it becomes dangerous to them as the ammonia from their wee changes it so I must dispose of it.
“Do you have a soft net to get them out with?” She continues in her relentless bid to separate myself and my money. I went to say yes and then remembered I gave it away. Hmmmm ” No, but I have a sieve,” I say hoping this is perfect too. “Noooo, that would be very bad, she says looking appalled. The sieve will damage their skin and they might get an infection and die. You will need a soft net $6, it’s on special and ‘your lucky week'”…yeah, yeah and some oxygen weed… yeah yeah or they might die.
I get home and Monie and the kids pull in straight after me. “I have something really cool to show you. You can help me put it on the pond”, I say to Kahu as I open the bag and she watches with a growing smile as the fish swim around in the clear plastic bag within. “After lunch we’re going to put them in the pond and they’re going to eat all Nanny’s mosquitos so we can stay outside at night”.
We eat lunch and then head out there. I use the soft net to gently lift them out one by one and ‘plop’ into our pond. Down into the murky depths they go…never to be seen again. Hmmm. Should have cleaned the pond before buying I realise. Kahu peers into the pond with its thick pea green consistency and asks where they have gone. “I dont know Kahu I say. They might be just checking out down the bottom”. I threw the oxygen weed in and it disappeared too. We walked away and I never thought about them again until we had the working bee.
Blast! The fish are in there I say to Sifa who’s not too interested in getting in the pond and especially now I’ve told him there are fish in there. So we bucket it all out and somewhere amongst the weeds and sludge are two rather plump goldfish. I pop them into a bucket with some oxygen weed and some of the dirty water they seem to love so much. We walked away and I never thought about them again until the other day when I was doing a wander around the garden.
That’s right, I was going to get Gilbert to check out the pipe work before refilling the pond. I peer into the bucket wondering how the fish have done over the last month. Nets still sitting there where I left it and there they are. Squiggling like crazy. Hmmpf! Need a balanced diet, careful of skin infections, don’t let them get stressed? Whatever lady.
I wonder if they might have babies…I should have asked her for a male and female….