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To pour boiling water on the fish

(172 Posts)
Sokmonsta Wed 12-Dec-12 09:30:19

We have a plastic tub with goldfish in the garden. Not mine, we were looking after them for a friend while he moved house. Now he's moved, not collected them and the sodding tub is nearly frozen solid. Have sent him a terse message saying sort the fucking fish (we've had them months). But the only way I can see to help them out is to put hot water in the good 6 inches of ice on top. And it's icky because there are also dead fish frozen in there.

Am seriously wishing I'd just put them in my parents pond when they were on holiday in September!

FloatyBeatie Wed 12-Dec-12 10:03:40

If the tub is that big, presumably it won't have frozen more than a few ice-inches deep and the ice won't be much more of a problem than it would have been in their pond? So perhaps there is another cause for the deaths?

I don't really think the OP needs to be flamed -- she's been feeding, oxygenating, breaking the ice, and the flippant tone of her post doesn't necessarily mean her care of the pets has been callous! Bringing them inside might not help if they are outdoor fish.

Agree that boiling water would be wrong -- better to warm the tub with buckets of cold water.

Grumpla Wed 12-Dec-12 10:04:36

Ok. It's not a small tub but nor is it big enough for the fish to survive in. It doesn't sound as if it is filtered. Have you been carrying out regular water massive changes with dechlorinated water? If not the fishes are already suffering as they will be being slowly poisoned by their own waste products.

If I were you I would issue a time limit to your friend, keep the water as warm as possible until then (wrap tub in insulation of some sort? Old blankets and a tarp? And add bottles of hot water before you go to bed to try and keep the temp up?)

If your friend does not appear to rehome the fish then please kill them humanely. Slowly freezing to death is just awful. If they are biggish fish a bonk on the head would do it. For smaller fish you can euthanise with clove oil (or just cut their heads off, I know it sounds awful but is pretty much instantaneous.)

Please don't be tempted to release them into the wild, goldfish can have a fairly significant impact on the native ecosystem in rivers and ponds. They need to be in a large well-filtered fish pond. Otherwise they probably would just be better off dead.

OwlLady Wed 12-Dec-12 10:08:17

can you move the tub into the sun or is it too heavy? once melted you need to take the fish that are alive and put them in your parents pond regardless of what has happened now.

Sokmonsta Wed 12-Dec-12 10:08:30

Actually I said 'as and when I see them' so not days. The last real problem period was when we had the hot spell in September. They were shaded and the water part changed daily. I've not been able to keep that up with my own family to look after so until recently it was every few days.

I fully appreciate that pond fish need as much care as any other pet and this was supposed to be a short term stay.

It's only the last few days here where it's been cold enough to freeze properly. Up until now its been a very thin surface ice which is easily broken up. Although i know realise this stupidly hasn't helped as I guess not taking all the ice out, the water hasn't then defrosted as well and has exacerbated the tub situation.

However I do appreciate all your comments and as I've had no response this morning, nor has he answered his phone when I have tried ringing, I shall be taking them to my parents pond tomorrow. At least I won't be worrying about a tub full of frozen fish and hopefully neither will any of you.

Purple2012 Wed 12-Dec-12 10:08:52

It's not the OPs fault. The tub is too big to bring into the house. She has been trying. The person who actually owns the fish should have sorted this out ages ago.

TheSecondComing Wed 12-Dec-12 10:09:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

OwlLady Wed 12-Dec-12 10:10:36

there was an ill cat thread as well which was so shocking i couldn't post on it confused

GrimmaTheNome Wed 12-Dec-12 10:11:28

A tubful of water 3ft deep diameter 2ft would weigh about .8 tonnes.

LoopsInHoops Wed 12-Dec-12 10:11:41

Get a smaller tub for crying out loud and bring them inside. What the fucking hell are you thinking? angry

Grumpla Wed 12-Dec-12 10:12:00

That sounds like the best solution.

I apologise for the tone of my first post. From your OP it was not clear that you have been doing your best to take care of the fish, you obviously haven't just abandoned them.

Try and wrap the tub up tonight, the fish won't mind being in the dark for a while.

OwlLady Wed 12-Dec-12 10:12:20

yes grimma, i did wonder blush

SummerRainIsADistantMemory Wed 12-Dec-12 10:12:50

Fish have the ability to slow their metabolism drastically in freezing conditions. As long as there's some liquid water they'll be fine.

They drop their heartbeat to a beat a minute and enter a sort of stasis.

Warming them up too quickly is far more likely to kill them than the ice.

GreenyEyes Wed 12-Dec-12 10:13:12

Look the OP just didn't realise the scale of the problem. It's a sorry tail. I bet OP is feeling green around the gills now. sad

That's all I have to say about it. Fin.

GrimmaTheNome Wed 12-Dec-12 10:14:19

>They drop their heartbeat to a beat a minute and enter a sort of stasis

so next question how does the OP tell whether a fish is dead or in stasis when sorting them out?

D0oinMeCleanin Wed 12-Dec-12 10:14:23

And a jug full of water would weigh far less Grimma, some water could have been removed and then replaced with clean, dechlorinated water after the tub had been moved. Regular water changes should have been being done anyway since the tub has no filtration.

I've never kept fish and even I know that.

CatPussRoastingOnAnOpenFire Wed 12-Dec-12 10:14:39

You have been oxygenating, feeding and removing dead frozen fish apparently for days. Why did you not do something sooner? It's not like we all got up this morning and its suddenly turned cold is it? It's been freezing for days! I'm sorry, but this is wrong. You might just be ignorant about fish care but that's no excuse. If the fish have been dying then something is wrong. There are plenty of people you could have called for advice or help. Pet shops, aquatics centres, vets, RSPCA, animal rescues, friends with ponds... FFS, you could even have transported them to your bathtub! The fact that these fish are dead is your fault. I'm disgusted.

strawberrypenguin Wed 12-Dec-12 10:15:52

Yes do move them to a pond they will be much happier. In the mean time get an empty can sit it on top of the ice and put boiling water in it it will melt through slowly to make an air hole.
To the pp who asked about feeding them you don't feed pond fish in freezing temps they can't digest properly in those temperatures and undigested food sitting in them for to long will kill them.

TwistedTinsel Wed 12-Dec-12 10:16:01

Sounds like the best course of action op. Again apologies for ranting at you when it does sound like you've been trying. I'm sure they'll be happier and healthier in a proper pond and if your 'friend' complains well tough if he had given a shit he wouldn't have left them with you for months.

SummerRainIsADistantMemory Wed 12-Dec-12 10:22:11

some good tips here

Don't panic, chances are they'll be fine. Carp are hardy fish, ice would be a problem if you were dealing with tropical species but with goldfish there's not too much to worry about.

i'm surpirsed so few people know this... I learned about fish and icey ponds in primary school (in germany in y1 equivalent and in ireland a few years later so not an isolated lesson)

SummerRainIsADistantMemory Wed 12-Dec-12 10:23:49

Oh and stop taking out 'dead' fish. Chances are they're not dead! If they settle near the bottom they've just reduced they're metabolism due to the cold, they'll reanimate when it warms up smile

OwlLady Wed 12-Dec-12 10:24:56

could you melt it off with a hairdryer I wonder?

CremeEggThief Wed 12-Dec-12 10:28:00

It's awful how some people treat animals. Really and truly awful.

All living creatures deserve to be treated with respect.

GoldQuintessenceAndMyhrr Wed 12-Dec-12 10:32:50

Our pond fish stay still at the bottom of our pond when it is really cold.
Our biggest problem is heron. In winter when the algae die down (not that there is a massive problem anyway) and the water is totally clear, the fish are stationary at the bottom and can easily fall prey to heron. The pond is over a meter deep though, but the largest fish is easy 50cm long (Koi)

Fish husbandry or pond maintenance take a while to learn. You really need to be "in tune" with your pond, your fish and the weather.

OP has been trying to deal with a temporary solution with literally "fish in a bucket" for months. The real culprit is the owners who just abandoned the fish with the op.

EverythingsDozy Wed 12-Dec-12 10:34:15

I haven't read the whole thread but DO NOT FEED THE FISH! At temperatures below about 4 degrees, fish stop digesting food. It will sit in their stomach and rot.
Be very careful when breaking the ice, the shock of ice being broken above them can kill them, don't put boiling water on them either, the temperature change would be too much.
What I would do is put them in a plastic bag with their own water in it. Change / clean the water correctly (using stress coat liquid, it will neutralise the bad heavy metals in the water and hopefully stop them from dying through stress by putting a layer of mucus over them). Then put the bags in the water for a few hours, the water in the tank will get colder but you mustn't put them straight in as again, the temperature change isn't good. Then put a ball in like someone suggested.
Is there no where warmer to put them, a garage??
Don't worry too much, goldfish are coldwater fish so can survive in this weather.

Sokmonsta Wed 12-Dec-12 10:41:29

Thanks again for all your comments. Believe me I really so wish I hadn't left things to get to this point. I could give reasons but they would only sound like excuses and even I don't want to admit to some things as that would include my feelings of failure as a parent.

Just to quickly update you. I have now had a message from friend. He is "ill so will sort them when [he] can".

He has been told this is not acceptable and that they are being rehomed tomorrow.

This way he either drags himself out of bed and sorts them today or the fish have a happy pond life as of tomorrow.

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