I write in reference to the ‘Who’s watching who?’ piece on hawkfish in the June issue of PFK. Back in the mid-60s, I lost a good friend to a motorcycle accident and his mother asked me to look after his fish. This meant I had a four-foot tank with an Oscar, a Blue acara, a Firemouth, two Hoplo cats and a plec.
My flat was south facing and had a large bay window. This meant that in summer it was like living in an oven, which turned into a freezer in winter. So, it was my usual practice to move the furniture around to suit the season.
Having worked hard one Sunday to rearrange the room, imagine my surprise on returning from work the following evening to find that the tank had been wrecked, gravel all pushed up one end, plants uprooted and even rocks moved. I sorted everything out but by Tuesday it had been blitzed once more — and then again on the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
On the Saturday I went to see Molly, who used to run a shop called Mackie & Spencers by Norwood Junction Station. She said the fish didn’t like how I’d done the room and her bet was that the Oscar was the culprit. She advised me to go home and move all the furniture back to where it had originally been, which I did, and this time the tank decor remained intact.
It was then a case of moving the furniture a little at a time — and usually in the dark! Doing it this way, it took me nearly a fortnight to move the furniture to where I wanted it — but the tank stayed as it was.
I’ve been keeping fish for 60 years and there have been times without number when you just know you’re being watched. The pleasure the fish have given me, mind, it’s all been worth it! Derek Dowling, Cornwall
Oscars are known for their habit of re-arranging the tank decor. H STAR letter