Os­car an­tics

Practical Fishkeeping (UK) - - Tank Community -

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

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