Fish Tales

Sometimes life throws you an unexpected chain of events. Like 2 goldfish from the street fair morph in to 2 adult mollies with 5 babies living on your kitchen counter. Yes, this story escalated quickly. 
A little town by us has an annual street fair every fall. It’s a big deal. Emma’s dance school performs there. We hadn’t made it to the fair during the week so after the performance my mom and I lugged the kids around to see the sights. 

After pony rides, they scampered off to the fish game. We’ve never actually played the fish game in fear of being the unfortunate souls who won a fish. Today was their day. Between the the 3 of them they split 2 baskets of balls. 

The first ball Emma threw landed right in a jar. If you’re unfamiliar with this game, when you successfully chuck a ping pong ball that lands in a fish bowl, you win a small gold fish. Life expectancy 3 hours-200 years. Before it was all over with we scored 2 gold fish. 

Rudolph and Diamond on their way home.


We had no fish accommodations. This meant a quick pit stop at Dollar General for some temporary housing. Thankfully our fish appreciated budget housing. 

Apartment life


Realizing these were not ideal living arangments for our fish we headed out to the pet store the following morning. With some minimal help from the aquarium guy we returned home with some snazzy new living quarters, as well as a 3rd fish because 3 kids and 2 fish just doesn’t work. 

New tank complete with LED lights and fish #3 Nemo.


It’s all sunshine and roses for a week. Then we walked down stairs to tragedy the next Saturday morning. Rudolph and Nemo went belly up over night. After a few touching words we sent them off with a proper goldfish burial. 

Being married to the guy I am, he thought he would be super nice and bring home 2 new fish when he was in town later that day. Sweet right? This is where it starts to go down hill.

Tom picked 2 fish the aquarium helper said were compatible with goldfish. He brings them home. Kids excited and squealing, I head to google. Everything I read says mollies and goldfish are in fact not BFF’s. Mollies need warm water. Some varieties require salt water. I have read goldfish don’t appreciate these things.

I reluctantly head to a different pet store to buy another tank. At this point in time those $6 spent on 2 baskets of balls is getting pricey. Half way one of the girls who milks for us calls. She had a spare tank, heater and supplies we needed. Thank you baby Jesus.

We return and grab the new fish quarters. Head home. Walk thru the door to another goldfish who has passed on to the great fish tank in the sky. The realization that we had failed not 1, 2 but all 3 goldfish hit the kids kind of hard. 

After a few moments of silence we began to set up the new tank. If you have never sat up an aquarium with 3 kids, let me tell you this is as great of lesson in patience as you will ever find. After 45 minutes, who knows how much spilled water and tears shed by all parties the tank was compatible to Mollie fish life. 

Speckles and Toliet Face in their new home. Dont ask .

We made it thru the weekend. Monday was a breeze with the fish. Then comes Tuesday morning….
I’m standing at the kitchen table barking orders to children so we make it to the bus and barn on time. All of a sudden Emma yells “there’s a baby fish!!!” Whoa. I’m like no way. There’s no way we have a baby. 

I stop and turn on the tank light. Lo and behold there’s a baby fish. Then another. And another. And another… Did you know mollies can, in fact, birth 100’s of babies at a time? Neither did I!

Aren’t they cute…


Ironically I was already planning on going to town to go grocery shopping Tuesday morning. So I stopped at the pet store. The kind women working assured me mollies eat their babies as fast as they have them. No worries, nature would take its course and we’d have cute babies for a few hours then poof, free fish food. 

I’m not entirely cold hearted. I picked up some fake grass and leaves they could hide in. Give the little guys a chance. All in all we counted 7 babies. I’m not sure how many were cannibalized prior to counting. 

Here’s more great news, it’s several days later and we still have several baby fish. Many lessons were learned from this. 

  1. Don’t break out of your box. Don’t play the fish game now? Don’t start.
  2. People at pet stores are shady. 
  3. Toilet Face is sadly an exceptional Mollie mother. 
  4. My children learned that some mothers do in fact eat their young.
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