Watching nature take its course, from the top of a hill in northern England

Totally Gutted


A cautionary tale   

This morning Mr Uhdd found, not one, not two but four of our six golden Orfe floating belly up in the pond.

Dead fish 2-2 

We’ve had the pond (and the Orfe ) for eight years, it  gives us a enormous amount of pleasure ( there are lots of pond related posts, filed under ‘pond life’ in my sidebar).

We think they have succumbed to low oxygen levels in the water, the weather has been exceptionally dry since April, with high temperatures, we were caught off guard.

Dead fish-2

I fed them yesterday morning and I didn’t notice anything untoward, all though with hindsight, I think only four came up for food, but I can’t be sure.

The small fish in the pond seem unaffected (and there are scores of them) which is a relief, because at first I feared they’d all been poisoned in some way. The Orfe were 18-20 ins long and the one we weighed was 3lb 3oz, they were a gift for favours rendered, I’m sure they would have been expensive to buy 8 years ago when they were much smaller, goodness knows what they’d cost to replace now. But that’s not the point, I’m left with that heavy feeling, like when we’ve had a  fox strike in the chicken run; that I’ve let them down.

By lunch time the remaining two had floated to the surface.

(originally we had eight, one jumped out of the pond (as they are prone to do, during the first few weeks, we found it flapping in the yard, we tried a bit of resuscitation, but to no avail and a second one died of ‘natural causes’ last year. I wonder if their age played a part in this, I don’t know how old they were or how long the species normally lives.)


It was a mistake to serve smoked salmon at lunch time, it was a Tesco’s ‘special offer’, it was wet, flaccid; gross and too much like the fish we’d hauled out of the pond. And I don’t think my idea for a car sticker went down too well, ‘Fish Die in Hot Ponds’.  I’d best tag this post I think, for other fish in need.

Author: uphilldowndale

Watching the rhythm of rural life, from the top of a hill in northern England. Having spent most of my life avoiding writing, I now need to do it! I am no domestic goddess, but if I were expecting visitors to my home, I would whisk round with the duster and plump up the cushions and generally make the place look presentable. I hope that by putting my words where others may see them it will encourage me to ‘tidy up and push the Hoover around’ my writing. On the other hand I may just be adding to the compost heap. Only time will tell! Pull up a chair, sit yourself down, I’ll put the kettle on.

13 thoughts on “Totally Gutted

  1. I am so sorry your beautiful fish died. I know you love the pond.

    The web of life is complicated. The temperature, the amount of oxygen, the sudden growth (or death and decay) of other organisms in the pond, a toxin introduced by accident, an explosion of some kind of bacterium–all these things have been thought to cause die-offs in the Great Lakes, and I expect they all operate in smaller ecosystems, too. We only think we’re in control.

  2. How very sad. I too would be very upset if it happened to me, so I sympathize.

    Let’s hope the remaining denizens of the pond survive and thrive.

  3. Ive had orfe die uphill in my pond. Both golden and the blue ones.
    They are certainly of good size and id bet diamonds it would have been low oxygen levels that did it. I once had a similar problem with 2 x carp that id had for years. A spell like this and then i fed them and they just seemed to die.
    They would cost a lot of money to replace.

    I know that heavy feeling

  4. Oh and my friend who is a koi carp fanatic aways uses an aeriator to increase the water turnover. Funny though I started not feeding my fish in really hot muggy conditions and didnt seem to have a problem. I once remember someone telling me that there are two layers of water in a pond thats more than 4 ft deep. The botton layer becomes totally void of oxygen. So if your fish didnt come up maybe that was the problem uphill.
    Sorry for your loss

  5. It’s bound to be your local police’s fault.

    Its the fashion at the moment.

    Sorry to hear about this, very sad.

  6. This is so sad. I’m sorry. 😦

    I have some idea how you feel. Two years ago we had a large fish-kill (as they call it). At first there were one or two dead fish. At its peak there were 18 dead fish (bass and blue gills) in one day. Both M and I felt as though we’d murdered the poor things in our attempts to try to care for the pond. We had killed too much vegetation at once during a hot spell which caused the lack of oxygen in the water that killed the fish.

    The pond has been coming back (and there are thousands of fish out there again) but we have a bigger vegetation problem now as we’ve been afraid to do anything other than hand-pull the weeds. It’s difficult to find the right balance.

  7. Commiserations Uphill’, I too know what this feels like. It’s very difficult to know how to stop this happening without installing oxygen monitors or not having fish….my current garden pond is small so I chose the latter option but I do miss having them.

  8. I am sorry to hear about your loss. The weather keeps getting stranger everywhere and sometimes it’s the the ‘lower’ species that have to remind us of what is not normal.

  9. Sorry to hear about that, I had a similar experience whilst looking after my parents pond last year whilst they were away. During a hot spell I must have hauled out 20 fish, such a waste but glad to say the pond is back thriving now a year on. Must be low oxygen levels.

  10. Pingback: Fish Supper | Uphilldowndale

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