This evening I was sitting out by the pond and watching the fish... much more interesting than television. There are a lot more baby fish now... at a guess there are proabably 50, of varying sizes and colours.
Originally, in order to deter (eat the larvae of) mosquitos, I was unable to get any native fish, and so I settled for non-heated aquarium fish from the pet shop. These were ten comets.
While this was not my preference, these have kept the mosquitos in check and have provided me with many hours of enjoyment. The original ten comets were mostly not distinguishable... they were all gold and fast. Two of them were different. One had a white "face" if that is what you call the front end of a fish and another had a black stripe along its back. This black stripe made it very hard to see. I used to go out and count my fish, almost daily, and invariably, the black striped one would be the last one that I would find. I used to drop a few flakes of fish food in to attract them and check them out. I've been a bit lax in recent weeks... with christmas and hot weather, other issues have taken over. The fish have had to step down in my priorities.
And so today, I sat out in the cool of the evening with a glass of wine, the fish food and tried to see who was there. I knew that there were a lot of babies... of varying ages... some small grey non-descript things, some larger and gradually acquiring some colour or fading to pale and a few who look golden and almost as big as their parents... the original, now large, comets.
I tried to find the ten largest fish, for these would be my original specimens... and they are still noticably bigger than even the oldest of their offspring... but there are only nine. I have found nine large fish, including the one with the white "face" but the one that has been hardest to see (the one with the dark stripe down its back, appears to be missing. I photographed the original fish some time ago, and one picture shows the fish quite well....
The only explanation, aside from some bizarre age difference or disease is that the heron that hangs out in the pond intermittently found that fish easiest to catch. For me, it was the most difficult one to see, but who knows how herons operate.
The other interesting thing to notice is the amazing number of tiny fish, just beginning to be coloured, that have the same dark stripe along their backs... some kind of immortality. (I will try to add a photograph here later.)