Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Ice fishing

As of Sunday, the stock tank had been frozen solid for 15 days. 
The afternoon temperature climbed to 49 and finally the ice started to melt around the edges.
Everyone was keeping an eye out for Fish. We didn't know if he was dead or alive.

 Lucy: Tastes like fish poop. I think he's still alive.

The search and rescue team tried to lick their way to the bottom but was unsuccessful.
Late in the day, I intervened.

 I couldn't simply tip the tank over for fear of Fish escaping downstream,
so I tried to pry the iceberg loose. Alas, just when I thought I'd had it, it would
splash back down into the tank, displacing the icy cold water into my shoes.

After many unsuccessful leveraging, shoe-soaking attempts, 
I tried overflowing the tank with water, hoping the iceberg would float up and onto the ground. 
That sort of worked, and now the herd can play hockey on the newly formed rink in the corral.

 With the iceberg out of the way, I saw an orange blob at the bottom of the murky water.
It was definitely Fish, but he wasn't moving much *gulp*...

 ...until I stuck the net in the water to catch him, then he swam like hell to avoid capture.
I congratulated him on his survival skills, then scrubbed and refilled the tank.

When last seen Sunday night, he was happily swimming laps and pooping all over 
my nice clean tank. 

And by Monday afternoon, the cycle had started all over again.


  1. Hooray for Fish!! He is a survivor. I guess the cold slows him down?

  2. Good to know that Fish is doing well!

    Perhaps if the iceberg were smaller .... an ice pick and some insulated rubber gloves for removing smaller bergs knows as 'growlers' :) rather than tackling the entire slab in one piece.
    If you have some thin gloves as glove liners and then some oversized rubber kitchen gloves you could keep your hands dry and still clear the surface of the tank.

    M in NC

  3. Swimming laps...super! Glad he survived cryo-freezing. Maybe fish poop adds a certain je ne sais quoi to the water for the equines, makes it especially gourmet.

  4. amazing story, i would not think fish could survive in that. but now we know.

  5. Yay! Glad he's okay but it's probably a girl :-)

  6. What about the solar powered stock tank. Is it elsewhere at the ranch, or is it not working?


    1. It's still there, still working (you can see it in the corner of the fifth picture from the top). They drink from that and from the heated tub when the stock tank is frozen. The heated tub keeps the water warmer than the solar tank and seems to be their preference. Yes, they're spoiled.

  7. Fish a big fish. I knew he/she would make it! Love the search and rescue team, much cuter than the ones we have around here.

  8. They seem to sleep during the winter here, but we always have to cut a breathing hole but then again our ice stays around for months on end. Cutting ice is like cutting cement. A task I would rather not do.

  9. I think Fish would like to winter indoors actually...and what about his country western star name???

  10. Yay Fish! So what is your expert opinion? Gold fish in the water tank or no goldfish? should I get one this spring?

    1. I would say: it depends. Fish may be keeping the tank a little cleaner algae-wise, but I have to empty it just as often (when it's not frozen) because of the amount of dirt that blows into it and collects on the bottom. For entertainment value, I give him a 10; for helping me save time doing chores, he gets a 0.

    2. Can I chime in from Oregon?
      One additional benefit to a stock tank fish is its mosquito-eatin' skills. The mosquitos here lay their eggs in our big 100 gallon tank and my Mr. Goldy gobbles them up like candy.
      So, I agree with Carson: the benefits of a fish depends...and it depends big-time on whether you live in a mosquito-ridden part of the country.

  11. Happy to see Fish is still hanging in there. Who knew goldfish survived in such temps!

  12. Michelle from Vancouver1/13/15, 9:00 AM

    I'm shocked Ms Fish survived.....who knew ?!

  13. Can't you bring fish inside the house for the winter? Poor thing.

  14. As someone who keeps goldfish, as long as that tank doesn't freeze completely solid (to the bottom solid), he'll survive just fine, as you can see. They go into a bit of a hibernation kind of state in winter and don't eat or move very much at all. You should break the top ice from time to time for gas exchange, however. If the water gets oxygen deprived, he'll suffocate.

  15. We think Fish deserves a Winter Residence in an indoor fish tank!

  16. The fish seems to have grown a little?

  17. I have some ice cap working around here. My best work is done with a 3 gallon jug of hot tap water. It will melt a nice hole for Fish and those who like to drink. My sheep and goats crowd around me to be the first one to drink from the newly liberated liquid. The hot water can also be used to cut the iceberg in half or into sections for easier removal. I might also suggest freezing in a handle to lift it out the next time.

  18. An American in Tokyo1/13/15, 4:57 PM

    Glad to hear Fish is fine!! Those standard type goldfish are the hardiest little creatures!! ;)
    I can't believe how big he is now, either!!

  19. Hey Linda,
    Hahaha. Now that was hilarious. Great writing. Great fun. Great blog.