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Ask Alice, with Alice McVeigh

On goldfish and landsnails,
with Classical Music Agony Aunt ALICE McVEIGH

Hi Alice. My goldfish who I have had about 4 months is not great today.It's floating on its side and is very sluggish.It's even breathing at a very slow rate.When I tap the bowl it perks up a little for a while then reverts back.There is also something black on its fins and face like someone drew magic marker on it.Thanks for your help.
from Lynda

Dear Lynda,

I'm sorry about your goldfish, who has probably my now gone to that great goldfish bowl in the sky. I have just come back from the US and I'm SO JETLAGGED I can't write even so forgive stupid sentences that never know when to end and other imbecilities (spelling? I've lost the will to spell check!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!--sorry, just put my finger on it and was too tired to pick it up again).

Fact is, my name comes up on search engines about goldfish (and even tropicals!!!) ever since I wrote a couple of columns about How to Kill fish Very Fast while Trying Day and Night to Keep Them Alive, and I guess you just thought I might actually KNOW SOMETHING about them. I don't. Basically, I add salt. If they appear to have black magic markings popping up on their fins, add salt. If they start swimming upside-down or sideways, add salt. If they start blowing bubbles, add salt. The only condition to this advice (which I did once get from a fish expert, by the way, so I'm not COMPLETELY clueless) is not to add salt once they've actually died, as it is then TOO LATE TO DO ANYTHING. (I think he thought I was REALLY REALLY stupid).

Yours Cordially,

PS I know even less about my Giant African Landsnail. The cello pupil who gave him/her to me could only tell me three things. G. A. landsnail generally mistake cucumber slices for sirloin steak. Sometimes they hibernate in their shells for weeks at a time. However, once they start to smell, they are dead.

Copyright © 14 April 2006 Alice McVeigh, Kent UK

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