Spontaneous Generation

Well, now. All the fish in my ex-girlfriend’s aquarium died within a couple of days of each other… some disease, I figured. There were a couple of platys, some tetras, and a pleco. Fine, a dead tank, I thought. I’ll get around to re-starting it eventually. Well, being lazy, I didn’t even remove the little dead bodies, nor did I turn off the heater or the oxygen.

So here’s the weird thing: this is about two weeks later, and I look, and there are a bunch of little fish in there. Maybe 1 cm long, maybe less, mostly transparent, but definitely ray-finned, true fish.

So I gave them some flake.

Where did they come from?

Most probably from the ones that died, don’t you think?

I don’t know a thing about fish varieties, so let me ask you something: are the new ones of the same variety as the old ones?

Men will cease to commit atrocities only when they cease to believe absurdities.

The fish probably laid eggs before they died. Since fish eggs don’t need to be incubated, they didn’t care that their parents had kicked the bucket; the fry just went along and hatched anyway.

I’m not a warlock. I’m a witch with a Y chromosome.

And they were probably better off – 'cus if the bigger fish had been alive, they’d have eaten the babies.

But two weeks later? How long do little fish incubate? Not that I’m really disputing it… that must have been the answer.

However, the second begged question: I’ve had most of the fish that were in there for about 3 years. Have they been having babies all this time, that were subsequently eaten?

Hmmm… when I phrase the question that way, it sort of answers itself, doesn’t it?

It wasn’t the Platys since they give birth to live fish and don’t lay eggs to hatch.

Steno, yes, they may have been having babies, which were then eaten, all this time. Or the fish may have skipped a step and just eaten the eggs. (Mmmmm, caviar.)

My parents have guppies, which are live-bearers. It has often happened that one day they’d see a very pregnant female, and the next she’s no longer pregnant, but no little fishies. Instead, they became late-night snacks… Once in a while a couple would survive, but not often.

Baby fish are really tiny. Almost invisible. I have raised some, and they are incredibly small and hard to see at first, but then they get bigger. They probably ate algae and plants for a week or two. Congratulations on your fish!