What killed this fish?

This is something that has plagued me since my childhood. When I was a young lad of eleven I was fishing at one of the many ponds located on the property we lived on. I’d caught quite a few but I always released them back into the water. The sun was beginning to set and it was then that I hooked a rather small bass-- maybe 6 or 7 inches.

I can’t really explain why I did what happens next. You see, there was a small man made pond in the woods near my house and I thought it would be cool if I put this poor little fish in it, that way he’d be like my very own pet. The “pond” in question was perhaps seven yards wide and five across. About two and a 1/2 feet deep. Marshy too. The only thing that lived in it were frogs and the occasional turtle.

So, I got a bucket and transported my fishy friend to his new home and planned to come back the following morning to check up on him and feed him some fish pellets.

However, things were not meant to be. When I arrived the next day I was witness to a terrible sight. My fish was dead. Not just dead-- eaten. All that remained was this skeleton which was completely intact, lying in the mud at the bottom of the pond. He’d been picked clean, the white of his bones a stark contrast to the dark murky bed of the pool.

Now… what bothers me about this incident is that the bones were still connected to one another. It looked as though he’d been dead for months. There was flesh or anything left. But, if he was eaten how is it that the bones remained seemingly untouched? It had been less than 24 hours since I’d placed him there.

My Mum said it was a raccoon. I’ve been racked by guilt ever since. I don’t expect to find any answers, thoug this would the best place to find them.

My WAG: The fish died of oxygen deprivation and was picked clean by critters in the pond, probably turtles.

A mammal like a raccoon wouldn’t clean the fish so thoroughly while leaving its skeleton intact in the middle of the pond. Whatever did so was a small and aquatic creature.

The dingo ate your fishy!

My guess is he died of stress (like aquarium fish will do) and was eaten by aquatic larvae or crawdads.

Pirahna?..Hey, you didn’t say where you lived as a child. Yeah, it was probably turtles.

Wouldn’t turtles eat the bones or at least tear apart the carcass that Clockwork And Candy was responsible for making?

Just a guess, the pond could easily been too warm for the fish to survive, and/or had insufficient oxygen. Small turtles could have scavenged the flesh, but were not large enough to tear it apart. It IS a boyhood memory afterall.

Thanks for making me feel better. This was so tramatic for me. Where ever you are lil’ buddy, I want you to know that I’m sorry. I just wanted to be your friend. It’s been six years and I still think of you. :frowning:

And I’m not conviced that it could have been turtles. While I did see turtles there from time to time, I never saw more than one and they were pretty small. I think that once they grew larger they moved over into the actual nearby pond. Diggin’ the parasite idea, but could it scares me that it could happen so fast and so thoroughly.

I still think it was a raccoon.

I’m not sure what exactly ate your fish, but it’s standing right behind you now!!! Ooops, no. I was mistaken. Never mind.

It was water creatures when the bones are together like that. Once a fish dies every carniverous animal starts eating it with their tiny mouths.

We had some idiot kid bring in a Water Beetle, and the teacher put it in our aquarium. It was on the floor multiple times that day. The next morning every fish was eaten, and the Water Beetle had disapeared again.

Having grown to five times its original size on the bounty of piscine goodness. It was probably lying in wait in the coatroom for a tasty tot or two to separate from the pack…

Let’s see. First you pull a fish out of water by its face with a metal hook, put it in a bucket, slosh it around until you reach a small man made pond filled with about 4000-5000 gallons of standing, marshy water (with who knows what kind of run off) near the end of the day when the water temp will swing cold during the night.

Nope. Can’t think of what would have killed him.

(Just to be clear, I forgot the :wink: above)

Try to think of it this way. You made lots of new little friends that day-- just not the fish.

Is it established beyond doubt that the skeleton you saw belonged to the fish you introduced? Might it be that the skeleton was that of another fish that had died and decayed some time beforehand, and that the fish you introduced was simply hiding somewhere (or had been bodily removed by a predator such as a heron or something)?

Yes. I went to that pool almost everyother day to catch frogs. There were no other fish in it.

It was marshy, yeah. But it was fed from a spring which in turn lead to the small dam at the other end of the pool that poured out to create a creek. The water was flowing-- not stangnant. I guess I should have stated that before. Sorry.

I don’t think I’ll ever find out what happened. Though I believe that it was most likely larva or other small organisms in the water.

Ugh, I’m like one of those psychopaths who tortured animals as a child. However, in my defense, I’ve never fished nor eaten fish since that fateful day. :frowning: