Making fish smile, sing and dance: ornamental fish welfare. By Drs Matt Landos & Richmond Loh. Presentation at the Australian Veterinary Association, Annual National Conference 2006.

I have been preparing a presentation on fish welfare for the ANZCVS Science Week at Gold Coast (July), and for the WSAVA Annual Conference in Cartagena (September).

It has really be ten (10) years since my colleague and I floated the idea that fish should be afforded the same level of welfare as other vertebrates. At the 2006 Australian Veterinary Association, Annual National Conference, we presented this talk:

Making fish smile, sing and dance: ornamental fish welfare. By Drs Matt Landos & Richmond Loh.

…And then my colleague did a great rendition to blues music with the following story (roping me to do some awkward singing).

Check out the verses below, and if you’re lucky, I can get my colleague to play the song again.

… this story is by Frank in his tank with loving owner Richo…

I got them water blues…

From my head to my shoes (if I had shoes)…

This new bloke stopped by,

He said, “I know my fish Rich. Have a good holiday. Goodbye.”

My tank’s never been the same.

This man started all the pain.

He fed us too much.

I ate till I was full

I ate till I was stuffed

I ate till my big fat belly

Was about to bust

Then the next day came

And he fed me again

I was about to explode

I soiled my own tank,

Sending my water rather rank.

I was really catching the stress,

‘cos I’d made such a mess.

Then I looked across my room;

‘Saw through the murk and gloom,

My girl was in trouble!

Her colours had begun to fade,

Her fins were all frayed.

She was looking sad and sore,

Saying “please don’t feed me no more!”

This tank, it smells bad

These toxins are making me sad.

“I can’t go on.”

Another day went past.

It was even worse than the last.

There was waste everywhere.

My gills are so sore – it’s making me despair.

The biofilter’s crashed.

My hopes are all but dashed.

The ammonia’s through the roof.

Today I lost my girl.

She’s out of this world L

I’m just watching her, post-mortem.

In the corner, on the bottom.

Myself, I’m not feeling so good,

This tank’s just not like it should (be)

Bacteria levels are sky high.

Another day went by…

Molly and guppy just die.

I’m thinking what the heck!

And my gills are a wreck.

My blood is turning brown.

I feel like I’m about to drown.

The nitrite’s too high!

The water has turned to acid.

I’m feeling more than a little flaccid.

I’d rather be dead.

Someone please give me a hole in the head.

I want my real owner back!

Get rid of this hack!

This is no life for a fish (in this filthy dish).

I can’t take it no more!

I’m having to lie on the floor.

Through the slime I see;

Is that my owner? Is that he?

He looked at me, dead-set.

He knew I needed a fish vet!

I had those water blues…

He knew I was in trouble.

He had to act on the double!

When he saw poor ole Frank,

Richo’s heart, it just sank.

He saw my friends had all died.

He knew that his mate had lied.

Mate knew nothing about fish!

He ran to my aid!

An emergency 50% water exchange was made.

He threw in 5 grams per litre salt,

To help me fight the osmoregulation assault.

He reached for his water test kit,

Saw the readings and nearly had a fit!

He was amazed I was still alive!

Then Richo started singin’ along with me,

Frank’s got them water blues.

Yep, he’s got them water blues.

He’s got those blues real bad!

It’s making him really sad,

The water blues,

Them water blues,

Stop those water blues.

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Yours sincerely,

Dr Richmond Loh
DipProjMgt, BSc, BVMS, MPh (Pathology), MANZCVS (Aquatics & Pathobiology), CertAqV, CMAVA, NATA Signatory.
Aquatic Veterinarian & Veterinary Pathologist
Mobile Aquatic Veterinary Medical & Diagnostic Services.
Ph: +61 (0)421 822 383


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