Two goldfish, named Shaggy and Daphne after characters from the animated television show Scooby Doo, have become the smallest and hardiest survivors of the devastating February earthquake in Christchurch that killed 181 people.
The fish spent four and a half months — 134 days — trapped in their tank in the city’s off-limits downtown without anyone to feed them or even any electricity to power their tank filter before they were discovered this month and rescued.
“It’s certainly an incredible story. I wouldn’t have guessed that fish could survive on their own for four months,” said Paul Clarkson, curator at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California. “Goldfish are very hardy critters.”
So how did they do it?
Luckily for the fish, they lived in a large 26-gallon (100-liter) tank. They had weed to munch through. And, according to Clarkson, the fish may have gleaned some nutrition from eating algae growing on the tank’s rocks and walls. He said naturally growing bacteria may have helped keep the water clean enough to sustain life.
Then there’s the delicate question of their missing companions. There were six goldfish in the tank when the earthquake struck. By the time the survivors were found, no trace remained of three of the fish. …