All but one of the baby fish have disappeared. I suspect the swordtails, but can’t say for sure. Nonetheless, they were exiled to the outdoor pond. If they’re guilty, the baby population will rebound. If not, I was wrong. Time will tell.
Banishment was contingent upon catching the trio without tearing up the well-planted tank. They were surprisingly easy to catch. A huge net helped. Not a single plant was ripped out or otherwise harmed in the process.
After releasing them into the pond, I checked on them several times throughout the day. Swordtails are known jumpers–especially males–and should be kept in a tank with a top. I didn’t know about Rhett or Stanley, but Maude grew up in the pond and had never jumped before.
The next morning, Maude was on the patio. I grabbed her before Tootsie could. She was still alive, so I dropped her back into the pond. As I write (the day after finding her), Maude is not only still alive, but looks fine.
Why she attempted to take her life is a mystery. Guilt? Despite concerns about her age, I’m pretty sure she’s pregnant. I can’t say for sure, but I believe I saw a little orange baby in the tank. Did motherhood change her?
In the past, she had the pond to herself. Maybe she jumped to escape the incessant advances of randy Stanley and an increasingly bold Rhett. If so, I hope she’s learned her lesson and won’t try again.
Will the baby population in the tank rebound? Will Maude stick around? Will swordtail fry turn up in the pond? Stay tuned.