Jumping guppies!

plants in a birdbath

(Well, this was all true yesterday, but today a squirrel or bird intervened, and the fish are no more…  I’ll have to work on a better system…)

Earlier this summer, I constructed a birdbath from a thrifted lamp and a shallow dish.  (I got ideas here, here, here, and here.)  Then one day I came across the idea of using fish to prevent mosquito larvae from growing in standing water, so I went right out and bought 3 female guppies from the pet store.  (They were $1 cheaper each than the males.  I would have bought the “feeder fish” at 15¢apiece but they were a little bigger and my birdbath bowl is very small…)

So I brought them home, carefully let the water temperatures equalize, and added the fish.  When I came back outside to check on things 15 minutes later, there were no fish!  I was there just in time to see a silver flash in the air, and I realized that they had all jumped out.  I was able to locate them on the ground (which is tricky because they’re very tiny!) and scoop them up and plop them back into the water.

I added some nice plants for them to hid under hoping that this would help them feel more at home.   They now have a nice assortment of mints, oregano, asiatic daylily, and a philodendron/pothos vine that I was rooting in the house.

They all stuck around for several days, and then one of them jumped to her death.  I don’t know if the others bullied her out or if she was just looking for “greener pastures,” but she jumped and the ants and pill bugs below enjoyed feasting on her tiny carcass.

I’ve been checking on them every day and thought all but one of them had jumped, but I just saw two of them this evening.  They’re very good at hiding under all of those leaves!

I don’t know how long they’ll stick around (or be able to survive, to be honest…), but it’s been a fun experiment.  I’d like to get a bigger bowl to give them a better chance of making it, but the right one hasn’t turned up yet.

A few days after getting them, I was telling a 6-year-old boy about them, and when I told him that I put them in the bird bath and asked him what he thought happened next, he very matter of factly said, “They jumped out.” It just goes to show that everyone is an expert on something, and I could learn a lot by listening to some 6-year-olds!  🙂


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