Cannibal goldfish found alive – 134 days after Christchurch quake

A A A

They are the smallest and toughest survivors of the earthquake that struck Christchurch last February.

Two goldfish spent 134 days in a tank with no one to feed them or clean their water. Discovered earlier this month when their owner, Vicky Thornley, returned to her office in the ravaged city centre for the first time, Shaggy and Daphne – named after characters in the cartoon Scooby Doo – are believed to have survived mostly on weeds and algae. They may have had another source of nutrition, for three of their companions were missing from the tank at Quantum Chartered Accountants.

Ms Thornley, the company director, was about to step into a lift when the 6.3-magnitude earthquake hit. She grabbed the tank, both to stop it from falling and to steady herself. "I was clinging on for dear life," she said.

Ms Thornley and her three colleagues managed to escape from the building, located in Christchurch High Street, but her first thoughts were for her five-year-old son, Joshua, who turned out to be unharmed.

With much of the city centre destroyed, it was not until three weeks ago that she was allowed back into the office – and only for an hour, under escort. She didn't look in the tank, assuming the fish were dead. But she said a recovery worker yelled to her: "Hey, there are fish here and they're alive!" Ms Thornley said: "I was astounded."

The goldfish looked dull in colour, but otherwise appeared in good health. She scooped them out and took them home in a bucket to her son Joshua, who has two fish of his own, Scooby and Fred.

According to Paul Clarkson, curator at California's Monterey Bay Aquarium, the survivors were fortunate to live in a large, 100l tank with plenty of weeds to eat and algae growing on the rocks and walls. While there was no electricity to power their tank filter, naturally growing bacteria may have helped keep their water clean enough to sustain life.

Goldfish: the facts

* The biggest goldfish ever caught in the UK measured 18-inches long and weighed 7lb 5oz. It was found in a lake in Norwich.



* If a goldfish is kept in the dark it will eventually turn white.



* If kept in a tank, one gallon of water is recommended for every inch of goldfish.



* Some types can live for up to 20 years.



* Goldfish are the only animals that can see infrared and ultraviolet (UV) light.

News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Sport
Chelsea are interested in loaning out Romelu Lukaku to Everton again next season
sport
News
Robyn Lawley
people
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
News
i100
Life and Style
Phones will be able to monitor your health, from blood pressure to heart rate, and even book a doctor’s appointment for you
techCould our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?
News
people
Extras
indybest
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
Life and Style
tech'World's first man-made leaves' could use photosynthesis to help astronauts breathe
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SAP Project Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP PROJECT MANAGER - 3 MONTHS - BERKSHI...

SAP Project Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP PROJECT MANAGER - 3 MONTHS - BERKSHI...

Senior Investment Accounting Change Manager

£600 - £700 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Senior Investment Accounting Change...

Microsoft Dynamics AX Functional Consultant

£65000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: A rare opportun...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series