Moby, the Dancing Guppy


Fur, fins or feathers… I’ve lived with, and loved them all. It started out with a clam I found in a fish market when I was 4 years old. I kept it in a little jar of water. The only trouble was that it’s hard to tell when a clam goes to that “big clambake” in the sky. My parents sensed that something was not quite right with Clam-entine, when our home started smelling a bit like the Fulton Fish Market.

It progressed through the years… birds, reptiles, a wonderful dog, cats. I’ve learned that all of these critters have their own unique personalities, if only you take the time to watch and listen.

About two years ago I decided to add to my family with the addition of a tank of beautiful “show guppies” — lovely creatures that are each as unique as snowflakes. I came out of the pet shop with high hopes, a large bowl, and eight beautiful guppy specimens — four boys and four girls.

I set up the new home while contemplating hours of relaxation just watching these beautiful, living gemstones glide through the water. My dream started fading by the second day. One went belly up, then two, and so on.

Back to the pet shop I flew. Conditioners, antibiotics, special gourmet guppy food — I tried it all, but to no avail! Finally, I was down to one pathetic female.

I did everything but hold her hand! LIVE!

Please little girl!

Nope, she was doing the dead man’s float early the next morning. I was in the process of cleaning out the tank when I noticed an air bubble dashing around. Upon closer inspection, I saw the tiniest little eye looking at me!


Before mama exited this planet, she presented me with a baby! I was so thrilled I rushed back to the pet shop and bought live plants, extra decorations, and baby fish food. I was going to give this little survivor every chance to reach guppy adulthood.

At about two months, I realized that I had a little girl. I named her Moby, after a distant relative on her side of the animal kingdom. Not only was my little girl flourishing, she recognized me! When I approached her tank she did this crazy little guppy dance. She even learned signals to give me, showing she wanted food. We were relating.

Moby remained a lone guppy for about a year, and then I thought, “Dare I introduce a boyfriend?”

Back to the pet shop for the prettiest male guppy I could find. And in he went. Moby freaked! She hid in the foliage and stopped dancing.

I thought perhaps things would change after she realized that the little fellow only wanted to be her friend (well, maybe he wanted a little more.)

Two weeks after introducing Ishmeal into the tank, he disappeared. GONE!

The question is still unanswered: Is Moby guilty of Guppicide? It has been about three months now, things are back to normal. Moby is once again dancing whenever I approach her home.

I guess I’ll leave well enough alone and be content to live with this solitary finny funny fish.

A bit about me:  “I’m a retired commercial artist/art teacher living in Orange County, California. When not at home I can usually be found volunteering at our local animal shelter or out exploring the world. This could mean riding a camel in the Outback of Australia or really seeing how a light beam bounces off the wings of a butterfly.