Who feeds your fish?

man dreaming of fish eating a hamburger

In my yard there is a tiny pond, just four feet across. I tried to keep goldfish in it, but they always died after a few months.

Years ago a friend named Lin used to mow my lawn. One summer Lin put new fish in the pond and they did well. At first I fed them regularly. I found that the fish were still healthy even when I didn’t feed them for a week, so I put less effort into it. I suspected that the fish were eating mosquito larvae and plants, so the food was just supplemental.

The next spring I noticed that the fish were doing well. That’s when I realized that I had forgotten to feed them all winter. I guessed that they hibernated in the mud and didn’t need much food when their body temperature was low. Just then Lin walked up and I told him my theory. He sighed and said, “Jeff, I fed the fish during the winter. I’ve always fed the fish.”

Embarrassing moments like this helped me grow up. Now I try to be aware of all the people in my life who quietly keep things humming along.

Who feeds your fish?

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About the Author:

Jeff Butterworth is the founder of Alien Skin Software. He used to create the products, but now he does marketing and gets coffee for the programmers.


  1. tammy April 10, 2012 at 10:26 am

    actually you don’t need to, nor should you, feed the fish in the winter because it can be harmful. They go into a stasis kind of mode and food will rot in their stomachs in this state, and make them sick. They may not have been eating Lin’s offerings.

    • Jeff April 10, 2012 at 1:28 pm

      Thanks, maybe I don’t need to feel so guilty about neglecting the fish. Still, it was good to be reminded that Lin worked on things that I wasn’t aware of. We all rely on other people every day. It’s good to be reminded.

  2. Ken Driscoll April 10, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    Funny thing with us wasn’t so much who was feeding the fish, as it was who was feeding the birds… it turned out we were feeding both… it reminded me of the old lady that swallowed the spider that wiggled and tiggled and tickled inside her…. in our case… we fed the fish, and the fish fed the birds… as the birds came to our pond and ate the fish… my brother had the same issue, so he put a grate in his pond just about two inches under the water’s surface.. this kept the birds from being able to eat his fish, as well made the perfect place to house his plants, the plants now fed the fish..

    One quick trick my bro does, he pours a can of beer into his pond to keep down algi and other problems such as misquitos… I guess the little biters got drunk and flew into traffic LOL

    take care

    Kripple Ken

  3. christy bell April 20, 2012 at 10:04 am

    Thanks.. this had perfect timing … Someone is always there in the background… and ya gotta take a minute and realize how much that helps each of us – everyday. ( yes, literal folks fish don’t get fed in cold temps… thats true in the real world! — ) BUT, take a minute a think who helps you daily that you often take for granted, or fail to acknowledge)… Your story will be shared by me all day .. and I hope for many many days ahead…. sometimes your the spotlight.. sometimes you feed the fish and silently walk away. /c

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