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Kingsley's Rein

Kingsley's last night in the tank - 5 October 2022

I’ve just said farewell to one of my longest cohabiting pets, Kingsley the Bristlenose Catfish—at age 17 years (2005-2022). That’s a record, as their normal life-span is typically anywhere from 5 to 15 years.

I purchased a 90 litre fish tank in 2005, with my very first publishing advance—for Blossom Possum the Sky is Falling Down Under (Scholastic, 2006). Kingsley was one of my first fish. From a juvenile, he grew to about 14 cm, in his heyday; he shrank a little over the past year or so, down to about 12 cm. He even survived a tank-poisoning event some 7 years ago, when an exuberant/inebriated young party-goer treated the fish to a Jack Daniels (all died apart from Kingsley and a pregnant swordtail).

In later life, and for about two years, Kingsley had a partner, Queenie (2020-21). Together, the royal couple had two batches of baby catfish (so cute). As is the male’s role, Kingsley dutifully guarded the young inside the tank’s castle statue for about a week each time. Sadly the nippers did not go on to survive tank life.

Kinsley and Queenie - March 2021

Kingsley definitely was ‘King of the Tank’ and did not put up with the other fish getting in his way (mostly swordtails, neon tetras, mollies, and a couple of smaller pepper catfish)—although he secretly liked having them around. He will be muchly missed—by fish and humans. We salute you Kingsley, and your record reign!

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