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Thursday, December 1, 2011

The oldfish: Two pets won at fair 34 years ago believed to be UK's oldest... and they've even gone GREY

By Emily Allen

A pair of fairground goldfish believed to be the oldest in the UK have celebrated their 34th birthday.

Splish and Splash were won as a prize in 1977 and have lived for so long that they have gone grey.

The fish, who belong to Richard and Ann Wright, from Brockworth, Gloucestershire, have even outlived four family pet cats.

They originally belonged to the pairs son Matthew and daughter Hayley, who were six and nine when they brought the goldfish home from a county fair in Cheltenham.

Elderly: Splish and Splash were won as a prize in 1977 and have lived for so long that they have gone grey

Though Matthew and Hayley have now moved out to start families of their own, the fish have remained at Richard and Ann's home.

Despite having an expected lifespan of just ten years - with fairground fish often living much shorter than that - Splish and Splash have survived for three decades.

Their owners say they are baffled as to how the fish have managed to live such long lives.

Mr Wright said: 'I've no idea why they've lasted so long, they've just been cleaned out really regularly and given a pinch of food every morning, but we haven't done anything special.

'They're amazing, really.'

He added that, like their human counterparts, the fish have started to show signs of age, with them losing their gold colour in the last few years.

Long life: The fish belong to Richard (pictured) and Ann Wright, from Brockworth, Gloucestershire and have even outlived four family pet cats

Retired human resources consultant Mr Wright said: 'Since we got them they have obviously grown, although they don't dart around the tank like they used to.

'In the last few years they've lost their gold colour - they've gone grey, like me.'

The two fish shared a goldfish bowl given to Ann by a former boss, which was only replaced eight years ago with a more modern version equipped with a filter.

Mr Wright said: 'When we got the new tank my wife said 'they'll die now you've bought that new tank', but they didn't.

'We call it 'The Old Fish Home'.'

Splish and Splash have not only had to contend with old age, but also with the unwanted attentions of other pets.

Mr Wright said: 'We used to have a cat called Smokey which would sit on top of the tank.

'The old tank had a little hole in the top and she would try to reach in and fish them out of there.

'I don't think she ever managed it but she had a good go.'

Smokey, who lived to a relatively sprightly 16, was the first of four cats to have been outlived by Splish and Splash.

Mr Wright said: 'It's incredible really, we never expected them to live this long.

'They feel like part of the family now, definitely.' The fish are thought to be the oldest captive goldfish in the UK.

Tish the Goldfish was officially recognised by the Guinness Book of Records as the world's oldest when he died aged 43 in 2005.



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