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TAP WATER IS SAFE... JUST DON'T PUT YOUR FISH IN IT; Devastated pet shop man hits out over deaths.

Byline: BRIAN LIRONI EXCLUSIVE

A GRANDAD found all his exotic fish dead after filling his pond with tap water.

And last night Dave Ford, who has raised the colourful Golden Orfe fish for 12 years, blamed Scottish Water.

He said: "When I saw them all dead, I immediately suspected there was too much chlorine in our drinking water.

"I checked the alkalinity. Neutral water has a pH level of seven but I was shocked to see the pond water had a pH of around nine.

"The fish would have suffocated in that. You can see the chlorine has left their skin all pale and bleached.

"I hate to think how they must have suffered - gasping for oxygen.

"They were treasured pets for my wife and I - our pride and joy."

Scottish Water admitted last night that chlorine could have killed the fish.

A spokesman said: "We put chlorine in water for human health not for fish and it is well known that chlorine is damaging to tropical fish.

"We advise people who keep fish to filter their tap water before putting it in ponds or tanks."

But Dave, 63, is an expert at keeping a garden pond.

He is a retired tropical fish shop owner and watched the Golden Orfe grow from tiddlers into magnificent brightly-coloured adults.

He and his wife, Frances, have a state-of-the-art set-up in the back garden of their Edinburgh home.

They have a top-notch aeration system and even an intensive care unit for sick fish in a shed.

The couple were devastated to find the dead fish floating on the surface of the pond, their colours stripped away to a bleach white.

Dave hit out at Scottish Water: "There must have been a surge of chlorine in the water and that's what killed them.

"If that is what it does to fish, it makes you wonder what it is doing to humans who drink the stuff.

"I bought the Golden Orfe when they were tiny and raised them for around 12 years. You've no idea the time and effort that takes.

"They were our pets. My wife and I would sit for hours watching the dart around and jump up to catch flies."

But Scottish Water claimed a pH level of nine is within their guidelines and insisted it was not harmful to humans.

A spokesman said: "The water at Mr Ford's home is within the acceptable range for the pH of drinking water."

Scottish Water has been dogged by controversy since it was set up by the Scottish Parliament a year ago.

Last March, the Sunday Mail revealed that Scotland's drinking water is the dirtiest in Western Europe and that it will take billions of pounds to get it up to the standard of other countries.

Scottish Water has also been criticised for massive increases in charges - with some bills going up by a staggering 400 per cent.

b.lironi@sundaymail.co.uk
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Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jun 29, 2003
Words:488
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