Fountain-hoppers find fishy surprise

The fish were found in the Rosenbalm Fountain Thursday morning. Photo credit: Liesje Powers

By Joy Moton | Reporter

A group of Baylor students were horrified to discover Wednesday night that the new Rosenbalm Fountain had become an ill-suited home for dead and barely surviving fish.

Houston freshman Noelle Flores planned to go fountain-hopping with a group of friends. When they got in the fountain, they saw a white and silver fish floating in the water.

“We thought it was dead at first because it was just lying on the bottom of the fountain floor,” Flores said. “After maybe like five minutes, it just got up and started swimming.”

As the group proceeded to walk around the side of the fountain, they noticed more fish of various sizes floating and swimming. College Station senior Daniel Adams said some were the size of half of a pencil, while others were nearly a foot long. Some of the students began to run the surviving fish to the creek next to the Bear Pit.

“We were thinking, ‘These fish are probably slowly dying because this water is not meant to be lived in by fish,’” Flores said.

Other students noticed that the floating fish were dead and scooped them out of the fountain.

“It was the saddest thing I’ve ever seen,” said Spring senior Kat Largent. “Their gills were all open because they were suffocated, basically.”

Adams said it took about 15 minutes to get an estimated 10 to 12 fish out of the fountain.

“People want to mess with it; I understand that,” Adams said. “We’re college students and that’s what happens, but there’s a limit, and I just don’t think they thought of what’s going to happen to the fish.”

The Baylor Police Department was called to the scene and said this is not the first time an incident like this has happened.

According to the Baylor Police Department, an officer on foot patrol found a gar in the fountain Wednesday night. With the help of another officer, they used a capture pole to remove the fish from the fountain and placed it in the marina.

Since the fountain’s opening in fall 2015, people have seen dogs, children, ducks and other various objects placed in the fountain.

“The fountain is on our campus for everyone to enjoy,” said Lori Fogleman, assistant vice president for media communications. “It’s a beautiful addition to Baylor, so I hope everyone would respect it.”