London, September 9 :A sexagenarian marine electrician has been stunned to see that the goldfish he owns has spent the last five years swimming around upside down.
Richard Gordon, from Gosport, Hants, says that even visitors are fascinated by his Japanese coldwater fish Horatio's swimming ability.
"Visitors to the house are always fascinated by Horatio," the Telegraph quoted him as saying.
He has revealed that the fish swims around for hours with its white belly pointing upwards, and its eyes staring down.
Gordon, who took over ownership of the Japanese coldwater fish six years ago from his grandson Christopher, says that he was bemused to find it floating on its back in its glass tank just after having it a year.
"The first time I saw him I thought he was dead and I was going to flush him away. But I flicked the glass and he started swimming again," he said.
"Strangely, when I put food in he'll always swim up to it the right way round. He then swims back down again and rolls over and floats upside down once more.
"At first I was worried but he seems happy enough and is able to swim around just fine," he added.
Gordon also revealed that he named the goldfish Horatio after Lord Nelson because he married his wife Diane, 62, on Trafalgar Day.
He believes there may be some method in the nine-year-old fish's madness.
"He always seems to go to the same spot just below the filtration system where there's the most oxygen in the water and floats there. It would make sense for him to be there but it could be because he's a bit lazy or maybe he has just got Australian roots and can't tell which way up he's supposed to be," he said.
"My grandson is now 20 and he's got some good books on fish, which said the problem could be constipation but I really don't think he's got that problem. I've also been told it could be a problem with his swim bladder. But he seems to be able to easily rise to the top and swim to the bottom," he added.
Fish expert Ian Marshall, 51, thinks that Horatio might be having a problem with its swim bladder.
"The bladder is like a tiny football inside the fish and when the fish gets an infection it can deflate or become mishapen. It's like a human having an inner ear infection and it can throw a fish's balance right out," said Marshall, who runs a tropical fish shop and is a member of the Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association.