It's not a great time to be a white fish in my tank.

Because if you happen to be one, chances are you will soon be an white ex-fish in my tank.

I can't attribute it to some sort of piscine reverse-racism, because the alpha, big dog, head cheese, koi o' boy, Moby Dick of the tank is mostly white, with some black splotches, and is 10 times bigger than anything else in the tank.

I don't know how it got so big, because it was just a regular-sized koi when we bought it a couple years back. However, I've seen a lot of Godzilla movies and therefore can only conclude that someone set off a nuclear weapon in my home when I was on vacation.

The big lie

But the real problem is that someone is murdering the rest of the white fish in my tank. Which is bad, because I'm a cowardly enabler of a father who hates to see my 9-year-old cry. So I keep replacing the fish at $15 a pop when my daughter is at her mother's house in Sacramento. I'm now seriously considering buying a fourth small white replacement koi. If I do, my daughter will have no idea that the little white fish swimming in the tank is not the first koi I bought for her two months ago.

No, I didn't just spill the beans. My daughter is a highly intelligent girl, which means she has no good reason to read this column. And you won't tell her, or we'll have issues and I'll have no choice but to command my giant white-and-black orca-koi to eat you.

I've been over the facts with my local koi salesman (code name: He Who Peddles Doomed Fish) and have ruled out genetics, although to be fair, I'm terribly sure this man is no scientist, as I've never seen him in a long white coat. Each white fish has eaten heartily right up until its doomsday and, after many hours of observation, I'm certain no other fish are attacking them (I heard them all sing "We Are the World" together the other day). I also have a little cave-thingie in my tank where the small fish can hide should the big ones decide they'd like seafood for dinner.

No clues or suspects

No other fish are dying -- well, one did, but the police attributed that to spontaneous combustion. The water is clean, and I haven't heard any gunshots. Yet every time I purchase another white fish -- each of whom takes a name that I can't remember but usually has something to do with unicorns or rainbows -- it seems fine for a couple weeks, then kicks the bucket.

Now some of you may be saying it's time to 'fess up, that no child can be insulated from death forever. That's not the case with my daughter. She's had a grandma die, a cat get run over and regularly sees what I look like in the morning. She's had plenty of fish die (when I lived near the water in Benicia, my oldest daughter and I would have burials at sea when one of our fish died, until the day the seagulls came and ruined everything).

And lately, my kid is going through a phase where she gets upset over dead bugs. She gets hysterical over roadkill. She refuses to use mouthwash because she saw the part on the label about it "killing germs."

With all these girls in my life, I have enough crying. I don't like to see little girls upset over dead stuff, so I like to pretend it didn't happen. That's right -- healthy parenting at its finest. She has the rest of her life ahead of her and plenty of things down the road to cry about.

Contact Tony Hicks at thicks@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow him on Facebook, www.facebook.com/BayAreaNewsGroup.TonyHicks. Read his blog, Insert Foot, at www.ibabuzz.com.