August 24, 2010

New Member of the Household

We have a new member of our household:


The fish is Rob's: he wanted a pet of his own, and this is the one at the happy intersection of "he could afford it" and "we would allow it." We went out yesterday and he bought it. He had to pay for the fish, the gravel, the food, the plant, and a portion of the tank equivalent to the price of a fish bowl; I paid for the rest of the tank.

I had several goldfish when I was his age, and I kept them in a bowl. No filter. No water conditioner: I left the replacement bowl water out overnight to get rid of the chlorine. No weekly water testing. May I suggest you not say such things to a fish expert? We bought a 2.5-gallon tank and she said we could keep (a) MAYBE (b) ONE (c) SMALL goldfish in there, and that we would need a filter and water conditioner and a test kit. We got the filter (because it was part of the tank we chose, which was half-price because it was the display model) but neither the water conditioner nor the test kit. Then I went back and bought the water conditioner because rrrrrgg, but not the test kit! I draw the line!


Perhaps this is why he's sulking? Because this is all he's doing: he's not doing much swimming, he's just sort of hovering in the water. Sometimes he looks at his reflection for awhile. I seem to remember my goldfish being more active, but maybe that's because they were endlessly surprised by each other's existence. Not exceptionally bright, are goldfish.

Rob thinks maybe he should have gotten gravel instead of stones: he read that goldfish like to dig around in the gravel. I wonder if maybe the fish needs another fish, despite the fish expert saying we would need a TEN-gallon tank for two goldfish (DECLINE). We also think he dislikes the tank light: when we turn it off, he swims around more, and when we turn it back on he retreats to the shadowy end of the tank.

You cannot imagine how much time we have spent trying to figure out this goldfish's FEELINGS and PREFERENCES.

37 comments:

Amanda said...

HA. We have a beta in a tank/bowl that is in water that has never been changed and we usually remember to feed it. He's been with us over a year. I'm not willing to put much more effort into the care and keeping of our fish, whose name is Skittles. What did Rob name his fish?

Mrs. Dennis said...

I would keep the light off, then, or find a cover for it that makes it emit less light- more plants will help with his light sensitivity, too.

He probably feels scared and naked.

sara said...

Ahhh fish...I've had several and sadly have spent many hours attempting to figure them out. Only to have Husband say, "It's a fish. Feed it. That's all." He's a purest.

Swistle said...

Amanda- No name yet: in true Thistle fashion (kitten STILL unnamed), Rob is having trouble choosing.

Christy said...

I'm also awaiting the name.

I can't believe the woman at the pet store. Does she not work at the same place where there are like 500 fish in each display tank? The Petsmart I go to has Betta fish in 1-pint soup containers. They can barely turn around.

d e v a n said...

I'd totally get him a friend. We've bought little goldfish at Walmart for like... 80 cents or something.

Pickles and Dimes said...

We had five goldfish (and an algae eater) in a 32-gallon tank, and they grew to be MONSTERS that you can no longer flush when they die because they are so HUGE, so I think another goldfish will fit just fine. (We are now down to only two goldfish, but those other three lived for about 7-8 years.)

Maybe get him a little skull/castle thingy to hide out in until he's feeling more brave?

Erica said...

Do goldfish have feelings?

We have a 110 gallon saltwater aquarium and I'm constantly anthropomorphizing our fish. It drives my husband batshit crazy.

JMT said...

I'm sympathetic, as I was the proud owner of the most high-maintenance goldfish in the world - one goldfish in a 10 gallon tank, yes, with a filter. His name was Quincy (for quince, for me being in spanish and 15 when I got him). We periodically tried to add other little fishies but Quincy, I kid you not, would do swim-nearby-and-try-to-bite attacks on them (including a lovely little sucker fish named Dix-Huit).

Then I went to college and my parents took care of Quincy for 2.5 more years before getting sick of him and returning him to a pet store at age 6.5. Apparently when they get that old, they are actually more valuable and the store reassured my parents that some actually worthwhile carp owner would be delighted to find such a senior goldfish available.

Anyway, I too recommend that if the goldfish is not working out for you, try a beta. The saleswoman was not just trying to get you to spring for lots of unnecessary stuff - carp are filthy fish and really do require a LOT of bowl/tank cleaning and attention.

Have fun!

C (Kid Things) said...

We have a 5 gallon tank with 3 HUGE goldfish who are surviving just brilliantly. We even had a 4th up until last month when it acquired ich and died before I could treat it. I think your fish expert who, probably knew what they were doing, but was being overly and dramatically cautious.

Jenni said...

Fish don't have feelings. Also, they have no short term memory, so every time he swims to the top of the tank, he's all "ooh, what is this cool place?" A million times a day. Life is an adventure.

MonkeyBusiness said...

Sounds like this person was less of a "fish expert" and more of a "selling more expensive crap expert."

I say live on the wild side and get another fish!

jive turkey said...

Haha! I love it. I always had betas, and I never kept them in those TEENY bowls they sell them in. Tiny fish brain or not, they can't ENJOY that shit.

js said...

We always got fish in pairs. And my sister and I kept them in a.....maybe 2 gallon bowl? I don't know, the size of a large mixing bowl. They survived just fine and for a long time. But when my daughter had fish, we got a tank with a filter and all the works, one fish at a time, those fish died rapidly.

And I second what someone else said, there are TONS of fish in the tanks at the pet store...so...what's with her insistence that you don't want to overcrowd them?

Superjules said...

I had several fish over my childhood years which I kept in bowls. They didn't last long but, do any fish really?

And then my dad took me to the pet store when I was 11 or so to buy me some fish. The Fish Expert told us he wouldn't sell us fish unless we bought a tank and water filter and came back the next day to get the fish!

Jess said...

When I was about Rob's age I really wanted a goldfish, and my parents decided to go one step further and get a whole big fancy tank with filters and test kits and all sorts of fish in it, which was great and all, except all I had wanted was a goldfish in a bowl. And that's what I ended up getting a year or so later, while the fish tank was my dad's responsibility.

Also, I have kept a betta in a bowl as recently as 2006. Nobody said anything to me about fancy tanks, and my fish lived for ages and seemed to like the bowl (in that it, you know, swam around in it, which is really the only way we can guess at fish happiness).

Karen said...

I don't know about goldfish (I've had a few, but they've all committed suicide by leaping out of the bowl in the middle of the night), but my son bought a couple of minnows for about 11 cents each, and he's had them for close to a year now. Two of them, in a normal-sized fishbowl. With nothing else. They're completely happy.

Also, he's been feeding them goldfish food, and they've turned orange. Weird.

Holly said...

We got a goldfish last year, with a small tank, filter, etc... it died the FIRST night. My husband went out and replaced it while our son slept. Fish #2 lasted two weeks. Fish #3 died WHILE we we were outside burying Fish #2. Thus ended our experiment with fish.

Elsha said...

When we were kids my brothers used to keep some fish in a five gallon (I think) tank in their room. Pretty sure it had a filter, although I'm not sure why they cared about that since most of the time the crawdads they caught in the ditch and then put in the fish tank ate the fish anyway. (Why bother with fish at all if what you really want is a tank full of ditch crawdads? I DON'T KNOW.)

P.S. Did you know crawdads can climb out of a fish tank and crawl around the house in the middle of the night? Well they CAN.

Sam said...

I haven't checked the comments, so I apologize if this is redundant: one gallon per inch of fish. That is the rule I have always heard & attempted to live by in my fish household. And yes, the inch is length not width or mass or something equally obtuse.

St said...

He's cute! I totally kept more fish than that in a smaller space. Experts are annoying. ;)

Em said...

Oh, don't even get me started on PETCO. They actually REFUSED to sell me a FEEDER goldfish for my kid because we admitted we didn't have a filtered tank. They pulled this stunt right in front of my kid, too. I am a licensed veterinarian, for goodness sake. I mean, this was a feeder goldfish (for feeding to other pets) that my son wanted to "rescue." They refused...we walked out.
We bought a fish from Walmart and put him in the bowl and he is still alive...three years later. Happy as a...fish.

Oh, and another time we had a scared/hidey fish and when we bought him a friend, he swam around a lot more. :O)

Clarabella said...

My dad stocks his pond, OUTSIDE, open to the elements & sans filter, with those goldfish. They are not nearly as delicate as the pet store employee was making them seem. Get the poor thing a friend if Rob wants one. Sheesh.

WV: Slecker (good name for a fish)

Anonymous said...

We had the same problem with our goldfish it just sat on the bottom of the tank then we bought a second fish and it started swimming around instantly and has never stopped since. I think he was just lonely. Now we have nemo 1 and nemo 2.

el-e-e said...

I totally want to get my son a fish! But I've faltered twice now, after going into the store with INTENT, after seeing the recommendations about a 10 gallon tank and supplies and such. Yeesh.

DomestiKook said...

I have a 3 gallon tank for my tiny apt, I have 3 ghost shrimp, 2 african frogs, 1 rubber lipped sucker fish, 1 very tiny platty and 2 dwarf Gouramis. The sucker fish and shrimp and are the fish world equivilant of zero carbon emissions. They help keep the tank clean! So, yeah, I'd get another fish and maybe a sucker fish. I'd name the goldfish Fluffy.

Jen said...

We had fish when I was little and the only thing I remember about them was they kept jumping out of the tank. I had bettas for several years, just in regular bowls, after the jumping fish incident.

This may or may not be true but I feel like I remember reading or being told that gold fish grow to the size of their tank. So goldfish can get really big in a pond but they will stay tiny in a bowl. I'd say get another fish. The sales person was probably just trying to sell you a bigger tank.

Livinia Redlips said...

Oh, those fish store workers are like the FISH POLICE or something!

I would get some Aquasafe - it's cheap, you just need a few drops each water change and it really does work (we've had a cloud fish that came home w/my son from school on the last day in 1st grade...he's starting 7th grade in september)...I've always put a pinch of salt in there too (per advice) - and he is one happy fish, in his bowl w/o filter/heater etc etc.

http://www.amazon.com/TETRA-POND-3-3OZ-Tetra-Aquasafe/dp/B002Q0TO54/ref=sr_1_12?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1282689298&sr=1-12

Congrats Rob - love the rocks!

CARRIE said...

I am thinking about getting my 6-year-old a beta for Christmas. As if the 3 kids and 2 cats and 1 husband (which is slightly more work than the other 5 combined) isn't enough.

Laughed out loud about it's feelings and preferences.

kris (lowercase) said...

peta has taken over the goldfish industry i think... i got the same crap from a petshop guy about a gold fish too. my son had one, in a bowl, that lived about 3 yrs..he kept getting some float bladder thing and would be upside down. when that happened i would feed him a pea (yes, like one i unfroze and squished out of its tough skin) which 'cures' that until the next time..

Marilyn (A Lot of Loves) said...

I had fish for awhile. It went okay until the Beta died of pneumonia and the Gouramis started to eat each other.

I'm pretty sure you could add a second fish to the tank. It sounds like she's trying to upsell the tanks. Also he might want more foliage to hide in.

Becki D said...

OK SuperMom! What with your childrens, and existing cats, then a new adopted kitty and now a freakin' fish on top of it all....you're putting the rest of us who can barely keep up with our two kids to shame!!:-P

You're awesome. I hope your family appreciates that!

Also, how did your date go last night?? Was the Hubs totally wowed by your final choice of clothes? (or was he like mine, who probably wouldn't notice if I wore the same thing every time we left the house?)

anne nahm said...

This kinda makes me want to see a goldfish version of Best in Show !

PS: My word is PSORN. Like PS! and porn! and they are already doing it.

Swistle said...

Becki D.- It went great! I wore the same black cami and unbuttoned button-down-shirt combo I wore to the Christmas party last year, except with fancy black sandals. I don't think he particularly noticed, though he did raise his eyebrows. The food was PERFECT, just like last time.

Suzanne said...

He needs a little castle or someplace to hide until he gets used to you, then he'll swim more. Also, fish do have long-term memories, they can even be trained to swim through mazes for a reward and can remember the route of the maze for up to 3 weeks. :) #fishfacts

HHRose said...

Ha! We went through this exactly one year ago when trying to buy "a few cute fish" for my utterly obsessed son's 1st birthday. And got the same spiel about tanks and filters and whathaveyou. And I was thisclose to disregarding him, buying some avante garde glass bowl and a few gold fish. Then the guy told me that the gold fish die from their own poop poison (ammonia, maybe?) when their tank isn't big enough, and then I felt like a premeditating murderer. We went with a membership to the local aquarium, instead.

Kelsey said...

the happy intersection of "he could afford it" and "we would allow it."

LOVE that line!

One of my college roommates had a fish that we swore used to beg. Fish would swim to the front of the bowl and somehow look expectantly at anyone who entered the kitchen. As soon as we left, Fish went back to haphazard floating.