Friday, March 13, 2009

In Which I Purchase A Family Pet

I don't know why I did it. Somehow when I woke up this morning I just felt like today was the day. So when the boys were out rummaging through "The Dark Forest" looking for sticks for our bean tepee I called the neighbor to keep an eye on them, scooped up Nutmeg and whisked her away to the pet store.

We were looking for a fish, a pretty, "girdle" gold fish, and I already had the name picked out.
We stopped at Petco first because it is the closest pet store. The fish lady was not happy that I intended to keep a goldfish in a fish bowl. That's right folks I had the audacity to think that a fish could be kept in a bowl! I know, I know, there should be a tattoo on my forehead that reads "Animal Abuser."
I was then treated to a informational lecture about how goldfish can live for 20 years (it was only 10 years the last time we bought a one) and by keeping a gold fish in a bowl I would be shrinking it's internal organs.

All the while I am thinking "I don't want a goldfish to last a long time. I want it to die in 12-18 months so the next kid can have a turn picking out a fish or, alternatively, I can give up pet ownership completely when this one goes to the great aquarium in the sky. I eat fish! Why is she trying to make me feel bad about keeping it in a bowl?? At least I don't plan on eating it. Do you even think a fish wants to live for 20 years? Their life is pretty darn boring."

She tried to sell me on a beta and then reluctantly said she would sell me a goldfish but she couldn't guarantee it. Guarantee it? A goldfish needs a guarantee? Ultimately I didn't like any of the goldfish at Petco so we told the fish keeper that we would think about it a little more.

We got back into the Samurai Mom Mobile and went down the road to Pet Smart. There was quite a line in the aquarium section of Pet Smart. Personally I think they do so much business because they don't give you guilt trips about what kind of bowl you keep your pet in. We had ample time to choose and I nearly got 2 fish to cram in my sardine can of a fish bowl. I decided against getting 2 at the moment but may consider picking up one of those tiny 12 cent fish in the future. (Does it bother anyone else that there is no cent key on the keyboard?)

I ended up with one $1.99 fantail gold fish. I picked out the tiniest one because she was the cutest and I was still feeling a tiny bit guilty about the bowl I planned to keep her in.

Nutmeg was very excited and insisted on carrying her through the store and all the way home. Once we got home I took my yarn stash out of the goldfish bowl, washed it out, added rocks (left from when Cheddar was still with us) and filled it up with water. Then we put her in.
(Portrait courtesy of Commander C)

Nutmeg kept trying to say her name through the entire trip. She pronounced it differently every time, eventually she figured it out. Boba Fett thinks it is too hard and wants her to have a nickname. I told him he will get it in time. I like the name...


Erika said...

Our goldfish, Canceroni, has already died. We kept it in a bowl as well. I don't think it was the bowl that killed it. I think it was me. When I changed all the water at once. So try not to change all the water at once. Even though it gets nasty. (BTW, I never said thank you for your note. THANK YOU! It made me cry that you would think of me.)

Sarah said...

A. I love the name
B. I can just see some very Portlandish pet store clerk being very disappointed at your audacity to use a fish bowl. Thanks for the laughs.

Afton said...

What did the PetCo lady suggest you keep your goldfish in?

And yes, it does bother me we don't have a "cent" key on the keyboard. I never use {these things} or this weird colon thing | that looks like a line anyway or this thing ^. I think we should replace one of those keys with the cent key. It made for better bleep words (i.e. #@&*!)

Anonymous said...

I'm a fish expert who happened across your "musings" about goldfish in bowls and with my 35+ years experience, I want to set this straight for you, since there seems to be a lot of misunderstanding as to why it is considered cruelty to keep goldfish in bowls.

store should additionally STOP selling small aquariums and bowls, and this will even moreso help to prevent this situation.

Is keeping a goldfish in a bowl cruelty? Indeed. Why?

Goldfish are extremely filthy fish. They look very clean and sparkling, but their feces carries some of the most potent debris that a fish can produce, and instead of just dissipating as other feces do, theirs turns into microscopic fecal matter, floating in the water, which the filter cannot accommodate for. When there is no filter, the fish is breathing his own sewer water.

In order to accommodate a goldfish as a juvenile, it must have at least 10 gallons of water to itself, and as it grows, 3" or more, 25, and less than 50 PER goldfish.

This is why the bowl is not recommended. The fish can be poisoned by its own poo by a disease called Ammonia/Nitrite Poisoning. The first signs are when the fish is at the top, gulping, or breathing, and the second and third signs are skin lesions or burns (white patches sometimes or streaks of red in fins and around gills/tail) and then the fish's swim bladder becomes distorted by the poison and it can either no longer swim down, or it can no longer swim at all. Many of them lay at the bottom of the tank, because they are not able to swim anymore. The eventual course is death.

This can all be prevented, of course, by housing the fish in the proper house to begin with. Adding a good filter, water changes at the rate of 10% monthly, and moderating the feeding rituals are good fish-keeping skills for goldfish keepers.

Bowls, last but not least, are very small. One goldfish in a 3 gallon bowl is the same size as one person living in a 6'x6' cell. They can't swim far, they can't breed, they are kept alone and it's just sad that anyone would keep a fish this way, when in this world, fish tanks are given away on Craigslist just takes a few more minutes and a little more time to accommodate your pet properly.

For this reason, I suggest not using a bowl. True, they should be banned from the petstore profession, because there is no way to properly filter one, and goldfishes are not the only fishes dying in bowls. Bettas, tetra, mollies and other species often forfeit their lives because of inexperience and a small bowl. The combination is deadly, in potential.

So, to the musing mom who wrote the blog, yes, keeping fish in bowls is not only cruel, but it's usually a death sentence running a short lifespan.

Whether the animal cost 29 cents or $1000, it is still a living creature and it deserves better water quality, than living in its own poo.

Happy fish-keeping

Fish Deeva
All Experts Expert