So, you think you want to get your child a fish (or 4) as a pet? You feel guilty because you can’t get him the puppy he has been asking about for over 2 years? You think they will be simple and easy to take care of?
True – you don’t have to housetrain them, walk them, or pick up their poop – in the traditional sense of the word.
BUT they are not as easy as you think they will be.
They have to have a certain temperature of water – which changes slightly with the temperature of the house. They have to have food that is nutritious and filling, not just dried flakes every time – those don’t provide enough nutrition and they make them constipated. YES, I said constipated fish. How do you know a fish is constipated? They float upside down or sideways – but are still breathing. If the water PH, Nitrates, Amonia, Nitrites, and “Hardiness” are not properly maintained they will get sick – things like cloudy eyes, fin rot, scales falling off, and more.
TRUST ME – it is not as easy as you might think to maintain a goldfish tank water quality. We have a large enough tank. We have a filter, we have a warmer, we have a bubbler. I do partial water changes every other day, and vaccume the rocks every week. THIS is supposed to keep the tank clean and problem free. It does not. I am currently trying to change out my rocks, completely clean the whole tank out, and replace 50% of the water, followed by daily partial changes for a good 2 weeks. Followed by vacuuming the rocks every few days instead of once a week.
APPARENTLY goldfish are very
nasty dirty fish in the fact that they poop a lot and release many many nitrites and other gross stuff into the water.
Add to that the fact that I left for a week and came back to green water (despite my admonitions to at least clean the water every few days) and one fish eating another fish’s tail and top fin. I mean the tail was GONE. I had to start watching closely and decided the best course of action was to scare the shit out of the eater. I chased him around the tank with a net every time he went for the eaten one. In fact, I cornered him several times and chased him for 2 whole minutes one time. He has stopped eating the other fish, but the tail is growing oh so slowly.
Also, *apparently* it is very easy to over feed fish. Especially when they start darting around the tank freaking out and sucking on the rocks and houses when you don’t feed them every day.
Come to think of it, maybe getting a fish tank is the best way to see if you really WANT pets after all. Perhaps we aren’t really a “pet” kind of family…