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Why Goldfish Make Good Pets

Updated on November 17, 2010
My goldfish do not like having their photos taken - I think I may have just blinded them with the flash.
My goldfish do not like having their photos taken - I think I may have just blinded them with the flash.

The question arises in our house, from time to time, 'when can we get a dog?'  The answer almost always is a resounding 'NEVER', to much stamping of feet and scowling of small faces.  'So can we have a cat instead then?'  Rubbing of chins ensues, and pondering of possibilities, maybe a cat would be nice.  But no, it would not be fair, as we live on a busy road and have lost two small fluffballs to speeding vehicles already.  We cannot risk the lives of any more poor creatures.

We have fish, and they do just nicely.  I say nicely: we did have four, but over the past three years two have died, and one has developed severe cataracts it seems, and possibly some kind of nasty brain disease - although that particular fish seems happy enough.  The last fish seems to be entering the twilight of its life, as it has developed what I assume is the fish equivalent of grey hair - a white underbelly.

We have enjoyed keeping our goldfish.  I have never forgotten to feed them, and I am very certain that the two that died did so of natural causes and not because of any neglect on my part.  They could not really be any easier to take care of.  They need to be fed once every day or two, just a few flakes per fish.  They need their water to be filtered, and they need their tank cleaning every now and again.  There are some chemicals that you need to add, to keep the tank healthy and safe for the fish, but you only need to add these when you change the water.

Our goldfish enjoy the bubbles generated by an air brick.  The air brick isn't necessary in all tanks, but if you choose not to have oxygenating plants in yours it might be a good idea so that your fish can breathe.  Our tank is so small that the air brick really is not needed at all, because plenty of oxygen is absorbed from the surface.  But we found that our fish loved the bubbles, so we kept the brick.  We noticed that our fish seem to be depressed when we turn the bubbles off so that we can use the socket to plug in the hoover; when the bubbles stop the fish sink down to the pebbly floor and stay there unmoving until the bubbles start up again.  Bless them.

Of course, the obvious plus of keeping goldfish, aside from the fact that they don't need walking, is that they are just so lovely to watch.  Watching fish in a tank can be so calming.  It is true that they really don't do much, but they never stop moving, and the effect of just seeing these fascinating little beings move around their tiny home can by hypnotic.  When I am watching them I don't think about anything else, my body relaxes and I know that my eyes widen in wonder and I smile.  It's like seeing a piece of another world right in your own kitchen (ours are in the kitchen, I don't know where yours are.)

I cannot really recommend fish as pets highly enough.  They are a pet that can occupy as much or as little of your time as you choose.  You can turn fish keeping into a big hobby, or you can largely ignore them if you wish (although, please don't let them just die!)

Other people have beautiful fish tanks, of interesting shapes and various sizes.  I particularly like a tall hexagonal shaped tank that one friend of mine has.  The tank is a thing of beauty in itself.  Our tank is just a tank, rectangularish, four-sided, not tall, not wide, not deep.  It is a starter tank, and has been perfect, but we think we are ready for the next level of tank.  We feel ready to move on from goldfish.  Oh, do not fret - we are not intending to kill off our little orange friends, they will be moved to the bigger apartment, and will have some new friends.

In the new bigger tank we would like to have some tetras, and maybe a couple of catfish, perhaps a little shark when we know what we're doing.  I really don't know all that much about tropical fish, but my dad does, and he had a shark once.  I do believe that these kinds of fish are a little more difficult to take care of, because you need to keep the tank cleaner and the conditions in the water more balanced.  With tropical fish you do need to monitor the temperature, though with freshwater fish you obviously do not need to monitor the salt levels.

Fish are fabulous, and if you can't be bothered with pets of the furry kind, then perhaps you might consider something scaly.


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