Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Who keeps changing the damn rules?!?

When I first stole Goldie from my parents, it was because I loved her personality, and I wanted to give her a better life than that bowl my parents kept her in. I got her a nice 5 gallon tank, which was WAY bigger than her bowl, and she loved it. I also joined a goldfish yahoo group to be able to pick the brains of people who have owned goldfish for years. Almost immediately, I found out that the tank I had just gotten her was too small for any goldfish, but especially her type. She's a comet, and they grow up to 12 inches, and love to zip around at high speeds. The people in the group informed me that you need at least 10 gallons per goldfish, because of the amount of ammonia they produce, and the bigger the tank the better. Fine. I immediately bought a 12 gallon tank for Goldie, and "rescued" a betta from the horrid cups at the pet store to live in the 5 gallon tank (no point in having it go to waste!).

Goldie likes the new tank even more, but she's starting to outgrow it (she's about 5 - 6" long now), and she really needs a goldfish friend to play with. So I have embarked on my first no-buy (perfume, that is, and anything else I can stop myself from getting) EVER, and it's killing me! The plan is to get a 30 gallon tank with an eclipse hood, and a stand as well, over the next couple months. I figured the extra 10" in length (that's 30" long, total) would provide more swimming space, and the extra gallons would allow for another goldfish. I've gotten pretty psyched, and posted about my plans in my Goldfish group.

Well. Apparently, I'm not as good a fish-mom as I thought I was! I got a message from one of the members saying that I needed a several hundred gallon tank for Goldie, especially if I'm going to get another comet to keep her company! What the fuck?!? No one there has ever told me that the entire time I've been a member, and I've asked for advice several times. He suggested that in the meantime, I should get at least a 60 gallon tank for her. No one has since posted to the contrary, which means (in that group) that everyone agrees with him. So why the hell did no one say anything before when I posted my ideas and asked for comments and advice?

Chris and I are by no means poor, but a 60 gallon tank (or more) plus the stand, filtration system, etc. is a real investment. And although he's in favor of a large tank, and has actually wanted one since way before I got into fish, he doesn't want to get one now. We live in a townhouse, so there's not a whole lot of room for a big tank, and we're not sure how much weight the floors can take. Also, we don't intend to live here for many more years, and moving a big tank would be a bitch-and-a half. Not only would the tank and stand have to be considered, but also dealing with the water and getting it all set back up and cycled quickly in the new home (wherever that might be!).

So I'm just really pissed right now, at myself and at the situation. I don't want to waste money by buying incrementally larger tanks every 6 months or so, but I don't want Goldie in a tank that's too small - that can seriously harm a fish, and her species can live 20 years or more if cared for properly. I can't live with the idea of not caring for her properly. There's also the fact that if I tell Chris what I really think we should do and how much it would cost, he'll hit the roof. And most likely nix it. I want to pull my hair out!!!

Why can't we just win the fucking Powerball?


Atreau said...

Dude, 60 gallon tank?!?!? I have Christopher (the turtle) in a 20 gallon one but he really likes it.

He has social anxiety disorder and hides in one spot of the tank, he doesn't like to swim around a lot he just likes to float.

I read that they can grow as big as medium sized pizzas in the wild (look at me with a food reference and all!)

He's tried to escape twice from his tank. I was told to bring hom out of the tank and I did so often when he was tiny but he hated it, he'd hide in his shell the entire time so now he's in the tank full time and thrives there.

He was a gift and has been with me for a year and a half now.

Mama Mia, if I bought him a 60 gallon tank I bet he'd get huge which I think would lower his self esteem thus he'd have more problems with the anxiety!

katiedid said...

Yikes, I didn't know goldfish were so long-lived. That's amazing to me. Twenty years. Wow.

I just can't imagine how heavy and huge a sixty gallon tank would be. Maybe you can find another goldfish group or message board to ask advice and share with, too. Sounds like the other one is not comprised of the most forthcoming individuals.

Trina said...

S - his few trips out of his tank probably made him realize that he actually liked it there, so no more escape attempts! If he's happy in his home, no need to change it on him and traumatize him!

K - I didn't know they lived so long either, till I got Goldie and started researching. The reason they usually don't live long is that people (like me, pre-research) keep them in tanks that are too small. This stunts their growth, causing curvature of the spine and organ damage. Much like buying a kitten and forcing it to live in a shoebox-sized cage would. Logically it makes sense - we buy/adopt most young animals expecting them to grow, but not fish for some reason.

I've been looking for a new goldfish group (b/c I agree with your assessment), but there are very few that are as active. I just wish one of those assholes had said something *months* ago! I could have started saving (and mentally preparing Chris) then, and she might already be in a big-ass tank by now!

Kate said...

What about releasing it into a pond or something? I've seen released goldfish (not Koi) and they grow to be BIG suckers! Carp are pretty tough fish... I bet even a former pet can hold it's own. Just a thought.

Trina said...

Releasing pets (even fish) is just a pretty way of saying that one is abandoning them. It's never fair or kind to put an animal raised in captivity into the wild and expect it to fend for itself. Even if I were to consider it, there's no guarantee that local waters are safe or appropriate for a goldfish. Also, the environmental repercussions of releasing non-native species into the wild can be far-reaching and devastating.

I'm not trying to be harsh, but to me it's no different from the people who drive unwanted cats out to rural areas and dump them, expecting the locals to put food out, or for the cats to survive on their own. Being a wildlife rehabber, I'm in touch with a lot of people in such areas and the stories I hear are just heartbreaking. I know most people don't consider fish on the same level as cats or other pets, but I consider all my animal responsibilities to be equally serious. And Goldie has as much personality as any other pet I've ever had, if not more!

Kate said...

I'm sorry Trina. I didn't think of it that way. I think it's an especially good point about non-native species and how they might effect the ecosystem.

Trina said...

K - No need to apologize! People release their goldfish all the time, and most don't think twice about it. One of my friends when growing up had a small tank, and whenever her fish got too big her mom would release them and buy more.

I hope I wasn't too forceful - I wasn't trying to be, I'm just a bit sensitive about animals, and my babies in particular! :~D