Fishin’ at a Fair
By Lynn Whittaker, Bow Wow U
It’s that time of year for food, fairs, festivities, and fish? Yes, fish.
How many of us have attended a fair, tossed a beanbag into a hoop, and come home with a goldfish in a plastic bag? As an adult who still carries on the tradition of attending the fairs that mark the summer’s end, I still see little children walking the fairgrounds with the infamous fish in a bag. Sadly, these goldfish have seen the fair through the bag, been juggled from hand to hand, got a bit warm, and might very well be feeling a bit “seasick” from all that movement. Now, these poor fish have finally come “home”, but what to do with your new fish, you ask? It is now an adult’s responsibility to tell the children, that even though they are small, fish are living creatures and will need proper care and feeding. So where do you go beyond the bag the fish came in?
For starters, you should create living environments that will sustain your new finned friend for 5-10 + years. This is how long goldfish can live if well cared for according to Pets Press fish expert, Peter Oddo. They also can grow to 6″ needing at least 10 gal of water per fish. Of course, you can start small, and Peter recommends 1 fish per 10 gal tank, changing 20 % of the tank’s water per month. Goldfish need a lot of space to live in and will not live long in a bowl. They need quite a bit of air surface and a bowl lacks this as well as the filtration of the water. Goldfish are dirty and messy, and filtration is necessary to keep the water cycle, full of oxygen and cleaned from excess food and waste. Peter says the best thing for goldfish is keeping their water clean. The water that they will live in will most likely come from your tap and should be pre-treated before a fish swims in it. At most, you will need a dechlorinating product. If your water is treated by chloramination (your water authority can tell you), ask your local pet shop to help you get the correct products.
The goldfish require light and approximately eight hours of it daily. So a tank with attached lighting would be ideal. Now that you have determined where the fish will live, you need to consider how the fish will live in its environment. Consider what will cover the bottom of your tank. Should you opt for stone, it’s best to get stone that your goldfish will not get caught in and will not attempt to eat and choke. Some other important things to consider for your finned friend are a syphoning vacuum for cleaning the tank and changing water, a couple of buckets that you can comfortably lift full of water; one for removing old water and one for aging freshwater, and an algae scrubber for the tank glass. An in-tank thermometer is essential so you can be certain your fish is living in a comfortable and properly climate-controlled environment. 68 degrees (farenheit) is the most suitable temperature.
Lastly, we need to feed our fish. Peter says, “Adult fish should be fed once per day, two or three pellets around the size of the fish’s eye should suffice, and you should omit 1 feeding per week. So as the fairs begin to hit our communities, perhaps we can do our best to educate young children on the care of the potential goldfish they may win while tossing the beanbag. Though much of the items needed are not costly individually, they can add up cumulatively.