Goldfish have the wrong reputation. We often see them as good first pets because they are easy to take care of, don’t leave a mess and they are useful to teach the importance of feeding and care to a child before moving on to a bigger pet with more responsibility. This is all true but it is also true that many of these goldfish die within the first few days or weeks. Many people simply think that the lifespan of a goldfish is incredibly small and that it is another good reason to have them as a first pet. They will die before a proper bond can be struck and it likely won’t be the child’s fault. Well, this is where you are wrong. Goldfish have a very long lifespan.
The average goldfish should live to around ten to fifteen years with the longest living goldfish on record living to 43 years old. A goldfish can be a fantastic pet and lifelong companion for its owner if it is looked after properly. Unfortunately, most people do not know how to look after a goldfish and so it will quickly die in the new home it is given.
To properly care for a goldfish you need a tank that is big enough. A standard goldfish requires a 30-gallon tank and you should be adding ten more gallons for every additional goldfish. If you have three goldfish, that is a fifty-gallon tank. Goldfish are often portrayed in a small bowl and so this has become the norm (it is called a goldfish bowl after all) yet this is far too small for a goldfish. If it is left in a bowl of this size it’s internal organs will continue to grow and it will suffocate and die.
If you do buy a bigger tank but it doesn’t have a water filter then you are also going to have a dead goldfish on your hands pretty quickly. Goldfish require clean water and a filter is essential. Still, stagnant water will actually poison a goldfish. You must use a filter to aerate the water and change it every couple of days.
Finally, the sad truth is that when you buy a goldfish it may already be dying. The ones that are won at a carnival are likely a lost cause but even ones purchased at a pet store may be on the way out. Goldfish are used as disposable fish. They are bred in cramped quarters and rarely have a chance at proper survival. Many pet stores use them to make their tank run properly before putting more expensive fish inside.
Thankfully a large number of people are starting to understand what kind of pet a goldfish really is. Recently a story went viral of a vet operating on a goldfish that had cancer. The fish was certain to die but the surgery saved its life. In order to make the surgery a success the vet had to have three separate bowls of water. One to use as an anesthetic to knock the fish out, a second to keep it asleep during surgery, and a third to recover in. The fish actually had brain surgery!
When people read about this story they wondered why the goldfish wasn’t just flushed down the toilet and a new one purchased, they are only $5 after all. However, this is the approach we need to be careful of in this modern age. That goldfish had been with that family for many years and despite the low purchase price was very important to the family. They did everything they could to care for that fish and he will likely live for many more years now after a successful surgery.
The price of something does not determine its worth. We should all know that by now but if this goldfish has taught us a valuable lesson it is that love doesn’t come with a price.