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Goldfish can make good pets
Member Name: Stephoohla
Date: 24/08/09, updated on 25/08/09 (321 review reads)
Advantages: A novelty pet, great for kids as a first pet
Disadvantages: You can't cuddle it, they get boring quickly
I've pretty much had a goldfish all my life. Right from when I was a young children, begging my mum for a puppy, I got a goldfish for Christmas. When that died a couple of years later, my mum replaced it as another way to deter my eagerness for a dog.
Every goldfish has been replaced since my first one, and now that I've moved out and left home, I still have a goldfish. During my teens, I was getting bored of this goldfish and probably didn't give it as much love and care as it deserved, but somehow this has seemed to make it stronger, and the current goldifsh I own is 6 years old, much older than any of my previous fish lasted for.
Goldfish don't do a lot when they're in a fish tank. They swim a little, they gulp water, they eat if you put food at the top. Occasionally, if you have a little bridge ornament or something similar, they'll swim through it which causes a bit of excitement, luring you into thinking that your goldfish is possible of doing tricks. But then they never do it again and you realise it was all a fluke. Goldfish supposedly have seven second memories, and forget everything every seven seconds. I suppose that would make sense as to why they live for so long living such a boring life in a fish tank. I think if any human being lived a similar lifestyle they'd end up going mental.
So why do people get such a boring pet? Well, for starters, they're a good first pet for a child. It can be a daunting aspect introducing a small kid to a pet dog, or even a sharp-clawed cat. A goldfish cannot harm your child, nor can your child really harm it, so long as its out of reach when you're not around to keep an eye on them both.
Owning a pet is one of the most educational things you can do to help your child, as it teaches life cycles, life and death, the necessity for food and water and good care and attention, and basically prepares your child for a more grown up world early on in life. Obviously when purchasing a goldfish most people don't give it this much consideration, but these aspects are still there when buying a fish for a child.
Another reason why goldfish are given to children is because often, kids, at one point or another, will ask for a pet. Usually their request will be for a dog, a cat or a pony. Unless you're amazingly rich or impulsive or another reason of why you might suddenly buy one of these animals, often most parents will say 'when you're older' or 'we can't afford it'. But children don't often forget, therefore will keep asking for a pet, and after much compromise, generally the goldfish will get talked about. Goldfish are typically easy to look after, don't need too much attention or care as they amuse themselves. Parents see this as an easy pet for the a child to look after.
Not just parents though. Any can look after a goldfish, which is probably why they are so popular. For a full time workaholic who wants a pet but can't care for it, a goldfish is perfect, as all it needs is feeding morning and night. For an elderly person who would find it difficult to look after a bigger animal, a goldfish is perfect as its easy to look after. A goldfish is also perfect for students who want the responsibility of a pet but either aren't allowed pets in their accommodation, or more importantly, cannot afford to look after a larger animal!
Goldfish are probably the cheapest pet you can buy. The very basic kit you need for a goldfish is a tank (ask the pet store what size is suitable), some gravel to put at the bottom of the tank, a plant or two/ornament to liven up the tank, and goldfish food. Some people also buy water softener or a treatment that takes the chlorine out of the water, but I've never used this. Quite a lot of fish lovers would probably call me cruel, but my goldfish have always lasted a long time, longer than average I'd say, so I'm going to stick to the motto "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". It was never recommended to me by a pet shop, and my fish seem fine, so I don't see the need for this stuff.
I'll try and write up a typical price guide for the above kit. A meduim sized plastic goldfish bowl is about £5-6 depending on where you go. A rectangular ank is a little more expensive as they tend to be made of glass, so they are about £20. A bag of gravel ranges between £1.50 to £4, depending on what type of gravel. Usually really pretty gravel or coloured gravel is around the £3-£4 range, but this is only for decoration and doesn't benefit the fish at all. You can get a small/medium sized ornament for between £2 and £4. And plants are a lot cheaper, with some being 50p or £1 (these are for plastic ones). Goldfish food can get expensive, but I find that the Tetra food is popular with all the fish I've had. A small tub of that is about £1, with a larger tub being about £3.
Once you've chosen your goldfish, you'll be given him/her in a plastic bag, tied at the top. You then need to get your fish home quickly and safely. Once at home, you should clean out the gravel thoroughly in a bowl of water (no soap or Fairy Liquid or anything). Swish the gravel around in water at least a good ten times to make sure there isn't any cloudiness. Then pour the gravel into the tank and level it down, making sure it's about an inch to an inch and a half deep. More if you've got a bigger tank, obviously.
If you have any ornaments or plants, push them into the gravel as it will weight them down.
You'll then want to take the bag with the fish in, and let in float in the bowl for half an hour. This will let the water in the bag adjust to the water in the bowl, so that when it comes to moving the fish into the tank, it will not experience shock as the temperature will be different.
To move the fish, I find the easiest way to do this is to cut the top of the bag off whilst it is floating in the tank, then gently pour the contents of the bag into the tank.
For the first few days of having the fish, try not to make sudden movements around him/her so it can settle into its new environment in peace. There isn't really too much more to say about goldfish!
They definitely aren't the most exciting pet in the world, but make a good first pet for a child before you progress onto bigger animals, and a good choice for someone who hasn't got lots of time to dedicate to the pet.
Summary: A boring pet, but great if you haven't got much time on your hands
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