What to do with a carnival goldfish?

Friday, June 18, 2010

As a kid, I always wanted to win a fish at those silly carnival ring toss booths, At Hampden's Hon Fest last weekend, my aspirations were finally met. I won a small goldfish in a game called "fish toss." It was pretty straightforward, you just tossed the ping pong ball into an array of jars on a table, hopefully landing it inside one of them. Surprisingly this is a challenging task. The fish was awarded to me in a small plastic bag filled with water. Honestly, the goldfish looked pretty miserable (how would you feel inside a plastic bag?). Who knows if fish are even capable of sadness, but it certainly didn't look happy.

I toted the fish around the festival for a few hours, trying to keep it out of the sun. The tiny goldfish made for an excellent conversation point between strangers. Quite a few random people approached me, asking where on earth I got the poor thing from. My next question of course, was where on earth do these things even come from? Is there some huge goldfish manufacturing plant in China that raises the fish and packages them in these cheap plastic prisons?

Interestingly enough, my hypothesis was not too far from the truth. I discovered a point of controversy that dates back to the Beijing Olympics. Apparently keychains with a live goldfish in a plastic bag (see photo on right) were sold as "unofficial" souvenirs to tourists. Apparently most of the goldfish packaged in these bags would live no more than a few hours. You can imagine how animal welfare groups reacted to that one. The name and whereabouts of the manufacturer of these keychains is unknown. A few major newspapers even covered the story, check out this British paper, The Sun: Cruel Trader Sells Live Goldfish as Souvenir

Fascinating. The next day, the fish was still alive and kicking. My roommate, an experience fish owner came with me to Petsmart, where we bought the proper fish materials. First of all, the fish bowl. Secondly, rocks for the bottom of the bowl. Thirdly, fish food. Lastly and most importantly, water de-chlorinator. Apparently, tap water will slowly kill a fish, due to its chlorine and chemical contents (read more: http://fins.actwin.com/mirror/begin-tapwater.html). Good to know, so why don't more people know it?

Currently, the fish is doing quite well and swims energetically around his bowl. He's almost made it to the 1 week point. God be with him.


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