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LornaLove's avatar

Do you remember the days of the goldfish bowl?

Asked by LornaLove (9931points) June 8th, 2016

I remember quite clearly owning several goldfish during my childhood and once even added a big goldfish bowl to my lounge in my 20s. There were about four rather large goldfish in it. (I have since learned that this amount of goldfish were far too many).

They swam around happily for years.

Lately because I am not allowed pets (I am really not sure if goldfish qualify as a pet, since they leave no mess), I decided to get some goldfish.

I felt it was a rather fancy set up. Filter, large tank, special water stuff and the obligatory ornaments and plants.

Over a period of 2 weeks, I have lost and replaced a total of 5 goldfish. I am really shocked. Now it appears owning goldfish is a very scientific and expensive hobby. Who knew that you had to ‘turn over the tank’ before placing your fish and it can take up to two weeks. I have fancy sticks to test the water PH and I have an assortment of aids that keep the water up to par. I have bought two fancy filters in this short period as well as an array of medicines to treat various disorders that didn’t work at all.

This is a question of course. So, how come my goldfish that used to live in a bowl that I cleaned out when looking a bit grimy lived a happy life and this lot seem to die at the slightish environmental issue?

I had no filters, no dip sticks, and no medicines. I was even advised to take one fish to the vet, but alas he did not make it.

What has happened to goldfish lately? Or, is it the pet shop I am purchasing them from?

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21 Answers

janbb's avatar

Yeah, you just changed the tap water once in a while and they lived forever. We had one from a festival that lived for years until he committed suicide by flinging himself out of the bowl,

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Not to make light of it, but most Goldfish today are used for food for larger fish. Also old goldfish are not the new goldfish.
What is the diseases you are treating ? The disease maybe coming from the shop like you asked. How many dead fish are in the tanks at the shop ??

I raised fancy Angelfish and Gouramis, 40 or 50 years ago.

Tank cleanliness and not over feeding are important.

Coloma's avatar

Maybe the fish you are buying are diseased because I too had several pet goldfish and my daughter did as well, and they all lived for like 5 years or more. I had “Cedric & Edna” and they lived in a large bowl on a bookshelf in my living room back in my college days and they lived for years and quadrupled in size. They would take food from my fingers. I loved my goldfish. haha

zenvelo's avatar

My son won a goldfish at a school festival in 2007. Freddie is still with us, despite having been moved numerous times. Freddie is in nothing more than a large version of the fishbowl; a four gallon rectilinear tank with small stones at the bottom. His water gets changed about every two months.

I swear he recognizes my son. He will follow him around as my son moves through the room where the bowl is.

LornaLove's avatar

@Tropical_Willie Good points you raised there and it sent me off Googling the store. It appears that a lot of fish from this store die. I feel a bit relieved in a way since I know I had done everything I can think of. I am trying to find a better supplier as a lot say this is so important because of the reasons you say.

Some had an apparent swim bladder, all got those white spots some had the cotton wool effect. The latest one just sank to the bottom. Ugh nightmare.

LornaLove's avatar

@zenvelo Yes! Same here we had fish that lasted for years. They are more interesting than I thought and a lot more intelligent than I realized too. @janbb It seem maybe they have enough of living in a fish bowl so to speak and opt out!

Mariah's avatar

Never had fish as a kid but have some now in a 15 gallon aquarium. No fish can thrive in a bowl and despite popular belief, goldfish produce a particularly large amount of waste and therefore need bigger tanks

It’s all far more complex than most people realize. My tank was running for a month before I put any fish in it because I did fishless cycling. Right now my guppies have camallanus worms, so I’m treating them with antibiotics, but the meds are toxic to snails so my assassin snails are quarantined in my extra 5 gallon tank.

I actually think fish are higher maintenance pets than cats.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

What type of goldfish? Comets or fancy goldfish (think Black Moor with the big eyes!)? Comets need a 55 gallon tank (and up). With fancies, you need 20 gallons for the first fish and 10 gallons more for each additional fish.

How many gallons or litres is your tank? How many fish are in there? Too many and you may have an issue with ammonia. Ammonia kills fish.

Do you know about the nitrogen cycle? If not, you should.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

Also, you need to dechlorinate your tap water.

If you have any other questions don’t hesitate to ask.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

@zenvelo, Freddie needs a bigger place.

YARNLADY's avatar

Many fairs still give away a bag with a goldfish in it as a prize. This does not teach a child the value of life.

ibstubro's avatar

Maybe you should consider looking for a bait shop that has goldfish.

They might be like garden flowers:
you go to the nursery and buy hot-house flowers started who-knows-where and they’re slow to start and never really seem to thrive.
you go to the garden club or farmer’s market sale, and every plant you buy grows like a weed.

Locally acclimated stuff that hasn’t been overly fussed with usually thrives.

jca's avatar

I always hear people say their fish who came from a carnival or fair seem to survive well.

I have a tank with two red eared slider turtles (major filter that needs to be taken apart once a week for serious cleaning), a tank with two aquatic frogs and some fish (major filter which needs changing and monitoring), and a small one gallon tank with Siamese fighting fish (aka Betta fish), that has a small filter that also needs changing once a month.

I don’t do any special water treatments or anything, I just deal with the filters and once in a while, take the tanks apart and clean everything (sediment, slime).

LuckyGuy's avatar

I had one of those bowls as a child. I suapect my mother took care of it. I do recall taking a pinch of food and sprinkling it on the water.

BellaB's avatar

I love this question. I’ve been following along. It’s brought back some terrific memories of guppies and goldfish in bowls going back about 50 years. No filters, rarely cleaned those bowls. Why did those fish live/multiply as long as they did?

Soubresaut's avatar

My sister got a betta from a fair—she and two friends won them as prizes, and then ran to the nearby pet store to get equipment for the fish. They were literally running, and then leaving a hot car in the sun as they ran into the shop, so they left the fish with the booth for “safe keeping.” By the time they got back—less than half an hour—her friends’ two fish were dead and hers was distressed…. Why that half an hour made such a difference, I’m not sure. However, happy story for her little guy, he’s happy and thriving now!

SmartAZ's avatar

The first county fair in Yuma County, AZ was about the same time the first tv station went on the air. In those days tv sets came in steel cabinets to withstand the heat of the tubes. So the big deal at the fair was you gave a man a dime and threw a ping pong ball at a shelf full of goldfish bowls and you won the bowl and a fish in a plastic bag. So I took my little treasure home and put the fish in the bowl and, for lack of any other good place, I set it on the tv. The fish lasted several days and then went belly up. That is how we figured out that we shouldn’t put a goldfish bowl on top of the tv.

ibstubro's avatar

At what point did TV sets come in steel cabinets, @SmartAZ?
I’ve seen Bakelite and wood in early TVs.

SmartAZ's avatar

A portable tv had a steel cabinet with a handle on top. We’re talking about a cube 18 inches on a side and weighing 40 pounds or so. Wood cabinets had large vents to let the heat escape. Portables had small vents, so the cabinet got hotter.

Mariah's avatar

This helpful guide on goldfish was just posted to one of the aquarium forums I follow the other day, hope it’s illuminating:

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