The Goldfish Whisperer.Posted: September 29, 2009
In the post before this one, I made a comment about the life expectancy of the average goldfish.
I’m willing to bet that if I looked hard enough, I could find some reference that would tell me that wild, ocean going goldfish live to be thirty five years old. Perhaps some aquarium manager will chime in with a comment.
My experience as a kid, and I’m guessing yours too, was that goldfish live about two and a half days. They come home in the plastic bag, they go in the bowl. You feed them a few times and then they go to the porcelain mausoleum.
A few years ago, Mrs. Omawarisan mentioned that she would like to have an aquarium with some goldfish. I thought to myself at that point that was a lot of trouble to go to for two and a half days of aquatic fun. All the same I didn’t object. My policy is that Mrs. O is entitled to whatever she wants due to the fact that she puts up with my various antics, adventures and the supporting cast of characters that I surround myself with.
Actually, I have to admit, I did ask why she’d want a pet whose lifespan rivals the length of a Britney Spears marriage.
So then we got the first aquarium and two gold fish.
Two weeks later they were still alive. I was a little stunned by this development. I started taking note of the characteristics of these two finned miracles. In the back of my mind, I had a theory that, as a joke, she was replacing the goldfish every other day while I was at work. She wasn’t. They were the same two fish.
After a month, our vacation was coming up. The fish were still alive. Was she going to bring them? Mrs. O said she was going to buy something that would feed the fish while we were gone. Well of course she was.
Actually, I have to admit, I did ask why we we’re going to buy something special to feed two fish who were living on borrowed time.
So, then we went and got these pyramid-shaped things that would dissolve and feed the fish.
We came back from a week-long vacation, the fish were alive. The oldest of those two original fish lasted two and a half years. It lived on and on. I stopped asking questions. Obviously there were forces at work here that I could not understand.
Since the passing of the original two fish, there have been others. Some made it a year; others, 3 years. Then one week, I saw something I never thought I would see. Goldfish behavior modification.
Mrs. O bought a fish to replace one that had taken that final spinning dive down the toilet. The new goldfish was aggressive and kept chasing and nipping at the widowed goldfish that remained in the tank. Clearly, this could not stand. The aggressive goldfish was removed and placed in a separate bowl.
The goldfish lived in solitary confinement for several days, until the night it attempted suicide. Late one evening that fish leaped from its solitary bowl, landing with a smack on a wood floor three feet below. Mrs. O saw this happen, scooped him up and plunked him back into the original tank. He never offended against the other fish again, and lived to a ripe old age.
Mrs. Omawarisan is the goldfish whisperer. Who knew?