Wednesday, May 18, 2011

How To: Buy a New Pet Fish

Some readers may remember Godwin, the best pet fish who ever lived, who sadly passed away (had to be euthanized, which, if you've ever had to euthanize your pet fish, you'll know is not a pleasant experience) about a month ago. Godwin would not have wanted people to mourn over him too long, he was a positivity kind of fish. In fact, I'm sure that if he were here he would be encouraging me to pick up and move on, put a new fish in the ol' tank and forget all about him. While I, nay we, shall never forget Godwin, it is time, I think, for a new fishy friend to join the household.

Thus: How To Buy a New Pet Fish

It's really important to prepare properly for bringing home a new pet fish, much as you might for bringing home a new boyfriend or child. Fish are extremely sensitive to new environments, perhaps even more so than boyfriends or infants!, and it's your responsibility to make the transition as easy for them as possible.

The first thing you should do, nay, you must do, is clean out the tank. Why, you ask? Well, you know that burning feeling of anger and general appalledness you have when you get the keys to a new rental property, only to arrive with your stuff to find the place shut up, uncleaned and stinky? You do not want your new fish feeling these feelings of rage towards an unclean environment. Keep in mind that the reason you're getting a new fish is usually because the last occupant passed in that very tank, and give it a good scrub out. How would you feel setting up house in a drowning death site if nobody had disinfected first?

Put the filter on (you should have a filter...if not consider this to be the reason that your last pet died, and purchase one immediately) for a couple of days to get everything settled, and buy a new plant so new fish has somewhere to hide if moving day becomes a bit too much.

Preparation is key to getting a new fish. Remember, fish are prone to dying speedily and with minimal cause. Try not to kill yours on the first day.

Choosing the Fish

Yay! This is the fun part! Your new friend should be chosen with your specific needs in mind. Do you want a hardy, difficult to kill variety? Are you after something a bit more rare, a tropical offering perhaps, and if so do you have the facilities to care for such an aqua-beast? What kind of colour scheme are you going for in the room where the new fish will be situated (seriously)?

When it comes to the choosing of the actual specimen part, I like to stand in front of the tank and see which fish approaches me first, just like a puppy (all my life I have been trying to make these two domesticated animals interchangable ). Then I make sure the playful personality doesn't belie a tendency to eat other fish (cannibalism is not so on at my house) and doesn't have any droopy/broken/weepy bits that don't look right (chances are if the fish doesn't look right now, it'll be dead tomorrow. Fish World = Harsh World). Next you've got to get the pet shop person to actually scoop up the correct fish, and then it's time to go home!

Life With Your New Housemate

Fish are creatures of habit, and if you keep this in mind looking after your new pet should be a breeze. Try to feed every day at the same time and with the same amount. Overfeeding is the easiest way to accidently rid yourself of pet caring duties, try to give small pinches of food and watch to see if your fish eats the whole lot instead of tempting the poor thing with a massive and deadly feast. A goldfish will tend to eat until all the food is gone, instead of stopping at the full mark.

Stray away from sudden changes in atmosphere, such as drastic heating changes or changing the room the fish lives in often. It's proven that even gold fish can recognise faces, so give your fish a bit of attention during the day and it'll soon know you when you come near (note that especial excitement will abound at feeding is not your face in this instance that the fish is going crazy about). Every so often as a special treat you can feed your fish a frozen (but left to defrost) pea or even buy some blood worm tablets.

Fish are, and I say this with seriousness, pretty awesome pets if you treat them right. They have personalities, quirks, habits and, most importantly, lives of enough signifigance that they deserve respectful treatment if procured as a pet for people. I'll be buying my new pet fish, Godwin II (working title) soon, and you'll all be introduced the minute I perfect the art of taking fish photographs (so. difficult.)

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