Operation Save Psycho

Say hello to a black moor goldfish.
Say hello to a black moor goldfish

I had been eyeing a certain elegant black goldfish in the “Pets” aisle at Walmart for some time.  I think I was in a little denial of how much I really like animals—like a child who loves to take care of insects and lizards and birds that get caught in your garage while you’re out shopping.  I always maintained quite a menagerie in middle school, but then I got too busy in high school and college is all about life in black and white printed on dead trees.

So when I moved home after graduation, I was suddenly struck with the enormous possibility of acquiring a collection of a affectionate pets again.  I started with a parakeet, quite ironically named Moxie.  She is learning to live up to her name, but more about her story in another post.  After all, I think she would be quite put out to discover she was sharing webspace with the new fish.

Back to the black moor.  He looked quite elegant, even down to the tiny, trim mustache above his appropriately frowning lips.  And, being the decorator-at-heart that I am, I consented to what a striking addition he would make to my eclectic “studio apartment.”  When I noticed there was a skeleton of another unlucky fish floating at the bottom of his current abode, I decided then and there that he needed a proper home.

I bought the bowl labeled “goldfish bowl” with the charming naivete of someone that hasn’t owned a fish since she was twelve.  I assumed that labeling it a “goldfish bowl” meant that it was designed for goldfish to live in.  I was wrong.

Two days later, my beloved Psycho–so christened for his starting eyes–was sucking on oxygen from the air above his tank.  Even I remember enough of elementary school science to know that fish should be happy in water not wanting to breath air and sprout wings.

So I commenced a little research.  Scary but necessary, apparently.  For lo and behold, a goldfish cannot live in a goldfish bowl.  He much live in a 20 gallon tank!  There’s something called the nitrogen cycle of which goldfish comprise an awkward part: they poop a lot.  And said poop somehow jeopardizes the balance of weird chemicals that exist in uncannily clear water and leads to certain death if not properly cycled by algae, air filters, pH buffers, and a host of assorted accessories sold at your nearest friendly pet store.

To save the life of my $7.00 goldfish, I rush to the store and purchase a $67.00 starter aquarium.  Kayla opens the packaging, Sarah fits the filter on the back, and I crouch in the back yard surreptitiously gathering river rocks from my dad’s lovely landscaping arrangement.  Next, a bucket brigade down the hall from the bathroom to the bedroom using various sizes of my mom’s matching mixing bowl set–also a little surreptitiously borrowed.

We finally scoop Psycho out of his deathly muddy fish (sans “gold”) bowl and into his spacious new habitat.

Only then, when looking online for the missing instructions on how to fit the lid, light fixture, and filter on top of the aquarium, do I discover that putting a fish directly into new water will kill it.


Now, fingers crossed and 48 hours later, we hope and pray to find Operation Save Psycho successful.

More to come, including pictures of Psycho himself, video of his new home, and a “Donate” button to offset my unexpected investment in domesticated marine biology.

    • alexander84
    • August 17th, 2010

    hahaha you really wrote about your fish! 😀
    funny story!

    I wanna see the Donate button! Lets see who donates the most.

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