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Fish People

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You've heard of dog people, cat people (and I know many of you consider yourselves these people, too), and I would wager bird people--my father certainly is--but I was wondering what qualities would make a person a (gold)fish person. 

 

I ask because 1) I thought it would be interesting, and 2) my boyfriend teases me that keeping fish appropriately is like "nineteenth-century science, with all of the chemicals, measurements, and curiosities of managing species under water." He was being partly facetious, but I am wondering if he has a point. I'm not a scientist, but I know that many of you are. For my own part, though, I am a researcher and problem-solver, and it seems that fish-keeping often requires a bit of amateur (and sometimes bold) veterinary skills. Plus I have a massive number of allergies and have always liked little creatures, which I suppose contribute to why I like both fish and fish-helping. I also find myself attracted to the more mechanical habitat-building that you don't quite get to do with other animals. So maybe I am a control freak?

 

So what do you think makes for a fish person? Or particularly a goldfish person? And are you?

Edited by QandD

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That is an interesting observation! I think the control/science thing (with a dash of veterinary skills) is definitely true for me; our goldfish keeping may have been instigated by my kids, but I've dabbled in fishkeeping before, & pets here have to be "mom approved" (because let's face it, who is "the buck stops here" person for kid's pets?)

 

I used to breed fancy poultry & pheasants (& sheep, goats & dogs) & there's a lot of control things, including setting up little environments/enclosures going on with that; plus a lot of DIY vet stuff. We live in the city now, so there's not the scope for critter keeping here, but the fish are nice, quiet creatures that don't bother the neighbors & need quite a bit of "fiddling with."

 

I think (gold)fish people have to be very detail oriented, capable of a lot of long term focus, with a certain amount of imagination & empathy (to interact with & try to understand a creature so different from us). I think fish keepers would be a real asset if we develop space travel, as the maintenance & balance of artificial environments is a necessary skill for both endeavors.

 

Anyhow, I'm certainly enjoying our fish, & would like to expand even more someday (3 tanks are not enough!) :)

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I love watching them, it's relaxing.

For my part I've always been a fervent researcher, I spent hours studying fish (and goldfish in particular) as a kid, many years before I could get a setup of my own (I realized quickly I had space and money for my trops but not goldfish). I enjoy learning and practicing knowledge and fish keeping had that generously. I also like that it is self contained. Rats and hamsters are other favorite pets of mine for the same reason.

That fish keeping involves primarily water quality makes it much more challenging than managing pocket pets, buts it's a bit like a bonsai tree or garden in that there is always something to work on, research, or maintain.

Edited by Arctic Mama

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I think I'm an animal person in general. If I had enough income to provide for all their needs I would have many more pets. For now I settle for just having tons of time to spend with the pets I already have.

 

I love goldfish keeping because it blends together art and science with the adorable little creatures full of personality. It's so rewarding to provide them with a healthy environment and then see them thrive.

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I keep fish for a very simple reason - I'm allergic to just about any other type of pet. If it has fur, feathers or anything similar, I have an reaction. Not the lethal kind, but to the point that there are places and homes I cannot visit without medication.

 

I think that the reason I've kept this hobby going (and expanding) is due to the fact that I share it with my girlfriend - plus the different communities that I participate in. I've also been attracted to online communities since I was a teenager, so the fact that I can share this hobby with some many people all over the world, also means a great deal to me. 190 subscribers on YouTube, 24,000 views and 1350 followers on Instagram, plus the facebook groups and forums I'm a part of - I love the fact that so many people (to me at least) want to share, watch, read and interact with me about goldfish. Simply amazing!

 

I love goldfish keeping because it blends together art and science with the adorable little creatures full of personality. It's so rewarding to provide them with a healthy environment and then see them thrive.

 

I totally agree with that sentence. It is this crossfield of taking care of something beautiful - but you need to know a lot of different skills and aspects before you really can succeeded at it. I'm a controlfreak - or at least a person that needs to know as much as possible (which works great with my role as a Project manager) before taking any action and this hobby is all about control, knowledge and empathy. 

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I agree and relate to much of what has been said here :)

I am an artist that has always been fascinated with miniature/magical worlds ever since I was very little. I was never allowed any pets (apart from a retired Police dog once) and so I used to make my own plasticine fish and use tissue paper for the plants and submerse it all in water in clear plastic boxes I would steal from the bathroom (the ones that had cotton buds in etc). I also had a big plastic dinosaur collection and would arrange them around ponds made from mirrors and tie the flying dinosaurs from the ceiling :teehee Even my final degree show art piece at uni was a crystallised magical world involving creatures, trees and a big pond mirror!

I guess fish keeping is kind of a grown up version of all that :) Also, I love all kinds of animals and I agree that you must have a large capacity for empathy and/or and be detail orientated. Biology fascinates me, but I am slightly more an artist than i scientist. I admit, I do strongly dislike the tank maintanance side because I don't get much of a visual reward in return. My fish is a long term sinker and I can't decorate the tank how I would like, but my compassion and love of animals and having Googles thrive in his own way, is my reward.

Oh, I forgot to add that I'm also severely allergic to cats and most dogs

And I love to research

Edited by Black

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Edit: and a little bit of a perfectionist :rolleyes:

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I forgot that I also am allergic to everything--except the mad-scientist chemicals my boyfriend thinks I'm using when I am working with my test kits  :whistle

Edited by QandD

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I LOVE this thread!!!!

 

For me its seeing those funny fishy wibble woggle twitchy swims.  Seeing them healthy and happy.  Seeing them love their life. 

 

It started for me when I was just a few weeks old.  I didn't sleep very much at all for the first 3 months of my life due to food allergies and hyperactivity, so mum used to plonk me in front of the fish tank, in what I called later my bouncer, while she had a rest.  I would watch them happily for hours and hours, which was good for mum.  She really needed what little sleep she could snatch in short intervals.  I have been in love with fish ever since, but especially goldfish.

 

I love their movement, that they interact with me and know me, that they are interested in what I am doing (more to the point am I going to feed them :teehee ).  I love their colour.  I love their mannerisms and their little personalities all different from one another.  I love trying to make them as happy as I possibly can, and giving them the best life I can, if that means science and research, although I am not what I would call super smart, I will do my best to do what I can for them.  I enjoy testing their water, cleaning their tank, talking to them, feeding them, making their food, checking on them.

 

I guess they are also companions for me.  I am bedridden most of the time with back pain, and we don't have many visitors, so its just me, Hubby, the fish and the cat.  That's our little family.  The cat spends most of his day with me, and the fish are in a tank beside the bed.  They keep an eye on me, just in case I might get up and feed them... you never can tell when the human might do that!

Edited by Ree

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My fish monitor me, too, and sometimes just out of curiosity since they are so bored in QT. I sometime think of them a tiny watch-fish: they've proven to be strange hurricane alert systems during Irene and Sandy, since I think they could feel the air pressure change. They swam right over to me, a bit wild-eyed, and sank. "SOMETHING IS HAPPENING!"

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I think maybe being a "fish person" takes all three of the qualities some of you were mentioning: being sympathetic, being scientific, or at least analytical, and perfectionistic. 

I think this is because fish, in general are undervalued and considered expendable to a large portion of the population. The vast majority of people I know (a lot of them people I otherwise think are decent human beings) say things like "it's just a fish", "fish don't live very long anyway" and "we eat fish, so why keep them as pets?" First, it takes somebody who is highly sympathetic to living creatures to get beyond the conventional attitude and take the lives and comfort of fish seriously. Second, I think you have to be a highly analytical (although not necessarily a science person) in the sense that it takes a lot to actually figure out how to care for these fish, there's a lot of research, trial and error and problem solving involved that a lot of people are just not willing to get into. I myself am not at all a science person but am highly analytical (I'm finishing a doctorate in the humanities), so this part came fairly naturally to me. Lastly, I think keeping fish successfully does take a certain amount of perfectionism. There's just so much maintenance involved and if you're not really committed to making sure the fish are healthy, the water parameters are good, the food you are feeding is high quality and the amount is appropriate, the equipment is working properly etc. I don't see how you would have any long term success. 

 

I didn't really grow up with fish or know much about them growing up, but as soon as I got my fish, I just felt very strongly that I should do everything in my power to help him live a long, happy life. I think probably most people on this forum feel that way about their fish. I have a hard time understanding why some people would feel this away about their cat or dog but not their fish.

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I think maybe being a "fish person" takes all three of the qualities some of you were mentioning: being sympathetic, being scientific, or at least analytical, and perfectionistic. 

I think this is because fish, in general are undervalued and considered expendable to a large portion of the population. The vast majority of people I know (a lot of them people I otherwise think are decent human beings) say things like "it's just a fish", "fish don't live very long anyway" and "we eat fish, so why keep them as pets?" First, it takes somebody who is highly sympathetic to living creatures to get beyond the conventional attitude and take the lives and comfort of fish seriously. Second, I think you have to be a highly analytical (although not necessarily a science person) in the sense that it takes a lot to actually figure out how to care for these fish, there's a lot of research, trial and error and problem solving involved that a lot of people are just not willing to get into. I myself am not at all a science person but am highly analytical (I'm finishing a doctorate in the humanities), so this part came fairly naturally to me. Lastly, I think keeping fish successfully does take a certain amount of perfectionism. There's just so much maintenance involved and if you're not really committed to making sure the fish are healthy, the water parameters are good, the food you are feeding is high quality and the amount is appropriate, the equipment is working properly etc. I don't see how you would have any long term success. 

 

I didn't really grow up with fish or know much about them growing up, but as soon as I got my fish, I just felt very strongly that I should do everything in my power to help him live a long, happy life. I think probably most people on this forum feel that way about their fish. I have a hard time understanding why some people would feel this away about their cat or dog but not their fish.

 

I definitely agree with the general, and very troubling, lack of concern about fish as creatures--as if they're swimming vegetables in some cases. Political side note: I also think this is why there is a similar blase attitude toward the deteriorating state of the oceans and wetlands throughout the world--an attitude that needs to change drastically.

 

Further derailing side note: are you at Cornell? What's your field? I'm doing a doctorate in English literature... probably why I post a lot on Koko's...  :doh11:

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I am not sure if I am more of a water person or a goldfish person. I love water. I have extreme envy of people with boats. I want one bad... The timing just isn't right at the moment. With that said, I also have no interest in any fish except goldfish and Koi. In fact, I can even narrow that down further to fancy goldfish and Koi. For whatever reason, I have taken my goldfish keeping to obsessive levels at some points, having as many as 2 ponds and 4 tanks going at the same time. I've got that down to 1 tank and one pond. Another thing I find interesting is my need to go bigger. I went from a 29 to a 40 to a 75 to a 125 and i have upgraded the size of my pond 4 times since i first started with a small preformed pond. And that tendancy happens to occur in most of the things I enjoy or consider hobbies. For example on top of having the biggest aquarium of anyone I know, I have the baddest home surround sound system of anyone I know, my diesel truck has been modified to be more powerful than anyone else's I know. Not sure what kind of maniacle ego issue this is but hey, I like cool things. Anyway, I have found I like goldfish and Koi because they are peaceful, calming, fun to watch, and hardy in most conditions. Heck, my pond fish live under ice 4 months a year! I don't consider a weekly water change on the aquarium to be much work at all and with the pond I just turn on the hose and overflow it for a while a few times a week.

Edited by DieselPlower

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I think maybe being a "fish person" takes all three of the qualities some of you were mentioning: being sympathetic, being scientific, or at least analytical, and perfectionistic. 

I think this is because fish, in general are undervalued and considered expendable to a large portion of the population. The vast majority of people I know (a lot of them people I otherwise think are decent human beings) say things like "it's just a fish", "fish don't live very long anyway" and "we eat fish, so why keep them as pets?" First, it takes somebody who is highly sympathetic to living creatures to get beyond the conventional attitude and take the lives and comfort of fish seriously. Second, I think you have to be a highly analytical (although not necessarily a science person) in the sense that it takes a lot to actually figure out how to care for these fish, there's a lot of research, trial and error and problem solving involved that a lot of people are just not willing to get into. I myself am not at all a science person but am highly analytical (I'm finishing a doctorate in the humanities), so this part came fairly naturally to me. Lastly, I think keeping fish successfully does take a certain amount of perfectionism. There's just so much maintenance involved and if you're not really committed to making sure the fish are healthy, the water parameters are good, the food you are feeding is high quality and the amount is appropriate, the equipment is working properly etc. I don't see how you would have any long term success. 

 

I didn't really grow up with fish or know much about them growing up, but as soon as I got my fish, I just felt very strongly that I should do everything in my power to help him live a long, happy life. I think probably most people on this forum feel that way about their fish. I have a hard time understanding why some people would feel this away about their cat or dog but not their fish.

 

I definitely agree with the general, and very troubling, lack of concern about fish as creatures--as if they're swimming vegetables in some cases. Political side note: I also think this is why there is a similar blase attitude toward the deteriorating state of the oceans and wetlands throughout the world--an attitude that needs to change drastically.

 

Further derailing side note: are you at Cornell? What's your field? I'm doing a doctorate in English literature... probably why I post a lot on Koko's...  :doh11:

 

 

Awesome to find another grad in the humanities here! Yes, I'm at Cornell working on Chinese historical memory. And yes, fish-keeping and Koko's have definitely been very welcome diversions from dissertation writing!

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I love goldfish keeping because it blends together art and science with the adorable little creatures full of personality. It's so rewarding to provide them with a healthy environment and then see them thrive.

 

I totally agree with that sentence. It is this crossfield of taking care of something beautiful - but you need to know a lot of different skills and aspects before you really can succeeded at it.

 

I think maybe being a "fish person" takes all three of the qualities some of you were mentioning: being sympathetic, being scientific, or at least analytical, and perfectionistic. 

 

I think this is because fish, in general are undervalued and considered expendable to a large portion of the population. The vast majority of people I know (a lot of them people I otherwise think are decent human beings) say things like "it's just a fish", "fish don't live very long anyway" and "we eat fish, so why keep them as pets?" First, it takes somebody who is highly sympathetic to living creatures to get beyond the conventional attitude and take the lives and comfort of fish seriously. Second, I think you have to be a highly analytical (although not necessarily a science person) in the sense that it takes a lot to actually figure out how to care for these fish, there's a lot of research, trial and error and problem solving involved that a lot of people are just not willing to get into. I myself am not at all a science person but am highly analytical (I'm finishing a doctorate in the humanities), so this part came fairly naturally to me. Lastly, I think keeping fish successfully does take a certain amount of perfectionism. There's just so much maintenance involved and if you're not really committed to making sure the fish are healthy, the water parameters are good, the food you are feeding is high quality and the amount is appropriate, the equipment is working properly etc. I don't see how you would have any long term success. 

 

I didn't really grow up with fish or know much about them growing up, but as soon as I got my fish, I just felt very strongly that I should do everything in my power to help him live a long, happy life. I think probably most people on this forum feel that way about their fish. I have a hard time understanding why some people would feel this away about their cat or dog but not their fish.

 

Great answers, all of you. I've never thought about it, much less articulated it. However

 

1. Empathy.   I feel like the witch in the fairy tale each time I grow a bacterial colony to it's maximum...and then bake it into sourdough bread.

 

2. Responsibilty/Duty.   I don't have the perfectionist trait (whew!) but if I sign up to keep something alive under my care I take that responsibility seriously, meaning I've signed up to continue to learn about it, and evolve with it. This could even be a synthetic thing, like a client's database or server. That said, I often try to minimize and delegate my non-essential duties so to have more time for what is really important to me. 

 

3. "When they're happy, I'm happy"   Blitz, yes what you said. What really marks me as a fish person is that we have a cat, and I think I (almost) have a closer relationship with my fish. This cat was in my lap tonight, we're very close too....but the fish. I'm going to incriminate myself, I'll just stop here. It's like the cat doesn't really need me (I give him food, water & shelter) but the fish are in this oxygen tent that is totally depending on electrical pumps, chemistry, and a fake environment that I've agreed to arrange for them. I've been worried about just how the velco is holding the pump outflows together. I never worry about anything. But the fish welfare will get that going - have I thought of everything? Taken everything into account?

 

4. And of course bonding with their personalities! 

 

Edited by mysterygirl

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Fish are cool. I love all kinds of fish. I like pretty much everything about the underwater world. If I could I would build my house underwater.

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Fish are cool. I love all kinds of fish. I like pretty much everything about the underwater world. If I could I would build my house underwater.

You'd really sea stuff there, wouldn't you. :rofl

(Sorry, couldn't help myself.)

Truthfully, I don't know why I keep fish and trying to figure it out is a bit like reading Hegel... For the most part I've always been somewhat creative and get a kick out of the visual element. That said, it's not just the design because I don't get the same sensation from gardening or other similar pursuits, and I could easily satisfy my design interests by setting up a tank and putting nothing in it.

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Fish are cool. I love all kinds of fish. I like pretty much everything about the underwater world. If I could I would build my house underwater.

You'd really sea stuff there, wouldn't you. :rofl

(Sorry, couldn't help myself.)

Truthfully, I don't know why I keep fish and trying to figure it out is a bit like reading Hegel... For the most part I've always been somewhat creative and get a kick out of the visual element. That said, it's not just the design because I don't get the same sensation from gardening or other similar pursuits, and I could easily satisfy my design interests by setting up a tank and putting nothing in it.

 

 

I read this and couldn't help but think of what Hegel would have to say about fish... der Geistenfisch. #enddork

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I think I keep them because they appeal to me being a complete introvert. I can just hang out and stare at them and not have to converse with them. It's just me and them in a 3-4 foot long world. It allows me to shut off the rest of the world.  :peeka

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I love watching them grow and thrive, its so interesting. But because I love fish so much Im always researching. Im an animal lover in general, have one dog Morkie, Thunder, a hamster, 9 parrots and two fish tanks. I do research on it all.

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During my dissertation I found such comfort in hanging out with my fish. It helped me to get out of my head at times.

 

I, too, have allergies to furry and feathery animals. Otherwise I would love to have a dog or cat. It is probably this most of all that keeps me in the goldfish keeping. I love animals. Funny how people think because you have allergies you must hate their dog or cat.

 

I love my goldfish and I LOVE the planted world I have setup for them. While I'm not a fervent gardener at this time in my life, I do love plants so I've setup the goldfish tank so the planted world is pleasing to me. I love spending time out in nature, but because of my schedule doesn't always allow me to spend enough time as I would like, I have brought the outdoors indoors (kind of). I have wonderful terrestrial plants in my home. If I had more space, I would have more.

 

I hope to soon setup the 65 gallon tank (upgrading from a 40b). I don't plan on buying any new fish, but I may buy a couple of more anubias. I think Jack and Whale (my goldfish) will thrive by having more space and I appreciate they put up with the plants and don't nibble them down to nubs.

 

Oh, yes, I do like control and practice this a lot in my goldfish keeping. I think it helps me to direct my control energy away from places in my life that don't need it to some place that does.

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I love the psychology behind fish keeping.  This is probably because I was a psych major.  I like that there have been studies that have found that looking at an aquarium decreases your blood pressure, level of stress, and even the amount of pain you feel.  Research has shown the correlation and I can certainly attest to it.  It's done nothing but improve my well-being.  I finally took my own advice that I give to my most of mental health clients, "Get a hobby - maybe even something you did when you were young and  immerse yourself in it.  Become more mindful.  It will help you start to feel better..."  So I did just that and it really does make me feel better and certainly handle stress better.

 

Like many have already mentioned, I too like the research.  I can spend hours looking up stuff and learning about it.  I have never been very "sciencey" myself but I like that in the past year I have really started to push myself thanks to fish keeping and hope to continue learning.  I'm also pretty anal.  I think that really helps with this hobby.  If you want to take good care of your fish then you need to be a bit of an anal freak  :teehee

 

I have always been a pet person.  Then it was more of a dog person and now...well now it's a dog/fish person or maybe it's more of a fish/dog person :)  In particular I adore my orandas and my bettas.  The both have such personality.   Both goldies and bettas have been the most  mistreated  and misunderstood in this hobby.   I have always been a sucker for the underdog.  

 

But I have to say my orandas really steal my heart.  They are like the sweet puppy dogs under water - attentive, begging for treats.   And they remind of swimming cherubs at the same time.  Sometimes when I am watching them I catch my breath at how beautiful  and graceful they are and then there are the times that I laugh out loud because they can be really be big klutzes :P  I 

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I've noticed that there are many different kinds of fish people on the forum.  Some love all animals, keep fish in plastic containers, rescue ferrets etc.. Others like the tech part of the hobby, the water chemistry etc.  Others (and I am among this group) are in it for the aesthetics - tanks are attractive - although we grow fond of the fish as a pet over time.  

 

If I might inject, I think there is a fair dose of control-freak in very many people on the forum (self included, natch).  Tanks and ponds are little worlds, where we can manipulate things as we like.  They are like dollhouses with living dolls.  

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I think I agree with you, motherredcap. Although I am not sure which category I fall into.

 

I DO love all animals, can't stand the though of one suffering. I am not one, however, that would bring home any and everything. I work two jobs and don't have the time or the financial resources to properly care for more than what I currently have. And to be honest, I don't have the emotional energy to worry about one more thing. I feel that if you can not properly care for something, you shouldn't bring it home. Would I bring something home before I left it suffering? Absolutely. However I would rehome as quickly as possible. So no rescued ferrets and fish in plastic tubs for this girl. 

 

The water chemistry part isn't my thing. I know how to use the test kit. I understand enough of it to keep Phin's water healthy and clean and thats about it. If I ever had a serious water param issue I'd panic and not have clue what to do. I'm just not a techy person. 

 

I AM a researcher and enjoy learning everything I can about a pet and giving them the best, happiest, most enjoyable life I can. I got Phineus because I was going through a VERY rough time and when I saw him he made me smile. I hadn't smiled in a long time so he came home with me. Then I got to work researching and working on making him as happy as he makes me. I did the same thing with my dog. I do everything I can to make sure his life reflects how grateful I am for him. 

 

Tanks are beautiful and fun to decorate and very soothing and relaxing. I do enjoy decorating and making it aesthetically pleasing, while keeping Phin's safety in mind. 

 

I do have a little control-freak in me, but mainly I have a thing for making sure they know how much I love them and how grateful I am for them. Is there a category called "you make me happy come home with me and let me make you as happy as I can"?

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