Sunday, August 10, 2008

ɥsıɟploƃ uʍop ǝpısdn

Goldfish. Who knew? Who knew that they were more than a disposable pet that you brought home in a nifty plastic bag, half filled with water and containing one seemingly confused, possibly distressed goldfish. See, typically, scenarios involving the goldfish go something like this: You buy a goldfish (you may or may not be fairly drunk at the time). You bring the goldfish home and you give it a name. You dump it ceremoniously into a little bowl with colored rocks and a ceramic castle. You watch it swim for about 15 seconds. You forget all about the goldfish immediately (you may or may not be drunk again). The goldfish is dead before the end of the week (or before you go back to work; whichever comes first). You unceremoniously flush said goldfish. But over in Lympstone (that's in England), there's a goldfish that you probably won't forget about, drunk or not (and that's a good thing, because the goldfish lives in a pub). This particular goldfish swims upside down.

Behold! A goldfish in England that swims upside down!

According to our good friends across the pond there at The Metro he goldfish's name is Aussie (even though it's in England, that's correct) and it's owned by the landlord of the Globe Inn Pub, Liam Matthews. Liam says he bought the goldfish from a pet store in 2004. When he bought it, it swam like a normal goldfish did. That is to say, the fish swam right side up. But six months later, Liam says that the fish started swimming upside down. What a draw for a pub, eh?

Apparently, Aussie the goldfish is in this perpetual inverted state because of a problem with the swim bladder. I had no idea what a swim bladder was, but apparently it helps to regulate buoyancy for a goldfish. Actually, I never really thought of the internal workings of goldfish ever. Who does? Who cares? It dies, you get another one. Problem solved. But if that's not your solution, you need to know about the swim bladder because having a problematic one is apparently a common problem with goldfish. It can be caused by an infection and that can affect the fish's ability to swim how it's supposed to. The swim bladder can also get messed up by a goldfish's diet. Yes, it's diet. I don't know, I thought that those little flakes were scientifically engineered specifically for the diet of little fish who swim in little bowls, so I don't see how that can be a problem, but I guess it is. Constipation is also a problem for fish and it can cause them to end up (pun intended) like Aussie as well. Wait. What?

Constipated goldfish!? Are you feeding the fish little nuggets of cheese instead of those flakes? What in the hell is the goldfish eating that's making him constipated, for crying out loud? I think someone's making stuff up. How many times do you see one of those damn fish with a trail of fish poop that's 10 inches long hanging from him? Oh, wait, this gets better. Or worse, I suppose. It just depends on your perspective. Or whether or not you're the fish.

There are remedies for the many things that ail your goldfish, so don't worry if you ended up with a sickly little guy. If your goldfish is constipated, you're supposed to feed it one or two mashed up peas every day until they return to normal. If your goldfish is floating (and he's NOT dead), he may have swallowed too much air and you're supposed to presoak the fish food prior to feeding it to the fish. ( I have yet to learn HOW to presoak it, as I'm just assuming that throwing it in the tank qualifies as both presoaking and soaking, just as long as the goldfish doesn't eat it right away.) If your goldfish sits at the bottom (yes, sits) they may have skin flukes. I don't know what those are, but they sound uncomfortable. And if your fish is standing (yes, standing), while you might be tempted to call Regis and Kelly (Hey, they had that big, fat cat on their show! Do you think they wouldn't want to see a standing goldfish? I think they would! I think we all would, actually.) you're supposed to check your fish's mouth to see if it swallowed gravel. Again, no word on HOW to check the mouth of your goldfish for gravel. Shocking, I know.

What started off as a weird story about a cute little upside down goldfish led to my learning more about the inner workings of a goldfish, the maladies that plague them and the remedies (most probably fake) that are available. I'm not pleased. It's not just an instance of too much information, it's an instance of learning that something that seemed so easy and simple is really quite complex. It's like going from kindergarten straight to med school! And do we really need more complexities in our lives? Especially in our goldfish? I don't think so. Though if the fish has been swimming that way for four years, all of the remedies that Liam could try with Aussie seem rather pointless. The fish is still alive and, according to Liam, "She seems happy enough - as far as you can tell with a fish." Well said, sir. Well said.

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