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A Fish Called Robert

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Posted June 27, 2011 by peta2 staff

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Bob and I met when I was in fourth grade. He was one of a squigglyzillion “bait fish” you could win at the Monterey County Fair, and wee baby Anna (utterly convinced that taking fish from a carnival game was “saving” them—it’s NOT!), came home with four. It was a massacre—two died within an hour, the third living only a day longer. But Bob? Now he was a survivor … and tragically the lone occupant of the 50-gallon tank we had bought for our new companions.

With time, I became less and less terrified of waking up one morning to find him belly-up like the others. I’d wanted to name him “Tawny” or something else vaguely mythical sounding, but my dad firmly dubbed him Bob. (We only called him Robert when he was misbehaving—out after curfew, chasing girls … you know how rebellious young goldfish can be.)

Bob lived out ten good years in that tank, transforming from a consolation prize tossed around like a leprechaun in a mosh pit to an adored member of the family who always treated us with gentle good humor. When he finally passed away, I was heartbroken, but I’d learned a hard lesson that I have to pass on:

Your fish doesn’t like you.

No, I’m serious. Hear me out! Sure, they might have a kind of grudging respect, the same I reserve for the sandwich artists at Subway (my Veggie Delight, no mayo, was flawless every single time—thank you, Tom!), no matter how much YOU love your aquatic companion, they’d much rather live their lives not confined to a glass cage with a creepy plastic diver swaying gently back and forth. Now, I AM NOT SAYING YOU SHOULD GO AND RELEASE NEMO INTO THE OCEAN (back away from the bowl)! I’m saying you shouldn’t have gotten fish in the first place.

So if you’re hellbent on re-enacting your childhood Little Mermaid fantasies, at least make sure to adopt (and never buy) your Flounder. Maybe even adopt a pair so they have someone to hang out with who isn’t huge and covered in skin. Oh, and try to make the tank as natural and comfortable as possible. Who knows? You may win your fish’s love after all.

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  • 1964 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    RIP Bob. Poor fish.

  • 1966 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    “Tossed around like a leprechaun in a mosh pit”… I’m against leprechaun abuse… This should be reported

  • 1974 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    bob sounds like a fighter. (:
    and i’ve never heard of recuing a fish.. i’ll look more int it!

  • 1979 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    Now Im Looking At My Fish In A Whole Different Way…Hes a fair fish too. Ive had him for 3 years 🙁

  • Sav

    1981 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    See, this is the thing. You people OBVIOUSLY don’t get it. IF YOU KEEP ANY FISH IN A BOWL YOU ARE AN IDIOT. Fish need proper care, and a bowl is not appropriate for ANY fish, not even a betta, no matter what anyone else will tell you. They need an appropriate sized home, proper aeration and filtration, proper diet. Just like any other creature. And don’t come back saying “oh mine WAS in a tank with filtration” – really? Do you know exactly how many fish of what type can/should live together, and in what size tank, with what type and amount of aeration and filtration? By the other comments here, I’m going to say that is a blatant no. So get this. Yes, they have feelings, I would not tell you otherwise. I have fish. I keep them properly, and mine DO have personalities and feelings. They are cared for properly. And I do not believe for one small second that they are not ok or that they don’t like me. Educate yourself.

  • 1982 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    i have a fish and i dont know how people cant take care of them.

  • 1989 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    I used to have a fish named basil. He was a diano, and he lived in a 10 gallon tank for 3 years. then, all the other fish died over time and my mom moved Basil to a bowl, where he lived for 2 years. He lived in my science teacher’s 10 gallon for a year, and has been living with a school of other dianos in my friend’s 20 gallon tank for the past 2 years. He is still alive.

  • 1989 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    I had a carnival fish, too. His name was Slippers and lived forever. But, yeah, I’m pretty sure he wasn’t cool with his little cramped bowl with my brothers carnival fish. I’m sorry, Slippers!

  • 1989 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    Bob and I had a bond. I’d start the day saying, “Good morning, Bob.” Bob would swim to the surface of his tank waiting for flakes. I miss Bob.

  • 1989 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    I loved the article and I had some new realizations…Keep up the good article writing peeps!

  • 1989 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    Poor fish! I guess I had never thought of it that way…I never had a fish anyway!

  • 1989 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    i have a pet turtle that i take care of because the owner neglected him. I feel really bad :

  • 1989 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    I bought my fish:/ he died for no reason.I miss him.

    • 1989 days ago

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

      0

      Same here! His name was Finnegan aka Finny…..:(

  • 1990 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    I have pet fish, but I adopted them from people who did not have room for them anymore 🙂

  • 1990 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    R.I.P. Bob the Fish

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