It’s important to note that not all fairs treat their fish improperly. A lot of them provide large tanks full of cool oxygenated water. Some even provide winners with a ticket to be redeemed when they decide to head home. This keeps the fish from being trapped in a small plastic bag for an excessive amount of time.
What is the Game
The goldfish game is a carnival game where you try to throw a coin or ping pong ball into a small bowl. In these bowls live cramped fish. If you land the ball or coin into one of the bowls, you win that fish inside. A living creature kept in this way often lives a miserable life which also tends to be a short one.
A Bad Reputation
Many animal organizations and goldfish lovers have declared this game to be cruel and unusual punishment for the poor little fish. Some fairs and carnivals have discontinued the game and allegedly, some states have even banned the game. Considering a goldfish needs an abundant amount of well circulated and well oxygenated water, plus a 10-20 gallon tank to live and thrive, it’s no surprise a lot of people are against this game.
However, the game is still a popular carnival game at fairs today. People who disapprove shouldn’t blame the parents and they certainly can’t blame the children who want to win a new pet; I mean, who doesn’t want to win a goldfish? Parents might at first be hesitant to let their children try to win one but then figure it’s a good lesson in responsibility. They think, how hard can it be to take care of? Unfortunately proper goldfish care is not as easy as they might think.
Advice for Winners
You can blame this way of thinking on the iconic image of a goldfish in a small round bowl. This bowls is small and looks very manageable but in reality, it can be a death trap if a water change is not performed daily.
All is not lost though, with some care advice for beginners and little bit of knowledge, will give it more than a fighting chance. If a new pet owner is willing to do what ever it takes to care for it, it can live for five to ten years and grow up to 12 inches (30cm).
How to Care for a Fair Goldfish
This beginners guide covers the basics on proper care. It’s a guide for anyone who just bought their first goldfish from a pet store, for the lucky winner who won one at a carnival or for those caught off guard by receiving one as a gift. Additional tips for first time owners can be found in the Beginner Goldfish Bowl section of this site. For novice goldfish owners seeking more advanced goldfish care tips, please see the articles posted in the Pond and Aquarium sections.
Ideally, before bringing any fish home, it’s recommended to first setup an aquarium and let it run for a few weeks. This allows the tank to cycle and avoid what is called new tank syndrome. By running filters for several weeks prior to introducing your new pet, it allows sufficient time for important beneficial bacteria to become established. This bacteria converts harmful ammonia produced by your fish into nitrates which are less harmful. If this bacteria is not present, the fish can get ammonia poisoning and die. Those that don’t have this luxury, beneficial bacteria can be purchased at most pet stores.
It’s important to frequently test the tank water to check for elevated ammonia levels and to check the pH levels. On that same note, the water should be free of chlorine and chloramine. It’s vital to use a water dechlorinator to remove these contaminants. An aquarium with clean water with optimal parameters is the best way to prevent fish from getting sick or dying. There are inexpensive test kits available at most pet stores or online.
Routine tank maintenance is another great way to prevent them from getting sick. When a test kit show the water parameters are off, it usually means an aquarium water change is in order. It could also mean it’s time to clean an aquarium.
Feeding the appropriate amount of food will cut down on cleaning. By only feeding small meals, 3-5 flakes per goldfish, it ensure all the food is eaten which cuts down on the rotting material and fish waste. Overfeeding can be a cause for concern. It can lead to problems with the digestive tract and even worse, it can kill a goldfish. Constipation often is a direct result of overfeeding. In extreme cases of overfeeding, a goldfish will gorge until it’s insides bursts.