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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all,

I live on a college campus, and fish are the only pets allowed, so almost every room I walk into, I see fish. Unfortunately, it's not a pretty sight.
Almost all of them are in jars or half-filled bowls with cloudy water and very sad looking bettas :-(
The branch college that I work at even has one of those atrocious plant-vase setups ...

Well, this is really a story about one fish in particular - a goldfish. One of my good friends keeps him in a small bowl filled with spring water. Well, I spent some time observing him this week and he almost definitely has swim bladder disorder, is overweight, and may even be suffocating.
His belly is HUGE, and he just can't seem to control his swimming. He's always up near the water line freaking out and blowing bubbles. I asked my other friend (her roommate) how much she feeds him and how often, and it sounds like she feeds him a pinch of flakes or something all throughout the day, which explains that belly of his. They've also told me that he'll sometimes just lay motionless on the bottom if his water hasn't been changed frequently enough.

My friends are good people, and I've hinted to them that there's something SERIOUSLY wrong with the way he's acting and being treated. They just brush it off and attribute his weird swimming to his quirkiness.

Since I've gotten Rosie, I've found myself being more sympathetic to all sorts of animals (I moved a frog out of the road this week :)), but especially other fish. People look at me like I'm crazy when I tell them I have a filtered, heated, 3 gallon tank for a betta. "That's a little overboard for me." Well, the fact is that it's not overboard! It's even a little small for her! And of course, they ALL find it weird that I say I LOVE my fish, that she's friendly, and that I feed her from my fingertips.

Well, anyways, to conclude this rant, I was wondering if anyone had any advice on how to gently tell their friends that they are essentially killing and torturing their pets.
If I see one more sad betta, I think I'll lose it :-(

- MadameDesu
 

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All you can do really is give them the approprite advice and urge them to act on it or if they are finding it hard to look after them offering a home if you can. I pretty much take care of my mother in laws fish. I treat them and do the water changes for them and I shown them how much to feed etc. I'm like Dr daughter in law as my father in law can't see too well so I do all the diagnosis and treatments for them. Mother in law doesn't believe in pandering to them. "I've never pandered to fish in my life and theyve always been fine..." I dunno if that means they lived for agges or she thinks a few months is a long lifespan for a fish. Makes me sad.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I'm trying to. Today I suggested she skip a feeding because he's so chubby, but her roomate's like "Oh no, I don't want him to die. He's perfectly fine."
I'm not sure I'll ever be able to communicate the fact that this fish is suffocating and dying. It's hard for me to look at him :(
I was thinking of suggesting they feed him a pea, but I've heard others say that it's bad for fish bellies.
Honestly, that fish would be better off in our campus' pond.
 

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If you're up to it, post a few posters somewhere that you're willing to take in unwanted fish. I'm sure you'd get a few. And even in unheated bowls, you doing more water changes for them would make huge difference for them, you could save up for heaters over time :D
You could also make some care sheets and leave them around. I'm sure some people would step up and take care of their fish.

Also- peas are bad for betta tummies. But for a goldie they are totally fine, and can be part of their regular diet. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
That's actually not a bad idea, Olympia.
I'd only be able to take about 2, possibly 3 bowls, but I'd really love to take care of some fish that others can't care for. At least then I could do the proper amount of water changes, and they could live out the test of their lives in relative peace.
In the mean time, I'll definitely try to get people to read more care instructions!
 

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Maybe keep an eye out for 2+ gallon bowls and tanks on a local online classified/newspaper, if you could go pick them up and offer them for free to people? :)
 

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Alot of people have the "its just a fish" mentality and think its just a $2 fish, i can get a new one if it dies. It makes me mad.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Alot of people have the "its just a fish" mentality and think its just a $2 fish, i can get a new one if it dies. It makes me mad.
Exactly! If you have that mentality (as I am ashamed to say that I once did) I don't understand why you'd even want a fish!
 

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I hate that too Tikibird. People think I'm nuts for naming my Betta. "it's not as if it can hear if it has a name or not" I've been told "it's not like you can take a fish for a walk or cuddle it" If I wanted a cuddle, I'd grab one of my cats. I love my £1.49 tetras just as much as I loved my £1000 dog. I've offered to take in my inlaws tetras because they have loaches in with them and I know they're gonna grow and gobble the poor bits up but they insist they will be ok. On the net there are hundreds of free websites offering free advice and care sheets for fish. It takes 10 minutes to read about betta care so either be prepared to pay a bit to give your fish the care it deserves. All pets cost money for the proper home, clean and warm environment and food. Thank heavens you're not allowed cats on campus! "and breath" rant over. :)
 

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Madame, if it helps, I am working on a goldfish care pamphlet as well as a betta one. Once it is finished, I can send you a copy and you could give it to them. :) They probably will think it's written by another barmy animal lover, but hey, it's worth a shot.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
:O

That would be great! I don't think people are trying to hurt their fish, I just think that most of them don't know how to take care of them. Or (even worse) think that they do and won't listen to other advice :S
 

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Some of my friends look at me like i`m nuts when they see my betta in its 5g tank but then they go on to say things like they can live in small bowls and how much work it is these people gave up on fish though so I don`t mention how much easier the larger set ups are. All you need to do is look at craigslist to see its not just fish people don`t care enough about tons of puppies dogs and cats up there that people are wanting to get rid of. :cry: all pets should be treated better by humans in general.
 

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Madame- Educating others is the best ammunition, so if you can get Bombalurina's pamplets and spread the knowledge in any other way that would be great. Taking in the unwanted fish would be awesome! But of course, you will be limited as to how many you can take.

For your friend with the goldfish in particular, is there any chance you could make an excuse to keep the fish for a week for her? Spring break is coming up, right? Any chance you can keep her fish? After a week of your care, you may be able to prove the difference of good care to her... Just think, if you return her fish happy and swimming and in a clean environment, it may convince her she's wrong.

Good luck!
 

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Sadly I doubt a week of good care in that small tank would make a difference to a damaged Goldie. :/
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Madame- Educating others is the best ammunition, so if you can get Bombalurina's pamplets and spread the knowledge in any other way that would be great. Taking in the unwanted fish would be awesome! But of course, you will be limited as to how many you can take.

For your friend with the goldfish in particular, is there any chance you could make an excuse to keep the fish for a week for her? Spring break is coming up, right? Any chance you can keep her fish? After a week of your care, you may be able to prove the difference of good care to her... Just think, if you return her fish happy and swimming and in a clean environment, it may convince her she's wrong.

Good luck!
I'm afraid my chance has passed. She was away this weekend and had her roommate take care of the fish. Her roommate fed her a little less than usual, which is good. Still, it probably would have been better to have fasted him, fed him a pea, and changed his water ...

Sadly I doubt a week of good care in that small tank would make a difference to a damaged Goldie. :/
It's not even a tank ... it's one of those big 1 gal vases. It looks like a big wine glass actually. I'd have to be doing water changes every day as I hear goldies have a pretty substantial bio-load.
 

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You can try to organize a floor event with your RA or RD to educate people on the proper care of aquatic animals. I know when I lived on campus that free food would attract people in and then they'd be trapped into staying. I would also ask about being able to post informational flyers on your community bulletin board with information and maybe helpful websites for those who own fish.

A huge misconception is that these animals are not intelligent or aware of pain, making them less than a typical large pet such as a guinea pig or cat. Education can go a long way.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
You can try to organize a floor event with your RA or RD to educate people on the proper care of aquatic animals. I know when I lived on campus that free food would attract people in and then they'd be trapped into staying. I would also ask about being able to post informational flyers on your community bulletin board with information and maybe helpful websites for those who own fish.

A huge misconception is that these animals are not intelligent or aware of pain, making them less than a typical large pet such as a guinea pig or cat. Education can go a long way.
I'm actually thinking about approaching the Dean of Students to talk about this. I know that if it's just me, it'll be hard to get info out. It may be a little difficult though, because I'm not sure if the official policy allows any pets, or whether it just allows fish.
It'd be great if they presented this info to first year students!
 
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