Acquired: Fish / pet store
Posted Mar 01, 2016
That carnival fish that you won at the fair could make one of the best additions to your fishtank or pond. What most people mistake for the Common goldfish is actually a comet goldfish (which primarily just means they're prettier with half the lifespan). Despite the fact that you probably spent more trying to win the fish than you would have if you'd just bought it (but the fun was worth it, I'm sure), they're well worth the catch for fishy people.
If you're not a fish person, then you'll be pleased to know that they live great on their own as well. Goldfish will grow to fit the size of their tank, so no need to panic as your tiny fish gets bigger and start picturing the giant ones you've seen swimming in ponds. If your tank is crowded, the fish will stay small. If the tank is large, but not a pond, they'll still pretty much stay small.
As with any fish, you are going to want to read up a little bit on how to manage the tank. It's incredibly simple, but will keep the fish alive (and prevent the inevitable life/death conversation that you were dreading with your five-year-old). Other than that, they eat basic fish food, don't require any fancy treatment, and cleaning the tank is as simple as dumping them into an empty bowl for a little while as you switch the water and rinse the filter.
The biggest issue with these fish is that they -are- won from a carnival. If you got one from a pet store, good on you: your fish has a headstart. If you won it at a fair, though, keep in mind that however those fish were treated before you won that prize comes with them when they come home with you. The biggest thing to keep an eye on is if the person running the stand spins the bag before they hand it to you. This is one of the primary reasons those fish die before they even make it home. That, and having them in the bag all day long, often sitting in the sun, and then to put the bag into the hands of an excited child who doesn't understand their own strength. The best practice would be to ask them to hold your prize until the end, when you're ready to go home. Get the fish bagged as the last task of the night and request they not spin the bag when tying it up. Make sure someone stable holds it while you're on the way home (this will probably be the hardest part), and get it into a bowl or tank as soon as you're home. While I know lots of shows and pictures show a fish in a bowl, you will want to get a tank with a filter if you have hopes of this fish living for long. Save the bowl for tank-cleaning-time.
All that advice aside, they're good fish to pair with almost any other kinds of fish. While some of them have been known to be aggressive, the only fish I ever had an issue with pairing with them were the tiny Tetra fish. The goldfish, when they got bigger, would sometimes accidentally eat the Tetra fish when we dropped in food. They would -usually- spit them back out. But, not always.
I don't have a heartwarming or heartbreaking story for these ones. They are fish. GREAT fish for first-time-fish people, and for kids.