Acquired: Fish / pet store
Posted Apr 14, 2015
Gandalf the Gray Koi captured my heart in a little acquarium at Walmart. He was this pretty little active silver and white looking fish as a baby just slightly bigger than the other goldfish in the sales tank with him. My roommate and I had picked out various different goldfish for our aquarium, but I just had my heart set on the stunningly beautiful silvery fish that seemed to come right up to the glass as if he were trying to say hello. I had been trying to convince my friend to help me start a pond in the front yard anyway, so I thought well, if he were to truly get too big then we could just move him to the pond I had been dreaming of. In the meantime, well, wouldn't a fish only grow to the size of their aquarium they lived in anyway? (Yes I soon discovered that is a myth large fish are going to grow up to become beautiful large fish. It's simply what nature has meant for them to do.)
He was a spunky, amusing, amazingly entertaining fish. He was inquisitive and exploring throughout the entire water space we had given him. I had placed an old Chinese restaurant-style teacup in the aquarium for decoration and for the fish to enjoy. Gandalf adored that teacup. But very, very quickly Gandalf the Grey Koi baby outgrew the teacup, yet still wanted to play with the teacup. It became a daily thing to rescue a fish from the inside of a teacup- he would curl up in there and then not be able to get out. I eventually had to remove the teacup from the aquarium, because the poor creature couldn't help himself. It was his happy place, and apparently he didn't know his own size, and it was worth it to him daily to risk getting stuck! It became a daily routine to come home, roll up my sleeves, and go teacup fishing. He caught himself daily-- I just had to release him back to the world of goldfish. Forget a fishing pole - the best way to capture a baby koi is with this little teacup!
Once the teacup was removed, he would swim to the space that the teacup had once rested, and pay his respects to its absence. I tried to replace it with the teapot but apparently it just wasn't the same thing.
He never terrorized the other fish, even when he got bigger; yet he very quickly grew from just slightly larger than the other goldfish to twice that size. Once a fat, beautiful but active fish decides to jump in a space that is quickly growing too small for him, well, his buddies in there didn't quite know what to think of him. The goldfish gave him his own space, over in his area in the aquarium by his ever missing teacup.
My roommate wound up ultimately saying "No," to the idea of helping me build a pond. Once we researched it, it would have been fairly costly to build and maintain. So we found a friend with a lake who had other spunky beautiful koi to give Gandalf a little more space to swim around in. I missed him from the minute we gave him away, but he is a happier fish now and so are the remaining relieved goldfish in that aquarium.
The minute I am able to have a space that allows me to have a pond in the front yard, I would absolutely love to have more koi. What I learned from this is it's important to research how big a fish will grow once you get a fish, what kind of food they eat, and how fast they will accomplish their full adult size before you wind up having to constantly rescue them from their favorite teacup.