Monday, September 9, 2013

Gold Fish are Dangerous Pets

I will preface this post with - this was an organizational speech given for a class I am taking, it tickled me so much, that I wanted to write it out and post it. It is tongue in cheek for sure - 

Gold Fish are Dangerous Pets!

My name is “Fish-Killer.” I have come by it honestly, it runs in my family. It’s not that I hate fish, but it seems I have a knack for killing them. After some research though, it turns out – being a fish killer may not be a bad thing. I have learned through my many years as an attempted fish-owner that Gold Fish are dangerous pets to have. They can be emotionally damaging, dangerous for the environment and even physically dangerous! I know this is a shocking statement and this may have some reeling, but as a reformed fish killer, I do find it my responsibility to inform you!

Imagine a child’s joy of owning their first pet, maybe it was won at a fair and carried home in a plastic baggie, or maybe it was chosen after an entire afternoon at the pet store. Either way, the Gold Fish came home and soon there was a bowl and rocks! It is fed a little, it is fed a lot, before too long that beloved Gold Fish is found belly-up and it has to be flushed. Devastating -

I know that is the cycle of life…but what, just what if a child has a pet Gold Fish and goes on vacation and the parent says, “Let’s let Goldie go swimming with the ducks in their duck pool.”

What do ducks like to eat? Gold Fish!

This small child gets back from vacation and runs across the lawn to catch their precious Gold Fish only to come up empty netted – emotionally damaged for life! (The parent referred to in this scenario has since been forgiven!)

What happens to all these Gold Fish (besides the ones that are eaten by neighbor’s ducks)? Are they flushed, thrown out? How are they bad for the environment? Gold Fish excrete massive amounts of ammonia and changing the water creates toxic waste that needs to be disposed of safely. How many of these deceased fish end up in the landfill, or thrown out in the back year – just the ammonia alone has to be processed by the sewage plants or absorbed into the environment somehow…but, what about the unwanted Gold Fish that are released into the wild?

Monster Gold Fish found in Lake Tahoe have formed a colonies, some as large as 1.5 feet and weighing in at 5 pounds. These Gold Fish have proven to be a very invasive species of fish that can take over the ecosystem, eating everything in their path and growing at accelerated rates. (Arciero, 2013) It is not just a problem here in the United States but, but it is happening in the UK as well and warns reader to make sure to dispose of their pet Gold Fish in an appropriate way. (Elton, 2007)

So this innocuous little Gold Fish can be damaging emotionally for a small child, or even an adult like me and even how it can be bad for the environment, but how is it physically dangerous. Since 1939 at parties, for jokes and even for frat challenges, live Gold Fish swallowing has been a popular challenge  (Meyer, 2011). Today there are YouTube that can be found with individuals swallowing live Gold Fish. Back in 1939 doctors warned of parasites, tape worms and food poison, but the warning apparently has gone unheeded. These days it is even more dangerous to swallow live Gold Fish due to the chemicals used to treat them, chemicals like Malachite Green, is used to treat fish for parasite and diseases; this chemical is a known carcinogen. I repeat, Malachite Green is known to cause cancer. Gold Fish are not intended for human consumption. (Boyle, 2010)

But, what if the average person is not intending to swallow the Gold Fish and this said person is a happy Gold Fish owner. Just imagine what happens if this unsuspecting owner changes the toxic ammonia water, slips, falls and cracks their head open in front of their child?! It is a two-fer! The child is emotionally damaged and the parent is physically hurt – Gold Fish are dangerous pets!

This cold water, ammonia producing scaled fish can be emotionally damaging, bad for the environment and physically dangerous. After many years, I have graduated from a fish killer to a happy tropical fish owner. I have a 30 gallon tank with 25 different aquatic creatures, but I will NEVER have another Gold Fish. I am truly too emotionally scarred and I would never want to put my seven year old through the kind of trauma that I have experienced.

(and yes, I am OCD enough to do a little research!)
Arciero, R. (2013, Febuary 21). Monster Gold Fish Found. Retrieved from
Boyle, J. (2010, Feb 14). Don't Eat Goldfish, it can Cause Cancer. Retrieved from Gold Fish Care Information:
Elton. (2007, May 9). Retrieved from Dangerous Goldfish:

Meyer, A. (2011, January 12). National Museum of American History. Retrieved from The Year of the Gold Fish: