Our New Roommates

By on 27 May, 2013 in Fun, Kate and Stephen, Pets with 3 Comments

A good friend of ours who also happens to be a very talented chef invited us to be her guests at a dinner last week. It was sponsored by an entity (group? company?) called Eat Easy MGM who have been doing monthly meals with limited seating in various places. Some people call them “pop-up meals,” because they’re not in a fixed place with a fixed chef and they generally use minimal or “underground” publicity. Such events been a fixture in larger cities for years. As best we can tell, the way it works is you get on their email list, then try to get tickets when the announcement of the next meal is made. They’re a little rich for our blood at $45 a head, but we were delighted to be invited as the chef’s guests.

We expected to leave last week’s event with full stomachs (the food was terrific). We did not expect to leave with two new pets.

It seems that someone in charge of decorating the event thought it would be charming to adorn tables with live goldfish. There did not seem to be a plan for what would happen to these fish after the dinner – we were told that we were welcome to take them home with us, so we took two. We wished we could have taken more and worry to think what happened to the “leftover” fishes at the end of the night.

The next day we knew we’d need food for little Sacco and Vanzetti. All we had were the tiny cups of water that housed the fish during dinner. We knew we’d need more, but didn’t know exactly what. So we got ourselves over to Wet Pets where we knew we’d get the right advice. They hooked us up with some food and dechlorinating drops for the water. They told us to go home right now and make sure the water was dechlorinated, lest our new friends experience an unduly shortened stay with us. We managed to get the water composition stabilized and the fish fed. This solved our immediate concerns.

Then we settled into the longer term habitat question. At first, we figured we’d keep the fishes in a bowl and transition to a larger receptacle. We found a big flower vase that seemed like it might do the trick, but there were a few problems. First, the cat seemed overly keen on our new roommates, which would have been fine except that he had way too much access in an open bowl. Plus the cat (who is quite large) could probably have knocked the whole container over if he’d been so inclined. Second, the vase was just too small. The goldfish are small, but we thought they needed some room to roam. We wanted to take the fish home because we worried about their well-being. This meant that their new home should probably be big enough for them to swim around a bit, have a tiny plastic castle – you know, the American Dream. For goldfish.

So, just a few days later we went back to Wet Pets. As soon as the doorbell tinkled to announce our arrival, they recognized us and knew exactly why we were here: “Back to buy a tank?” We were. We decided on a very affordable ten gallon model that came as a kit with a water filter, light, food and more dechlorination drops. They told us how many rocks we’d need to fill the bottom (three bags), showed us some fake plants we could buy to jazz up the space (we asked about live plants but were told our fish would probably devour them), and even let us see their castle selection (we didn’t see quite the thing we were looking for, so got a big rock to anchor the space). The staff were super patient as we learned the basics, and they invited us to come back after two months for free advanced fish care training.

Sold! We’d frankly always thought of having aquariums as things for rich people or 1970s mood enthusiasts did, on account of them seeming to cost a lot of money and also provide cool mood lighting. We’d also worried a lot about the technical side of things, not wanting fish to die because we couldn’t put drops in water in the right order or remember to change the filter. Turns out it’s pretty darned easy to have goldfish. It’s not like those salt water aquariums where you’re trying to keep urchins and eels or whatever. For goldfish, you basically just plug stuff in, rinse the filter out every week, and occasionally go get a replacement. The key seems to be not overfeeding your new friends, so we’ve settled into a routine after just a week that the fish (and the attentively watching cat) seem to find very pleasing. At Wet Pets, they told us that our ten gallon tank could hold up to 10 fish, but for now we’re very happy to report that our rescued duo seem to be doing very well in their new home.

Kate and Stephen are Midtown residents with a cat, a dog, two fish, a garden, an old house and a sense of adventure. They write about life in Midtown here and about life in Montgomery at their blog Lost in Montgomery.

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  1. Sadie says:

    Giving unsuspecting patrons the option to take home live animals (“there did not seem to be a plan” for them otherwise, you wrote) is a horrible, terrible idea. I hope that this is not a common thing that they do. Thanks for saving those fishies and giving them a great home!

  2. Kate says:

    Sadie, I could not agree more. I think it’s a despicable plan for “decoration.”

  3. OC says:

    Good grief; they’re goldfish.
    They could take ’em back to the store and dump ’em back in from where they came.

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