Goldfish in a Rain Barrel

My nephew, Zack, brought some goldfish here which he and Grandma had bought after the Potato Festival. He had tried to win some goldfish at the Festival but couldn’t get his money to land in the glasses. Likely you’ve all tried that game at least once and know it’s a lot harder than it appears. Anyway, Grandma told him he could buy goldfish for a lot less than another round of playing the game. Zack couldn’t believe fish were so cheap. 🙂 So they went to a pet store and bought a couple of feeders for a mere 37 cents each. Zack was impressed.

For a couple of days the fish were on the kitchen table in a glass jar with the original water they came in. Pretty limited space and likely would have led to a short life. But, once Zack went back home we poured them into the rain barrel in the backyard. I wasn’t sure how they would do but my Mom (Grandma) was sure they would be fine and really like it. I could see how it would be much better than their current home.

Anyway, I poured them in myself. I watched them slowly sink down to the depths of the barrel to disappear. I waited quite a while but they never came back up. We went away for the weekend and I thought about them now and then. Thinking that the metal barrel might not be good for them or that racoons might knock over the wire grate and get at them. But, when I checked on them both were fine, swimming around near the top and quite healthy looking. Plus, I could no longer see any sign of all the mosquito and other insect larva floating around on the surface of the water. Nice bonus!

Sadly, when I checked on them today (about 3 weeks later) one is belly up in the barrel. The other is fine, I noticed him under a tiny leaf which had dropped into the water. The second fish was actually not a feeder. I wonder if those goldfish (one step up from feeders) are a bit stronger or healthier to start with. It’s likely as the feeder fish are only expected to live long enough to make it home and become lunch for some other creature. Anyway, I think I will buy another goldfish so the other guy/ gal isn’t alone in there. Plenty of space to be alone in.

I didn’t find much online about keeping goldfish in a rain barrel though I just started looking this afternoon. Here is a discussion about rain barrels and preventing mosquito larva. Goldfish were offered as one option. Likely the best one I think fish would be the most natural and have the plus of being compost when they die. Some argue that’s cruel. But I think keeping them in aquariums is an unnatural and more cruel life for them. People tend to go overboard on the whole pets thing. They are still animals. A free life is better than being tanked up and gawked at.