Pet Week: Freshwater Myths

It’s the last week of the month, and that means it’s pet week here on the blog! This week we’re going to take a look at some of the myths surrounding freshwater fish tanks and their finned occupants.


Myth One: Fish are stupid

This myth comes up all the time, especially when it comes to the unfortunate goldfish that have been given the label of disposable by those both in the hobby and those that aren’t. The three-second memory myth ties into this, but it’s bigger than that. When people think of dumb animals, fish are near the top of the list.

In reality, though? Fish might not be able to do math or speak like some of the smarter mammals, but they’re far from stupid. Fish have been known to recognize their owners and human faces, they can learn to do tricks such as fishy soccer, and recognize when it’s time to eat, none of which are particularly exciting for our mammal pets but mean a lot when you realize that these are fish, commonly written off as being dumb or unaware. They’re actually rather smart!


He’s kinda cute, too!


Myth Two: Goldfish can live in bowls

The common goldfish that can be found for $.10 and at fairgrounds can grow to be 18 inches long, weight 10 lbs, and need over 100 gallons. Even the smallest goldfish species, like the fancies, need at least 20 gallons. Goldfish, like most fish, also need to have a filter in their homes in order to keep the waste down, as they create enormous amounts of waste. A bowl can’t sustain them for longer than a day. No fish should live in a bowl, but goldfish are arguably one of the worst species to live in bowls.


Myth Three: Betta fish live in tiny puddles

Bettas live in rice paddies, not puddles. What’s the difference, you might ask? I’ll put up a picture of both, then you tell me what the difference is.



One of these things is not like the other.

There’s a common misconception that the bettas we know and love as pets lived in puddles in the wild, but, one, they didn’t and two, the bettas we keep as pets are vastly different from the wild bettas they originated from. Vastly, unimaginably different. Plus, look at that rice paddy. That is not a puddle.


Myth Four: Fish only grow to the size of their tank

Like any animal out there, a fish isn’t going to stop growing just because its tank is too small. If you feed it and give it clean water then it will keep on growing and growing and growing until it can’t move. The common pleco is usually sold for about $2.50 at local pet stores, but most people don’t know that plecos can get to be over a foot long and they will easily outgrow any 10 or 20-gallon tank.



One of the biggest and most unfortunate myths that come to fish is:

Myth Five: Fish are easy

Fish can be easy, but only if you do the research beforehand to set up a proper tank. If you don’t put the effort into finding out how to setup and control this mini-environment then you’re going to have difficulties. Fish are also beyond rewarding; they’re beautiful, personable, and their tanks provide a look into a world that’s completely alien. If you’re interested in setting up a fish tank then you need to know how it all works, and a good start is to find out if what you “know” about fish is fact or fiction.


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