“Bad Things Happen to Good Fish”


“Bad Things Happen to Good Fish,” observes a useful article published  at Vetstreet.com.


Drawing on the expertise of  Dr. Greg Lewbart, MS, VMD, Dipl. ACZM, professor of Aquatic Animal Medicine at North Carolina State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, and aimed mainly at first-time gold-fish owners, the article’s “happy aquarium” tip sheet is actually applicable to most fresh water community tanks.  

Finger Lakes New York area wildlife writer Arthur Masloski has also put together an extensive and informative “Golfish Myths Debunked” article “The Fish Tank Hobbiest Magazine. 


I wish I’d known about the above articles before putting together my first fish tank. It was a 20 gallon fresh water aquarium stocked with no less than two two-inch-long gold fish, a constantly shrinking school of neon tetras (gee what could have accounted for their attrition rate?), four zebra danios, a pair of orange sword fish, two cory cats and an ANGEL fish.

Don’t send angry comments. I was only 12.

Call it beginner’s luck or whatever, but the truth is, they mostly survived. Probably because my lack of interest in changing filter media kept their eco-system in an (albeit sometimes gross) but established  state. Anyway… fast-forward to 1995 and my first, properly populated and lovingly appointed aquarium as an adult… and everything died. Why? I read a book.

No. Not really.

It  was because though I HAD read a book about which fish can happily live with whom, I hadn’t read anything about what it takes to prepare their tank, or the fact that you have to let it run empty for at least 24 hours – but in my experience two weeks. In point of fact, I hadn’t done enough research.

Which is why my next post will include an interview with a fish expert I’ve come to respect at a local not to be named big box retail store.


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