Life After The Feeder Tank
This is Shokin, and he is a fairly typically hibuna (common) goldfish. His name comes from the Japanse word 賞金 meaning prize; because that’s exactly what he was. A petstore in my area has a gumball machine, you put a quarter in and if a yellow gumball comes rolling down you get a fish out of the feeder tank. I just so happened to get a yellow gumball and out of the tank of overcrowded feeders I took home a skinny, pale, and underfed common. Shokin is my prize, but not because I won him, but rather because he has grown into such a beautiful fish. A bright and active fish many guests mistake him for a small koi when they visit the pond. Last June he weighed a petite 6g, and even through the harshest winter on record he’s managed to increase his weight sixfold.
Contrary to popular belief feeder fish are not inherently more sickly or less hardy, in fact it is quite the opposite. The fish that do survive being shipped in a bag with hundreds of other fish and then often kept in less than ideal water conditions are the strongest of the strong. Shokin arrived most likely on a tuesday in that store, packed in less than a gallon of water with 150 other feeders. I won him on a friday, so that means not only did he survive nearly a week in a feeder system but he managed to avoid being netted and sold as food. In may of last year he spawned with my calico ryukin Kai and his son Izoku (who you can see below) is not even a year old and already weighs as much as his father:
So this is a friendly reminder that while my main focus is fancy goldfish every goldfish keeper should be able to appreciate a common goldfish, and what many feeders go through only to end up as a meal. Just because a fish is free or bred to be food for another fish does not render it’s life worthless. Any fish when well cared for can turn into a lovely adult and goldfish have an amazing biological capacity to rebound from periods of severe neglect. On behalf of Shokin and all his feeder brethren that do not get a happy ending in a big pond, consider taking a feeder home with you if you have the space and resources.
What a wonderful story and GORGEOUS fish! I just wouldn’t take a feeder home, though, because that way you’re just sustaining the market. This “feeder” thing needs to end altogether, goldfish aren’t even suitable for feeding to bigger fish/turtles so what they go through is more or less useless!