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P. Sherman, 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney

November 9, 2013

Once upon a time, in another life, I worked for a now defunct chain of pet stores.   When I was hired in Ohio I knew very little about keeping fish, but by the time I was on my third store in California, I was entrusted with the care and stocking of the entire fish department.  I came to love freshwater aquariums, and I kept fish until we moved to Florida and the movers were so kind as to shatter my tank into a bazillion little pieces.

I’ve often heard it said that you don’t really have to worry about the potential size of the fish you buy, because fish will only grow to the size of their tank.

‘Tain’t true.

That said, it often seems true.  Wanna know why?

Of course you do, or you wouldn’t have asked.

For a fish to reach its full potential, it needs:

-enough space for it to carry out normal activity for its species

-the right food in the right amounts

-appropriate water conditions

-appropriate tank makes

-appropriate tank decor ( I don’t just mean avoiding pink gravel, but by all means, please avoid pink gravel.)

If all these things are in order, your fish should reach their full size.  But rarely are these things in order, especially in smaller aquariums stocked with whatever caught your eye at da fish sto’.  Chances are good you’ll end up with a tank full of a variety of fish that prefer different types of water conditions, different dietary needs, and different basic decor (rock dwellers vs. plant lovers vs. open space lovers, etc.).

And you know what?  Those fish will probably get along ok eating the same flakes, in the same reasonably neutral water quality, and even living with your pink gravel and the bubbling plastic treasure chest that makes them wonder if maybe they’re living in Liberace’s living room.  They will likely survive, maybe even for many years.

But they will not likely reach their full size.  They probably won’t develop their full coloration, either.  And it’s highly unlikely they’ll breed, unless they are livebearers like guppies, mollies, platys, or swordtails, all of which live very tawdry and shameless fish-ho lives and could probably find a way to mate on a damp sidewalk.

The end result?  Fish that are small, somewhat drab, and fruitless.  Fish that never reach the full potential of what God designed them to be.

Isn’t it interesting that the common symbol used to identify Christians is a fish?

Those who have ears to hear, let them hear.


2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 10, 2013 5:46 pm

    I hear you loud and clear!

  2. November 12, 2013 11:25 am

    I feel like a deep water fish in a bird bath puddle.

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