How to keep a fish alive

I am very talented at killing things. I have had several pets that didn’t make it, including a handful of goldfish, two turtles, and a crab. Well, if you need help keeping something alive let me tell you what I have learned from my mistakes!

First, many dorms and apartments don’t allow pets like kittens and cute puppies. However, most don’t mind an aquarium fish!

If you are going to get a goldfish, follow these tips!

1. When adding water to the fish bowl, don’t take it straight from the tap.

Instead put some into a cup or glass jar and let it sit for at least 24 hours. This will get rid of any chlorine, and will consequently not kill your little pet!

2. Don’t clean out the tank, like ever.

I know this may sound gross, but trust me it works! Year after year my fish died within a month. Then my aunt told me that fish like to eat their bacteria. She had one goldfish that lived 10 years, and only died because he got bloated due to a toddler pouring the ENTIRE container of fish food! I have lived strong by this rule for a year now, and my little fish Hector has not died! That is a record!

3. If you must clean out the tank, only wipe down one side with a rag.

4. Be consistent in feedings. I keep Hector in the bathroom, so I see him often!

5. If all else fails buy a plant. I would suggest bamboo or an orchid.

Bamboo requires light and water, and if you keep it by the sink it is a very easy reminder.

Orchids can be watered one a week! I use three ice cubes to water mine.

6. If you can’t keep a fish, orchid or bamboo alive go with a cactus. That’s gotta work…

What Do You Think?

Does your dorm or apartment allow pets? Will you consider getting a fish after reading this post? Leave a comment and let us know!

Author: Annie


  1. concerned fishkeeper says:

    Kaitlyn, why don’t you do some research before you call those guys idiots? Yes, on rare occasions fish will survive in less than ideal conditions like yours, but they will not thrive. You may have gotten lucky with your fish, but what you did was just plain wrong and would normally kill the fish. And pet stores keep their fish in overcrowded tanks because a)it’s temporary and b)they make more money that way. It is still very bad for the fish, which is why a lot of pet store fish are often sick. You may very well be the most ignorant person to comment on this article.

  2. kaitlyn says:

    some of yall are complete idiots..the 10 gallon this is complete bs..the pet stores keep like 30 of them in like 2 gallon tanks i had 3 in a 4 gallon tankand they lived for like ever….and livy they probly died by something else cause thats just not true AT ALL…

  3. Annie says:

    Thank you for all your feedback.

    I wrote this from my experience. Obviously many of you have a different opinion and different experiences with fish. Thank you to those who have expressed their opinion while still being respectful to my views.

    I wrote this piece mainly for fun. But I can see that I may very well be wrong on many points. So thank you for your opinions and advice.

  4. Fish Lover says:

    “When adding water to the fish bowl, don’t take it straight from the tap.”

    Tap water contains chlorine and Chloramine, a water treatment product will remove these from the water making it a safe environment for fish.

    “Don’t clean out the tank, like ever.”

    A fish tank requires cleaning and water changes on a regular basis. Final.

    “Be consistent in feedings. I keep Hector in the bathroom, so I see him often!”

    About the only good advise here

  5. Livy says:

    Goldfish need AT LEAST 10 gallons of water per goldfish if a fancy goldfish, & 20 gallons per regular goldfish (yes, those 15c ones from the pet store). Goldfish are supposed to live 15+ years, so if they die after a year they probably weren’t happy. II learnt this the hard way, with my two goldfish who shared a 10gal. Stick to bettas in college, in the long-run much cheaper too! And better personality!

  6. Taylor says:

    Wow. You would have to be an idiot not to clean out a fish tank. That’s the biggest reason why fish die in the first place. Bad water quality = introduction of diseases = DEAD FISH. Disease kills fish before hunger does.

  7. Lana says:

    I don’t agree with #2. If you’re regularly maintaining the tank, it should be fine. I had two goldfish that lived for three years and I cleaned their tank on a weekly basis.

  8. Rachel says:

    Sigh. I am THAT person who has killed a cactus.

  9. Annie says:

    Can I just say it is slightly ironic that this post was approved, um now? Since my fish Hector died this week. However I still think these tips work, and Hector did live to be a year old. He simply was neglected the past few weeks and not fed enough due to being out of town too often and being ridiculously busy with finals. I am a bad fish mommy.

    And I agree with you Aleida, fish do have personalities!

  10. Aleida says:

    I hope you know that there are products that get rid of chlorine in tap water for you and you didn’t just give your fishies tap water right from the get go.

    I’ve never had a goldfish but I do keep Bettas from time to time. We don’t really clean the tank, just refill the water when it starts getting close to half empty. My Bettas usually live 2 – 3 years which isn’t bad considering their short lifespan and how most are already at least a year old when they’re put up for sale.

    I don’t think fish get enough credit as pets. They each have their own personalities and if you take the time to get to know your fish, it’ll become apparent. They’re easy to take care of and make great pets for a dorm or someone who doesn’t have the time to commit to a dog or cat.


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