Phish – Lucy and Ethel (Part 2) – Problem Solving with Goldfish

As with everything, the promise of joy can come with some problems. The first problem I encountered was aquarium water that began to resemble pea soup. Yes, my pristine aquarium, within a matter of weeks was as green as the Grinch. I tried what I thought would help…aquarium additives. Chemicals. They were expensive so I figured they must work. Wrong. They didn’t help at all. The aquarium became greener by the hour. Part of the problem was the LED lights. They created a beautiful brilliance within the aquarium, but they also created ALGAE. Green algae. After weeks of trying to conquer the problem with chemicals I felt beaten.

Enter the Green Killing Machine. I researched the problem and read the only way to seriously control the green was through Ultraviolet technology. It was expensive. Of course. I was desperate though, and bought one. Within days the Green Killing Machine did what it promised, cleared out the algae and left behind perfect, crystal clear water. If I had one piece of advice to give when setting up an aquarium it would be to purchase a green killing machine right at the start.

The next problem was Ethel getting a piece of gravel stuck in her mouth. I hoped she could resolve it, but when she began floating sideways on the bottom, I knew I had to help her out, and managed to remove the gravel with a pair of tweezers. Ethel appeared fine within a few hours after the hasty operation.

The most distressing problem I am facing now seems impossible to fix. Lucy has a swim bladder problem and struggles to swim normally. This exhausts her and she often uses the wire from the green killing machine as a hammock. I’ve read fish with a rounded body form are more susceptible to this condition, and I’ve tried a few of the tips that might help. So far there has been no improvement; perhaps Lucy is destined to live part of her life swimming upside down. Hmmm…lately there have been a lot of days when I’ve felt as topsy-turvy as Lucy. I suppose I just need to take on her attitude: be calm, swim on, and enjoy the view.

Phish – Lucy and Ethel (Part 1) – Fish Tanks as a Gift

ETHEL – My close up for Cee’s Midweek Madness Challenge

A year ago, my husband asked me what I wanted for my birthday. I thought about it, and decided, I would love a fish tank for goldfish.

For over twenty years we had an outdoor pond. When lifting the dirty filter out of the pond became cumbersome, we filled it in and gave the large koi to a friend. I missed watching the beautiful fish, and knew a fish tank indoors would fill the void.


Most pet stores sell aquarium sets: filters, lights, filter accessories, and heaters are included. Since I already knew I was filling mine with goldfish, the heater was unnecessary, but it was included in the kit. Gravel was not included, plants also were extra. The background was another purchase. Still…when the items were totaled, even adding in the cost of two 3-inch goldfish later in the week, the aquarium set-up was under $75.00. I certainly didn’t feel extravagant in choosing this as a birthday present.

One disappointment was the recommendation of the person who netted the fish I chose, two small goldfish were almost too many for a 20 gallon tank. Goldfish grow fast and are a messy fish. They create a lot of waste. Goldfish aren’t the best fish for beginners. I felt a bit miffed, I had envisioned at least four to five goldfish for my tank. I was wise though, and followed her advice, and picked out two small goldfish who I named Lucy and Ethel. I also bought three snails to take the place of the fish I didn’t have room for in the tank. I named them Ricky Ricardo, Little Ricky and Fred Mertz. Are you old enough to see what the theme is for my aquarium?

Live-bearers, guppies, swordfish, mollies, and platies are a better bet for a first aquarium. If, like me, you have a bit of experience with outdoor ponds, and previous aquariums, give the goldfish a try. Here’s a great article from Fish Tank World about keeping goldfish in an indoor tank.


One thing this article mentions is something I have found to be true: a characteristic of goldfish is they like company. Lucy and Ethel display this trait all the time; they brush against each other gently, much the way a cat rubs his head against your leg. I love watching these two beautiful creatures. Part 2 & 3 of my goldfish adventure will follow soon.

I checked two sources for Aquariums and accessories, and aquarium kits to include with this post. Pet chain store prices are between $75.00 to $100.00 to set up a 20 gallon aquarium. Amazon has kits that contain decor also, but the prices are a bit higher. The best idea is to check out small business pet stores in your area and support local dealers.