Back in the fall I was chatting it up in our local coffee shop, when one of my friends mentioned that she keeps goldfish in her horse troughs to eat algae and mosquito larvae. I nearly spit out my chai tea latte, when I asked, “Seriously?” (And yes, country folks drink tea lattes, at least this farmgirl does and I adore them. And double yes, if you walk into our local coffee shop you will hear talk of horses, farms, and the town goings-on, all with a dose of southern hospitality.)
So I bee bopped home and told Cowboy of my newfound knowledge. And if you could have seen the look on his face. Let’s just pull a line out of his favorite TV show, and say, “Well, possum on a gum bush.” So we started asking around, and sure enough it’s a REAL thing.
We went about purchasing goldfish at a whopping 32 cents a piece and gave it a try. Admittedly, fall into winter was probably not our smartest time to try, but we gave it a good go. Sure enough, it worked. Well, kind of.
Enter Lips. In our last batch of fish, we got one little fella who was all gold with the exception of bright white lips. So while I had avoiding naming the fish, this one was special. And you guessed it, his name is Lips.
After a couple of weeks in the trough, he wasn’t doing so well. He was barely moving and only using his fins on one side. Cowboy sent me a text one afternoon that said, “Lips is dying.” Yes, I know Lips is a 32-cent goldfish, but I went into action. How does one save a fish? I mean I couldn’t exactly give him CPR or bandage a fin. (Although, Cowboy wouldn’t put it past me. Some other time I’ll have to share the warnings I get about this and that creature finding their way inside.)
I’d read that sometimes goldfish don’t always do well in galvanized tanks, so I thought maybe this was his problem. I scooped him out and put him in a sassy purple horse bucket, fed him, and watched. On a daily basis, I would tell Cowboy, “I think he’s dead.” To which Cowboy would come look, disturb the water, and sure enough, off Lips would swim. (Maybe I’ll start calling Cowboy the fish whisperer. I’m sure he’d love that.) Within a couple of days Lips was swimming around again. So now what’s a farmgirl to do?
If you know me, you can most likely guess. He came inside, of course. But while I have kennels a plenty and horse halters galore, an aquarium is not standard farm paraphernalia. So digging through the cupboards I finally found it – my giant tea pitcher. And so with a few seashells from our travels dropped in for good measure, Lips was in his new home. And I prayed that the cats would not turn on the spout and drain out the water before Lips could have a real home. In addition, a girl can only give up her sweet tea pitcher for so long, fish or no fish.
So long story short, Lips now has a home nestled in a lovely, proper aquarium, complete with air pump, colorful gravel, and decor. I mean the fish has to have style. So if you are doing the math, this 32-cent goldfish now is a $50 investment, which leaves Cowboy scratching his head, but me able to sleep at night. And where is this aquarium, you ask? On my hutch, directly beneath my treasured cookbooks, where there will be no discussion of cooking fish.
P.S. We originally got Lips a friend, who we named Stache, short for Mustache, as he had a black ring around has lips. But unfortunately, Stache didn’t last too long. Rest in peace Stache. We hope you enjoyed your time on the farm. Lips will remain an only fish for now.
P.P.S. Goldfish don’t always do well in the troughs. So we continue to experiment and find the the right balance. We do enjoy having them and they are big help. If you give it a go, we’d love to hear your successes.