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Monday, December 22, 2014
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Published: Sunday, 5/25/2014

Beauty, tranquility found in a fishbowl

BY MARY ALICE POWELL
BLADE COLUMNIST
Powell. Powell.
BLADE PHOTO Enlarge

If you can believe it, this dog and cat lover has a pair of fish.

The cute little fan-tailed goldfish don’t really answer to their names, but I swear they wiggle their tails when I come close and say “Aloha” in my very best Hawaiian.

The story of how Lokelani and Kulakane came to live with me is as hard to believe as the amount of time I spend doting over pets that I can’t hold, hug, or stroke.

It started with the bridal shower I gave for Lindsey Gadda who will marry Keith Genet on Saturday at Corpus Christi University Parish. Anyone can call a florist and order a centerpiece, but I wanted to do something different.

When Lindsey told me her favorite color was orange and that she would combine it with royal blue, her second favorite color, in the attendants’ dresses, I did consider orange and blue flowers and even oranges and blue grapes.

Then it dawned. Goldfish are orange. The shower location on Lake Erie at the Catawaba Island Beach Club would be ideal for a nautical centerpiece.

Lindsey’s blue? That was easy. Just add aquarium blue stones to the big glass bowl that was once a salad bowl and voila! a centerpiece was created. The addition of bluebirds and butterflies and gerbera daisies nested in a wide collar of blue and orange netting encircled the fish bowl.

But the procedure leading up to the party wasn’t that easy. Though only two would be in the centerpiece, three fish — called A, B, and C — were purchased in Toledo, in case one died on the trip to Port Clinton. They weren’t the 89-cent throwaway feeder goldfish, but $4 ones that aren’t as apt to float in adverse conditions.

“Floating” is fish talk for dying.

To help prevent floaters an aerator was recommended for an additional $12 investment. I decided on a battery-powered unit so they could have breathing bubbles en route in the car.

At the Toledo motel where I was staying overnight to break up the trip to Port Clinton, I assembled my creation on the nightstand; the bowl, the fish, food, and the aerator.

But the aerator didn’t work, so it was back to the store to replace it with an electric unit that I still use.

I don’t know how many times I was up during the night checking on A, B, and C, putting the aerator in the water, pulling it out, turning on the light, turning it off. But, we all made it to Catawba Island and the fish made a big splash.

After the shower no one begged to take the goldfish home with them, so I packed them up.

A week later the A fish floated and two days after that B came to the top and stayed there.

I was sure that C, which was now alone, needed a pal. I had abandoned the salad bowl in favor of more suitable housing, so there was plenty of room for two fish.

The newest goldfish is stunning with a red head and, just as I predicted, the two stay close to each other.

I named them after condos where I have stayed on the island of Maui.

Lokelani is the word for rose, and Kulakane means boy.

The slow movements of the fish and the quiet time I spend watching them seems to remind me of the beauty and tranquility of Hawaii. I am overdue for a return trip that is at the top of my bucket list.

Jeremy Rice, of Adrian, says it is not uncommon for first-time fish owners to enjoy fish more than they expect to because the tranquility they discover is a stress reliever.

Jeremy, manager of Fish Doctors in Adrian, recommends feeding Lokelani and Kulakane once a day and to add the food gradually.

If they gulp it down, he suggests giving them a little more.

“Don’t overfeed; try to balance it,” he says.

They may be from two to three inches long now, but in a larger tank in water that is cleaned frequently even goldfish can grow to be 8 to 14 inches long.

“The genetics are powerful,” Jeremy said.

“By keeping them in a small container their growth can be stunted. If they have more room, they will grow faster.”

If tanks are not cleaned properly the water can become toxic, he said. Tanks are not equipped with litter boxes.

Jeremy says it’s not essential to leave the light on for the fish. In fact, too much light can promote the growth of algae.

You could say Jeremy takes his work home with him. He has six fish tanks, tree toads, and a gecko in his home.

“I am a Pisces,” he said of his love for water and the creatures that he enjoys 24/​7.

Mary Alice Powell is a retired Blade food editor. Contact her at: mpowell@theblade.com



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