Betty: My 9 Year Old Vegan Fish

This is Betty. My fish. My nine year old goldfish.


Yup, you read that right. Betty is nine years old! Her birthday was some time last month. She may be the oldest goldfish in the world. Ha ha ha!

I rescued Betty from a table centerpiece in April of 2004. The university I worked at hosted loads of events, and one of events, and many of them were held down the hall from my office. One of the events included fish bowls as centerpieces. (Remember when that was popular?! So sad…) I think it was the anticipation of the event hosts that attendees would take home a bowl of fish, but most of them didn’t, so there were a lot of fishies left over. Being the animal lover that I am, I couldn’t stand to think of all those fish being flushed or whatever other horrible fate awaited them, so I adopted as many as I could. That turned out to be two: Betty and Barney, who became our office fish.

It didn’t take long before Barney met an untimely death, leaving Betty an only fish, happy to swim around her tiny bowl, eating whatever flakes floated her way curtsey of excited students. It also didn’t take long before Betty began to outgrow her tiny bowl (maybe it was all the food?!), so I upgraded her to a 1 gallon bowl, and she continued to live on top of the filing cabinet in our office. Eventually, however, Betty outgrew her gallon bowl, and I got tired of driving her back and forth after taking her home often to clean her mucky bowl. So, she stayed at my place, and I got her a bigger tank…a whopping 5 gallons…with a filter! Woohoo! Betty loved her new home and thrived in, growing bigger and bigger until she outgrew that tank too!

When I moved in with Mr. M, Betty’s tank got upgraded once again – to a 10 gallon tank, which is what she currently lives in. But guess what…she’s outgrowing this one too!

I’m debating on upgrading Betty to a 20 gallon tank, but so far I haven’t convinced Mr. M yet. (He wanted to upgrade her to a 20 gallon from the 5 gallon, but I was reluctant and went with the 10. Silly me.) For now, she’s OK where she is. After all, she’s made it all the way to 9!

A few months ago, after a crazy near-death scare, I began doing some research on ways to keep Betty healthy and alive for a new more years (Did you know goldfish can live to be up to 18 years old?!), and I found out she could not only live but thrive on a vegan diet. So…Betty is now a vegan! She hasn’t had fish flakes in months, and she’s healthy and happy and growing – seemingly daily.

As of now, Betty’s diet consists mostly of organic peas with occasionally pieces of organic corn. I buy the veggies frozen and thaw a few pieces in the morning and night for her breakfast and dinner. I slip the skins on both and break the halves into smaller pieces (or the whole kernals) and sprinkle them into Betty’s tank. She goes crazy for her food! Occasionally, I give her a special treat – orange! She loves tiny bits of orange. I think my Betty has a sweet tooth 😉

I’ve read a lot of goldfish love green, leafy veggies, but not Betty. I’ve tried lettuce, spinach, chard, collards, and kale, and she won’t eat any of it. She sucks in her mouth and spits it out faster than when she accidentally tries to eat her own poo. (Why are fish so gross?!) So, for now, Betty is on a steady diet of peas and corn. Mmm….

Betty is very active and vocal. When she’s ready for her breakfast, she smacks at the top of the water. It makes a loud enough noise that I can hear it from any room in the house. Sometimes it’s my alarm clock. She does the same thing when she wants her dinner. She’s so cute!

I hope Betty is with us for many years to come. I love her as much as any pet; it doesn’t bother me that I can’t pet or cuddle her. She loves me too 🙂

8 responses

  1. Lucky fishie! I never knew goldfish could be vegan, that’s a great factoid. I’d love to get another fish, but of course I wont buy one from petsmart, etc… can’t support that. But if I happen along one in need of rescue the way you did, he/she will be coming home with me to convert to veganism! 🙂

    PS- I have a Betty, too! Although, mine is a Basset Hound

    • Barb: Yup. Vegan goldfish at least. Dogs too! Cats need some kind of supplement? Only figured out the fish thing after lots of research because Betty was sick. She’d lost all of her color and was just lying on the bottom of her tank. Nursed her back to health, and she’s been fairly healthy since I switched her diet. Right now she’s hoovering all of her rocks, looking for food. Hahaha. She’s a riot.

  2. Pingback: One Lovely Blog Award | Veggie V's Vegan Adventure

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