A report published last week show there are now more tropical pet fish in the UK than cats, dogs, rabbits, hamsters and guinea pigs combined.
When I was young an interest in fishkeeping usually went no further than winning a goldfish at the funfair. We would take our fish home, proudly holding it's litle plastic bag as high as we could and stopping on the way or even going out of our way to show Grandma and Grandad. Then we would put the fish in Mum's best baking bowl, promising to buy a proper goldfish bowl with our next pocket money.
We would not feed it ant's eggs and stuff that goldfish - like creatures would eat in the wild. Instead we would give it breadcrumbs. This made the poor goldfish so flatulent it would be zooming round its bowl like a cruise missile, powred by hyperfarts. Nobody ever got round to buying a proper goldfish bowl, pocket money was always spent on sweets, comics and Airfix kits. Sometimes an empty pickle jar was pressed into service but usually the fish did not last long enough for a pickle jar to be emptied.
Being a kind hearted soul I tried to do right by the goldfish I won for my son when he was about four. It was Saturday afternoon and the shops were open so off we went with goldfish in little plakkie bag, bought a big glass bowl a castle type thing with a hole in it to keep the fish amused and proper fish food.
Goldfish have very short memories so Thomas (my son was obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine at the Time) could swim round and on every circuit exclaim "Wow, here's a little castle type thingy, I can have loads of fun exploring this!"
The novelty of watching a fish swim round and go "Wow, here's a little castle type thingy, I can have loads of fun exploring this!" soon wears thing for a four year old. At that age they crave novelty, excitement and fart jokes. My grandaughter loves my favourite toy, Uncle Windy the farting gnome.
David soon tired of his fish and decided it would be more fun for him if it were to go faster. So he fetched a dessert spon from the kitchen and kept stirring it to see it whizzing round as if it was a fart powered cruise missile.
In spite of my efforts to be a kind and humane fish owner the poor fish lasted less time than it might have in an empty pickle jar.
According to last week's report, one in ten households now own fish, with estimates for the total numbers kept in aquariums varying from 23 to 65 million. It means there are far more pet fish in the country than cats, dogs, rabbits, hamsters and guinea pigs combined.
The trend has been put down to the relative ease and low cost of keeping pet fish, compared with other animals.
They are also convenient for those living in flats or who are revolted by poo.
The only area of Britain where fish are not the most popular pets is the London metropolitan area, there the Guardian reading elitists of the media professions, lawyers, arts workers and tax eater prefer to keep a Filipino.