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knock knock
06-20-2002, 07:27 PM
How long would a goldfish survive if it was put into an ordinary, chlorinated public swimming pool? What about other fish, including salt-water fish? Could they live in the chlorinated water, or would they die right away? What would happen?

Inky-
06-20-2002, 07:49 PM
Only a little while, I know this from experience.

Years ago when I was a just a little Inky, somebody at my municipal swimming pool had the genius idea to have a "Minnow Swim". The idea was to release about a hundred of those little generic orange goldfish, and one black one, then let the little kids splash around trying to catch as many as they could in plastic bags. The child who caught the black goldfish would get a prize of some sort, and the rest could keep the fish they'd caught if they wanted them.

Well, I didn't catch the black fish, but I brought home a few. None lived through the night in any good condition.

I assume I wasn't alone in this, because from then on they just had a "Penny Toss".

AndrewL
06-20-2002, 07:50 PM
Depends on how much chlorine is in the water. I'd give it anywhere from a few minutes for a really heavily chloricated pool, to indefinitly if there's only a little chlorine. Fish can survive with some low chlorine levels in the water. Also, some fish are toucher than others.

A salt water fish will be dead in minutes in a freshwater swimming pool, chlorine or no.

Incubus
06-20-2002, 07:55 PM
I dunno about that. My grandfather, who was an avid fisherman, caught a 4-5 foot long shark and was somehow able to transport it home in which he deposited it in his swimming pool to frighten his kids out of going in the pool (scared the hell out of my dad, or so the story goes) apparently it lived for 3 days.

Ruffian
06-20-2002, 08:50 PM
I was once horrified at a party at a game very similar to the one Inky- described. A couple dozen comet goldfish (the dollar a dozen feeder kind) were dumped into a pool; we were all encouraged to jump in and catch the fish. As an aquarist, I was mortified--those poor things' gills must have burned so horrifically as they slowly suffocated and were poisoned. IIRC, they started dying off in about an hour.

To give you in idea of just how toxic chlorine is to fish, regular tap water will kill a fish within a few hours if untreated. You can imagine what a pool would do to them.

What irked me, and several other partygoers, most was that this game was at a church youth group gathering. The youth pastor's idea of basically needlessly killing a bunch of fish struck nearly everyone as offensive--and despite his "Aw, c'mon, guys! Jump in!" few, if any, people (in my memory) participated in the game.

Cat Fight
06-20-2002, 11:08 PM
My community pool had the same deal when it opened up, but they did it before the chlorinated the water.
(hijack-ish) Does this mean it's a bad idea to release a little goldfish into a freshwater lake? It's a bit cold, but there are lots of minnows in there. I just feel so bad for the thing. Its bowl is tiny and murky and they don't even feed it fish food.

Ranchoth
06-21-2002, 02:30 AM
Originally posted by Ruffian
I was once horrified at a party at a game very similar to the one Inky- described. A couple dozen comet goldfish (the dollar a dozen feeder kind) were dumped into a pool; we were all encouraged to jump in and catch the fish. As an aquarist, I was mortified--those poor things' gills must have burned so horrifically as they slowly suffocated and were poisoned. IIRC, they started dying off in about an hour.

Jesus...like being caught in no-man's land without a gas mask.
(insert smiley with stunned look of horror and disgust here at future date)


Ranchoth
..though at least on the western front you didn't have giant primates chasing after you so you could be captured and spent your last minutes alive in a plastic bag.

John Bredin
06-21-2002, 11:10 AM
Inky, where did you grow up? A near-northwest Chicago suburb? Begins with N? Because that sounds EXACTLY like the park district where I live.

For the first few years I lived there, they had the goldfish-catching thing at the public pool, specifically on the Fourth of July. Then the ASPCA came with the village cops on a particular Fourth of July in the mid-1980s (don't recall the exact year). The objection was less the chlorinated water than that kids were catching fish, putting them in bags, and after a while forgetting about the bags in the midst of the various festivities, just leaving the bags where they lay. :eek: In subsequent years, the pool guards just tossed several cupfuls of coins into the pool on the Fourth instead. AFAIK, that's what they still do.

Mr. Moto
06-21-2002, 01:45 PM
Goldfish are pretty close to carp, and will live in a lake quite happily. Until they are eaten, of course.

Baron
06-21-2002, 01:51 PM
A friend once left the chlorine floating-dispenser thing out of the pool for a few days and frogs gladly occupied it. Of course, algae was growing at that point.....

Jdeforrest
06-21-2002, 02:23 PM
Originally posted by Ruffian
To give you in idea of just how toxic chlorine is to fish, regular tap water will kill a fish within a few hours if untreated

Geez, what's in the water you drink? I've had goldfish last for weeks in tap water.

wevets
06-21-2002, 04:18 PM
I'm pretty sure Ruffian was talking about most fish, not just goldfish. Goldfish tend to be pretty hardy and tolerant of a wide variety of FW conditions, which is why they're so common as easy-to-keep pets. Most freshwater fish are not nearly as tolerant of water conditions and would die pretty rapidly in tap water. Marine fish will die even more quickly, of course. Goldfish are really quite exceptional in this respect.

Inky-
06-21-2002, 05:22 PM
Originally posted by John Bredin
Inky, where did you grow up? A near-northwest Chicago suburb? Begins with N? Because that sounds EXACTLY like the park district where I live.

Nope, twas in San Jose in about 1980, so it wasn't some regional dumbness.

Mangetout
06-21-2002, 05:31 PM
There are alternatives to chlorine IIRC; I thought I saw something about a device that would sterilise the water in the filtration process - it was UV or something. They claimed that you could have a swimming pool with no chlorine and still have the water clean enough to drink (not that you'd drink chlorinated pool water (on purpose)).

Incubus
06-23-2002, 01:28 AM
I believe that was Ozone. Apparently, it works as a microbe-killer, so you could have a pool of fresh water that could be drinkable.

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