Uproar at Big Brother goldfish bowl

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Fishkeepers have reacted angrily to the addition of some new housemates to the Big Brother house.

Three goldfish were given to the housemates on Friday evening's show, along with an unfiltered bowl to keep them in.

While goldfish are sometimes kept in bowls, the practice is widely considered barbaric by the aquarium community, because bowls provide inadequate space and poor water conditions for the fish.

During the show a number of forum members expressed their concern, and the following day a Facebook group titled "Better conditions for the Big Brother goldfish" had been set up.

The group, which was founded by Chris Harding, asks Facebook users to contact Big Brother and urge them to improve conditions for the fish.

Harding, a Practical Fishkeeping reader, told PFK: "After seeing the goldfish and the conditions in which they are being kept I felt compelled to share my disgust with my fellow fishkeepers.

"In this day and age, the keeping of goldfish in unfiltered aquaria is totally unacceptable.

"Filters are cheap and cheerful and easy to use and I spend my life at work explaining to the general public why it is unethical to keep goldfish in such a way.

"How many people are going to see the Big Brother bowl and assume that what they are viewing is OK?"

Official responseChannel 4 replied to a number of readers who had made complaints about the welfare of the fish. It told complainants:

"The fish were purchased from a reputable pet shop and full guidelines on their care has been given to the housemates.

"We have also instructed the housemates that the water in the tank needs to be changed every few days and they have been provided with oxygenating tablets and water neutraliser, again with full details of use, in order to ensure the quality of the water the fish are living in.

"We can assure you that all necessary instruction has been passed on to ensure the health and continued well-being of the goldfish."

Unsuitable conditionsPractical Fishkeeping explained to Channel 4 that goldfish bowls were unsuitable accommodation for fish and offered to assist in sourcing a more suitable aquarium for the fish.

A spokesman for Channel 4 said: "We did consult a number of sources regarding the care for the fish - not just the place it was purchased - and much care has been taken to ensure that housemates understand their responsibility for looking after the fish's well-being as per the detailed instructions - some of which have been included in your previous email.

"Rachel has been appointed fish feeder so that she can monitor and regulate their food."

Channel 4 confirmed that the information Practical Fishkeeping had provided on the proper care of goldfish had been passed on.

However, today the fish still remained in the bowl, and news sources are now reporting that the housemates had found one of the fish, named Heaven, dead in the bowl.

For basic information on the correct care of goldfish please see our Frequently asked questions on goldfish.