The “fishies”…our closest thing to a pet in Singapore

In my limited experience here in Singapore, it’s super common to have a water fountain near the entrance of your condo.  Our condo building is no different, with what looks like a lake with a walking path over the middle to get from the driveway to the elevator lobby.  Sadly, I’m apparently not terribly observant, though, as it took me about a month to realize we had Koi in our water.  Since then, it’s become a daily (or multiple times daily) activity to take E down and to look for the “fishies,” a sometimes difficult search as they like to hide under the walkway and out of sight.

However, I *did* notice several days ago when a ton of baby fish appeared in the water.  I have no idea if they came about *ahem* organically or were put there by building management.  Management obviously knows about them as they are getting fed a special leaf every day (which the large fish ignore, interestingly enough-they eat fish food pellets).  I’m also surprised by how many small koi are in the pond…I can’t imagine there’s an expectation that they’ll all make it to adulthood, as then our pond would be very overpopulated.

I’ve always been a pet person.  Growing up I had dogs, until I got my cat Lady when I was 15 years old and she was 8 weeks old from a local shelter.  Ravi, with his asthma and myriad allergies never had a pet until Lady demanded he take joint servitude to her with me.  Sadly, Lady passed away last October from kidney failure, and were not ready to adopt again before we left the US.  Making the choice to move to Singapore raised difficult questions about the logistics of pet adoption.  There is an ASPCA here, and if we were planning to be here forever, we might be talking about pet adoption.

However, knowing that we would like to move on at some point within the normal lifespan of a pet, and the many difficulties in moving a pet internationally (some countries require quarantines, for example) seems to traumatic to us.  So we have elected to not adopt any pets at this time.  Ironically, we had been open to getting Elanor a goldfish (and naming it “Dorothy” a la Elmo’s World) when she turned 2(ish).  But with the fish in the lobby that we don’t have to feed, clean up after, or otherwise take care of, it seems the apartment building is doing it for us.

You can see both the large and baby fish if you click to embiggen (Simpsons reference for those not in the know).

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6 Responses to The “fishies”…our closest thing to a pet in Singapore

  1. Zach Woods says:

    Hi Crystal –

    I’m guessing those babies were purchased and put in the pond by management and not by any of the Koi already in the pond. They look bigger than I would have expected to see if they had just been born in the pond, and if they were as small as newly born Koi they would likely be eaten by the adults unless they were separated from the adults, or very lucky.


    • Crystal says:

      Interesting…I don’t know anything really about koi, so that’s all new info to me 🙂 Do you think that’s why there are so many? They expect some to be eaten? Yikes! I think we’ll skip telling E that part.

      • Zach Woods says:

        Hi Crystal –

        Many fish have very large numbers of fry because they have a very high infant mortality rate. Some of the fry aren’t eaten but just don’t survive. Many are eaten by other types of fish. Some are eaten, particularly when they are small enough that they could be mistaken for floating food, by friends and family . . .

        The Koi in your pond may also be eaten by birds, or even cats and dogs if they have access to the pond.

        Breeding fish is a good lesson in how tough life in the wild can be . . .


        P.S. We are with you on considering a pet a “lifetime of the pet” commitment.

  2. Dawn Perlner says:

    If you really want a cat in Singapore, and have a friend in mind who would be willing to adopt it when you leave, then you could continue the relationship from afar with your friend sending pictures of and updates about the cat once in a while.

    • Crystal says:

      See, I just can’t adopt a pet knowing that we wouldn’t intend to be their “forever family.” I take really great pride that all four of the last pets we adopted lived their lives from infancy to death with us. I take pet ownership very very seriously (also why I decided against getting Turtle-our nickname for Ellie-a baby turtle at the petshop…a 30+ year commitment seems a bit much to saddle a toddler with), so I couldn’t do that. There was a point where I thought we might have to have Lady finish her life with my mom if E had allergies, and Lady had to live with my mom when I was in the dorms, but I don’t think I could handle it if we got a kitten or cat from the shelter, bonded with him or her and then left them with a friend to live out their lives. When we leave Singapore, I don’t necessarily think I’m going to feel the need to visit, except maybe to bring the kids when they’re older (like teens) to say this is where you were small.

  3. Flora says:

    Moving to Singapore with our dogs was so draining but so worth it. We didn’t really think twice about bringing them. They’re our kids.

    P.S. I love your blog!

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