The future rarely looks bright for an unloved goldfish. Its owner may confine it to a small bowl and deprive it of the space or stimulation it needs, or worse, flush it down the toilet while it's still alive. But the Paris Aquarium is offering regretful pet owners a better solution: Any unwanted fish that are brought there will be cared for and given a new home in a massive tank, The Nation reports.
The French aquarium launched its goldfish rescue program two years ago, and it houses roughly 600 rescued fish today. Many of the pets that are handed over arrive in poor health. Each specimen is given medical care, including antibiotics and anti-parasite treatments, and kept in quarantine for a month before transitioning to the tank with the rest of the fish. Some goldfish don't survive the move, but those that do often thrive, growing up to a foot in length.
People have different reasons for taking advantage of the aquarium's service. For some, it's a convenient—and eco-friendly—way to get rid of a pet they no longer want. When fish are disposed of in sewage systems, they face almost certain death, and when they're released directly into a pond or river, they can grow to monstrous proportions and wreak havoc on the local ecosystem.
In other cases, pet owners see that the aquarium can provide a better life for their fish than they ever could. Goldfish can suffer from depression when they're kept in a small, empty environment, and goldfish bowls have even been banned in some parts of the world for being inhumane.
The fish sanctuary is open to members of the public to view—including anyone wishing to check up on a former pet.
[h/t The Nation]