June 18, 2021

You Are What You Eat!

Here’s one they didn’t teach you in school: All fish are born alike.

Not many people know that, but it’s your ol’ Uncle Buck’s job to introduce you to strange, but true, secrets of the universe. This is one of the strangest. Teeny-tiny baby fish are hatched from their mommas in a non-specific form referred to by ichthyologists as “little fishies.” What they grow up to be depends entirely on what they eat and how they’re raised.

Perhaps an example or two will help to illustrate. If you took some little fishies and fed them nothing but cat food, they’d grow up to be catfish. If you had fed the same little fishies dog food, they’d spend their lives as dogfish. This gets more interesting the more you learn about it.

Little fish who grow up eating lawyers are known as “sharks.” Those who eat your nasty neighbors grow up to be “crabs.” If you drop your knife collection into the water, you might be creating a school of swordfish. Feed them old politicians and you’re likely to end up with a bunch of slippery eels. Throw brown robes and sandals into the water if you want monkfish. Pancakes are good for making flounder, while a box of crayons is sure to produce nice rainbow trout.

Further research into this fascinating phenomenon reveals a rich store of information on fish rearing, allowing the dedicated fish breeder a wide range of choices. If you want lobster, make sure the little guys have access to a tanning bed. Dress them in ruffles and you’ll end up with scallops. Teach them to play an instrument if you want tuna. Making sure their food is broken up into very small pieces will ensure a nice harvest of shrimp.

If you want your little fishy to grow up to be a whale, feed him lots of donuts. Donuts fried in lard will produce a killer whale. Frozen donuts will create a blue whale. If you take your little fishies to church, you’re sure to have angelfish, but if you let them hang around with the bad fishies you’re liable to end up with devilfish. Dropping a lot of money into the tank will produce goldfish. Floating ice cubes in the tank will make bluefish.

Buy them roller blades if you want skate (don’t forget the little helmets and fin pads). Car buffs will want to put toy Corvettes in the tank to produce stingrays. Here’s an idea for the urban fish lover. Put a little subway train in to tank so they can practice being sardines. Feeding your little guys German food will turn them into herring. If you feed them state legislators, you’ll end up with a house full of blowfish. Put a little telescope where they can come to the surface and look through it at night; you’ll be proud of your starfish. If you make them wear thick glasses, you’ll turn them into walleye. If you send them to medical school you just might get a sturgeon.

Little fishies love to eat Buffalo wings. This will help them become flying fish. Try putting a TV by the tank so they can watch Miami football and become dolphins. We all know fish travel in schools. Make sure the teacher stresses responsibility if you want fish with a sense of porpoise.

Watch out that the little fishies don’t get into your medicine cabinet. Too much exposure to drugs will produce stone crabs. Train them in the ways of Halloween and they’ll make great spider crabs. While we’re talking about scary stuff, I must mention the consequences of teaching your little fishies to be bill collectors. They’ll turn into piranhas.

Finally, remember those wonderful trips to Grandma’s house? The kitchen smelled wonderful and was always the center of activity. I remember waiting patiently while Grandma carefully stirred sugar and pectin into the fish tank. If we were really good little boys and girls, we were rewarded with a taste of fresh jellyfish! YUM! Grandpa, of course, was out in the woodshop dropping little pieces of sandpaper into his fish tank. That’s where I developed a taste for orange roughy. The highlight of my day was always feeding the animals. My personal favorite was pouring Hawaiian Punch into the tank where Grandma and Grandpa raised mahi-mahi.

Well, there you have it. That’s all I can tell you about raising different types of fish. I have to leave a column unfinished, but despite all my research, I absolutely could not find out what you have to do to feed little fishies to make crappie. Maybe we shouldn’t go there…

See ya around,

BUCK

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