Created By: surgoshan on April 15, 2012 Last Edited By: surgoshan on April 29, 2012

Fish Fancier

A character who keeps fish as pets

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Dogs are stinky and stupid. Cats are unfortunately independent and shed a lot. Birds are noisy and shit just about anywhere. No one can take you seriously if you have a pet hamster. What's a character to do?

Get an aquarium.

Fish are essentially moving props[[hottip:*:Just like actors.]]. Occasionally they're very pretty moving props. An aquarium adds a great deal of vitality and interest to a scene without the annoyance you get from even the best trained dog or cat.

Fish also make pretty darn good pets! They're cute/pretty, they don't shed, and depending on the species they can be as close to cuddlesome as you can get when any personal interaction would risk suffocation for one of you.

Pets allow a character to have a bit more personality; caring for another living thing, even a goldfish, let's a character connect with another creature. It sometimes shows a character is rich and sophisticated; a villain might have a huge aquarium full of expensive and exotic fish. If a villain doesn't have a Right-Hand Cat, his second choice of pet is likely to be a tank with vicious or poisonous fish, like sharks or piranhas. A tank full of dangerous marine creatures used as a Death Trap is a Shark Pool in which the Hero is Fed to the Beast. Sometimes the aquarium is just intended to evoke an alien environment; most of us don't have floor-to-ceiling aquaria full of deep-sea creatures in our bedrooms. Expect most any cartoon cat to get mixed up with the denizen of a fishbowl or aquarium at least once in his career.


Examples: Film

Film -- Animated
  • The dentist in Finding Nemo.
  • Disney's Pinocchio. Geppetto has a pet goldfish named Cleo that he keeps in a small glass bowl.

Literature
  • Hildegarde Withers, the schoolteacher/amateur sleuth in a series written by Stuart Palmer, collects tropical fish.

Live Action TV
  • Willow of Buffy the Vampire Slayer has a small aquarium. Mostly so the Big Bad of the second season can slaughter them to evoke maximum terror. He was right by her bed. Good thing she didn't get that puppy.
  • On ER, Luka had a large aquarium. Abby broke it. After she broke up with him. She tried to replace it without him knowing. It didn't end well.
  • Mulder on The X-Files kept fish in tank in his apartment. Feeding them was a convenient excuse for whenever Scully was discovered by M.I.B's looking for classified documents or evidence or whatever in Mulder's apartment.
  • NYPD Blue: Sipowitz has tropical fish at home and at the squadroom. At one point another character (don't remember who just now, not one of the regulars) accidentally killed his squadroom fish while he was away.
  • Mr. Rogers had fish in a tank which he fed Once an Episode.
  • Captain Picard, of Star Trek: The Next Generation, keeps an aquarium in his office.

Video Games
  • Starting in Mass Effect 2, Commander Shepard can start collecting Space Fish. They might die if you don't feed them. This continues in the third game.
  • Penguin has an aquarium in Batman: Arkham City. It's very understated, with only one fish.

Western Animation
  • The Simpsons have an aquarium, but only when needed to further the plot.
    • In one episode, Troy McClure's bedroom is shown to have an enormous aquarium as its centrepiece, and it's rumoured among Springfielders that he uses the fish for sexual purposes.
  • Cornelius Fillmore kept a carnival-prize goldfish in a bowl on his desk. Next to his partner Ingrid, it was his best friend in the world. He was saddened when it died.
Community Feedback Replies: 17
  • April 15, 2012
    Dacilriel
    The dentist in Finding Nemo.

    Ken in A Fish Called Wanda.

    Became a source of conflict in Jungle 2 Jungle.

    Also, if a villain doesn't have a Right Hand Cat, his second choice of pet is likely to be a tank with vicious or poisonous fish, like sharks or phiranas.
  • April 15, 2012
    fulltimeD
    Live Action Television

    • Mulder on The X Files kept fish in tank in his apartment. Feeding them was a convenient excuse for whenever Scully was discovered by M.I.B's looking for classified documents or evidence or whatever in Mulder's apartment.
  • April 15, 2012
    HaggisMcCrablice
    The Simpsons have an aquarium, but only when needed to further the plot.

    Expect most any cartoon cat to get mixed up with the denizen of a fishbowl or aquarium at least once in his career.
  • April 15, 2012
    randomsurfer
    NYPD Blue: Sipowitz has tropical fish at home and at the squadroom. At one point another character (don't remember who just now, not one of the regulars) accidentally killed his squadroom fish while he was away.
  • April 16, 2012
    Arivne
    A tank full of dangerous marine creatures used as a Death Trap is a Shark Pool in which the Hero is Fed To The Beast.

    Film- Animated
    • Disney's Pinocchio. Geppetto has a pet goldfish named Cleo that he keeps in a small glass bowl.

    Film - Live Action
    • The Spy Who Loved Me. Diabolical Mastermind Karl Stromberg has a giant aquarium filled with all manner of salt water fish, a symptom of his obsession with the ocean.
    • Total Recall. Big Bad Vilos Cohaagen has an aquarium filled with fish. At one point it's tipped over and the fish are shown gasping for air, a Foreshadowing of a scene at the end where several characters end up exposed on the Martian surface.
  • April 16, 2012
    TrustBen
    Hildegarde Withers, the schoolteacher/amateur sleuth in a series written by Stuart Palmer, collects tropical fish.
  • April 19, 2012
    Routerie
    Fish Swim In Bowls?

    A fish tank can mean something. It can be a sort of Chekhovs Gun - if a tank appears, it will explode. Some tanks are traps villainous traps. It may offer a villain Pet The Dog scenes. But someone just owning fish needn't mean anything - or could mean anything.
  • April 19, 2012
    IronLion
    The Simpsons: In one episode, Troy McClure's bedroom is shown to have an enormous aquarium as its centrepiece, and it's rumoured among Springfielders that he uses the fish for sexual purposes.
  • April 19, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Mr. Rogers had fish in a tank which he fed Once An Episode.
  • April 19, 2012
    HaggisMcCrablice
    Cornelius Fillmore kept a carnival-prize goldfish in a bowl on his desk. Next to his partner Ingrid, it was his best friend in the world. He was saddened when it died.
  • April 20, 2012
    peccantis
    This sounds an awful lot like Characters With Fish As Pets.
  • April 20, 2012
    Arivne
    Film
  • April 23, 2012
    surgoshan
    Have previous pet tropes been discarded as too Chairy?
  • April 27, 2012
    peccantis
    ^ I'm pretty sure no one's attempted a "pet owner" ykttw before.
  • April 27, 2012
    Routerie
    But if they did, yes, they'd rejected as too chairful.
  • April 27, 2012
    HaggisMcCrablice
    I could be used to establish character. Villains who keep sharks and piranhas have been mentioned, but what about showing someone's sentimental side by how they cope with the loss of their pet? Example: Peter Griffin was despondent after his fish Lt. Shiny-Sides died, refusing to accept it and pouring large amounts of fish food into the bowl. I think Mister Rogers also had an episode where one of his fish died. Do we have a "Death of a Pet" Trope?
  • April 29, 2012
    surgoshan
    Is there a good way to define this as a trope such that the fish (pets in general?) are used to help define a character (a la Right Hand Cat) and eliminate People With Fish As Pets?
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=w2ijtnafqei4cqq3ulyiqb85