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Pet Product News Editorial Blog:

May 18, 2012

Curse you, Walt Disney (and Pixar)!

By Elizabeth Creith


The first thing we did when we opened the store was set up the saltwater tanks. We needed to give the little bacteria a few weeks to ramp up production in preparation for the fish-poop feast that would be coming their way when we stocked the tanks. During that prep time, the most common question was, “Are you going to have Nemo-fish?”

“Yes,” David would say patiently, “we're going to bring in clownfish.”

“Oh, good! I just think those Nemo-fish are so cute!”

The movie Finding Nemo piqued people's interest in clownfish
The first few dozen times we could laugh it off, but by the several-hundredth time our eyes were beginning to glaze over.

“We should just put in a little mini-disc player,” I suggested, “and if people want to ask about 'Nemo-fish' we can point them at it. They can push the button and listen to the recording.”

“Wouldn't work,” David said. “You know they'd come over and ask us if the recording was right.”

“As long as they didn't say 'Nemo-fish' when they did,” I said.

“Nemo-fish, Nemo-fish, Nemo-fish!” David chanted, displaying the maturity that is one of his most endearing qualities. He gets away with it mostly because he can run faster than I can.

After the 'Nemo-fish' question came the one which really made me cringe.

“Can you get all the fish that were in the tank in 'Finding Nemo?' I want to set up a tank just like that!”

I'm sure that responsible Dalmatian breeders know exactly how I felt. Let Walt Disney show some critter in a completely inappropriate pet-type situation, and gullible folks all over the world suddenly think that Dalmatians are couch potatoes and a 20-gallon saltwater tank can be stocked with six or seven large-ish denizens.
We spent a lot of time talking people out of the “Nemo Tank,” and also out of keeping a clownfish in a fishbowl.

“They lived in those little bags of water; why couldn't they live in a nice, big fishbowl?”

The truth is that if all those things were in that tank together, you wouldn't need Nemo to plug the filter up to force a water change. In fact, the eight denizens of the tank would have overloaded anything smaller than 80 to 100 gallons in pretty short order.

I thought now and again about an alternate ending to (a much, much shorter) “Finding Nemo.” In my ending, the filter would have overloaded and the bacteria would have instituted a baby bonus to encourage a population boom, but in vain. Overnight the fish die off, Gil first.

Gil: “Remember what I taught you, Kid!” Gasp, croak.

Nemo: “I wanna grow up to be just like you, Gil. Actually, right now I'd settle for getting to grow up!” Gasp, croak.

The upside is that the two scavengers in the tank, Peach the starfish and Jacques the cleaner shrimp, would have eaten very well for a while.

Peach: “I really miss Nemo.”

Jacques: “Sacre bleu, I, too, miss ze little guy! But zee small ones, zey start to stink if you don't eat zem right away!”

Peach: “You're right. Oooh, Bubbles is giving me gas!”

Jacques: “If you chew zee food, it will not happen, oui? And don't fart on your food!”

Both laugh hysterically. Peach's “face” is only for talking—she takes food straight into her stomach from an opening in the centre of her underside.

Ya gotta admit, if you have a darkish sense of humour, that would be a pretty funny ending. But I really can't see Disney going for it.

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