As a longtime goldfish keeper and member of the board of the Goldfish Society of America (www.goldfishsociety.org), I appreciate any efforts to help people succeed at keeping goldfish as pets. But your Aug. 8 Sunday Source article, "Goldfish Bowl Do's and Don'ts," missed a few key facts.

Even if you follow all of the advice in the article, the whole concept of keeping goldfish in a bowl suffers from a basic problem: Most adult goldfish grow as large as eight inches. Under optimal care, which does not involve bowls, they can reach this size in less than a year. So a two-gallon bowl provides sufficient room for perhaps one month, after which the fish will need larger quarters.

People who have kept goldfish in bowls typically have had a particularly hardy fish and they have been fed an absolute subsistence diet. The scant feeding regimen minimizes waste products in the bowl water and the growth of the fish. But the best case is that these fish survive a year or two vs. a more typical seven to 10 years.

A better option is to start with a 10-gallon aquarium and a proper filter (one with a flow rate of 100 gallons an hour). The probability of success goes way up with this type of setup and it is often less work and expense in the long run. Just don't get more than one fish, at least to start. If you do everything right, that goldfish will double in size in one or two months.

-- Russ Taylor

Vienna