Meet The Man Behind The Viral 'Goldfish Wheelchair'

A man in San Antonio creates a special wheelchair for a goldfish that has trouble swimming.

SAN ANTONIO - It's the brave little goldfish that's taken the Internet by storm this week.

A Ranchu goldfish couldn't quite swim like the rest until a crafty man at a local aquarium shop stepped in.

KENS-5 met the brains behind the "Goldfish wheelchair".

A few weekends ago, a woman walked into Aquarium Designs in San Antonio with fish she couldn't care for anymore.

One by one, the fish were adopted except for a lone Ranchu goldfish.

"Unfortunately there was one little goldfish that couldn't seem to keep himself upright. He was stuck on the bottom upside down," Derek Burnett, Manager of Aquarium Designs said.

The fish has a permanent bladder disorder. It can't float like the rest.

"He's just so tough," Burnett said. "He wouldn't give up. I knew I had to do something for him."

Burnett adopted the goldfish. He has a background in marine biology so he tried different diets for the pet, but no luck.

"These type of goldfish, they've been bred a little more than some of the other goldfish," Burnett said. "So just like dogs and things that have some of the fancier breeding, you can get a little more health issues that can arise with fish like this."

Then, Burnett had an even better idea.

If the goldfish couldn't float by itself, why not engineer a device that floats for the fish?

"I just started messing with some things and tinkering with different items and troubleshooting, and came up with the wheelchair that became famous. The goldfish wheelchair!" Burnett said.

He used scraps from around the store.

"Bits of airline tubing and airline tubing connectors," Burnett said. "The base actually had plant weights that were wrapped around some zip ties and things to actually hold it down, and the top is styrofoam pieces. I kind of slowly would remove little pieces of it until the buoyancy got exactly where I wanted it where the styrofoam and the weight on the bottom were off-setting each other."

A friend of Burnett's posted a picture of the wheelchair on Twitter. In just days, it went viral.

BuzzFeed Story

"[The fish] went from being upset, stuck on the bottom to be swimming around and zipping around," Burnett said. "His tail got to going super fast. This is the happiest I've seen him since we've had him in our possession."

While the original device worked just fine, Burnett made a few tweaks and engineered a new and improved better fitting wheelchair for the goldfish.

The only thing left to do is give the fish a name.

"If you have any suggestions, let us know," Burnett said.

Burnett said he plans to make a video showing other Ranchu owners who are experiencing similar problems how to make a goldfish wheelchair.

Burnett is also planning to create a Twitter account to keep the public up to date on the celebrity goldfish.

© 2017 KENS-TV


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