Goldfish In Bowls Between Tiers???

Decorating By pjaycakes Updated 22 Jul 2008 , 4:13am by dragonflydreams

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pjaycakes Posted 20 Jul 2008 , 1:30pm
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A bride wants a three tier cake with goldfish in bowls with water between each tier. Is this possible? Would the weight of the bowls and water be too heavy for the supports? I'm assuming they will be small bowls, but should I use pillars and then just put the bowls in the center with support under them or use the bowls alone as the seperators (with support under them)?

38 replies
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indydebi Posted 20 Jul 2008 , 2:01pm
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I would place dowels in the bottom tier, place a plastic plate on the dowels, then place the fish bowl on the plate..... after I thought long and hard about having fish water and potential splash factors that close to my cake.

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miss_sweetstory Posted 20 Jul 2008 , 2:17pm
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It could be a neat look...but if you do this, please, please write it into the contract that you are not responsible if any of the fish "kack." (Can you floating belly up between the layers of your beautiful wedding cake? What an omen..)

Oh, and the bride needs to make sure that those fish get taken care of. Someone who will be responsible to collect them and give them a good home!

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TooMuchCake Posted 20 Jul 2008 , 2:23pm
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I thought about doing a cake like this once, just for the fun of it and to see what it would be like. The more I thought about it, though, and the more I looked at the ryukin (sp?) goldfish I have in my aquarium, the more I Personally didn't like the idea. Perhaps the bride hasn't thought about the amount of poop goldfish generate in a short amount of time... It's astounding, haha. If it were me (and I realize it isn't), I wouldn't want my wedding cake to have the very real possibility of goldfish with inch-long poops trailing behind them like kite strings. And you'd need some sort of gravel or marbles in the bottom of the bowls to hide the poops they make while they're waiting for the cake to be cut. Perhaps the bride has a more relaxed attitude about that than I do. icon_smile.gif

People tend to like to tap on fish bowls, for some reason. Like Debi said, be careful about the splash factor and maybe put some double-sided tape under the bowls in case someone has a little too much to drink and decides to tap the side of the bowls a little too hard.

All that said, if you do the cake, be sure to post a pic, because it would be a cool thing to pull off!


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veejaytx Posted 20 Jul 2008 , 2:24pm
post #5 of 39

Oh my, that is almost as "out" as the stairs and fountain! I think it is cruelty to the poor fish as well. I never did quite get the concept of live fish with a wedding cake.
Good luck with that one!

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Danielle111 Posted 20 Jul 2008 , 2:41pm
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I agree completely... Fish water (eeew), dying fish, and care of the ones that survive afterwards are all things that need to be discussed with the bride. It would make for a very interesting look, though. If you end up doing it, I'd love to see the pictures!

As for creating your support structure, water weighs a ton. One gallon weighs 8.34 pounds. Personally, I would use a stress-free support system, with a plate below and above each bowl, and make sure the bowl's glass is strong enough to support the weight of the other tiers (while the supports will keep the bowls from sinking into the cake, ultimately it will be the bowl holding up the weight of everything above it - kind of a scary thought!)

Good luck, and I can't wait to see what you come up with!

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LeckieAnne Posted 20 Jul 2008 , 2:47pm
post #7 of 39

My cousing had fish bowls on every table -- I believe all but 2 fish died -- it was only thing everyone was talking about during the entire reception -- not to mention anywhere near the cake. I wouldn't want any part of that - for a multitude of reasons from messing up the cake to cruelty to the poor fishies!

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maryj Posted 20 Jul 2008 , 2:47pm
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How about chinese fighting fish instead of goldfish. they are much prettier and can survive in a small bowl forever and you don't have to feed them for days, so no poop. just a thought

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Danielle111 Posted 20 Jul 2008 , 2:49pm
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I just did a real quick seearch for some other options... Here's a cake done by Brook Noelle, and some possible table decor to coincide...

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TooMuchCake Posted 20 Jul 2008 , 3:06pm
post #10 of 39

Ooooh, I love the koi on that cake!!!!!!!


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pjaycakes Posted 20 Jul 2008 , 3:24pm
post #11 of 39

Thank you all for your replies.

I know some people just have different tastes, I guess.

She is having goldfish in bowls on each table and wanted to tie the cake in in that way. Maybe I'll try and talk her into fondant fish on the sides. It would certainly be a challenge though. The wedding isn't until April (practically a lifetime away ;o)). I'll keep you updated on her decision. Thanks again.

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indydebi Posted 20 Jul 2008 , 3:36pm
post #12 of 39

Maybe she can just go with goldfish bowls on the cake table and not on the cake itself.

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veejaytx Posted 20 Jul 2008 , 3:36pm
post #13 of 39

maryj, the Beta (Japanese Fighting Fish) need to be fed daily, just like any other fish. Those in jars that came out years ago with the plants said they didn't need to be fed, they ate off the plant, was all wrong. All they were getting to eat was the algae that formed on the plants, not the plants themselves.

As long as I had my older cat I had a Beta or two to watch, they are beautiful, but now I have a young cat who was quite interested in the pretty fishies, I had to give up my Betas for safety's sake!

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Shola Posted 20 Jul 2008 , 4:34pm
post #14 of 39

I think it's a fab idea, it would look really cool! icon_biggrin.gif Goldfish are very resiliant (I know I had one as a kid, he survived being fed cornflakes and also dropped on the floor when I wanted to pet him icon_redface.gif ) I think if you didn't feed them for 24 hours before the poop thing shouldn't be a problem and also rather than glass bowls you could use high quality plastic bowls that still look like glass, then you don't have to worry about weight so much or the 'smash factor' should anyone be too eager with bowl tapping! icon_biggrin.gif

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armywifebryan Posted 20 Jul 2008 , 11:18pm
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Why not use the pillars and put the bowl in between them.. You could hide the pillars (for the most part) with some greenery...maybe some of the grass looking stuff from the craft section. Might make it look like natural "underwater" grass. Doing this you could use the plates above and below the bowl so that the bowl itself didn't have to hold all the weight. Just a thought. Does it make any sense? If not I can try to sketch it. I think it would be cool to try a cake like this. Please, let us know and get pics!!

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Cakenicing4u Posted 20 Jul 2008 , 11:38pm
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We've done a cake with fish in them... and they lasted for a while but did die BECAUSE we did not leave any room for air to enter the bowl. We did it at a bridal fair for 8 hours and the fish lived for weeks... but 6 hours at a reception and they kicked the bucket.

For the bowl, we used a vase where the glass curved IN at the top..... and used a watering can to fill it. By advice at the pet store, we put a few ice cubes in with the fish when we set it up== they have oxygen which is good.... they slowly drop the temp which slows the fish and it slowly rises as the ice melts away.

At the show, we put toothpicks between the bowl and the cake to give it an air gap... and I forgot to do it when I set it up at the reception! Also, we used different fish for the real cake from the show AND we had to buy a second set of fish for the real cake after the first set died... so there could have been something wrong with them from the first!

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Texas_Rose Posted 20 Jul 2008 , 11:38pm
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Ewwww!!!! I love fish and I have a couple of really big aquariums...but I'll tell you, there are more bacteria in a fish bowl than in a toilet. I personally wouldn't want to put food near a fish bowl, even for a couple of hours. Besides, fish bowls are inhumane to the fish and if you fill it up with brand new, fresh, clean water, the fish are likely to die pretty quickly (they need smelly old water from someone's aquarium because it has the bacteria to deal with the fish waste). The cheap goldfish that someone would think of as a decoration are usually raised in crowded, disease-ridden conditions as feeder fish, and that's why they so frequently die. It wouldn't be at all surprising to have a few dead fish floating in the middle of the wedding cake halfway through the reception.

Anyhow, I love fish bowls and I love cake...but not together!!!

Maybe, if the bride just has to have it, you could use the tall pillars that go with the fountain, and put a fish bowl in there instead. It might look nice, and there'd be a little distance at least between the fish and the food. Another option would be to get some plastic fish and some of that clear gel they use for the silk flower arrangements that look like they're in a vase of water.

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CreatedByMe Posted 20 Jul 2008 , 11:44pm
post #18 of 39

My cousin's wedding cake had a fish bowl in the middle of it and yes, as a previous poster said, they died because there was not space at the top of the bowl to let air in. So then my cousin's brother (a doctor) tried blowing air into the bowl using his drink straw!! HA!! Those fish-if they weren't dead to begin with, his breath after a few cocktails certainly killed them!!

DON'T DO IT!!! good luck though!

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Ariginal Posted 20 Jul 2008 , 11:51pm
post #19 of 39

what about using the bowls but put in the glass goldfish that hang from clear nylon they then can have water no splashing and no loss of air to breath but could still look okay... just a thought..

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janelwaters Posted 20 Jul 2008 , 11:55pm
post #20 of 39

I had Beta fish on all the tables at my wedding and not one of them died and most "families" got to take a fish home as our "thank you" gift. I was worried that we would have a bunch of fish left over, that people wouldn't want to take them, but we ended up not having enough fish for everyone that wanted them!

I think it sounds like a very cool idea! but just that - an idea!! Oh what problems could come from that cake! GOOD LUCK!!

If you do it - post pics and directions and stories!! haha!!

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CakeRN Posted 20 Jul 2008 , 11:56pm
post #21 of 39

Well here is a totally different suggestion and there would be no poop factor to worry about or even feeding.

How about doing fish cookies. I have seen some wonderful ones here on cc that people have done. You could put them on sticks and fill the bowls with some light blue icing or even blue knox blox with the fish just above them. You wouldn't have to worry about any health or sanitary issues except maybe some flaking royal icing.. icon_lol.gif

That is just a suggestion and since it is not until april of 09 then you would have plenty of time to work on cookies..


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oceanspitfire Posted 20 Jul 2008 , 11:59pm
post #22 of 39

I'm going eww at the thought also re: bacteria that close to a cake. And then there is the risk factor a few mentioned about tapping and spillage and disaster factor through the roof.
I like the one idea mentioned, forgot by whom, maybe clear pillars supporting the cake tiers just put them out far enough that a fish bowl will fit 'inside' and not be responsible for the weight of the top tiers. Then wrap the clear plastic pillars with vine stuff from Michaels or wherever, that look kind of like seaweed. And make sure there is a half inch or so gap between the top of the fish bowl and the tier above.
Oh and then just keep some other fish on hand out of public view in a proper soupy bowl to replace any dead ones? Cause yeah you don't want a green mucky bit of water between those gorgeous cake tiers. I guess this bride will have to be brought up to speed as to all these issues- and if she digs her heels in to come up with a solution such as above so everyone is happy and as one person commented, that that is not all the guests will talk about are the dead fish lol

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Ariginal Posted 21 Jul 2008 , 12:14am
post #23 of 39

I found these couple of pics to give you an idea of what i mean by the floating glass fish.. they are made of glass on a nylon string so as invisible in the water with a glass bubble as the float..

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cakesbycathy Posted 21 Jul 2008 , 12:30am
post #24 of 39

I did this for a ocean themed baby shower. It was a two tiered cake. 12" round on the bottom. Fish bowl in the middle. 9" round on top of the fish bowl. Make sure your surface is VERY level!

It can be done, but only for a short period of time, since as some PP have mentioned, the lack of air can kill the fish. My cake was up for about 2 hours when we decided it would be a good idea to cut and serve so the fish could live.

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veejaytx Posted 21 Jul 2008 , 12:31am
post #25 of 39

Water for the Beta fish doesn't have to be "murky" or dirty, it just has to be treated to remove the chlorine and other additives to tap water. They also can survive without air for a limited time, which is why they are usually the type used for display like this.

From what I've read, tapping on the bowl sounds to them like a tornado or something in their head, it is so magnified and can hurt them. Putting them in plastic bowls is also not a good idea, you have to be careful about anything you put into a fish tank to be sure it is not toxic to the fish and made just for that purpose.

I think the glass ones are beautiful, and a great idea...probably a much better take-home gift for the guests than a real (or possibly soon to be dead) fish.

Sorry to be a downer on this, but it just seems cruel to me for a few hours of pleasure, since the Beta lifespan is about 2 years under normal conditions.

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leah_s Posted 21 Jul 2008 , 12:37am
post #26 of 39

Please, please just say no. This idea is wrong on sooo many levels. Animals are not here to be centerpieces or cake decor. The water that the goldfish would be in needs to be conditioned - certainly not a fill up of tap water right before the reception starts. The idea of having that much water anywhere near my cake would make me say no. Dead fish do not create a positive experience fo rthe diner. May I ask what the entree will be at the dinner? Salmon perhaps?

You should suggest to your bride that she log onto The Knot and visit the Reception Ideas board with her fish as centerpieces idea. Those girls will chew her a new one.

Yaknow, I love kittens too, but I wouldn't plop one in her carrier into the middle of my dinner table.

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Tallmama Posted 21 Jul 2008 , 12:48am
post #27 of 39

What about the bowls that are wavey at the top? That way you don't have to worry about air not getting in, and then the next cake plate could sit flat on the bowl. You might also want to usse some sort of floral sticky tape to secure the bowl to the next plate. Another Idea would be to incorperate the fish into the cake stand. Just a thought.

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pottedmeatchunks Posted 21 Jul 2008 , 1:23am
post #28 of 39

I have to say I'm not too keen on this either but I know you didn't post this to ask our opinion on the matter. That being said I'd like to offer another alternative for you. you could get a couple glass or crystal goldfish (probably will be expensive but they will look pretty) and somehow attach them to clear fishing line and have them hanging from the tier above suspended in the water below. That will look pretty, no need to make a decoration out of a live and beautiful creature icon_biggrin.gif

And whoever mentioned the fish poop wow that is so true. I once had a goldfish for about 4 years before he died and I'm telling you his tank would green in a week. They are extremely dirty

Just FYI some deals on crystal goldfish on eBay icon_wink.gif

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CelebrationCakery Posted 21 Jul 2008 , 1:48am
post #29 of 39

I could have sworn that last week someone posted a picture of teirs being supported by fish bowls...I will see if I can find it. Maybe that person can help you so you can see what they did...

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CelebrationCakery Posted 21 Jul 2008 , 1:52am
post #30 of 39

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