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Image by Annie Spratt
  • Writer's pictureEthan Voss

The Glo-Farm

Updated: Oct 11, 2021

My journey in glo-farming began with a simple dream: a dream to bring joy to a community through the medium of genetically modified pet fish. The dream started during my first year of college when I lived in freshman housing—away from my family for the first time in my life. While some students dive deep into the newly found freedom provided by the college experience, my freedom allowed me the somewhat spontaneous opportunity to purchase a pet fish for our living room. This gave me quite the thrill as I entered the local pet store to select my beloved new friend. My gaze was quickly directed towards a beautiful creature I had never seen before. These creatures are known as Glo-Fish and I was instantly fascinated as they zoomed around the illuminated tank in a fashion only comparable to the greatest firework display. As I pulled my wallet out, my jaw dropped as I saw the price tag of the spectacular creatures and rapidly reconsidered my investment.

It was obvious that I was not prepared to care for such an incredible animal, so I purchased an amazing beta fish instead. My mind was flooded with memories of my first pet, a bright red beta named "Lightning" who I took care of for three years. I will never forget how my parents would put me to bed each night, always remembering to "put Lightning to bed" along with me. These memories fueled my excitement for my college fish which I named Ollie in honor of our university president. My roommate Sam also purchased a fish named Dub, and our journey began.

Sadly, Ollie passed away only a few short months later while I was back home in Kansas for Christmas break. I thought my quick journey was over, but eight months later, a spark of interest lit the flame of farming once again. As I purchased another beta fish for the student government association, I was once again captivated by the beautiful glo-fish vibrantly swimming in their blue-lit tank. I rushed back to campus to convince my roommates that the time had finally come to make the investment. After much research and planning, we purchased a 10 gallon black glass aquarium with blue and white light options, 25 pounds of cosmic brownie colored gravel, a filtration system, and 6 artificial glowing plants for the fish to play with. The first night, I stared at the tank for an hour and a half without it even having fish. My roomates feared I was becoming obsessed.

As morning came the following day, I was thrilled to begin the process of selecting our new pet fish... and then the cost truly set in. I learned that in order to fully stock a tank with a school of tetra Glo-Fish, I would need at least $65. While I could probably could have paid for it myself, my business mindset kicked in, and I began to establish a sponsorship program. Within 20 minutes, I secured six sponsors, willing and eager to sponsor the life of one fish in the farm with the privilege of naming it and being recognized with a plaque on the wall. Many people were skeptical; they accused me of conning people into paying for my pets, but I call it an investment into the life of a precious creature. With sponsors secured and an almost fully prepped aquarium, I made the final purchase towards the setup of a heat system to keep the water at a consistent 78°.

The next phase of my journey took me to Petco, where I purchased the original six fish for the farm. Our sponsors named them Oliver, Grape, Edward, Alyosha, Ronnie, and Woodrow. After getting settled in, tragedy struck. Within the course of a week, five of the fish passed away. Good thing I cashed in my thirty day warranty! We tested our water for pH level and titrates, and everything came back healthy. After another week of letting our tank cycle and calm down from the mass death that occurred, we switched to Petsmart where we received incredible new fish that are still thriving to this day.

With a tank full of fish and hearts full of joy, we began to create a brand surrounding our aquarium. My initial idea for naming our farm was in relation to our favorite movie character, Master Oogway, the master kung-fu fighting savage from Kung-Fu Panda. We quickly ruled out names such as "Peaches Glo-Farm" and "Blossom Glo-Farm" because they too strongly resembled names for a strip club rather than a family friendly fish tank. I quickly found myself discouraged. We continued to come up short, but a lightbulb went off when Sam asked me about my favorite breakfast cereal. As I replied, "Lucky Charms" our quest was over. In that moment, the Lucky Charm Glo-Farm was born.

Our farm fulfills our dream of community through every tour we give and every conversation we have about our beloved fish. We currently have designed merchandise and are looking into franchising our tanks, as our list of sponsors continues to grow each day. While it may seem like a scheme to get free fish, the Lucky Charm Glo-Farm has been one of the greatest investments of my college career.

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