We’ve got a wholesome story full of hope for you, dear Pandas. People are absolutely loving a viral TikTok video posted by Lacey Scott, aka @heretherebesculptures, that shows how she rescued a sick and dying 10-year-old goldfish and then nursed him back to health.

Monstro the goldfish had lots of health problems: he couldn’t swim and as a result, developed lesions on his belly. However, the new owner set up a ‘fish hospital’ for Monstro with aquarium salt and changed the water daily. The changes were slow but noticeable. Scroll down and have a look for yourself what swimmingly huge differences proper care and attention can bring about. This before-and-after is simply stunning!

“Monstro is somehow a big goof while also being a high maintenance diva at the same time,” the goldfish’s new owner Lacey told Bored Panda. Read on for our full interview with Monstro’s owner about the goldfish’s character, his diet, how exactly he was nursed back to health, and why fish change color. We also reached out to the RSPCA to learn about the biggest misconceptions about goldfish and what to do if your pet is feeling unwell.

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Check out the full video showing Monstro’s amazing transformation right here

@heretherebesculpturesThe one where you accidentally become a goldfish keeper. Meet Monstro 🖤 ##rescue ##inspirational ##goldfish ##rescuepet ##fish ##recovery♬ Inspirational Piano – AShamaluevMusic

Proper love, care, and attention can work wonders!

More than 5.9 million people viewed the viral TikTok video and over 1.5 million liked it. With stats like these, Monstro might just be one of the most popular fish in the vast waters of the world wide web.

Once the goldfish started eating and swimming bit by bit, his new owner moved it to a bigger aquarium with some friends to keep him company. The most striking difference was how Monstro changed his color from a very dark blue to a bright and healthy-looking orange!

Monstro loves food and attention

“On the one hand, he’s like a goofy oversized puppy. He’ll come to the glass and beg for attention, especially when he wants to be fed (which is always),” Lacey told us. “Due to their shape, fancy goldfish aren’t the best swimmers, and Monstro is no exception.”

The owner continued: “He reminds me of a bumper car, he gets going and then can’t stop, so he just bounces off things and plows through the other fish, or he’ll try turning around and somehow end up doing a backflip. It’s pretty comical to watch! The desk I sculpt on is beside their tank and one of his favorite things is to swim to the top then flick his tail dramatically and sling water everywhere. My husband is currently working from home and uses the desk during the day, but hasn’t really seen Monstro do it, so I assume it’s something he does to get my attention, probably because he thinks he’s always starving.”

Lacey told us that it’s very important to feed goldfish well. “Since their bodies are so compact, it’s not uncommon for them to have gastrointestinal issues so it’s important to feed them a good diet. I feed a variety of things, pellets, gel food, leafy greens, blood worms, brine shrimp, and blanched veggies. They’re extremely fond of duckweed, which is a floating plant, but I can’t grow it fast enough because they gobble it up so quickly!”

“I couldn’t stand the thought of such an old fish wasting away the last of his days alone”

According to Lacey, the biggest challenge that she had in nursing Monstro back to health was that she didn’t really know what was wrong with him. “That’s why I started with aquarium salt and daily water changes. Aquarium salt can help speed the healing of injuries while reducing the risk of infection. It can help relax the fish (kind of like we might take an Epsom salt bath), and it’s pretty effective against a lot of bacteria, fungi, and parasites,” she went into detail.

“As for the water changes, I don’t think people realize just how much good clean water can help a fish. Once he started eating, I did eventually treat him with one round of medication just to be safe, which I think helped speed things along. But it was touch and go in the beginning. I honestly didn’t think he was going to make it, but I couldn’t stand the thought of such an old fish wasting away the last of his days alone in a store. I thought at least I can give him a home and make him comfortable in his last days, so of course, I was over the moon when he started improving!”

“The world is scary right now and I thought maybe his story could make people smile”

“I’d shared Monstro’s story to my followers as well as on a couple of fish groups before, so I definitely didn’t think it would get this kind of attention. The world is scary right now and I thought maybe his story could make people smile,” Monstro’s owner said.

“Honestly, it’s been a little overwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, the idea that so many people have been able to see just how awesome fish and fish keeping can be is amazing, and as an artist, I’m super thankful for the exposure, but it’s just a lot all at once. And of course, it’s the internet, so while the majority of the responses have been overwhelmingly positive and kind, there’s also been some not so nice things said, too.”

Fish can change their color for a number of reasons

Lacey clarified that Monstro is a Black Moor goldfish. “It’s not uncommon for them or any fish to change color over their lifetimes. A lot is tied to age, environment, diet, light, water quality, stress, and health. So, just because you have a black fish doesn’t mean that it’s unhealthy or sad. The other thing is that I know that Monstro needs a larger tank long term,” the owner explained.

“I initially planned on sending him to a friend that kept goldfish if I could get him healthy enough to transport but I quickly fell in love with him. So he’s moved tanks a couple of times already as he’s grown and began to swim more, and when funds and space allow I do plan on moving him to something larger so that he can continue to live his best life!”

She added: “Oh, and I named him Monstro because he was this big black fish with so much spirit that he reminded me of the whale from Pinocchio. I’ve seen a lot of debate on that one.”

People loved how wholesome the video was

If you’ve ever owned a goldfish, then you might have had to release it into the wild when it got too sick for you to take care of it. However, goldfish that are released this way can have a large (and negative) impact on local ecosystems, according to the BBC. Researchers from Murdoch University in Perth found many goldfish that weighed over 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds). Meanwhile, the chonkiest freed goldfish they found weighed a whopping 1.9 kilograms (nearly 4.2 pounds).

There’s a common misconception about goldfish and their longevity. The oldest known goldfish Tish from Thirsk in North Yorkshire lived up to the age of 43 and died in 1999. Which just goes to show how much proper care can affect your pet’s longevity and health. We’re hoping that Monstro outlives Tish and has a long and bubbly life.

The RSPCA told Bored Panda that the most common misconception is that goldfish are easy to take care of and don’t live very long. “But they require a large well maintained aquarium with filter (not a goldfish bowl) and can live for up to 25 years—and grow to more than 40cm long!”

According to the RSPCA, if your goldfish isn’t feeling well, you ought to first test your water because most health conditions are triggered by stress due to poor water quality. “If you still have concerns, seek veterinary advice right away.”

The RSPCA also pointed out that, in the UK, it’s illegal to release goldfish (which is a non-native species) into waterways under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981. “If you can’t take care of your fish then you should seek help from a rescue center, local aquatics shop, or local aquarist society.”