Meet Toni: Our Pet Fish & Unofficial Mascot

Research | January 15, 2016

Toni the goldfish – like fellow fish Nemo – had her moment of fame on the screen. In her starring role as Toni the goldfish herself, and in only 3 seconds, she transfixed her audience in our Giving Group video.

Obviously we all fell in love with Toni right away. Who could resist those limpid eyes?



And so Toni became the office pet fish, and Chimp’s unofficial mascot (Toni’s name is a nod to Pantone 144, the orange we use in Chimp’s logo.)

After being shuffled around the office for a bit, Toni finally found a permanent home on Product Manager & UI Dev Lead Chris Gerber’s desk. Among the many plant-filled terrariums adorning Chris’ desk, Toni’s aquarium fits right in — and Toni and Gerb have been getting along swimmingly. In his admiration for Toni the goldfish, Chris sometimes even matches parts of his outfit to her bright orange scales.


What kind of goldfish is Toni?

Chris: A fantail.

What a pretty fish!

Chris: Yeah, totally. She has a great colour. Sometimes I wear socks to match her scales.

Is Toni a he or a she?

Chris: Initially, the office had assumed she was a he, but we did some research and it seems like male goldfish have some sort of ridge on their bottom side. She doesn’t have that, so we’re assuming she’s a she. That’s when we changed the spelling of her name from T-O-N-Y to T-O-N-I. Like Toni Braxton.

How do you like sharing your desk with her?

Chris: I like it. It’s relaxing to have her here. Instead of looking at traffic, I can look at her, and she doesn’t mind me staring at her and it’s really rewarding to take care of another living being.

Well, I’m glad she found a home with you.

Chris: Me, too. For a while she was shuffled around the office and nobody had ownership over her. Although… sometimes I think it would be nice to share her more with other people in the office. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we installed pneumatic tubes in the office, filled them with water, and she could swim around the office freely and say hello to everyone?

Yes! A bit like the interior design at Beijing Noodle No. 9 in Vegas. I would love that. Speaking of restaurants: What does Toni eat?
 Chris: Mostly these little peas. About 7 per week. She’s really into them. It’s a mild laxative that helps her not to store a lot of air in her belly.

Right. One thing everybody here knows about Toni is that she often swims upside down. Is that because of too much air inside of her?

Chris: I think so. I think there’s something up with her swim bladder. I’ve tried a bunch of different things: feeding more, feeding less, cleaning her tank, not cleaning her tank. Nothing really seems to work. Apparently sometimes it’s a digestive problem and other times it’s genetic, and I think with Toni it’s genetic. It’s hard to watch her upside down like that. I hope she’s not in pain.

Well, if all else fails you could always build a fish wheelchair for her. Somebody actually did that.

Chris: Oh ya, I heard about that. Maybe.

Last question: What’s something that surprised you about Toni?

Chris: Her efficiency. She knows exactly what she needs and what she needs to do, and doesn’t expend more energy than is needed. For example, sometimes when she’s floating upside down and not trying to get right side up, I think it’s because she doesn’t need to. She knows to save that energy for when she’s hungry or scared, even though she’s upside down.  She’s smart.

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