Fishy democracy puzzle

Fishy democracy puzzle
by Ari Siletz


When you see a solution (there are at least two) to this problem just say roughly how long it took you to find it, without revealing your answer.  

How can you put the three goldfish in the pool and fishbowl so that each container of water has an odd number of goldfish in it?

Hint: the typical American puzzle fan sees a solution almost instantly.


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more from Ari Siletz
Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

Re: Monkeys

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


I would be very strict. If the monkeys do not behave: give them a good spanking.



by Doctor mohandes on

Well... It all depends... Do they believe in a sexually democratic society?  separation of sex and food (or do they want sex while chugging them bananas down the hatch?:)

Some may want their banannas with all the Mokhalaffat on the side... so they will wait for their order. That takes time. Some like their B's all peeled off and chopped up and served to them on the plate...

Don't mean to make things seem unneccessarily complicated.. but you see where i am getting at...right?

P.S. I will give them a good hour and if they are not done by then, i will take away their bannana eating priviledges.


Ari Siletz, Ref Monkeys LOL

by Raoul1955 on

It takes the four monkeys four hours to eat the bananas.  Why?  Well, they are teenage monkeys, two are girls and sisters, and the other two their boyfriends. As teens they like to 'enjoy' their time while the fifth monkey, the girls' mother, is out of the picture.  :-)

Ari Siletz

Some banter

by Ari Siletz on

kazem0574: it would have been a Nobel prize winner in fish psychology if you had found that a minute after sinking the bowl all the fish in the hose had crowded into the bowl. 


COP: You are right about the plural for fish as a rule, however for three fish there is a gramatical execption. In English three fish are called "fishies". Here's proof

VPK: Any rule not specified in the puzzle is fair game. For example what if  two of the fish are girl friend-boy friend and the other is the girl friend's dad. Put the dad in the bowl (odd number), put the other two in the hose (even number for now, but wait a few weeks).

divaneh:  It's ok, Lindbergh took 33 hours 30 minutes to cross a slightly larger hose, but he didn't have a fish puzzle to solve. 


Doctor mohandes: Here's different puzzle involving a different number and a different animal but also with a controversial plural. It takes 5 monkeys (monkies) 5 minutes to eat 5 bananas. How long does it take 4 monkeys (monkies) to eat 4 bananas?






Ari Jan

by Doctor mohandes on

Would you please use aniother item next time? We may even reach a solution or solutions a lot faster...



I liked bparhami's idea

by divaneh on

For a halloween fish tank.

No Fear, you missed the cat.

22 hours 48 minutes. Is it good?

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

No Fear

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


The problem is not specifiying all the rules. Therefore it is not clear.

  • Is it possible to be a member of both sets?
  • The number of spacial dimensions
  • Whether there is a temporal dimension.
  • Whatever else.

I do not think you missed anything. But may be wrong.


took me about 1/2 a minute, but fearful one

by Cost-of-Progress on

Fish is singular no matter how many, i.e., no plural form unless you're a mobster (the Italian kind, not the Islamic kind) in which case your adversaries will be "sleeping with the fishes"...LOL

You must have missed that lesson in The IRI Crash Course for the Devoted, before being shipped overseas to defend the divine, but now you know . 





Ari Siletz

by kazem0574 on

In answer to you question. 

The fish in the glass bowl were trying to swim through the glass to join their freely swimming counter parts in the "Hose" (Persian for house pond).

I let the bowl float around for 10 minutes or so, after which time the fish had given up trying, so I sank the bowl slowly to the bottom. It took them a minute to realise they can swim up and out.

You asked....   ;-)

No Fear


by No Fear on

i thought the second method was since the picture is in two dimensional form, we would bend the surface in two parrallel lines, placing the fishes in the pool and the bowl over the top.

In three dimensional form, the mathematical logic works perfectly.

The other solution, i thought was the forth dimension, time. Since it was not specified if these fishes have to be in the pool or bowl at the same time, we can place the fishes in the pool first, then place them in the bowl afterwards. Still the pre requisites are met for having odd number of fishes in each bowl.

Did i miss anything?

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

No Fear

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


That is the same as the second metod: put all three in a bowl and put the bowl in the pool. What is the difference?

No Fear

My mathematical approach.

by No Fear on

IF three fishes are in the bowl, AND, IF the bowl is in the pool, Therefore, the three fishes are in the pool as well. ( Logical )


Ari Siletz

Sharp group!

by Ari Siletz on

Seems IC readers are just as quick in adjusting perspective to find solutions as their counterparts in American puzzle websites.           Raoul1955, VPK: Good use of the bowl to advocate separation of church and state. Maybe then jabs at people's religions will become less frequent.

bparhami: Clever extension of the mathematical defintion of "odd" to create a verbal solution space.

No Fear: Has no fear of considering non-physical solutions.

Kazem0574:  Worked the puzzle backwards algorithmically (solution to puzzle) as well backwards in time (recollection of a childhood psychology experiment). How did the fish react?

Doctor mohandes: Introduced negative time into the stats so that the average solution time for IC readers can always be made zero. Significant contribution to the IC puzzle team 

Darius: Made a film title connection (who would have guessed!)

Monda: Has parallel consciousnesses so she can arrive at simultaneous answers. 5 seconds is good, Monda(s), 5 seconds simultaneously is eerie. 

Bavafa, Anahid, G.Rahmanian, straightforward task to solution approaches. Undistractable types.





100 solns in No time

by Doctor mohandes on

In fact it was in the negative territory.


Anahid Hojjati

Less than 30 seconds

by Anahid Hojjati on



2 solutions

by Monda on

simultaneously in 5 secs. Is that good Ari? : )


3 solutions

by bparhami on

I found one solution in about 10 sec and another one in 35 sec. A few seconds later, I came up with a third solution, which I post here because it is unlikely that anyone else will find this one. Cut one fish into 1/3 and 2/3 sections. Put 1.33333 goldfish in the bowl and 1.66666 goldfish in the pool. No one will argue that these are indeed pretty odd numbers of goldfish.


As a child had experimented with a similar idea

by kazem0574 on

So knew the answer to one way of doing it at once, the second solution is mostly academic once you know one. Never knew its going to come back at me as a puzzle one day.

Just wanted to see how they react being so close to freedom and yet so far (not given it away, have I?).


Veiled Prophet of Khorasan


by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


I like fish. They taste good. The Islamic one is poisoned; it looks like Fugo fish! Not good eating I am gonna be  telling ya dude.


Thanks to Raoul's big mouth I got it in 3 seconds it took me to read his post.

There second is a variant of the first. Took me another few seconds.

The third I haven't got yet.


Put one fish,

by Raoul1955 on

call it the islamic fish, in the bowl, then place the bowl along with the other two fish in the pool!  Each has an odd number, but the islamic one is caged and separated from the normal ones.   :-)

No Fear

At first,

by No Fear on

I thought it was impossible.  But now i see three solutions. ( two are obvious, one is mathematically ).

Good one Ari.

G. Rahmanian


by G. Rahmanian on


Darius Kadivar

A Possible Solution ? Can I called them Wanda ? ;0)

by Darius Kadivar on

Put the Three Fish in the Bowl ( that makes an Odd Number) then spill the content in the Pool.


A Fish Called Wanda:




I guess about about 10 secend

by Bavafa on