t's like a Terminator with fins.

In the fall of 1985, when the Chicago Bears were dominating opponents en route to their last Super Bowl appearance, 10-year-old Steve Bennett won a dozen goldfish at a school fun fair.

Within a week, all the fish were dead. Except the one called Max.

Today, 19 years later, Max is still very much alive and swimming. He lives in the basement of Bennett's parents' house, and despite a few signs of age -- his eyes are a bit cloudy and one of his gills doesn't work very well -- he isn't slowing down.

"He's a beast," said Bennett, 28, a Mount Prospect native who now lives in Elk Grove Village. "It's like nothing can stop him. We'd go on vacation for a week, and I'd just dump a bunch of food in his bowl. When we got back, he'd be swimming like a champ."

Max was just a few inches long when Bennett took him home. Now, he measures nearly a foot from nose to tail.

Bennett can't say exactly why Max is closing in on 20 years old while most goldfish seem to have a tough time reaching their 1-week birthday. He took care of the fish well enough, but he says he wasn't any more conscientious than the typical goldfish owner.

And Bennett admits that as he got older, he sometimes wasn't as attentive to Max's needs as he should have been.

"(Max) always has been very low-maintenance," Bennett said.

Dave Drake, manager of Rainbow Pets in Schaumburg, said that while it's rare for a goldfish to live as long as Max has, it doesn't have to be that way.

"The most common kind of goldfish, known as ‘feeder' goldfish, are relatives of the carp," Drake said. "With proper care, there's no reason they can't live 15 or 20 years. And I've seen some grow to well over 12 inches in length.

"Of course, that's very unusual, because people tend not to care for them that well."

http://www.dailyherald.com/search/ma...intid=38248311