I've been getting nostalgic lately about some of the goldfish I've had over the years. I've been a goldfish keeper on and off (mostly on) since 1989, if you can believe it. Back in the olden days, it was mostly hit or miss in terms of success, with plenty of bad advice given by LFS employees (even worse than today!) and a lot of lessons learned the hard way. We had no Internet for guidance, no digital cameras (so we took few, if any, pics of our fish), and we were limited to the stock on hand at the one (two, if you were lucky) fish stores in the area. This was even pre-Petco and PetSmart, people.
I still remember my first goldfish tank fondly. It was a 10 gallon with electric blue gravel, an undergravel filter, plastic plants, a bubbling scuba diver ornament (yes, my tacky taste goes waaayyyyyy back), and FOUR fish. I still remember them fondly: a moor, a red oranda, a shubunkin (!), and a common pleco ("to clean the algae"). Needless to say, they were not long-lived in that setup, although I had the shubunkin and pleco for several years. Once the moor and the oranda bit the dust, I replaced them with a never-ending variety of others, from ryukins to comets to lionheads and beyond.
Nowadays I know ever so much more about what it takes to keep goldfish alive and happy, including 10x filtration, lots of room, a premium and varied diet, massive water changes, and so on. I discovered many of the "rules" along the way, and was already allowing 10-20 gallons per goldfish by about 1995, but dang, a lot of fish sacrificed their lives to my learning curve. If I could time travel back to my goldfish beginnings and save a couple dozen fishy lives, I would. But they didn't die in vain; all those early mistakes helped me to keep happy healthy goldies today.
BUT... In a future blog post: the unfairness of having goldfish die DESPITE doing everything the "right" way, which is a very real and very frustrating part of this hobby.
And, just for funsies, a recent photo of Astro, my calico butterfly. This guy makes me awfully happy. He has the really extreme telescope eyes that I just adore: