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  1. Non Iodized table salt (almost pure sodium chloride) can be used. This will give you the therapeutic value that salt provides. You can even use iodized table salt as the small trace of iodine will not in any way harm the fish (reports to the contrary). You can use rock salt as this contains many trace minerals. The down side is that you do not know what minerals are in rock salt. When I use salt in my pond I use ?solar salt? (the same salt I use in my water softener). I cannot vouch for all water softener salts. Read the label, if there is anything added to help your water softener, assume that it will not help your fish. A far better choice is a salt that is made from evaporated sea salt, or a synthetic equivalent. While sodium chloride is the major component in sea salt, it is more than NaCl, much more. Chloride constitutes the bulk of sea salt at 55%, and Sodium comes in at 30.6%. There are also a number of other minerals in seawater that fish can use to maintain electrolyte levels, such as sulfate, 7.7%, magnesium, 3.7%, calcium, 1.2%, and potassium, 1.1%. The remaining minor constituents (0.7%) are made up of as many as 85 different trace minerals. Are the added minerals worth the extra cost, I can not help you there. It is the only salt I use for culinary purposes, but that is a different subject. One last thing to remember when using salt in your pond is that once added salt does not evaporate and is not filtered out, so it never leaves the pond. Do not add more salt when you add water to your pond that has evaporated. The only time you need to add more salt is when you have physically removed water from your pond, like from a water change, or a severe rainstorm that caused the pond to overflow. You should always test your salt level before making any adjustments.
  2. http://thegab.org/Articles/ColorChange.html
  3. Goldfish are pigs; they would probably eat till they burst. Within minutes of feeding my fish, they are nibbling on the algae or whatever they can find in the pond. I feed my fish several times a day, but whether it is two or three (or more), it is always the same amount. If you determine the amount of food your fish need per day, and then split that amount into two, three, or four feedings, you should not have any nitrate problems. A goldfish stomach (they actually do not have a stomach as we understand it) is like a straight tube, the more you put in the one end, the more comes out the other. If they eat too much too fast, it is simply pushed out, only partially digested. I would think that fish, like people, would do better if they ate less per meal and ate more meals per day.
  4. I have feed my goldfish and koi earthworms for years, with no problems. It is quite entertaining watching the fish fight for them, especially when two fish latch on to the opposite ends of one worm. I would be careful where you acquire the worms. My garden does not contain any pesticides or chemical fertilizers (they could be a problem, I would think). Buying them from ????? does not allow you to take this precaution.
  5. Maybe he is just a stud!
  6. I admit, the same thought has crossed my mind. I really have no expertise but I am a bit familiar with wild fish. You did not say how large your student?s pond is (how much room is there for them to avoid each other). I do know that during spawning, sunfish and bluegills are very aggressive and territorial and guard their nests with vicious abandon. I would be surprised if this would work out well unless in a very large pond. As I said, I really do not know.
  7. I opted for the "less then perfect" myself, and they are beautiful.
  8. Show standards for a comet require that the caudal fin be 3/4 or greater than the body length. Show standards for commons require that the caudal fin be only 1/4 the body length. What you may be seeing in your lfs are comets that did not make grade ?A?. In my area I can by 3-4 inch comets for US$3. They have caudal fins which are, at best, 1/2 the body length. In another store the same 3-4 inch comets will cost me US$7, but the caudal fins are up to show standards. Concerning Shubunkin goldfish, there are three main types, Japanese/American, London, and Bristol. There are a few other ?specialty? types that I know of, the Sky Blue and the Midnight Blue.
  9. It is hard for us humans to except, but that is nature's way. That is why a fish lays a thousand eggs, just so that 10 will survive to adulthood. When humans intervene, many more can be saved than would live in nature, but there will still be large numbers that will not make it.
  11. Excellent post by Erinaceus! The color of goldfish is environmentally influenced, light being the most important factor: fish raised in a dim environment (such as deeper ponds, ponds with dirty water, rivers, etc.) develop (and retain) pale coloration, whereas fish raised in a bright environment develop brighter, saturated colors. Diet also affects color. Scientists have identified two types of color changes in fish: physiological and morphological. Physiological color changes are due to the spreading out or aggregation of chromatosomes. When the chromatosomes are spread throughout the cell, the color is more pronounced to the naked eye. However, when the chromatosomes aggregate in the center of the cell, the color is muted or not visible. Morphological color changes, on the other hand, are due to a change in the number of chromatophores. So a fish that loses a number of melanophores will appear lighter, and a fish that gains melanophores will appear darker. Physiological color changes can become morphological color changes over time. For example, a fish that is kept in a tank with a dark background and dark rocks will become darker, initially because of movement of melanosomes in the already existing melanophores. However, if enough time goes buy, the fish will start to produce more melanophores and then the color change is considered morphological. The common phenomenon of black goldfish turning orange or young goldfish losing black markings as they grow is an example of a morphological color change. As the fish mature, they lose melanophores in a process called apoptosis. Apoptosis is directed cell death, or cellular suicide, and is an important phenomenon in many aspects of development. However, the exact molecular cues that tell a cell it's time to die are still very mysterious. In addition to apoptosis, goldfish that lose black coloration are also suppressing the birth of new melanophores. The loss of melanophores reveals the other pigment cells present in the skin. The type and extent of color change a young fish will go through depends on their individual genetic makeup, and there is a lot of variation between individuals! Some fish even go through a second color change from the destruction of xanthophores (red pigment cells).
  12. One of the non-water plants I have in my pond is Blue Bell, Ruellia brittoniana [roo-EL-lee-a brit-tone-ee-AY-nah - a member of the family Acanthaceae], is also known as the Mexican Petunia, Texas Petunia, Summer Petunia, Desert Petunia, False Petunia, Wild Petunia, Mexican Pansie, Florida Bluebells, Mexican Blue Bells, Common Ruellia, Desert Ruellia, Ruellia, and Mexican Barrio Ruellia. It is a tender evergreen perennial that forms colonies of stemmy, purple stalks standing 2 to 3 feet in height and almost as wide. The strong semi-woody stalks are distinctly vertical in aspect and hold attractive dark green, purple-tinged leaves oppositely at the nodes. The lance-shaped leaves are 6-12 inches in length and 1/2 to 3/4 inches wide. When grown under hot sunny conditions the foliage assumes a metallic bluish cast that creates the perfect backdrop for the scores of vibrant blue flowers that appear with the onslaught of hot summer weather. The blossoms are trumpet shaped (showy petunia-like, although it is not related to the garden variety petunia) and about 1.5 to 2 inches in diameter and are borne at the tips of the stems. Varieties with white, pink, and many shades of blue are available. Mexican petunia is very showy when in full bloom due to the clouds of admiring butterflies that swarm about the plants. It has a long bloom period, although the individual flowers last for only one day. I am told, by my pond-plant supplier, that R. brittoniana will survive in our area (zone 5) if placed below the ice line in the pond (it will not survive frost in the ground). This is the first year I have had it so I can not affirm that claim.
  13. As soon as they learn that they are not ?fish food? they will become braver and try to follow the adults around and will join in with the feeding. With 1300 gallons (assuming you have adequate filter biomass) you are not in trouble yet. My fish have been spawning all spring, and it seems every week I see a few more small fry that were not in the pond last week. As your fry grow they will also partake of the high protein buffet known as spawning, and you may have less and less fry to worry about?.. but eventually?...
  14. As long as the pot is new and clean, it should not be a problem. However, I would NEVER put a used pot in the tank. As was mentioned, terra cotta is very porous, and you have no idea what a used pot might have absorbed and will now leach out into your water.
  15. Firstly, sexing young and juvenile goldfish is virtually impossible without killing and examining the internal organs, you have to wait until the fish reach breeding age, usually one year old, sometimes several years. Secondly, sexing adult goldfish out of the breeding season is difficult, because the sexually distinguishing features only develop during the breeding season (or for aquarists, when you prep them). That said, females are usually deeper in the body than males. . Body Location Mature Male Mature Female Gill plates White bumps called tubercles present Few or no tubercles Leading ray of pectoral fins (paired front swimming fins behind gills) White bumps called tubercles present; thicker edge; more pointed fin Few or no tubercles; thinner edge; more rounded fin Leading ray of anal fins (small fins near vent) Thinner Thicker Vent (where wastes and eggs or sperm exit the fish) Concave (goes in); smaller opening Convex (sticks out); larger opening Behavior Chaser Chased and harassed Abdomen Smaller; may have a ridge; more firm abdomen Larger, fat; no abdomen ridge; more pliable abdomen (if full of eggs) General body shape Thinner; longer; symmetrical from above Fatter; shorter; asymmetrical from above (if full of eggs)
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