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Everything posted by RanchuDressing

  1. In my last blog post, I mentioned that I'd touch on a topic that's troubling to me as a goldfish keeper: The fact that sometimes, despite your very best efforts as an aquarist, following a care regime that's tried and true and proven by hundreds of other folks, goldfish sometimes just up and die on you anyway. It's really the ugly side of this hobby, and one that most of us don't really like to delve into too much. But I wanted to address what I think is one major element that can lead to the untimely demise of our finned friends. Goldfish, as a severely mutated species manipulated by man to have extreme physical characteristics, have the genetic deck stacked against them from the get-go. Breeding for telescopic eyes, fluid-filled sacs, extreme wens, arched backs, tucked tails, short deep bodies, large humps, pearled scales, or any of the seemingly limitless attributes that people have come to treasure in fancy goldfish, results in fish that are seriously less than hardy. Few, if any, breeders (particularly ones breeding on a commercial scale) give much, if any, consideration to health and longevity when producing their stock. Let's face it: Pretty goldfish sell. And we, the buying public, like to buy ryukins with humps, bubble eyes with sacs, orandas with wens, ranchus with tail tucks, and on and on. (And before anyone thinks I'm speaking from some high-and-mighty place here, I'm the first to admit that I'm just as easily wowed and wooed by a pretty fishy as anyone else. In fact, right now I'm keeping my first ever bubble eye goldfish, a variety that is bred with absolutely no regard for the fact that the Jell-O balloons by its face make it slow, off-balance, and incredibly susceptible to infection in the almost inevitable situation when one of the sacs bursts.) Note: This post is also not a condemnation of the fact that goldfish are bred for extreme physical characteristics at the expense of their health. I'm really not interested in debating the ethics of it; it's something I accept as a goldfish fact, and I happen to really love those extreme features. So I am not, repeat not, implying that breeding fancy varieties of goldfish is unethical. But what I am saying is that as goldfish keepers, we need to be aware that we start out with a serious disadvantage in our hobby of choice. Our fish just ain't healthy. Those extreme features can and do cause myriad complications, many unseen, that undermine the integrity of the fish's health overall. Lovely to look at, but what does that mean in the long run? In terms of care, those of us who take goldfish keeping seriously -- the few, the rare, the best of us -- always strive to do it better. We want to know what goldfish need to thrive, not just live. What makes them grow and flourish? What can we do to make our fish blossom? What makes for a HAPPY fish? And we plan our care accordingly, incorporating elements like quarantine, preventive treatment for various diseases, regular and large water changes, offering a variety of high-quality foods, etc. In short, we give our goldfish every possible reason to live long, healthy lives. And sometimes, they die anyway. More often than not, we don't know why. I don't know even a single serious goldie keeper, on Koko's or elsewhere, who hasn't lost what would be considered an appalling number of animal lives if their hobby of choice revolved around, say, kittens. A short browse through the forum archives reveals that goldfish, even in incredibly experienced and dedicated hands, die routinely. Some folks don't broadcast when it happens, but it becomes apparent over time that their posts and pics no longer feature favorite fish of yesteryear (or yestermonth, alas). Are all goldfish doomed to die, regardless of our efforts? Of course not. And there are plenty of examples of long-lived fancies both on this forum and around the world. But I just wanted to present my particular take on the longevity of goldfish, wherein I view goldfish keeping as more of an exercise in keeping fish alive in spite of the genetic factors stacked against them, rather than a hobby in which everyone starts on a level playing field, with a healthy, problem-free goldfish, and must simply proceed from that point and keep that fish alive. Following a simple formula of "Do A, and B, and the end product is guaranteed to be a healthy fish" doesn't apply here. Goldfish are a challenging variety for ALL aquarists. And you know what? Instead of finding all this depressing, it actually cheers me somewhat. We're all in this together, and while there will be failures, they happen to all of us. And they can make the times we win even sweeter.
  2. How many times? As many as they want, basically. A long while back, I had a pair that Just. Wouldn't. Quit. I nicknamed the male "Viagra."
  3. What a fantastic way to start my day with your awesome story about Taylor. Thanks for sharing!
  4. Hello. I asked mom if we had a vacuum sealer, and it turns out we do! How do you seal yours? You you arrange the pellets into a flat sheet, or just a small pile? Also, should I store it in the freezer\refrigerator after sealing or just in the closet? Shouldn't matter if you arrange them flat or in a pile. The vacuum sealer will suck all the air out either way. I used to just put a month's worth of food (or thereabouts) into the packet, then seal. Store in a cool dry place (no need to refrigerate).
  5. Cute cute cute! I particularly like your pearlscale.
  6. If you have access to one of those Food Saver vacuum sealers, those work great. I used to use my friend's back when I bought pellets in bigger quantities. Kept it super-fresh till I opened the packets as needed.
  7. Great pics, Shelly! That last one s POTW material, absolutely.
  8. Eeeek! Swimming eyelashes! Can't wait to see how they turn out. I adore R/W butterflies!
  9. Yep, looks like a classic black-to-orange color change. The in-between stages can be really fun! Having black patches mixed with orange can give the face some neat expressions. Love your pearlie!
  10. Oooh, pretty nerites! And love the black sand. Can't wait to see it all in the upgraded tank!
  11. Squeeeeee! Boobla is just too darn cute, and he's lucky that you found him. Your location says Elk Grove; if that's Elk Grove, CA, I bet I know what LFS you went to. Not the healthiest fish there, for sure.
  12. I kept a Figure 8 puffer in a 29 gallon tank for several years -- I love F8s! A 37 gallon can be a good lifelong home for two goldfish, in many cases, especially if you get the "fancy" varieties (as opposed to single-tailed varieties like commons, comets and shubunkins, which can easily outgrow a small- to mid-size tank). Welcome to goldfish! I adore both puffers AND goldies, and have a hard time telling which one I prefer. The goldfish usually win, though.
  13. I know of at least a couple people who have successfully kept dojo loaches with goldfish for many years. Never heard the slime-sucking thing about them before. They're interesting critters. But I still prefer to keep goldfish in species-only tanks.
  14. I'm totally digging that sand. Gotta try that someday! Awesome fish. Some of them have crazy breeding stars! Love it.
  15. Whoa, that is a tank full of seriously gorgeous goldfish! Othello (love the name, heh) looks HUGE. What a group!
  16. Why not move them to the 50 gallon now, since you already have it? A 15 gallon really won't hold those two much longer, and you don't want to risk stunting them. Goldfish don't care if you have plastic plants or not. Fin is adorable! And hungry?
  17. Eeeek, such a beauty! Meant to be that he was still waiting for you.
  18. 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:
  19. Now that is a nice looking oranda! Love her round deep body!
  20. Oh, Hidr, she's so nice and white-white-white! GORGEOUS!
  21. Betty had such a wealth of goldfish knowledge. Because of the GAB, that knowledge will live on. She'll be missed.
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