Jump to content

Mysterygirl's Floating-World


Recommended Posts

  • Replies 382
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

  • Regular Member

My goldfish adventure started March 24th, 2013 when I brought home Halley (a comet). We don't call her a pilot fish to her face, but I had no idea if she'd survive.

Hailley1.JPGBack then I knew very little about goldfish.

We had mosquito fish in our fountain, they were breeding and I wondered if I could keep koi or goldfish. I read up on what they required and purchased an API test kit - everything looked okay.

In March, Halley was black on one side and orange on the other. Her color changed rapidly over 7 months. Halley.8.10.13.JPG
For a while she had a Charlie Chaplin mustache.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

March 27, 2013

A few days later my API GH, KH and Phosphate test kits arrived. I did more tests, and then it was down to a local pond and garden center which sells koi and pond goldfish.

Shinto1.JPGI brought home a larger Tancho-styled comet which I named Shinto.

Here's where I made the first of many mistakes. I dumped the water from the pond store fish bag into my pond.

I didn't quarantine any of the fish I added over the next few weeks. I did let the water temperature adjust slowly, but I didn't test for pH differences either.

WARNING: This blog might be painful for some of you experienced goldfish fanciers to read. Remember, I am literally one week into my new goldfish hobby at the time.

Shinto is doing fine, by the way. Cut to nine months later and he's a dad many times over. But you'll have to read on for the full story.

Edited by mysterygirl
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

Beautiful pond I'm very jealous I live in Canada and don't own my backyard so I'd never ge able to have one, that would definitely be the place I hang out in my spare time, beautiful koi as well, welcome to KoKos :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

March 30

Just a few days later it was back to the pond store. I wanted examples of many different kinds of pond goldfish.


I added Edo the shy and elegant Sarasa comet

and Flip-flop the Shubunkin. (Shoe-bunkin get it?)

I even brought home 2 "rescue fish" from my local fish store's feeder fish tank: 15 Cent and Tancho (below).


I realized many months later this was unwise, but if you ask them they both think it was a great idea.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

April 5th, 2013

I decided that the small school of mosquito fish might be competing with the new goldfish for food, so I carefully caught all 11 of them and relocated them (with permission) to a friend’s koi pond. In exchange, I did a pond water analysis for him, testing his pond’s pH, KH, GH, nitrites, nitrates, phosphates and ammonia.

April 13th.

Disaster! Shinto was missing. I didn’t panic at first – little black 15 Cent would disappear for a while and then magically reappear days later. But Shinto was big. And white. And he was missing for over 48 hours.

I pronounced him dead, probably eaten by a raccoon or heron. I sent RIP emails out to my closest friends. I was sad. I felt irresponsible – why hadn’t I provided a place to hide from the raccoon? So I did the only thing a despondent pet owner in mourning could do:

On April 15th I went to the pond store and brought home two beautiful new fish.


Queen B.

and Skeletor, my first and only koi.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

April 15th 2013 a few hours later.....

Shinto was raised from the dead. That is to say it was love at first sight when Queen B. hit the scene. He wouldn't leave her side. There's a song about it, want to hear it? Here it goes:

Here's a story,

Of a fish named Shinto.

Who was busy in a small pond of his own.

He disappeared for days...We

thought he was gone-

But he was just alone.

Here's a story

Of a fish named Queen B.

Who was introduced into the pond, a girl.

She had fins of gold,

Like no other

So pretty when unfurled.

Till the one day when this new fish met this fellow

And we knew that it was much more than a hunch,

That these two might somehow form a family.

and that is how we got to have some eggs for lunch.


Eggs for lunch!

There's eggs for lunch!

That's the way we other fish got eggs for lunch!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

April 21, 2013

I noticed that a couple of my fish were flashing. That is, showing their shiny underbelly as they twisted their bodies quickly. I did some research and thought that it might be breeding behavior. It was spring after all, and Shinto was visibly amorous.

I really didn’t want it to be Ichthyophthirius multifiliis, that almost unpronounceable fish disease more commonly known as Ich. As in “Do my fish have a parasite? Ick!”

I was in denial. Remember all the fish-bag water from the store that I so careless added to my pond? I had brought home the Ich protozoan, a parasite. White nodules that looked like white grains of salt or sugar were visible on some of the fish fins. Each white spot was an encysted parasite. There were many. My entire fountain was contaminated.

Denial wasted a lot of valuable time.

I couldn't catch the fish to treat them; it just stressed them out and destroyed the trust that had been built up between us.

I tried raising the salt levels. I don't recommend this in a pond. It severely harmed my plants and invertebrates.

I cried a lot. How could I do water changes with 5 gallon containers when my pond was 900 gallons?

Matthew, my co-processor of 16 years bought a pump and he helped me with a few massive water changes -my hero.

Our LFS -NOT the pond plant store that infected us- advised us not to catch the fish but to treat the entire pond with a combination of Formalin & Malachite Green e.g. Knockout. It so happened that our 2nd bottle of it was defective. The color was off, it was not a deep blue. Perhaps it had undergone too much heat or sun. We didn't realise there was a problem with the bottle until we'd dosed the pond several times. Our LFS gave us our 3rd bottle free of charge with an apology. More time lost.

In a fish tank one can raise the temperature with a heater to 75 degrees and the Ich cycle takes only a few days. For us it took several months to eradicate because the pond water was between 55-65 degrees ºF. (13-18 ºC).

The experience was truly horrendous.


Rest in Peace, Edo.

Edited by mysterygirl
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

Our battle with Ich spanned from April until early September. Flip-flop stopped eating and died on May 4th.


Here are Milli and Vanilli.

In the meantime Shinto was getting his spring on with Queen B.

Their first eggs were laid within a week. All of the fish celebrated by having caviar for breakfast.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

:heart Wow! Your fish are all gorgeous and there are soooo many :thud

I'm sorry for your losses :hug RIP fishies

Your fountain and pergola are totally amazing and I'm very jealous! :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

May 2013

Ich wasn't the only problem this new fishkeeper was having.


High PH in the fountain was a problem. Although 8.3 before dawn, it sometimes spiked as high as 8.7 late on a hot sunny afternoon.

My city, Santa Rosa, CA adds sodium hydroxide (lye, caustic soda and an ingredient in Drano) to adjust their pH. The pH treatment is to comply with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations on the copper content in drinking water. Raising the pH helps them minimize the leaching of copper and other metals from the distribution pipe into the drinking water.

Although our local natural water is a lovely pH 7.4 in a nearby creek, when it comes out my garden hose it is pH 8.3-8.5. So almost daily I was adding 5 gallons of garden hose water + > 4mL hydrochloric acid to keep my pond at a pH level lower than 8.3. You chemistry majors may remember that Sodium hydroxide reacts with hydrochloric acid and sodium chloride -table salt- is formed: NaOH(aq) + HCl(aq) ? NaCl(aq) + H2O(l) A little salt is natural for goldfish. Safe, unlike lye or muriatic acid alone. The overall salinity of the pond tests negligible now, 0 ppm. Remember all those water changes we did to eliminate ich? They eventually eliminated the solar salt I had added as an early but ineffective remedy.

I added gallons and gallons of 6.8 pH reverse osmosis water as well. I was constantly fighting to keep the pH lower than 8.3. I tried peat tea. It made the water tea colored and I couldn't see my fishy friends.

Needless to say it was wearing me out. The water eventually turned pea soup green, as our home-made bio filter with a small pump could not handle the algae bio-load.

TL, DR: If your water is green, your algae may be “breathing” the pond pH into dangerous territory, especially at the end of a hot sunny afternoon.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

Making a spawning mop


Wrap yarn around a book (or anything) 40 times to make a skein.


Cut one side open Mop3.JPG

Tie the other side together to make a "mop". Immerse in boiling water for a few minutes to sterilize, and leach out any harsh dies that might be harmful to your fish. Cool to pond (or tank) temperature with your fish water. No tap water with chlorine!


Immerse your cooled, sterilized yarn mop into their environment. Secure waterline position with tie string.


Queen B. in her breeding mop

p.s. The fish don't care what color the yarn is.

At first I used brown yarn, which had too strong a dye AND made it easy for the fish to spot the eggs and eat them. Now I use white, undyed organic yarn (synthetic fiber is okay). But YOU won't be able to see the eggs easily. Watch for breeding behavior and/or the other fish chowing down on the eggs.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

June 22, 2013

The weather was hot in mid-June, raising the pond temperature to 68 ºF (20 ºC) on the day Queen B. dropped her 2nd batch of eggs.

Determined to save a few from the always-hungry mouths of my fish, I wrapped some sterile cheese cloth around the mop to deter them.


After two days I removed the cheese cloth and moved the entire mop to a plastic food container. The container was filled with pond water and I let the eggs hatch undisturbed, except for moving it inside after sunset. I tried to maintain a temperature of about 72 ºF without a heater.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

June 24, 2013

Here's a photo of one of the eggs attached to the mop. If you look closely you can see the tiny goldfish embryo inside.

He doesn’t look very comfortable.


I removed the fuzzy, fungus infected eggs by hand.

I left an ich-medicated walnut-sized Wonder Shell in their container overnight to combat any ich that might be lurking.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

July 20, 2013

With the water warming up to 66 ºF again, Queen B. laid her 3rd batch of eggs.

I've told you Shinto is in love with Queen B.

Some of you might be interested in the environmental conditions of my pond at that time:

KH GH PH AM Nitrate Nitrite Phosphate Salt PPT

11 16 8.1 0 0 0 0 .001


Here are what the fry look like soon after they hatch.

They're attached to the container wall and just hang vertically for a couple of days while they feed on their yolk-sac.

Here they are after two weeks; we affectionately called them The Eyelashes.


I fed them hard boiled egg yolk mixed with their water. Just the tiniest amount!

Luckily they were in pond water so I hope there were microscopic thingies that they ate as well.

I hadn't even removed the mop from their container...some were still clinging.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

July 22, 2013

I learned how to make my own home-made gel-based fish food, based on Repashy's Soilent Green Gel Food.

I am sharing my recipe, comments and criticisms invited.


Boiled for 7-10 minutes:

Oatmeal cooked until mushy, drain excess water, cool. 1/3 c

Organic everything!

Edamame 90 g frozen pods, Overcook until mushy (12 min) (seeds only, remove seed membranes and pods)

Carrot 1 medium, chopped and boiled for 15 minutes Overcook until mushy, smoosh with your finger.

Peas (1/3 c frozen – cooked, or use pea baby food)

If fresh: Blanched in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, remove outer shell.3

Kale, mustard greens, dandelion greens (mixed) 1/8 cup, blanched. Some suggest Turnip Greens.

Baby Spinach 15 small leaves (not too much- can inhibit calcium intake)

Nori (no salt. The kind they wrap sushi in)

Add what you have to a food processor, mix until a baby-food like constistancy.



Wheat germ 1/8 c.

Garlic – 2 large cloves, crushed (for immunity and to help them smell the food location)

Bonito flakes ¼ cup

Chilean fish oil e.g.OmegaBrite pills, 3 drained (omega 3, 6 & 9)



Tricker’s Vitaline: (1/8 cup) Sun Dried Shrimp, Oatmeal, Corn Meal, Whole wheat flour, Ground Beef, Sodium Chloride, Magnesium Sulfate or

Crushed Pro-Gold pellets

ADD: The gel base for this is

Repashy’s Soilent Green: (1/3 cup + 2 Tablespoons

Chlorella Algae, Spirulina Algae, Whole Krill Meal, Whole Squid Meal, Whole Sardine Meal, Alfalfa Leaf Meal, Whole Anchovy Meal, Germinated Brown Rice Protein Concentrate, Pea Protein Isolate, Dried Brewers Yeast, Stabilized Rice Bran, Dried Kelp, Carrageenan Algae, Konjac, Carob Bean Gum, Schizochytrium Algae, Calcium Carbonate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Taurine, Potassium Citrate, Calcium Propionate, Phaffia Rhodozyma Yeast, Paprika Extract, Calendula Flower Powder, Marigold Flower Extract, Rose Hips Powder, Turmeric Root Powder, Malic Acid, Sodium Chloride, Canthaxanthin, Potassium Sorbate, Magnesium Gluconate, Lecithin, Rosemary Extract and Mixed Tocopherols (as preservatives). Vitamins: A Supplement, Vitamin D Supplement, Choline Chloride, Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Beta Carotene, Pantothenic Acid, Riboflavin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamine Mononitrate, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B-12 Supplement.

Guaranteed Soilent Green Analysis: Crude Protein min. 45%, Crude Fat min. 6%, Crude Fat max. 8%, Crude Fiber max. 8%, Moisture max. 8%, Ash max. 12%, Calcium min. 1.5%, Calcium max. 2%, Phosphorus min. 0.75%. (Just the soilent green powder before adding cooked veggies, oatmeal, brine shrimp and other additives)To prepare, mix all prepared ingredients in a food processor or blender until it becomes a very fine mush.

Then mix 1 c unit boiling water (I use the unchlorinated filtered water that was used to cook the edemame, carrots, peas and blanch the greens) to 1/3 c of Soilent Green Repashhy gel powder. Mix again in food processor –

The water HAS to be boiling hot or it will not gel

Add optional fruit:

Plum one small overripe pitted without skin OR

Strawberries (cored, green top removed. 3 large, very very mushed. Liquid) OR or other fruit: not too much! And Very Mushed! Mixed in with the final gel. Goldies can’t digest sugar well. Not more than 3 Tablespoons.

Pour into flat mold or tray, should not be higher than ½ inch.

Refrigerate when cool, and then freeze slightly to allow you to cut it into sugar cube-sized chunks.

Freeze in plastic containers until ready to use. Use in 3 months. Before feeding, pour boiling spring water over them wrapped in a paper towel and allow to thaw and soften. Only feed to goldfish when thoroughly saturated with their aquarium water (or non-chlorinated spring water), cool and soft.

I really try to mix it up for my goldies: blood worms once every two weeks, frozen brine shrimp now and then, a small slice of watermelon or other not-too-sugary fruit as a treat. I don't like to eat the same thing every day and I imagine they don't either.

Here is a photo of some of the fish food products incorporated into my gel-o jigglers.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

Thanks for the kind words everyone! I finally found a group of people who love their goldfish as much as I do. :pond

I'm happy to share my journey into pond science and goldfish care with you KoKo-nuts - even my mistakes.

It is so easy to when viewing my 1st photo of the beautiful fountain to ignore the heartbreak and hard work that is behind it.

Q: What is the number one threat to a goldfish?

A: an ignorant new goldfish owner.

Here is a list of just some of the foolish mistakes I've made.

Mistake: Reason: Result:

Not quarantining new fish didn't know any better Ich infestation.

Adding water in the bag from the fish store Oh, well, why not Lost 2 fish to Ich. Had to treat entire pond

adding baking soda when PH was already OVER 8 trying to raise GH High PH

adding baking soda without dissolving it didn't know any better not sure

adding solar salt without dissolving it wanted to build their slime coats not sure, killed plants, irritated snails

immersing PH meter above immersion line new to how PH meters work broke Hanna pH Checker

Didn't store PH meter in storage solution didn't realize that it would shorten the life of my meter's electrode bought new one

often used PH meter on RO water didn't realize that it would shorten the life of my meter's electrode

Not calibrating my PH meter new to how PH meters work panicked about false PH reading

feeding fish at night busy during day fish scared of food, sleepy, acting strange

pouring water into fry tank airation, oxygenation could have hurt very fragile fry spines

left fry out at night forgot Many dead due to big temperature flux (77-59 F)

adding abalone shells when fighting high PH trying to raise GH High PH

adding white decorative stones (marble? Limestone?) hold down planting media High PH

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

July 24th, 2014

Our 2nd batch of fry are now 4 weeks old. We set them afloat like baby Moses in a little ark.


The idea was to let the fry feed on the natural protozoa and algae of the pond. The sides of the container were punctuated with tiny pin-holes. But inside they were protected from the bigger fish having them for lunch. Matthew put Styrofoam around the edges with Velcro to stabilize it and keep the top above water. Can you see the Anacharis through the vents? Gwen, on the right, never misses an opportunity for a possible snack.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

August 6th,

Queen B. laid more eggs. She is the "alpha fish" of our pond.


With the 2nd generation in the ark, and her 3rd generation in their food container.....

her 4th batch, alas, was left alone to become a natural fish treat.

I've read where "fish experts" claim that carp/koi/goldfish don't breed after spring. That isn't true here.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...