Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year + Resolutions!

Happy New Year everyone!  Can you believe another year has come and gone and it's already 2014?  Does anyone have any new year's resolutions?  I don't usually do them, but I decided to set a goal for myself in the new year of making more art.  A huge part of drawing is being a keen observer, and I feel like I haven't just sat down and practiced observing and drawing what I observe very much lately.  Back when I was in college I did this almost every day since I was an art major, and I miss it.  So I'm going out to buy a new sketchbook and hopefully fill it with lots of sketches of goldfish!  Drawing is a skill and if you don't use it, you lose it... so it's important to keep in practice.  I also find drawing to have a calming effect, which I sure could use right now with how hectic and busy life has been!  In addition to drawing, I'd also like to explore clay sculpting and, of course, photography.  I hope to buy more lenses for my camera and experiment with different photography techniques.  So you can look forward to more art from me in the future! 

 So how about you, do you have any resolutions?  Please share in the comments below! 

Setting a New Year's Resolution is easy when you're a goldfish.

Don't forget you can still get the 2014 Solid Gold calendar here to help plan out and keep track of your New Year's Resolutions. ;)

Monday, December 30, 2013

What Pet Stores Don't Tell You About... Water Changes

Now I don't want to make it sound like all pet stores give bad information about fishkeeping, because some are very good at what they do.  However, it's been my experience that most pet stores give pretty bad advice when it comes to proper aquarium fish care, so I'm going to be doing a mini-series talking about some things pet stores don't tell you about fishkeeping.

Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NtLpJvVKFyI

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Petco's Dollar per Gallon Sale is on!

A couple times a year, Petco runs their "dollar per gallon" sale in which aquariums cost... well... one dollar per gallon of their volume, of course!  

The sale started today, so I stopped by on my way home from work and scored a 40 gallon breeder and a 10 gallon tank. 

Fun fact: the cashier must have been a brand new employee because she had no idea what a "40 breeder" was even after I pointed it out to her.  lol 

Anyone else thinking about getting a tank in this sale? 

I Want to Hear From You!

Felix has a request.  :)
Click here to take survey

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Happy Holidays!

My fish wanted to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year (or whichever holiday you celebrate)!

I hope you all get to spend time with family and friends over the holiday and also find some extra time to enjoy your fish!  

Monday, December 23, 2013

Swimming in a Winter Wonderland

My ghost bristols got their wish... a white Christmas!  Here they are swimming in their new winter wonderland aquarium complete with icy Christmas trees, frost, and snowflakes galore!  Click "read more" to see all the photos. 

Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Imx5t0wGiDU

Monday, December 16, 2013

Winter Wonderland Aquarium | in the making

Coming soon to a YouTube channel near you is Solid Gold's Winter Wonderland Aquarium! ;) Here's a sneak peek, but you'll have to wait until next week for the big reveal.  Click "read more" for the video.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Butterflies in a Bowl...

These two are my favorites of all the butterflies I have.  They are Minai (a female red/white) and Clyde (a male panda), both from Dandy Orandas.  I hope I can get these two to spawn because I think they'd make beautiful babies.  Aren't they gorgeous?  I like that their body shapes are full and rounded, their tails are spread out nicely in a butterfly shape but also look nice in side-view, and their eyes are proportional and not too large for their bodies.  These are all things I look for in a quality butterfly telescope.  This is one of the photos in my 2014 calendar too!  

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

New Culling Nets

For my first spawn of ghost bristol fry, I've been making do with a regular aquarium net; the dark green kind with the large bag-type net.  But it doesn't work so well for fry because they can easily get lost in all that netting!  I had to fold the netting up and hold it in a flattened shape with rubber bands so it became more like a flat mesh scooper than a net.  But that wasn't a very good solution because the fish would sometimes get trapped in-between the rubber band and the net.  Also, the fry can see the net coming since it's such a dark green color, and swim away quickly.  It makes the whole ordeal of netting more stressful for the fish than it needs to be.

Monday, November 25, 2013

What Pet Stores Don't Tell You About... Cycling

Now I don't want to make it sound like all pet stores give bad information about fishkeeping, because some are very good at what they do.  However, it's been my experience that most pet stores give pretty bad advice when it comes to proper aquarium fish care, so I'm going to be doing a mini-series talking about some things pet stores don't tell you about fishkeeping.

Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6W92KuT-T8A

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Easy DIY Brine Shrimp Hatchery

Many types of baby fish, including goldfish, grow best on a diet of live baby brine shrimp.  Baby fish, also called "fry" eat baby brine shrimp readily because the movements of the shrimp entice them to eat.  Baby brine shrimp are also good for fry because they are high in protein, are easily digestible, and can survive for hours in the fry tank, giving the fry a more continuous food source.  Hatching baby brine shrimp is fairly simple and it's easy to make a brine shrimp hatchery on your own.  Here are step-by-step instructions showing how to construct your brine shrimp hatchery and how to raise the brine shrimp.

You'll need two 1-liter bottles, an air pump, a lamp, flexible airline tubing, rigid airline tubing, brine shrimp eggs, baking soda, and salt (kosher salt, canning and pickling salt, rock salt, or any non-iodized and additive-free salt will work fine).

Monday, November 4, 2013

Dia de los Muertos Goldfish Tank

I thought my goldfish should join in on the holiday fun! Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a Mexican holiday celebrated on October 31st and November 1st & 2nd. The holiday is a celebration of the lives of loved ones who have passed away and is characterized by brightly painted skulls (sugar skulls), female skeleton figures in bright colorful dresses (la catrina), and flowers like marigolds. I have long been fascinated by this holiday because I love the juxtaposition of dark and light themes. So anyways, I hope you enjoy the photos and video!  This is by far my favorite holiday themed tank I've done so far.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Spooky Halloween Goldfish Tank

Last Halloween I started the tradition of decorating my 75 gallon goldfish tank for the holidays, and since then I've done everything from Christmas to the Fourth of July!  Here's this year's Halloween themed tank.  And I didn't plan it this way, but the tank is now home to my "ghost" bristols (matte white bristol shubunkins) so they fit right in with the spooky theme.  They loved the decorations, by the way.  I think these particular fish are used to having more decorations and/or plants in their tank, so they became much more comfortable with all the Halloween decorations around them.  They even spawned!  Next week I'm decorating the tank for Dia de los Muertos, so keep an eye out for updates!  ;)  Did you decorate your tank for Halloween this year?  If you did, feel free to share your photos on my Facebook page! 


Monday, October 14, 2013

The Ghost Bristols Are Spawning!

Over the past month the two biggest ghost bristols (Wraith and Poltergeist) developed breeding stars, so I figured they were both males.  I was counting on the smallest one then, (Haunt) to be female so I could breed them.  But today I got a surprise!  Poltergeist was chasing Wraith around like he was trying to spawn with her(?!).

Video Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_biAULXcy40

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Tank Talk | Dandy Orandas Butterflies Unboxing

THEY'RE HERE!  I just got my shipment of 5 new butterfly telescopes from Dandy Orandas.  Here is the unboxing video as promised. 

Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2ZRtlotWZU

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Tank Talk | I'm Getting New Fish!

My shipment of Dandy Orandas butterflies should be here tomorrow!  I'm so excited, but also nervous.  I hope nothing goes wrong during shipping; I seem to have terrible luck when it comes to receiving shipped fish.  But DO is usually really good about their packing and shipping, so it should be fine...

Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RoccFjERFuU

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Goldfish Updates

I thought I'd make a quick blog post to bring everyone up to speed on all my fish!

A few weeks ago I moved Luca and Felix into the 60 gallon tub in my fish room and they're doing great in there.  I think they've grown since I last weighed them, which was not even that long ago.  I needed to separate Luca and Felix from Clover because they need more food than he can handle, and there was just no practical way to have them on different feeding schedules in the same tank.  So they have an auto feeder set up to feed three meals a day with Saki-Hikari (purple bag).  I really think they enjoy having more horizontal swimming room as opposed to the predominantly vertical swimming room most standard aquariums allow for. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Yujin Goldfish Gashapon Collection

Several months ago I discovered these goldfish gashapons and began collecting them!  Gashapons are Japanese capsule toys dispensed from coin operated machines similar to the ones seen at grocery stores in the United States.  The Japanese versions dispense higher quality toys that cost more and are often considered collector's items.  The word gashapon is a Japanese onomatopoeia made up of two sounds.  "Gasha" describes the sound of the crank turning on the coin operated machine, and "pon" is the sound of the toy dropping into the receptable.  I just love the goldfish set made by Yujin.  They make a wide variety of different goldfish types and they are extremely detailed and realistic!  Here are some photos of the ones in my collection (click on the image to enlarge).

Black Telescope Eye

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Update on Luca, Felix, and Clover

My new ghost bristols have been getting all the attention lately, so I thought I'd take some time to do a nice video and photos of the trio: Luca, Felix, and Clover!

Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PasKSotoBRI

Here is the 55 gallon tank in the basement fish room that they're now living in.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Sad News...

I have some very sad news... Specter, one of my ghost bristols, has passed away.  It happened so suddenly.  She had been doing fine, but then one day last week I noticed some lethargy.  So I did a large water change, which seemed to perk her up.  But 24 hours later I noticed she was again not doing well, so I took a closer look.  I noticed some red streaking on her lower fins and also what appeared to be some slight fin rot.  Water quality was not an issue and salt was already at .3% in the tank since I'm putting them through a quarantine protocol.  So I decided to start her on MediGold. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

How to Sex a Goldfish

Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmKkuf9_5CU

It can sometimes be tricky to tell the difference between male and female goldfish, but there are a few different indicators you can use.  Taken individually, each one can be a little unreliable, so it's best to consider them as a whole when trying to determine the sex of your fish.  And of course, the most reliable way is to actually witness your fish spawning.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Ghosts at 8 Months Old

Yesterday I took some time to get nice photos of the "ghosts" (aka matte white bristols) and I also got their weights and lengths for my records.  They're about 8 months old right now, so they should be doing a lot of growing yet!  Everyone is still recovering very well from shipping and starting to become a little less skittish, and I've started feeding Saki-Hikari pellets a few times a day using an auto-feeder.

Wraith and Specter

Monday, August 26, 2013

Ghosts | The Pinky Bristols are Here!

Video link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_KWyKDDgTY

Following up on this post from last week, my pinky bristol shubunkins are finally here!  And due to an unfortunate miscommunication, the fish were shipped to my old address, which is 3.5 hours away!  D:  So on Saturday I drove all day long, through Minnesota State Fair traffic and 95+ degree weather, just to get them to my house safely.  Not exactly how I wanted to spend my Saturday, but I'm just glad to have them here now and alive. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

12 Uses for a Fish Bowl

Video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKo4KKQjR8k

Vase for Fresh Flowers
Even the best things in life are better with a goldfish theme.

Candle Holder
Keep it simple or dress it up a little with decorative stones or glass pebbles.

Aquarium Decor 
Illustrate to guests why fish don't belong in bowls!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Pinky Bristols on the Way!

I have a confession to make... I've never owned any single-tail goldfish before!  :x  But I've admired bristol shubunkins from afar for quite a while.  The bristol shubunkin standard calls for a fish with calico coloration, and I tend not to like calicos much in general.  I just think the color pattern is too distracting from the beautiful shape and contour of the body and fins.  Just my personal preference.  So I prefer the solid colored bristols or the blue calicos (lacking red pigment).  But after stumbling across this photo online of some pure white matte bristols, my full attention was captured!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Goldfish Lingo Explained

This list is constantly evolving as I think of more lingo to add, and as I learn more myself.  If you don't see something on the list that you think should be included, feel free to let me know!

AC - Usually refers to Aquaclear HOB filters of any model.
bb - Sometimes beneficial bacteria is abbreviated as such.
bbr - Brown baby ranchu; describes the bronze color that young fry still have usually under 2 months of age.
bbs - Baby brine shrimp; a favorite food for goldfish fry.
BEP - Blue egg phoenix goldfish.

Bristol -  Refers to the bristol shubunkin; a type of shubunkin with a tail that is heart-shaped with rounded lobes.
bs - Brine shrimp.
Butterfly - Refers to the butterfly tail telescope; a type of telescope eye goldfish that has a tail resembling the outstretched wings of a butterfly from above. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Tank Talk | Upper Midwest Koi Show 2013

Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awlGwQggFlA

Over the weekend I made the long drive from Northern Minnesota down to Minneapolis to attend the Upper Midwest Koi Show.  The last time I went to this show was back in 2010, and Southwest Koi and Goldfish (a vendor from Chicago) was there selling fish.  I called them a couple months ago to see if they'd be at the show this year and to ask them to bring along some nice metallic butterfly telescopes for me.  I got my fish room all set up in time for the show and made sure to be there right when the doors opened so I could have first choice of the butterflies.  So imagine my dismay when I walked up to see not a single butterfly!  It was quite a let-down, to say the least.  But they said there were some on order that just hadn't arrived on time and that they would ship to me if I wanted (they usually don't ship fish).  So it's still an option.  I'm also keeping an eye on the Dandy Orandas auctions, as usual. 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Tank Talk | New Fish Room!


Over the past couple of weeks I've been working on setting up a little basement fish room, with the goal of one day breeding show quality butterfly telescopes!  You might remember this previous post about the 60 gallon Laguna tub I picked up from the local fish store.  Well, this week I picked up a 127 gallon tub to go along with it.  Eventually I'd like to build a rack to stack some 60 gallon tubs, but for now I'm starting small; with just one 60 gallon and one 127 gallon tub.  They're raised up on cinder blocks, and they each have a light fixture above them.  Each light fixture holds two t8 fluorescent bulbs with a light temperature of 6,500K (to mimic daylight).  The lights are set up on a timer so they come on and turn off on their own each day.  I also have auto-feeders placed over each tub so the fish can have frequent small meals throughout the day without me needing to be there for every feeding. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

RIP Nerite Snail...

I'm not really sure if the fishies ate it after it had died, or if they killed and ate it.  :/  The other three snails are still intact though, so I think this one probably died and then got scavenged.  This was the largest of the four snails.  I bet the fish thought it was very tasty... those little stinkers.  They really picked it clean; even the operculum.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Dandy Orandas Giveaway from Solid Gold!

I'm very excited to be giving away two DANDY ORANDAS gift certificates worth $50 each!  Thank you to Ken Fischer of Dandy Orandas, for generously supplying these awesome prizes!  Please see the video and rules below for more information. 
Dandy Orandas 
Dandy Orandas Facebook


Friday, July 19, 2013

Dandy Orandas Giveaway Announcement!

My next giveaway will be starting on Monday, July 22nd and features two $50 gift certificates to Dandy Orandas!  Look for the video on Monday which will explain all the details.  :)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Have You Ever Noticed?

Have you ever noticed that goldfish make really funny faces?  Oh who am I kidding, of course you have!  Normally I share photos of my fish looking their best, but today, here are some goofy photos for your amusement.  You'll notice most of them are of Luca... and there is a reason for that.  LOL 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Tank Talk | Veterinary Fishes

You might remember this past blog post detailing the fish I helped out at a local veterinary clinic.  Well, I just got news that they upgraded their tank from a 10 gallon to a 29 gallon and added another fish (after quarantine), so I thought I'd stop by to get some photos and video!  Betsy is the orange fantail (their original fish), and Bernie is the calico telescope.  They make a cute pair, don't they?  Just goes to show what a difference it can make when people are willing to accept new information about how to care for their pets.  I'm so glad the people at North Shore Vet Hospital were so receptive to my suggestions!  They have done a great job.  :) 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

4th of July Goldfish Tank!

People are always asking me when I'm going to do another holiday themed tank, so... here you go!  I thought my fish ought to celebrate the Fourth of July with me.  They always seem to get so excited when the decor changes. 

In The Making Video!

Finished Tank Video!


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Look How Much We've Grown!

I've had Luca and Felix for 6 months now, and they've grown so much!  It's been interesting to watch their changes over time.  At first Luca weighed more than Felix, but now Felix weighs more than Luca.  They're still equal to one-another in length though.  I've also noticed recently how much their eyes have been growing.  Felix even has slightly uneven eyes right now because he's in a growth spurt.  It's normal for telescope eyes to sometimes grow unequally as they mature and develop, but they usually even out again.  Looking forward to another good 6 months!  

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Laguna 60 Gallon Tub Before & After

Only a fellow goldfish keeper could understand being so excited about a big old plastic tub, but last week I scored a Laguna 60 gallon basin for only $17 from my local fish store!  It was used and pretty grimy, so it needed some cleaning.  Luckily, we finally had a nice sunny day over the weekend, so I spent a good chunk of time cleaning it up.

Before... ew I'm not gonna put my fish in that! 

Easy DIY Spawning Mops

When goldfish breed, the male fish drives the female into soft plants so that when the eggs are laid, they get stuck in the plants and they can develop safely.  Rather than using live plants all the time, many breeders simulate plants by making what are called spawning mops.  These are handy because they can be easily removed to a fry grow-out tank when spawning is finished, and they can be sterilized after use, unlike live plants.  This guide will show you a cheap and easy way to make your own spawning mops.

You'll need some acrylic yarn in any color you'd like.  But just keep in mind two things; first, eggs will be much easier to see on a darker color, and second, some people think that fish breed more readily on green yarn since it looks like real plants.  You'll also need scissors, tape, some cork bottle stoppers, and a hardcover book.  The book should be almost as tall as the aquarium you're going to use the mops in.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Goldfish Skeleton

I just got this goldfish skeleton display in the mail today!  It's super interesting to see up close what the real skeletal structure of a goldfish looks like.  This is a common goldfish, so a typical fancy goldfish would probably look quite a bit different.  It would be awesome to have a fancy goldfish skeleton to display next to this one to illustrate their differences.   

Right side.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Photo Update

After a nice 95% water change last night, I took some photos of the fishies!  Here's the 75 gallon tank (85 gallon capacity with sump). 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Rest in Peace Callisto

Callisto was euthanized last weekend because of her ongoing and worsening health condition.  It was a tough decision to make, but I think it was the right decision.  As many of you know, Callisto had struggled with flipover and floatiness problems for about two years.  I had tried to treat with some medications I thought might help and with diet changes, but nothing ever helped.  Recently it had gotten to the point where she was obviously deteriorating quickly and she was suffering, so I decided the kindest thing was to end her suffering.  After she died, I did a necropsy so I could find out what the problem was internally that caused these symptoms.  I ended up finding exactly what I had predicted... her swim bladder was severely deformed.

The normal goldfish swim bladder is comprised of two lobes; the cranial lobe in front and the caudal lobe in back.  There is a pneumatic duct, linking the esophagus to the swim bladder, by which goldfish can regulate the air inside the swim bladder.  Normally both the cranial and caudal lobe are filled with air, and the cranial lobe is larger than the caudal lobe.  Here's a diagram showing a normal goldfish swim bladder.

Goldfish Growth and Changes Update

Here's the most recent update: Butterfly Telescope Growth and Changes

Today Luca weighs 47 grams, is 2.75" in body length, 4.5" in total length, and has a body depth of 2".  The orange/red color on his eyes has really intensified. 

Today Felix weighs 46 grams, is 3" in body length, 4.5" in total length, and has a body depth of 1.75".  His orange/red color has intensified a lot!  It used to be very orange, but now it's definitely red.  And is it just me, or is the red color spreading forward towards his head more too? 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

How To Euthanize a Fish Humanely

Euthanizing our pet fish is obviously something none of us ever want to have to do, but sometimes it's the kindest thing if the fish is suffering and has no hope of recovery.  There are lots of ways people have come up with for euthanizing a fish, but the most humane method is by administering an anesthetic overdose.  This can be done with MS222, Finquel (a version of MS222), or simple clove oil (eugenol).  Finquel or MS222 can be purchased online and clove oil can be found at many natural foods stores in the health and beauty section.  

Items You'll Need:
-Finquel, MS222, or clove oil (in these directions, I use clove oil).
-A container large enough to hold the fish.
-A small container with a lid, like a baby food jar.
-A couple of hand towels.
-A ziploc bag.
-An air pump, some airline tubing, and an air stone.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Callisto is Declining

Callisto came to live with me on November 10th, 2011.  From day one, she has always been a major surface-gulper.  At first this didn't appear have any impact on her swim bladder function, but over time it led her health on a downward spiral.  A few months after getting her, I started to notice that every so often, she would just hang upside-down in the middle of the water column.  At that point she didn't actually have any floaty problems; it was only flip-over problems.  Whenever she stopped swimming, she would flip over and remain upside-down until she started swimming again.  Several months later though, it became obvious that she was having major floaty problems too.  I tried many things to stop the surface gulping and floating, but nothing helped.  I tried some medications and many diet changes, but nothing had any effect whatsoever.  For a time, I seriously considered attempting the quartz implant surgery to correct her flip-over problems; even going so far as to buy all the supplies I would need.  But I decided given the fact that she is 6 and 1/2 years old now, it's not really worth putting her through the stress of that procedure. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Beginner Mistakes to Avoid | Dos and Don'ts

Do plenty of research before buying any fish!  This will help you avoid many beginner mistakes and allow you to provide a much better living situation for your new pets.  For instance, most people don't realize the tank has to go through a roughly 1 month-long fishless nitrogen cycling process, in which you add pure ammonia, for it to be safe for your fish.  Doing thorough research prior to getting your fish will help you learn this important information before it's too late.  There are lots of good books and websites out there to help you learn about this and other basics.  Here's a link to get you started:  Goldfish Basics

Don't overstock your tank!  It's very common for newbies to ask about the maximum number of fish their tank can possibly support, and then to go ahead and stock that many in their tank.  I've been guilty of this in the past myself too, so I speak from experience... this is a very bad idea!  When I started out, the most popular stocking recommendation for goldfish was 20 gallons for the first fish and 10 gallons for each additional fish.  So at one point, I thought it perfectly fine to keep up to 6 fully grown adult fancy goldfish in my 75 gallon tank.  I think on some level I realized it would have been better for them to have more space, but my judgement was clouded because I wanted as many beautiful fish as possible.  Looking back on old photos, I now think the tank looked awfully crowded.  Truth is, I had a much harder time keeping my fish healthy long-term back then than I do now.  Now I prefer to give each fish at least 20 gallons of space.  If it's a very large fish, 30-40 gallons if possible.  Here's why you should allow the most space possible for each fish:

-With a lower stocking density, diseases take much longer to be transmitted from fish-to-fish, keeping your stock healthier.
-Your fish could easily end up growing much faster and much larger than you ever expected, leaving them cramped in a too-small tank.
-Goldfish are generally peaceful community fish; however, in cramped quarters some fish can become aggressive.
-A lower stocking density means that if an emergency comes up which pushes back your water change by a day or two, it's not going to be nearly as detrimental for your fish.
-Maybe this is just me, but I think the fish are happier and less apt to be stressed if they can swim around freely without bumping into all their tank-mates constantly. 
My 75 gallon tank looking cramped with 6 fully grown fancy goldfish.

The same tank looking much better with only 2 fully grown fancy goldfish.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Subscriber Giveaway!

Hey guys it's time again for another giveaway!  My YouTube channel recently surpassed 1,000 subscribers, which I am so thankful to all of you guys for.  So as my way of saying thank you, please enjoy this new product giveaway!  Items up for grabs are...

"Fancy Goldfish: A Complete Guide to Care and Collecting" by Dr. Erik Johnson and Richard Hess.
This is an awesome book!  I have one of my own and I think it's the best up-to-date comprehensive guide to goldfish that's currently available.  This item is provided by The Fish Sempai, a Canadian breeder and importer of high quality goldfish.  Please check out the Fish Sempai's website below!
Fish Sempai

API Freshwater Master Test Kit
This includes liquid tests for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, and high range pH.  This kit is absolutely essential for goldfish keeping!  This kind of test is much more accurate and economical than the paper strip type.  This item is provided by Tasty Worms Nutrition, an online fish, reptile, and bird supply store.  This is a great company that I personally always try to order from whenever I can, because they are a sponsor of Koko's Goldfish Forum!  Please check out Tasty Worms' website and Facebook page below.
Tasty Worms Nutrition

Repashy gel food sampler package
This includes 3 oz. jars of Soilent Green, Super Green, and Community Plus.  Soilent Green and Super Green are excellent staple foods for goldfish, and community plus can also be used for goldfish, or for any number of other common aquarium fish.  This item is also provided by Tasty Worms Nutrition! 
Tasty Worms Nutrition

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Changes in the Goldfish Tank

I've been wanting to try CaribSea Tahitian Moon Sand in my tank for a long time now, and finally made the leap today!  The fish seem really excited about their new scenery, especially the butterflies!  They keep going around grabbing mouthfuls of sand and chewing on it.  I'm getting new tank lights soon, so I'll make a better video showing the tank after that, but here's this for now.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Butterfly Telescope Growth and Changes

My "little" butterflies are growing so fast!  Here's a side-by-side comparison of them from when I got them in December (left) and now, in March (right).  There have been a few changes... Felix fully outgrew the last of his dark fry coloring and his orange color brightened up, Luca gained a little yellow color from the gel food, and both of them bulked up considerably.

Back in December Luca measured 2.25" in body length and weighed 35 grams.  Today Luca is 2.75" in body length and weighs 46 grams.

In December Felix measured 2.25" in body length and weighed 30 grams.  Today He is 2.75" in body length and weighs 43 grams.

Their diet has been Saki-Hikari pellets, Repashy Soilent Green, and bloodworms once or twice a week.    They get 3-6 very small meals each day; I try to mimic their natural feeding habit, which is to eat little bits here and there throughout the day.  They're in 75 gallon tank with two large ryukins and water changes are 90% every 5-7 days.  The water temperature has been 72 degrees F (no heater). 

I need to add some side-view photos as well!  I just finished a photo shoot, but I still need to go through and edit the photos.  It will be quite a task, because there are tons of photos.  From day one, Luca has always been a tall and short fish with a big round belly, while Felix has been more long and narrow.  Their body shapes don't seem to be changing much as they grow; actually if anything, they are becoming more extreme.  Luca is more round than ever, while Felix keeps looking longer.  Of the two, I much prefer Luca's body shape.  I think to look their best, butterflies should be as round as possible in all respects; round bodies, round eyes, and rounded fins.  It's just a more cohesive look.  Luca has much better fin length (Felix's dorsal especially is way too short) but Felix holds his tail more horizontally which is nice.  I'm noticing though that Felix's fins seem to be slowly growing into better proportions, so I guess we'll see how he turns out given more time.  They say goldfish improve with age.  It also seems that once their body growth slows down, the fins continue to grow, so maybe his fin proportions will eventually be just right.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Hammerscales, Mirrorscales, and Leather Goldfish

After my last post about the batik scale type, I thought it would be fun to highlight some other rare and different goldfish scale types! 

The Hammerscale
In the words of professional goldfish breeder and marine biologist Steve Hopkins, the hammerscale has "an indentation in the scale which makes light reflect in all directions and gives them more of a sparkle".  I think this scale type is really pretty and I wish it were more commercially available!  This scale mutation can occur on any goldfish type, but here is a photo of a jikin goldfish displaying the hammerscale trait.
Photo credit: Rain Garden Snapshots

And below is a common goldfish with the hammerscale trait.
Photo credit: Hammerscale thread: Goldfish Keepers Forum

The Mirrorscale
The mirrorscale goldfish has few, irregularly spaced large scales.  This usually takes the form of one row of enlarged scales running along the lateral line, one row running along the back, and one shorter row running along the abdomen.  The spaces in-between each row are scaleless.  Some claim this scale type is the result of a hybridization with the mirror koi carp, while others say the trait is actually a mutation that arose independently in the goldfish. 
Photo credit: Mirrorscale Goldfish Blog

Leather Goldfish
This mutation produces a fish that has no scales, or very few scales.  Though at a glance it may be difficult to tell the difference, the leather goldfish is not simply a goldfish with opaque scales.  It is actually scaleless!  I have only come across this type of goldfish once, at the Australian blog linked to below.  These leather goldfish also have a deformity that normally causes them to have only the caudal fin present; with all other fins being reduced to nubs.  It's very likely that the fin deformities are linked to the scaleless trait. 
Photo credit: Mirrorscale Goldfish Blog

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Batik Scale Type

If you try, you can easily learn something new about goldfish every day!  Today while researching about the mirrorscale goldfish (some claim this is a koi-goldfish hybrid, while others claim it is pure goldfish), I came across some photos of a scale type I had never heard of before. 

All the fish pictured were produced by a goldfish breeder in Indonesia, by the name of Hermanto.  A simple Google image search for "batik ranchu" will turn up photos of his fish that have been posted and discussed at length on several different online fish forums. 

The scales appear to be of all different sizes, and grow in many different shapes and even in different directions on the fish.  It makes for a really interesting, almost optical illusion-looking pattern.  Hermanto calls them batik after a traditional style of Indonesian clothing, because he says the scale pattern reminds him of those textile patterns.  He thinks this scalation is not specific to ranchu, but could hypothetically occur on many different types of goldfish.  In fact, in my digging online I also found a photo of a common goldfish with a very similar patch of backward-growing scales on one side.  So it seems to be something that can happen to varying extents on lots of different goldfish varieties.

The two image sequences above show the same fish; it decolored from the green fry color into the red and white color you see in the second sequence. 

Reactions are mixed, but there seem to be more people who like it than those who dislike it.  So what do you think?  Awesome or ugly?  Personally, I think it's really cool.  Of course, it's an admirable fish who has perfectly arranged and uniform scales, but I think this scale pattern is also nice in its own way and should be developed more!  Because, at the end of the day, it's the amazing variety of form in goldfish that makes them so unique and special.