Monthly Archives: August 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

Group photo with Specter in front.

Group photo… Specter makes the best faces!



Wraith and Haunt… the biggest and the smallest.

Group photo with Wraith looking cute!


Specter closeup.

Specter closeup.


Poltergeist looking cute!

Ghosts | The Pinky Bristols are Here!

Video link:

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. 
The biggest one was in bad shape at first and I really thought she wouldn’t make it.  She kept laying on her side on the bottom and breathing heavily with gills flared.  But after only a few hours of being in my tank, she started to improve, and now she is doing really well.  I’m surprised how quickly they bounced back from the experience, especially compared to the butterfly telescopes I usually get in the mail.  Although they’re really skittish, I’ve already been able to observe a little bit about their personalities and choose names for them.  So… meet the ghosts!

Wraith (largest)
Wraith had the roughest time in shipping and has a tear in her dorsal fin, which should heal quickly. 

Specter (2nd largest)
Specter is the most inquisitive and curious one.  He was the first to start sifting through the sand and pecking at the fake plant.

Poltergeist (2nd smallest)
Poltergeist is a trouble-maker; he kept nipping at Wraith when she was trying to recover from shipping, so I had to put him in a colander for a little while.  He’s leaving her alone now that she has recovered, but I’m keeping an eye on him…

Haunt (smallest)
Haunt is a little more independent than the other fish.  And for such a tiny thing, he sure is strong.

Left to right: Wraith, Haunt, Specter, and Poltergeist.

12 Uses for a Fish Bowl

Video link:

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!

Beach Themed Decor
Collect and display sand and seashells from your favorite beach.

Pet Water Bowl
It’s good for your pets to have multiple options for getting water so they stay well-hydrated.

Candy Jar
Yum!  Dress it up for Halloween and use it as your candy bowl for trick-or-treaters.

Succulent Planter
Just because you can’t keep fish in the bowl doesn’t mean you can’t keep living plants in it!

Coin Jar 
Once full, you can use the coins to buy fish supplies!

Twinkle Lights Decor
You can theme the lights to match any holiday or keep it simple for anytime use.

Storage for Jewelry and Accessories
Or if you’re a guy, use it to store manly stuff like… oh I don’t know, beard cream?!  😛

Kitchen Utensil Holder
Those pancakes aren’t going to flip themselves.

Storage for Aquarium Supplies
I practically have aquarium supplies coming out my ears, so this one’s a no-brainer!

Pinky Bristols on the Way!

I have a confession to make… I’ve never owned any single-tail goldfish before!  😡  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!

These are called “pinkies”.  The term pinky just refers to any type of goldfish that is completely matte (has little to no reflective guanine in its skin).  This causes them to have black button eyes and “blushing” gill covers, since you can see through the gill covers to their red gills underneath.  Because the scales have no guanine, they are completely matte and non-reflective.  Pinkies are almost always culled very early on because they’re seen as undesirable.  Personally though, I think they’re beautiful!  Especially when paired with the strong, elegant body and flowing fins of the bristol shubunkin.  So my search for some pinky bristols began.  Ideally I wanted some that were pure white like in the photo above, but I knew this might be a long shot.  I asked around and finally found a breeder (Gary Hater) who had four pinky bristols he would part with.  Most of them have some blue markings, a few black streaks here-and-there, and one has an orange stripe.  But they are close enough, and I hope to breed them to eventually reach my ideal of the pure white pinky bristol shubunkin.  Here’s the video Gary sent me of the four pinkies I’m getting.  I’ve added arrows pointing out which fish I’m getting since there are several fish that swim past the camera.  These four were spawned in December, making them about 8 months old right now.  The blue calico bristol you see at three seconds in is the mother.  I’m so excited!  They’ll be shipped on August 19th to arrive on August 21st.  I’m going to move Luca, Felix, and Clover into my empty 55 gallon tank so bristols can have the space they need in my 75 gallon tank.  Stay tuned for updates!  Many thanks, Gary!

Video link:

Do any of you guys own single-tail goldfish? What variety do you have and what do you like about them?

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. 
cbr – Color baby ranchu; when they start to color up (change from bronze/green to their adult color) around 2-4 months.
Dechlor – Dechlorinator. 

DO – Can mean dissolved oxygen or Dandy Orandas.
Drop test – This is a type of water test (either ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, KH, or GH) that is more reliable than the test strip type.  The most-used brand is API (Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Inc.).
Epsom – Epsom salt; magnesium sulfate (MgSO4).  Found in most grocery stores or general stores in the laxatives section.
fbs – Frozen brine shrimp.
fbw – Frozen bloodworms.

Fork or forking – The part of the caudal fin which forms a v-shaped indent back toward the body of the fish.  Fish like ribbontails have a very deep fork, whereas veiltails have no fork.
Gel food – Gel food is a soft, often homemade food that can be made or purchased for goldfish.  It’s called gel because it’s almost always made with gelatin as the binding agent.
GH – General hardness; refers to the concentration of calcium and magnesium in the water.
GHV – Goldfish herpes virus.
gw – Green water; refers to water that is tinted green because of suspended algae growing in it.

HOB – Hang on back filter.  This is a type of power filter that rests on the rim of the aquarium and hangs over the back.
KH – Carbonate hardness; refers to the concentration of bicarbonate and carbonate in the water.
lbbs – Live baby brine shrimp.
LPS – Local fish store.
MMs or mms – This refers to MetroMeds; a common antibiotic food for goldfish.

NLS – New Life Spectrum goldfish pellet food.
Params – Parameters; referring to the water parameters.  This means: ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, KH, GH, and sometimes temperature too.
Pineconing or pineconed – When the fish is bloated such that the scales stand on end.  The fish resembles a pinecone when viewed from above.
Prazi – Praziquantel; an anti-parasite medication useful against gill and body flukes.  AquaPrazi is one commonly used powder form, and PraziPro is the most commonly used liquid form.  The liquid form is easier to use, but the powder may be more convenient for large tanks or ponds.
Prime – A dechlorinator and ammonia/nitrite detoxifier made by Seachem.

QT – Quarantine; this can refer to quarantine on a brand new fish, or quarantine when a certain fish is showing signs of disease and needs to be isolated.
Repashy – This refers to a line of premixed gel foods made by Repashy Superfoods.  The most commonly used mixes for goldfish are Soilent Green and Super Green.
Salt – This refers to pure salt; sodium chloride (NaCl).  Some commonly used forms are: Morton Canning and Pickling salt, sea salt, and aquarium salt.  It must have no anti-caking agents, iodide, or other additives.
Scope – Microscope.
Scrape – Gently scraping a fish with a microscope slide in a specific area in order to get a sample for viewing under a microscope.

Shu – Shubunkin goldfish.
Soilent Green or SG– A premixed gel food made by Repashy Superfoods. 
SVCV – Spring virema carp virus.
SVR or svr – Side view ranchu.  A specific breed of ranchu; Chinese in origin, which is meant to be viewed from the side.
TMS – Caribsea Tahitian Moon Sand.

TVR or tvr – Top view ranchu.  A specific breed of ranchu; Japanese in origin, which is meant to be viewed from above. 
VT – Veiltail goldfish.  The veiltail has extra long fins, and the caudal fin should have no forking.
w/c or wc – Water change.

I picked up a lot of this information over time on Goldfish Keepers Forum.  Head on over and check it out! 

Tank Talk | Upper Midwest Koi Show 2013

Video Link:

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. 

Even though I was disappointed by the lack of butterflies, I still had a good time looking at all the beautiful koi at the show.  Lately I’ve been thinking I’d really love to someday have a big koi pond with a few koi.  My favorite type of koi is a butterfly ginrin platinum ogon, while my husband is partial to the tancho.  Maybe we’ll have one of each.  I like those formal raised ponds that have a viewing window on the side.  

Anyway, I took lots of pictures and video (see above for video) at the show to share with you guys, so let’s get started!

Waiting for the doors to open.
The welcome table was situated front and center.
Hand painted awards for winning koi.
They were beautiful and so big!
Award for grand champion long fin.
Award for best male.
Award for best in size 1.
View of the show from the front.
View of the show from the back.  So many fish tubs!
Show fish.
Show fish.
This butterfly platinum ogon was my favorite!
More show fish.
Southwest Koi and Goldfish.
Orandas, ranchus, and telescope eye orandas.
Large ryukins and orandas.
Shubunkins and comets.
Small koi.
Assorted goldfish for sale.
This broadtail ryukin was my favorite goldfish for sale.

Have you ever been to a koi or goldfish show? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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. 
There is a thin layer of pool filter sand in each of the tubs.  I decided on sand substrate for three reasons; 1) to brighten up the dark tubs a little bit, 2) to give the goldfish a more natural environment and something to occupy themselves with, and 3) to promote healthy movement of food through their gut (according to Goldfish Garage, the sand acts as roughage when they eat some by accident).  The tubs have been seeded with some media and sponge filters from my established 75 gallon tank, and they are cycling fishless right now.  Hopefully I can get some nice butterflies soon!  I might get a few next weekend because I’m going to the Upper Midwest Koi Show in Minneapolis, MN.  Southwest Koi and Goldfish will be there with some imported goldfish for sale, and I’m hoping they’ll have a few butterflies I’m interested in.  

Back to the fish room details!  In addition to the tubs, I also got my 55 gallon tank out of storage and cleaned it up.  It was a mess… spiders and other bugs had fallen into it and made a carpet of spider webs on the inside.  There was also plenty of dust and some stagnant water that got left in the tubing for the sump.  Eek.  I had to take all the tubing apart and scrub and bleach everything.  That was quite a job.  But now it’s good as new!   I think I will end up putting Clover, Felix, and Luca in the 55 gallon tank and reserving the 75 gallon tank for some bristol shubunkins I hope to get soon.  And the tubs are, of course, reserved for some new butterfly telescopes!  Even though Felix and Luca show breeding stars, I don’t think I will be breeding them (at least not on purpose!).  They’re very pretty and they’ve been super healthy, but they’re just not quite the quality I’m looking for in breeding stock.  And poor Clover is just going to be the odd one out, since I don’t plan on getting any more ryukins any time soon! 

The fish room corner after clearing it out and before setup began.

After hanging the lights and placing the 60 gallon.

The 127 gallon arrived!
Big tub.  😛
Both tubs all set up.
60 gallon.
60 gallon.  That’s pool filter sand at the bottom. 
127 gallon.
127 gallon.  Auto-feeder at the top right.
Storage corner.
The 55 gallon tank.

That’s all!