Monday, December 29, 2014

Calendar Giveaway Winner!

Well guys, the results are in and we have a winner!  If you are the viewer with the YouTube username Cro J., please send me a private message on YouTube within 48 hours to claim your prize.  You got question 3 only partially correct, but I'll give it to you anyways!  I tried something different with this giveaway by having you guys go on a video "scavenger hunt" and answer questions from my older videos.  I hope you guys had fun with it even if you didn't win!  The questions were as follows, and the correct answers are in green.  

1. How many new goldfish did Jennie receive from Dandy Orandas in this video?
The correct answer is: Jennie received 5 new goldfish from Dandy Orandas.  Two were pandas (Sophie and Clyde) and the others were red/white (Benji, Monocle, and Minai).
2. As you learned in this Solid Gold video, what is one way to tell if your goldfish is a male?
The correct answer is any of the following: males typically have breeding stars, males typically have a more narrow and elongated vent shape than females, males generally have a more slim body shape than females, males chase females during breeding season and during spawning.

3. What two awards did Jennie's fish, Clyde, win at the 2014 MAS show?
The correct answer is: Clyde won the Peoples' Choice award and 2nd place in the goldfish and koi category.  This was not part of the question, but some people also answered that Jennie's artwork won first place in the fine art category.

You can still purchase your very own Solid Gold Calendar at the links below!
Standard Size →
Oversized →

The calendar is for Patricia, but the thank-you message goes out to each and every one of you!

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Monday, December 22, 2014

2015 Solid Gold Calendar Unboxing + Giveaway!

Watch as I unbox the new 2015 Solid Gold Calendar!  I'm also giving away a standard size calendar to one lucky viewer.  :)  Please follow the instructions in the video to enter.  Or, if you'd rather not wait (who could blame you, really?!) follow one of these things to purchase your own now.

Standard size →

Oversized →

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Monday, December 15, 2014

Goldfish Learning to use an Interactive Feeder

Finding ways to provide enrichment has been an increasingly popular focus for zoos, aquariums, animal shelters, and the like in recent years.  Enrichment means finding ways to allow the captive animal to exercise behaviors that come naturally to it; behaviors it would do in the wild if it could.  Carp are scavengers by nature; they spend a lot of time sifting through detritus to find bits of algae and invertebrates to eat.  We see this in our captive goldfish as well when they sift through the sand or gravel bottoms of our aquariums looking for morsels of food.  When your goldfish picks up a piece of gravel and appears to "chew" on it for a while, he is actually sucking tiny microbes off the gravel surface.  

So if goldfish naturally have to "work" to find their food, how can we replicate this in an aquarium?  I took a hint from those interactive dog and cat food puzzles you can find in pet stores and made an interactive food-releasing toy for my fish.  I made this over year ago, but pulled it out of storage the other day to give Navi a crack at it.  The result was so cute I almost couldn't even handle it!  See for yourself...

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

My Thoughts on Culling

I realized after sharing this photo on my Facebook page that a lot of people are very curious about culling.  A few people even have some serious misconceptions about culling and goldfish breeding.  I am by no means a geneticist or an expert long-time goldfish breeder, but allow me to try to clear some things up based upon my experience and what I have read from the experiences of many long-time goldfish breeders.

"Culling is a fact of life for the goldfish breeder"

Culling is a fact of life for the goldfish breeder, and let me tell you why.  The percentage of fry from any given spawn that will be worth keeping can vary greatly depending upon the parent fish.  If the parent fish have been scrupulously line bred for many generations, a higher percentage of the fry will look like the parents.  That's what goldfish breeders aim for, and Japanese top view ranchu (TVR) are a pretty good example of this.  But generally speaking, the majority of all fry from a single goldfish spawn will not be worth keeping.  Goldfish genes "want" to revert back to their wild type (a brown single-tailed carp) over time because the qualities we prize so highly (telescope eyes, double tail, pearled scales, lack of dorsal fin, etc.) are all recessive genes.  If you placed a few grand champion pearlscales into a pond and allowed them to breed without interference for many generations, you would end up with a pond full of brown single-tailed carp before too long.  Goldfish are inbred; that's how breeders can get them to appear the way they do.  Breeders walk the fine line of making sure their fish are healthy and have a good quality of life while also meeting the variety's standards.  It's not an easy task!  Next time you meet a long-time goldfish breeder, please thank them for keeping these varieties alive for us to enjoy. 

If you love goldfish; great!  If you dislike culling; okay!  That's your opinion and I respect that.  However, it's not intellectually honest to love goldfish while simultaneously condemning culling.  Do you know why?  Because the goldfish as we know it could not possibly exist today without the very beneficial practice of culling.  A single goldfish spawn can yield thousands of fry.  Because we fish keepers do such a good job these days of caring for our fish and providing them with an ideal environment that's completely free from predators or any other dangers, almost none of them will be killed off by "natural" means.  (Just as an aside, even if they were allowed to be killed off by "natural" means, the ones that would have been killed off are the very ones that resemble their variety the best.  Traits like telescope eyes, double tail, and pearled scales, make them less "fit" for their natural environment meaning they cannot compete with their siblings who have more wild type characteristics.)  That means every single time your goldfish spawn (and goldfish can spawn every 5-7 days for many months on end depending upon the climate) you'll have thousands of fish who will soon grow up to require a minimum of 10 gallons of space each.  Even if you had unlimited space, money, and time to raise all those thousands of fish to adulthood, do you really think you could find quality homes for each and every single one of those fish (many of whom are severely deformed and cannot swim or eat properly)?  And on top of that, could you maintain a line of fish that are relatively true-breeding so that we can still have the ryukin, oranda, and telescope goldfish varieties that we love so much?  It would be an impossible task.

"the goldfish as we know it could not possibly exist today 
without the very beneficial practice of culling"

Okay, so we now understand why breeders cull their fish.  But what exactly do they do with the fish they have selected to be culled?  There are a vast number of ways breeders deal with their culls.  Some breeders euthanize the culls with clove oil, while others feed them to their adult fish.  Yet others sell culls to their local pet store if the culled fry are a bit older.  It just depends. 

In the early stages, when the fry are only a few weeks old, breeders look for major deformities; most obviously severely crooked spines.  These fry will not survive well in the future.  Remember, the breeder is trying to maintain a line of fish that is healthy and viable.  As the fry grow, the breeder begins to notice more deformities that are not quite as severe, but still limit the ability of the fish to thrive.  Slightly bent spines, buoyancy issues, deformed mouths, etc.  Something I read a long time ago on the Goldfish Keepers Forum that has since become my culling mantra is "a small flaw on a small fish will become a big flaw on a big fish".  Breeders look for these small flaws and try to weed out these fish as soon as possible so that the truly exceptional fish don't suffer from overcrowding or the need to compete for resources.  As the fry grow larger and begin to actually look like goldfish, more minor flaws will become apparent.  Things like tripod tails, single anal fins, bumps on an otherwise smooth ranchu back, and other minor flaws disqualify the fish from being an exceptional example of its variety.  Fish like this are sometimes referred to as "pet grade".  At this point, the breeder certainly has the option to sell the culls to their local pet store, as many do.

"a small flaw on a small fish will 
become a big flaw on a big fish" 

I hope I was able to shed some light for you about culling and perhaps help you see why it's an integral part of goldfish breeding.  Promoting awareness about all aspects of goldfish care is the focus of Solid Gold.  If you want to learn more about goldfish genetics or goldfish breeding I would refer you to the book "Goldfish Breeding and Genetics" by Joseph Smartt and also the Goldfish Keepers Forum for lots of good discussion by experienced long-time goldfish breeders.  Thanks for reading and thank you for helping Solid Gold grow the hobby. 

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Monday, December 8, 2014

2015 SOLID GOLD Calendar!

It's finally here! I'm very excited to announce that the 2015 SOLID GOLD calendar is now available for purchase!  This awesome calendar comes in standard 8.5"x11" size or oversized 11"x17" size and makes a great gift for a goldfish-loving friend (but I won't judge you if you just buy it for yourself!). It features adorable butterfly telescope goldfish from the SOLID GOLD family that have been artfully photographed by goldfish artist Jennifer Lynx.  Please follow the links below to purchase.

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Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Perfect Rack for 40 Gallon Tanks

I found this shelving unit from Lowe's that fits two 40 gallon breeder tanks perfectly.  This means no more tanks on the floor of my dining room!  This is only half of the shelf, it can actually hold four tanks.  It's nice because it's heavy duty and can certainly hold the weight, but it also has a polished look to it so it doesn't seem too terribly out of place in my living area.  

Link Edsal Steel Shelving Unit

My new fish, Navi, is being quarantined in the bottom tank and my 3-week-old butterfly fry are up top (yes, I'm raising fry again!).  Once Navi's quarantine is over, I'll be able to move half of the fry to the bottom tank to give them more space to grow out.  I'm loving this setup!  In fact, I'm super tempted to run out to Petco the next time they have their dollar-per-gallon tank sale and grab two more 40 gallon breeder tanks so I can set up the other half of the shelf too...  who needs a dining room when you can have a fish room, right?!   

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Monday, December 1, 2014

New Fish From Dandy Orandas

Meet Navi (nah-vee), the newest member of the Solid Gold gang!  She is a red/white butterfly telescope from Dandy Orandas and she arrived on Tuesday, November 25th.  Navi arrived in pretty good shape except for a slight break in the leading ray of her dorsal fin.  It probably won't heal quite right (you'll always be able to tell there was a break), but I'm glad that she's at least still able to hold her dorsal fin upright.  Since I'm using her for breeding, not for showing, I'm not too worried about it.

She's begun to settle in, but I'm still feeding her sparingly so she can fully recover from shipping.  It's funny; when I drop a piece of food in her tank, you can clearly tell when she detects the smell.  She'll just be drifting about all peacefully, but as soon as the smell of the food hits her nostrils, she becomes a typical food-crazed foraging goldfish!  It's very cute. 

Here's an unboxing video in which I talk a little bit about how to quarantine your new fish, what I look for in a quality butterfly telescope, and I give my opinion about buying goldfish online from Dandy Orandas!

Here are some more pictures of Navi for your enjoyment.  I hope you love her as much as I do!  Here's to an uneventful quarantine. 

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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Grateful Goldfish

Did you know that one of the greatest contributing factors to happiness is how much gratitude you show? As it turns out, happiness doesn't make you grateful... being grateful makes you happy! 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone; let's take a cue from our fish and remember to be thankful for the little things in life.  I hope everyone is able to spend the day with loved ones and relax.  I get to take a couple of much-needed days off work to go visit my family and share all my new goldfish stories with them. ;) 

Speaking of which, it seems like the perfect opportunity to say a huge and very heartfelt thank you to those of you who have chosen to support Solid Gold by leaving a tip in my tip jar (at the upper right corner of the website).  It is so greatly appreciated and your contributions literally make Solid Gold possible, so thank you so very much! 

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Releasing Pet Fish?

Hey guys, I need to get serious for a moment.  I got a message today on my Facebook page from someone letting me know that they released a captive Oscar into a nearby river.  Please, do not ever release captive fish into the wild no matter what type of fish it is or where you live.  This is a bad idea for many reasons. 

Firstly, your captive fish may be carrying certain diseases that it has immunity to, but the native fish population does not.  Entire native fish populations can be wiped out if you introduce a novel disease into their environment.  The fish you release may seem perfectly healthy, but that doesn't mean it isn't carrying something that it is immune to.  This really does happen.  For example, there is a pathogen called Chytridiomycosis (Chytrid for short) that is decimating wild amphibian species across the world, and there is significant evidence suggesting that it was originally spread into the United States by captive African Clawed Frogs that were used for research. 

As if that wasn't enough of a reason not to release captive fish, there's more!  Certain captive fish, when released into a favorable natural environment, can become extremely invasive and out-compete other fish for resources.  This can also result in native populations of fish being wiped out, which has a ripple effect on the entire ecosystem of the area. 

This issue is a danger to our hobby of fish-keeping, and especially goldfish-keeping.  Did you know that some states and countries have been creating more restrictive laws about moving fish between states and between countries because they're concerned about these fish either spreading disease to native fish or becoming invasive in native waters?  If you release captive fish into the wild, you are endangering not only the native ecosystem, but also the hobby we love so dearly!  So please, think twice before releasing that fish.  If you don't want it anymore, bring it to your local fish store for rehoming.  Every pet store I've ever been to has accepted fish from people and sometimes will even give you store credit in return for the fish.


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Monday, November 17, 2014

Solid Gold Sketchbook

Well, here it is... the first piece of art I've made in months.  And for my subjects I chose the ever-handsome Clyde and his sidekick, Edgar.  I hope you enjoy the video!

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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Where Have I Been?

Hello, my lovely goldfish friends!  I apologize for my long, unexplained absence; life has been full of changes for me lately.  I've steadily taken on more responsibility at my "day job" working full-time at a local animal shelter, and when I'm not working, I volunteer my time taking better photos of the cats and dogs for the organization's website so they get adopted faster.  In addition to that (and this is probably the biggest single reason for my absence), I recently went through a divorce and moved into a small apartment on my own, which means I lost my fish room that I had been working so hard on and had to down-size my goldfish operation.  Add into the mix ongoing chronic pain and medical concerns, and I think you can see why I needed a break.  All that aside, I also had just been trying to take on a bit too much, and as a result, got a little burned out with goldfish for a while there.

It just goes to show that sometimes you need to scale back 
and simplify your life to find your "center" again.  

For a long time I could not even bring myself to look at the Solid Gold website, Facebook page, or YouTube channel because it was too painful.  I'm a little nervous that by writing this blog post, you may think it means that I am back into the full swing of things, but alas, it does not.  It simply means that I'm beginning the baby steps that will lead me back into the full swing of things one day.  So I ask that you please be patient with me.  The other day was the first time I could bear to look at the Facebook page, and to my astonishment, I found so many words of encouragement and support from all of you that it nearly brought me to tears.  I cannot thank you enough or express how grateful I am to have your support.  I hope together we can pick up the pieces and continue on this exciting goldfish journey we've been on together!

So, where are we now?  Out of my butterflies, I still have Luca, Clyde, Sophie, and two babies.  They're living in my 75 gallon tank, to which I just added some live plants from Planted Aquariums Central in Riparium Supply's nifty little tank planters.  I'm monitoring the butterflies very closely and doing daily water changes to keep pristine water quality because the other three adult butterflies that I had (Minai, Monocle, and Felix) passed away suddenly in the midst of all the changes that have been taking place in my life.  We're keeping our fingers crossed that the remaining butterflies will stay healthy.  I still have my Ghost Bristols and some of their offspring, but I will be rehoming them soon to a fellow hobbyist because I need to simplify and focus on what is really important to me, which are my butterflies. 

Asha (named by Kirky George)
Edgar (named by Jon Ortiz)
To summarize, thank you so much for your continued support and I ask that you please be patient with me as I take steps toward getting into the full swing of things again.  Things may be quite different from now on, but I look forward to what the future brings as we continue our journey!  As always, if you'd like to support what I'm doing here at Solid Gold, please feel free to click on the "tip jar" button to leave a small donation.

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Fish Room Air | Tank Talk

Got air? This fish room does! Follow along to see where I'm at with my fish room revamp! This week I've been working on setting up the air pump and running PVC to supply air to all the fish tanks and tubs

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Monday, April 21, 2014

Wiring the Fish Room | Tank Talk

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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Solid Gold Sketchbook

Here's some art I've been working on recently.  The drawing of Clover is the first large-scale (about 11x14") goldfish drawing I have made and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.  I think I'll be doing many more large drawings like this in the future.  I made it specifically to display at the Minnesota Aquarium Society tropical fish show over the weekend of April 4th and 5th, and my entry ended up winning first place in the fine art category!  I made of video of the creation process for this drawing, so be sure to watch that below!  Also keep an eye on my Etsy store, because I hope to have prints made of this one and made available in a few different sizes.

The second drawing was commissioned by a fellow goldfish keeper as a memento of her fish named River who recently passed away.  I really played with shadows and highlights with this one and I think the result is quite pretty.  Lately I've been trying to get away from heavily outlining my drawings all the time, to make for a more realistic look.  And last, but certainly not least, is a portrait of Betsy!  Betsy is a fantail goldfish owned by a vet clinic nearby.  When I visited with my dog about a year ago, I noticed that Betsy was living in a small bowl on the reception desk, so I helped the staff at the clinic set up a large aquarium for Betsy and her new friend Bernie.  Since then they have done such an excellent job caring for their finned friends and setting an example of good fish care for their clients.  You can read more about Betsy and Bernie here:  Veterinary Clinic Goldfish Aquarium

Please click "READ MORE" below for the full blog post with pictures and a video! 

Red/White Ryukin - Clover
Clover detail

Friday, April 11, 2014

Save the Date | 3rd Annual AGA Show

Mark your calendars!  The date is set for the 3rd annual American Goldfish Association Breeders Classic Show and Auction.  It will be held August 9th in Anderson, Indiana at the Hollywood Estates Clubhouse.  The address is as follows:

Hollywood Estates Clubhouse
144 Hollywood Blvd.
Anderson, IN 46016

Friday, August 8th will be set up and socialization.  Judging will take place on the morning of Saturday, August 9th and the auction will be held on Saturday afternoon.  Please watch this thread on Goldfish Keepers Forum for updates.

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