Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Solid Gold on Tank Talk Podcast with KG Tropicals

John Hudson and his wife, Lisa, sell fish and also have a YouTube channel you may have heard of called KG Tropicals. We've long been supporters of each other's work, but this is the first time we've gotten together and actually collaborated on something, and it was a blast! John invited me to be a guest on his podcast called Tank Talk and he had some really good questions which led to fun and substantive conversations about goldfish misconceptions, goldfish breeding, and much more! Thanks for having me on your show, John, it was a blast. If you guys think John should have me on Tank Talk again sometime, be sure to let him know!  


LISTEN HERE → Tank Talk Presented by KG Tropicals: Let's Talk Goldfish with Solid Gold

 
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Monday, February 16, 2015

75 Gallons of Solid Gold


Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OR367NrpkU

Clyde and Sophie are losing their black color at a faster rate every day!  Soon Sophie will no longer be a tri-color and Clyde will no longer be a panda... they'll both be red/white.  It's looking like Sophie will be mostly red with a white face and a little red spot on her nose (Side note: one of her adorable fry has the same exact red nose!) Clyde will be mostly white with red eyes and reddish fins - pretty!  I'm sad to see their black color fading, but I always knew it would happen.  Fish with the tri-color, panda, or apache (red base with black on their dorsum) color patterns always lose the black color eventually. 

Sophie and Clyde - color change well under way
Luca
Little Asha grows slowly, but even still, he's probably about doubled in size in the past 6 months.  He's also developed a "droopy" tail which is caused by a low tail set.  It's not a trait that I particularly like to see in a butterfly telescope, but every fish has its flaws, and he looks great otherwise.  I used to have a one-eyed butterfly named Monocle who also had the "droopy" low-set tail as well, which leads me to think he could have fathered Asha. 

Asha
Minai (Asha's mother) with Monocle
Now for some sad news.  My new fish, Navi, has passed away.  Near the end of her 4-week quarantine period, I noticed she had become extremely bloated.  Suspecting egg-binding (which is almost impossible to cure), I began her on a 4-week treatment protocol.  At the end of her treatment, there had been no improvement and she was clearly suffering, so I had to make the gut-wrenching decision to euthanize her humanely with clove oil.  This actually happened a couple of weeks ago, but I didn't feel up to talking about it until now.  It just goes to show that anything can happen and that there are some things you can't prevent no matter how hard you try. I'm still not sure if she was indeed egg-bound, or whether she was suffering from organ failure leading to extreme fluid retention.  I'm glad I was able to care for her the short time that I did and I'm sad we didn't have more time together.

Navi
Some have been asking for an update on my nerite snails, which can be seen in my new video swishing their little antennae around in the current. They're doing well and finally starting to help out with the diatoms.  Back when I first added the plants to the tank they underwent a long period of time in which they were absolutely covered in diatoms (aka brown algae); it was horrendous!  So I got a group of 12 horned nerite snails to help clear it up.  At first they barely made a dent, but now they do seem to help.  I see them on the leaves periodically, eating up the diatoms and algae. Honestly though, what helped the most is just waiting it out and also manually scrubbing off as many of the diatoms as I could during water changes.  I believe the new Tahitian Moon Sand I added to the tank was leaching silicates, which can lead to a diatom bloom, and now that the sand has been in the tank for some time it's finally improving.  In any case, I'm just happy that the plants look green now instead of brown!

 
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Monday, February 9, 2015

Interview with Ted Judy of Ted's Fishroom

This weekend, I had the opportunity to visit with Ted Judy of tedsfishroom.com.  Much of what I've learned about the logistics of setting up a fish room has come from his website, so it was a really awesome experience.  Not only does Ted help you set up your fish room through his helpful blog posts, but he also helps you stock it by importing and selling a wide variety of aquarium fish and plants.  Thank you Ted for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk to me for the first in what I hope will be a series of live interviews on Solid Gold!

I also must give a shoutout to Forest Lake Pets, a really cool local fish store that I didn't know about until now.  They let us meet and film in their store, which housed rows upon rows of tanks full of neat-looking fish.  Maybe I'll have to go back there sometime for a video tour... we'll see!

After filming the interview at Forest Lake Pets, we headed over to the fishroom of Mike and Sue Fries (Minnesota Aquarium Society members) where Ted gave a super informative talk about West African Tetras. All in all, it was a great experience putting myself out there and meeting other local aquarium hobbyists, and I hope to do it more often. I hope you enjoy the interview with Ted and don't forget to check out his website! 


 
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Monday, February 2, 2015

Promoting Growth in Goldfish

 

Factors Affecting Growth Rate in Goldfish
All of the following factors go hand-in-hand. To realize a goldfish's best growth potential, all factors should be maximized.
  • Temperature - Despite what some may tell you, goldfish are not necessarily "cold water" fish. Yes, they can survive and thrive in cooler temperatures than most aquarium fish can, but goldfish are tolerant to a wide range of temperatures and can live just fine in temperatures of up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit or higher (as long as there's enough dissolved oxygen). In warmer temps, the goldfish's metabolism is faster, so it will need to eat more, equating to faster growth. In temperate climates, goldfish experience a dormancy period in Winter where they're not eating or growing as much, followed by a growing season in Spring and Summer where they're eating more and growing faster. 
  • Feeding Amount - With a warmer temperature (and thus a faster metabolism), the goldfish will need to eat more. Eating more of course means faster growth. Feed your goldfish very carefully. If the goldfish is constantly eating only processed pellets, it's more likely to develop swim bladder or buoyancy issues. The more soft foods you provide (gel food, frozen brine shrimp or bloodworms, algae sheets, etc.), the better. Many small meals throughout the day are better than one or two large meals since goldfish are natural scavengers and also don't have much by way of a stomach to hold food while it's being digested.
  • Water Quality, Water Volume, and Stocking Density - Poor water quality (which can mean excessive ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate, dissolved organics, high bacteria count, fluctuating pH, low dissolved oxygen, etc.) is almost always caused by not having a large enough volume of water for the fish and/or keeping too many fish in too small a space. If the fish is living in poor water conditions, it will never reach its growth potential. To maximize growth (and more importantly, health), water should be kept as pristine as possible.
Growth Potential
Goldfish grow the most during their first year of life. After that; they continue to grow, but at a slower rate. Thus, if a goldfish experiences less than ideal conditions when young, it may never reach its growth potential, even if conditions improve when it's older.

Is Fast Growth Healthy?
Be very careful not to go overboard; you want a healthy fish, not an obese fish. Keep in mind that when goldfish consistently live in temperatures that promote growth and have a consistently higher metabolism, the life span tends to be shortened. This is not necessarily a bad thing, it's just the way their biology works. Even though the fish may still be as healthy as a slower-growing fish, higher metabolism generally means a shorter life span. Extremely fast growth is not required for your goldfish to live a happy, healthy life. Yes, some fish can become severely growth-stunted and remain tiny, which can lead to severe health issues.  But generally, a smaller-than-average fish is not necessarily unhealthy. Many breeders maintain that it's good for their fish to experience a cooler dormancy period in which they are fed less. This helps them shed the excess weight they put on over the Spring and Summer and readies them for the next breeding season.

In Closing
Is fast growth best, or slow and steady? Look at your goals and priorities for your fish and decide for yourself. Neither answer is inherently right or wrong since a goldfish can be healthy and happy either way.

 
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