First off - I can't say thank you enough to the many hobbyists who purchased ECR goldfish and took to the task with an open mind, a positive attitude and an appreciation of all the difficulty levels one encounters as an aquarist. You all know who you are - and I'm sincerely grateful.
~ • ~
Goldfish are loved for their quirky looks and fun "personalities". There are many varieties with unique and complex handling needs which is one reason why privately bred fancy goldfish are a challenge and are best handled by COMPETENT and EXPERIENCED fishkeepers.
I care about the fish and want them to go to good homes but I'm asking that you decide carefully and hold off on an ECR goldfish purchase if you've only just began goldfishkeeping. It's not a matter of financial calculation - not a question of whether I would make or lose money. I'm not interested in making a sale if it compromises the fish's well-being. These goldfish require advance fishkeeping management and care. Being able to recognize when there's an ACTUAL and REAL issue whether its with the fish, or external issues like water quality and parameters takes time and experience to become adept at.
I'll explain the difference between experienced & beginner fishkeeper the best way I can:
The difference is the experienced fishkeeper has already made countless mistakes, gone through many goldfish losses, LEARNED FROM IT and patiently problem-solves everyday issues. Even if he/she doesn't have everything figured out.
Pride, Ego & Excuses are the main reasons for a beginner's setbacks. If you're serious about this hobby - realize that you'll mess things up and struggle when something is beyond your knowledge and experience. It's easy to fall into the habit of rationalizing your missteps by blaming the goldfish breeder for your inexperience. You can choose to handle these setbacks by losing confidence or YOU CAN LEARN FROM IT. Whether you succeed or fail, you WILL learn from experience. Mistakes and losses will be your greatest teachers. OWN IT, be accountable. It will take time to get things right -- and that's not a FAILURE. That's just life.
Goldfishkeeping is unique to each fishkeeper. Every right decision you make will sooner or later lead you to a pattern of success and help build up your confidence so you can rely on your own judgment whenever problems arise. Once in awhile you'll come across something you can't master from a book or the internet but you have the most information when you're DOING something, when you're actually observing and experiencing it.
Now let me give a cautionary reminder to all beginners reading this. I don't have a conflict with you. But I do have an issue with beginners who show a PATTERN OF NEGATIVE BEHAVIOR from the first moment of placing the order all the way to taking care of newly-purchased ECR goldfish.
Ordering new goldfish should be an exciting and fun experience. Over the years, however, there's been a build-up of unpleasant interactions with some amateur fishkeepers which manifestly impacts the goldfish's welfare as well as my own peace of mind. It's aggravating and dispiriting and enough to push anyone to their limits. I didn't sign up for that. The ECR workload is already challenging as it is. I'd rather engage with fellow hobbyists who are positive and dependable.
I don't care if this makes me look bad shining a light on a variety of issues including abusive behavior and derogatory inferences that often plague most breeder/sellers when encountering these particular newbies. I want you to know that THIS happens behind the scenes. In many different ways, in many levels of aggression, over and over again. Any intense pavlovian reaction on my end is a consequence of chronic, unwarranted mockery and abuse from beginners. It's hardwired me to walk the line between ambivalence and caution. It's not hard to spot which ones spell trouble and which rookie fishkeepers will be easygoing and uncomplicated.
SOME ISSUES ARE PRETTY BASIC
I can tell you with veritable certainty 99.999% of the goldfish I bred, raised and list for sale here have never even been infected with ICH. EVER. That's because I go through extreme lengths and provide a high standard of care for them. I take goldfishkeeping seriously and lavish these goldfish to the point of excessiveness.
I've had customers receive their goldfish alive and in good condition then days or weeks later comes back to me reporting that their fish came down with ICH or some very simple and easily treatable water quality issue that any experienced fishkeeper will COMPETENTLY recognize. "
But I did everything correctly" is the most typical rationale and a classic hallmark of a novice who needs to point a finger at someone else when the goldfish's health begins to deteriorate. They deny any culpability because according to the water test kit (The Supreme Benchmark of Experience) they have ZERO ammonia and nitrates. I'm suppose to take their word they did everything right even without empirical evidence and I, the long-time goldfish breeder with years of experience and practical understanding of goldfishkeeping, did everything wrong. Somehow I'm to blame for any rookie mistakes and must send a refund or replace that goldfish that I kept healthy and alive for many months, showed absolutely no symptoms of illness on LIVE VIDEO but died after just a short time in their care due to inexperience. If I don't comply I'm subjected to hateful rhetorics and smear campaigns on Social Media.
How is this FAIR? Between a long-time goldfish hobbyist/breeder and an amateur goldfishkeeper - who is most likely to make an error or carry out incorrect measures? If East Coast Ranchu has provided thousands of goldfish to satisfied families for years - I must be doing something right.
STRESS DURING TRANSIT
Another frequent bone of contention ad nauseam: Issues about SOA and preemptively asking for reimbursement or replacement. SOA (Stressed on Arrival) is not DOA (Dead on Arrival). If a fish is taken out of its normal environment, travels in a box and gets tossed around for 24 hours - of course there's a high probability of stress upon arrival.
Anytime a fish travels their immunity level goes down. There are many harmless strains of bacteria that
can become lethal when the immune system is compromised due to stress. Some goldfish will be immunosuppressed and some will have an adverse reaction to travel. But that stress can be mitigated promptly if you're a competent fishkeeper. Your job is to bring their immune levels back to normal. If you know what you're doing you'll see an improvement after just a day or 2.
*FYI: Imported goldfish will travel 8,000 miles from ASIA to the US transhipper's location, then from the transhipper to the importer's facility and finally from the importer's facility to the buyer's residence. Some importers say they quarantine for 2 weeks - that's not even enough time for a fish to recover. All that traveling for imports greatly affects a goldfish's health and brings their immunity level down to zero.
US Bred Goldfish however will travel only once: from the goldfishbreeder's facility to a buyer's US residence.
I'm not gonna lie. I automatically go on immediate 'alert mode' whenever I notice the following indicators of a beginner. There are many rookies who are pleasant and have great attitudes but there will be
some who are exasperating and
some with very toxic personalities which can ruin the dynamics of a transaction and make every step a difficult, unbearable ordeal:
• Asks too many beginner fishkeeping questions before and after purchase
• Asks what is the life expectancy of the fish they want to purchase.
• Doesn't quarantine, too excited to mix new fish into the main tank.
• Mixes ALL incoming new fish without doing a quarantine
• Doesn't want to quarantine / Skips quarantine
• Tries to "negotiate" quarantine process (pls note Quarantine is protocol.)
• Cross contaminates tanks with wet hands and infected accessories.
• Doesn't know what Cycling or what Nitrogen Cycle means.
• Doesn't know what ich looks like. Just assumes all blemishes are ich without knowing
• Successfully treated ich once or twice - this is not an indicator of "experience"
• Still asking how to cure ich
• If you can't cure ich -- you're a beginner
• Still asking "how many fish can I fit in my tank"
• Doesn't disinfect tank and accessories after multiple infections & deaths
• Doesn't know how to do proper water changes (still doing 20-30% water change per week or once every month!)
• Fills up tank with all kinds of plastic decors and thick layers of substrate
• Doesn't match temperature of incoming water with outgoing water
• Doesn't know how to AGE water
• Throws in every medicine from the medicine cabinet without doing proper diagnosis
• Switches from one med to the next without completing treatment duration (negligent about drug resistance)
• Still believes the only meds for goldfish is Pimafix and Melafix
• Doesn't know the difference between Epsom Salt and Aquarium Salt
• Medicates sick fish without removing carbon media
• Doesn't know what tubercles are (thinks it's ich)
• Doesn't bother to read the Support Pages, just wants instant cure whenever there are issues, no accountability
• Feels the need to tell me about water parameters and how they tested perfect ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels. (Experienced fishkeepers rarely or even tests water parameters anymore -- once you know your routine and you're familiar with your fish's reactions to deteriorating water conditions you should be able to determine the quality of the water in the tank without testing)
• Rinses filter media only 1x a month or 1 every 2 months
• Rinses filter media with tap water
• Doesn't understand the importance of PH
• Buys imported fish believing its SUPERIOR QUALITY because it's expensive
• Uses these lines: "But all my other fish are fine", "But the fish I bought from another seller is fine". You need to read up on the basic principles of Foreign Microorganism Exposure, Disease Transmission and Development of Anti-bodies. The science is universal. It encompasses all humans and animals.
• Keeps pointing out wen overgrowth is causing "blindness"
• Doesn't know what dropsy looks like
• Doesn't know what ammonia burn is
• Thinks green peas is the CURE for floatiness and swim bladder issues
• Keeps water temps in the 60s
• Keeps using this excuse "the goldfish was eggbound that's why it died". Doesn't know what internal eggbinding looks like
• Panics over every minor thing
• Constantly complaining and soliciting advise but whenever I put in the time to give advise - they never actually take it because - really,
they just wanna COMPLAIN
• When the fish dies because of their inexperience it's not their fault.
• Labels ECR fish "inferior" when they fail to keep it alive due to inexperience
PRIDE, EGO AND EXCUSES
At one time I had a customer who claimed she had extensive fishkeeping experience with a different aquatic species and so therefore she absolutely knows what she's doing. Hence, whatever problems that happened to her new ECR goldfish was not in any way her fault. They were healthy for a couple weeks (even uploading videos of very active happy fish) but deteriorated on week 3 from a sudden case of ICH. And can she please get a refund? Just like that, making absolutely no effort to remedy the situation. I provided advise on how to cure and offered free meds but even after all this and with her "extensive fishkeeping experience" - the goldfish still didn't make it through a simple bout of ICH.
ICH is so basic and preventable. It's a water quality issue. Seriously, google this
"ich + water quality". For all these claims of being an expert saltwater keeper - if ich happened in the tank 3 weeks after the purchase of healthy ECR goldfish -- this is an OBVIOUS BEGINNER misstep. It only means this person didn't take the necessary measures to reduce the risk and prevent ICH from happening. An experienced fishkeeper would've known exactly what to do regardless of what species they are caring for. Remember, as a commercial goldfish breeder this isn't my first time keeping goldfish. I would never knowingly ship out ICH infected goldfish and put my name on the line just for a few $. You have a higher chance of receiving an infected HOST fish carrying pathogenic bio-organisms from an importer.
After everything I did to help, she disparages me further by saying
"all the new imported fish I just ordered didn't get sick, only the ECRs got sick." This laughable, if not deliberately malicious rhetoric doesn't emancipate beginners from responsibility. It only further proves complete disregard for bio-security, contamination prevention and quarantine protocols in general.
The argument that I'm to blame because accordingly you're an experienced saltwater fishkeeper is not valid. It's arrogant to think you'll never make a mistake. But consider this: it is possible to commit no mistakes, follow all the rules yet STILL SUFFER LOSSES. It's not a weakness - it's just human nature.
Last but not least: I honestly. Couldn't 👏 Care 👏 Less 👏 if you know everything about blennies or angelfish or humpback whales. Fancy goldfish have a completely different physiological mechanism and stress response to travel and a new environment. That stress can lead to illness or death when there's a lack of practical understanding of the BASICS of goldfish husbandry.
We make the best decisions when we can achieve a careful balance between emotions and logic. When you play a vitriolic "Blame Game" where you have zero accountability and EVERYTHING THAT GOES WRONG IS MY FAULT -- nobody wins. It's just a matter of how much and how fast the goldfish suffers in your care. I've been selling for many years and the pattern with "faultless" beginners is always the same: as soon as the goldfish gets sick or dies because of amateur mistakes in an environment I have no control over - Defense Mechanisms kick in. Not only do I agonize over the poor doomed goldfish that I diligently raised from egg but it is unrealistic for you to expect me to address every conceivable scenario and handling situation that may occur with each goldfish that leaves my facility.
If all this contradicts your perception of acquiring new goldfish from my store then it's going to affect your judgment and objectivity and best not to proceed with an ECR purchase. I understand it's your money and ultimately it's your decision but getting these goldfish when you're still learning the basics can have very real consequences almost always at the cost of the goldfish's life. The risk you take also puts me at the losing end: I lose the goldfish, I lose months of work raising it, I lose material investment and my name is put on the line. At the end of the day I'd rather not make $50 if I will be subjected through unnecessary aggravation and be held responsible for obvious amateur mistakes.
I know some of you will be upset/frustrated reading this and I completely understand. But I can't apologize for this in anyway. We won't always agree with each other and that's ok. So PLEASE. Before setting your heart and wallet on something you're new or inexperienced at - try saving a cute goldfish needing a loving home from a LOCAL FISH STORE (LFS). You'll save a life and gain vital training and fishkeeping skills along the way.
To find out more about goldfish care please take the time to check out Solid Gold YouTube Channel or learn from experts and fellow hobbyists at goldfishkeepers.com, kokosgoldfish.com and the hundreds of Goldfish Groups/Communities on Facebook.
To read up on amazing and inspirational PetStore finds, read the stories below: