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BEGINNER FISHKEEPERS

an important message to

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.

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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 it's 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 fishkeepers 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. The fishkeeper who hasn't had enough losses hasn't done enough fishkeeping.

 

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. Don't be afraid to start over. When you start over - you're not starting from scratch. You're starting from experience. 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.

  • Why Not Just Diagnose From A Picture?
    I have an idea that filling out the form below is 10th on the list of things you have to do today but I don't want to kill your fish with the wrong diagnosis. Photos/videos are critical visual aids however it's not enough. I can't determine an illness without evaluating circumstances and related data that only you can provide. I've formulated the questionnaire below to allow me a better overview of what's going on. So please - if you care about your goldfish kindly refrain from giving me vague answers or skipping questions. It just prolongs the process if I have to ask you to redo the form all over again. If you're not into it, or have an excuse not to fill out the form - I can't help you. Forget for a moment that I'm an annoying Type-A control freak. I'm here to help. I'll give you my time if you give me the courtesy of yours and respect my process.
  • Issues I Can't Help You With
    Please ONLY submit this form if this is a real and actual issue with substantial and apparent manifestations of illness or infection. I can't help with imaginary non-issues: I think its sad and lonely I think it can't breathe I think it's scared It's very "skittish" It's acting weird when I'm in the room It's trying to jump out How can I possibly diagnose this? If you're an experienced fishkeeper - you understand exactly what I'm talking about. If you're not seeing clinical signs - let's not waste each others time. Thankyouverymuch.
  • Regarding Water Parameters
    As long as you're aware of your tank's parameters, I don't need to know the ammonia, nitrites, and nitrate levels. Majority of illnesses in goldfish are almost always caused by unstable or deteriorating water conditions and/or poorly maintained filter media. In the many years I've been consulted on sick fish - nearly everyone has claimed they have EXCELLENT WATER PARAMETERS. There's no way for me to assess the veracity of this info whether this is true prior to the onset of the illness, throughout the past week, the past month and so on and so forth. Some fishkeepers have a tendency to distort, fabricate and/or omit information for fear of being judged/lectured or the need to present oneself in a positive light. Anytime there's an attempt to preempt my diagnosis with a claim that the water conditions have always been excellent and so "don't even go there Cynthia" but the fish is presenting characteristics and symptoms contradictory to those perfect parameters - then it's a moot point. So we'll just skip this counterintuitive exercise, you go ahead and enjoy your water test kit. I'll stick to the science that's consistent with the symptoms along with the variable data provided on the form. I'll give you my recommendations after. The main goal is to help your fish heal. Regardless of the TRUE parameters at the onset of illness, please be mindful of the fundamentals of the Nitrogen Cycle and the importance of regular water changes along with careful filter maintenance.
  • Differences in Opinion
    I understand that when a fish is sick some fishkeepers can get a little touchy, emotions can run high specially if my assessment is something you don't want to hear. ​​The insights I provide are there for you to use as a guide. If an issue is within my knowledge and experience I will always give it to you straight. But if you're already consulting with a BOOK, another website or another fishkeeper and all you're looking for is to debate with me, question the validity of my analysis or "educate me" with your own research​ in some kind of self-serving bias - then it's no longer about the sick fish. When that line is crossed there's no need to proceed with a consultation. I'm not trying to win a prize, all I want is for your fish to get better. I don't want to confuse you or complicate the situation with ​my interpretation of the facts that you're not willing to accept. We make the best decisions with regards to our goldfish when we can achieve a careful balance between emotions and logic. Pride, Ego & Excuses will not heal your fish. If I stop corresponding in the middle of a consultation that means you and I have hit an impasse. No further actions or discussion is required.
  • New Customers
    All ECR customers received the Care History Information with every fish purchased - this means you were given recommendations on the Support Pages along with the Care History information. If you're a new ECR customer and your fish gets sick shortly after you received it - it's possible your goldfish has developed an adverse reaction to something it's never come across before. I strongly recommend that you read the QUARANTINE INSTRUCTIONS and the rest of the Support Pages to see potential causes.
  • For Beginner Goldfishkeepers
    There are many prompts all over this website asking Beginner Goldfishkeepers not to proceed with an ECR purchase if you've only just began goldfishkeeping or if you're going to be difficult. If you've ignored those suggestions and proceeded with an order kindly note the following: Please don't just outsource the problem-solving to me every single time something goes wrong. I won't guide you every step of the way. Tank setup, tank cycling, ich, fungal infections, high ammonia --- these are all basics you should put time in to educate yourself.

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 learn from experts and fellow hobbyists at goldfishkeepers.com, kokosgoldfish.com and the hundreds of Goldfish Groups/Communities on Facebook.

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