Conclusion: Lessons learned
Since this was my first time spawning and raising fancy
goldfish, everything was a learning and problem solving
experience. I was very grateful to the more experienced GFSA
breeders who offered advice; over a period of 4-months I probably
contacted 10 different people. I did a lot of spur-of-the-moment
innovating. Some ideas worked, others didnt; next time will
be somewhat different. Here are some thoughts on what I learned:
- Hand spawning can yield really high egg fertility
percentages and can help avoid disease transmission.
Unfortunately is can also hurt the fish. I would say hold
off on this until you can get some hands-on instruction
from an experienced goldfish breeder. Or else try
learning on fish that are not too precious. An
alternative to reduce disease transmission is to take the
spawning media with eggs on it out of the spawning tank
and dip it in a medicated solution. Then put it into a
clean tank. I dont know the specifics of the
dosages, but I know there are breeders who use a
stronger-than-usual formalin solution for flukes.
- Feeding is critical; the more feedings you can do per day
the better. Live foods are very good. I am too scared of
tubifex worms to feed them but more than one Ranchu
breeder has told me that wen and body growth is improved
if they are used. The Chinese consider daphnia to be a
near perfect food; if you can keep a supply of these
going they will be very good for your fry.
- Brine shrimp work well as an early fry food. However, the
hatchery can be a pain. For future versions I want more
containers (probably 4 or 5) and a way to better control
the splashing from the aeration. After 6 weeks there was
salt everywhere around the hatchery tank.
- It seems like the fry have a period of high
susceptibility to disease, particularly gill parasites,
between 4 and 8 weeks of age. My best advice (in
hindsight) is to remove and destroy sick fry immediately
and to feed generously during this period; size seems to
make them able to handle more problems. But dont
foul the water!
- It is hard to have too much filtering (but easy to have
too much water current). Running 2 or 3 filters in each
tank worked well for me. Gradually build up the
filtration to accommodate the growing fry and food
- Plan for the fact that you will need to get rid of
hundreds of fish over a 6-month period. If sickness
develops in your tanks, destroy the culled fry. Trying to
sell or give away sick fish is bad for everybody. For
healthy fry, try to find area pet shops or other
hobbyists who will take them for feeder fish or other
uses. I would really encourage you not to release them
into ponds or streams; they dont belong in the
- Experienced breeders always say "dont
overcrowd!" and, guess what, they are right. To test
your crowding, put 3 or 4 fry in a 10-gallon tank
separate from the others. If, over a period of months,
you find these fry outgrowing your other fry by a factor
of 2 or 3, well, then you know the score.
- My continuous drip water-changing system worked very well
for me. Finding a way to conveniently do daily
significant water changes (10% or more) I think is really
a good thing.
I would love to hear from other people who have bred their
goldfish. Improvements and suggestions are gratefully received.
Hope you have found this interesting and useful.