28. I sent a note to the Goldfish Society of America address on your web site, and I haven't heard from them. What gives?
The GFSA is an organization that has its ups and downs, but I have greatly enjoyed my time as a member. As a volunteer-run society that doesnt use email, it has never been responsive even in the best of times. One to two months to see a response is not unusual. Special hint: if you have a skill (artist, photographer, like to write articles, moneyed benefactor, etc.) or just would like to offer volunteer help, mention that in your correspondence. That kind of thing tends to generate special attention.
29. Where can I get goldfish variety ________ (fill in the blank) that none of the pet shops have?
There are certain types of goldfish that are very difficult to raise (or even create, for certain color patterns). These varieties are unlikely to appear in the commercial pet trade. Decent Ranchu fall into this category; it is unusual to find them in a pet shop. A variety like the Tosakin, where each fish must essentially be raised individually in a bowl, will never appear in a US pet shop.
The other issue is popularity. Pet shops will not stock varieties that there is no demand for. So the most popular goldfish in Japan, the Wakin, is almost never seen here, even though it is a very attractive, easy to keep fish.
Well, enough of the problems. The quick way to find unusual varieties or high quality specimens is to go to an importer who specializes in goldfish. There are probably a dozen of these in the US and Canada. The ones I know about with Internet sites are on the links page of this site. You will pay top dollar for the fish plus the cost of shipping, but if you really want something rare, this is a way to do it.
The only other option is to try to find a private hobbyist who has the variety. Many of these people are wary and hard to find so dont ask me. The way to meet them is to participate in goldfish activities: join societies, get on the email lists, go to shows, and so on.
30. How much do really good goldfish cost?
As much as you want to pay. Really. Some fish are so rare or hard to produce that the owners will ask very high prices. An example is a strain of black Orandas with red caps; the breeder was getting on the order of $10,000 per fish.
More common pricing: young fish that a breeder has put through 2 or 3 cullings might sell for $20 each. The top 3 or 4 fish in a spawn from a very good strain might sell for $200 to $300 each. These are of course rough estimates that will vary in every situation. Typically the cost for a fish will rise with age, peaking at 18 months to 2 years when the goldfish is pretty much adult sized and ready to breed.
31. Where is a goldfish show near where I live?
In the US there are only a few shows, all of which have goldfish as a part of either a larger Koi or tropical fish show. The best I know of are in Illinois, Ohio, Oregon, and Texas. For more information, look at the activities section of this site.