October 2008


For general info on the GFSA publication, The Goldfish Report, and specific instructions for authors, take a look here. This page is updated as information is provided to the Webmaster.

If you have let your membership lapse or have been thinking about joining the GFSA, now is a great time - here is a form you can print. To submit material for the Goldfish Report to our editor, please see the updated society contact info. Articles and photos in electronic form are particularly appreciated.

The current line-up of people filling the GFSA offices is on the society officers page. The GFSA Board of Directors continues 2008 with a focus on ensuring that the society is undertaking activities and providing services that our members want. Tell us if there is something you really want (even better, volunteer to help us do it).

Interested in joining the GFSA but still not sure? We have two sample Goldfish Reports available to download, to demonstrate that every issue is packed with thought provoking information and pictures available nowhere else. We are also promoting an electronic membership option that significantly lowers the cost of membership! Only $10US gets you a year of informative, timely color issues of the GFSA's Goldfish Report, sent directly to your email inbox.

Lessons Learned "Quick Hits"

We are soliciting short lessons-learned from hobbyists: events that possibly left you sadder, but measurably wiser. Have a good one? Please send it to the  .

Another year of GFSA.org updates and maintenance completed in September, marking 8 years since the official launch of this Web site. Once again this seems like an appropriate time for reflection and rumination. The first question might be "what is the state of the goldfish hobby?". Sadly, except for GSGB, I am not aware of that much international exchange of information between US goldfish organizations and those elsewhere in the world. So it is hard for me to make an assessment beyond the US. For the US case, it is a mixed bag. Behind the scenes changes in USDA regulations and other factors have somewhat reduced the ability to import goldfish and ship them within the US. This has not proven catastrophic so far (at least for the hobbyist), but there does seem to be a reduced selection available in fish stores and from importers. On the plus side, there does not seem to be a decrease in hobbyist breeders and there is more interest in their fish, which may in turn stimulate more interest in breeding. In general, while there is nothing wrong with being a goldfish collector, I think the health of the hobby overall requires that there be breeders willing to experiment and share fish within the country. So this is good. Another aspect is goldfish shows. The GFSA has sought to support shows for years, with training of judges as an enabler. The AGA is now also on the scene and very active in instituting goldfish shows co-hosted with Koi shows. The up-tick in number of shows and the quality of those events is very good for the hobby.

So the hobby in the US gets a solid "B" grade. There is still an enthusiastic core driving interesting goldfish activities and organizations, and there are many vital Internet communities helping to disseminate information and create interest. To get to an A grade, the hobby would need more coordinated effort to get new hobbyists advanced to more accomplished levels of hobby participation and expertise, like showing, judging, breeding, rare breeds preservation/recreation, etc etc.

Memoriam: Al Thomma

The GFSA is remembering Albert Thomma, the chairman emeritus of the society who passed away recently.

For a history of the society and Al's essential role in creating and sustaining the GFSA, please see here.

For information on the Philadelphia Veiltail, a lifelong love of Al's, please see here.

I recall first meeting Al around 1995, when I attended a GFSA National Show in Akron Ohio. In the ensuing years, I saw him occasionally when I was able to attend shows (for example he judged goldfish at the Chicago and Portland shows the years I was there), and I also spoke to him periodically with questions and clarifications about things I had written for the Report or my Web site. Al was unfailingly helpful and supportive of my efforts. He was also a highly analytical fish keeper, performing research and keeping detailed observations that put him in the top ranks goldfish geneticists, amateur or otherwise. I remember him explaining the basics of calico genetics to me in my early days. I felt bad not knowing something that I now recognize is pretty basic, but he put me at ease by telling me the story of working with a major fish farm on just the same issue. He got them going with a program of breeding mattes to metallics that significantly improved their yield of calico fry. Al also maintained a worldwide correspondence on "bluebelly" and "mock metallic" genetics. Al hoped that these fish were a gateway to a whole new color palette in goldfish: matte calicos that would breed true, matte versions of solid colors like blue, red and yellow, and other interesting possibilities. I'm sure that the ideas and interests that Al engendered in others for these possibilities will keep these efforts going, but the hobby has lost someone who cared deeply about goldfish and the GFSA.

Al also had innovative ideas on goldfish keeping. As an example, he promoted concepts for using emmersed plants to maintain goldfish water quality. He inspired me to do experiments in this area, and even provided me with some Hygrophila cuttings to let me try and replicate some of his results. Al was also one of the few people I could go to with varied, bizarre theories about aquaculture who was, as a rule, always interested in any new ideas or conundrums.

For the GFSA, Al served officially or unofficially in almost all of the offices. He was a steadfast promoter of the GFSA and stepped in several times when political discord left the society rudderless, taking over day-to-day operations until a new leadership team emerged. I don't think he ever enjoyed those emergencies, but he knew the value of the society he had helped found and worked to preserve its continuity and legacy.

For the goldfish hobby, with the loss of Al Thomma, many have lost a friend and mentor, and all have lost a tireless proponent and deep thinker.  - Russ Taylor