February 2008


The  2007 November/December Goldfish Report has shipped to e-subscribers. Hardcopy recipients should get their dead-tree issue soon. For general info and specific instructions for authors for the Goldfish Report, 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  . Here is a brief diatribe from the Webmaster:

Most fish hobbyists recognize soap as completely incompatible with fishkeeping. The modern forms with added antibacterial and other chemicals seem especially scary. But what specifically is the concern?

Soap in the water with fish (not just goldfish) is an irritant and potentially fatal at fairly low concentrations. Most people know enough not to use soap on aquariums, ponds, and fish keeping equipment. This is reasonable since there are a number of things that can be used for cleaning or sterilizing our fishkeeping gear that are either fairly benign (like salt) or can be neutralized after use (like chlorine). But what if soap accidentally or through lack of knowledge gets onto something it shouldn't? Should the items just be thrown away as never again safe for fish?

The webmaster has a 55 gallon aquarium that was given to him after the owners "cleaned it with soap". This tank has been used without incident (other than a leak) for more than 5 years. In general, nonporous surfaces (like glass) will not absorb soap, so a thorough cleaning with hot water will render them effectively free of any soap residue. Small objects can even be put through the dishwasher (with no soap, of course) to get an effective rinsing. Things like gravel are a little more problematic; typically gravel is nonporous, but it has a lot of surface area. So the rinsing must be especially effective and prolonged to ensure no soap residue remains. Porous objects like terracotta, wood, and cloth are harder to be sure of ... they can absorb soap into themselves and release it slowly over time. So these are probably best disposed of. However, most soaps also biodegrade over time, so potentially even porous objects can become safe after an extended period of time in water where algae and bacteria can act on any residual compounds. The safest approach is of course to test any "de-soaped" items by exposing a single fish for, say, a week, to be sure there are no issues.

An important counterpoint to this horror of soap is hand washing. If you remove rings and other jewelry from your hands, use a standard hand soap (no special antibacterial compounds or moisturizers etc.), thoroughly rinse your hands and lower arms under comfortably hot water, and then towel dry, you should never have issues with accidentally putting soap into your aquariums on your hands. On the plus side, you may significantly reduce the likelihood of spreading illness between tanks or getting an infection yourself. So don't be afraid to wash your hands: the benefits far outweigh the risks.