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Goldfish Palooza 2018

We Missed You At: Goldfish Palooza 2018!

In what’s becoming a wonderful habit, for the last two years The Goldfish Council has organized an event in sunny San Jose California specifically designed to get all of us goldfish lovers together in one place.

No, not a virtual internet place, but an actual, physical, in-person place; try to contain your horror at the thought!

Growing even bigger than in the inaugural year, Goldfish Palooza 2018 was a chance to meet new friends, connect faces to names, learn new things, and (most importantly) to buy new fish!

Erica and I decided at the last minute to buy a ticket to fly down to San Jose from our home in Calgary, Canada, and we had an absolute blast.

Read on to see some of the things you may have missed this year. Just be warned that we fully expect to see you there next year!!

The Location

As in 2017, Goldfish Palooza 2018 was held at Genki Koi in San Jose.

Kevin Pham and the team at Genki were wonderful hosts, and the location was perfected suited to the event being close enough to downtown to be convenient, but secluded enough to be quiet and welcoming.

I know I spent many hours wandering around the shop gazing at all the wonderful goldfish and especially koi, and I saw a few varieties of koi in person for the first time that I’d only seen in pictures before.

All of their livestock was very healthy, the tanks were clean, the shop well stocked, and the space was very bright and welcoming.

If you’re ever in the area at any time, you owe yourself to go and visit Genki Koi (and please thank them for continuing to host the event!).

The Vendors

As the lifeblood of any event, and honestly the biggest draw for locals to come out, we had an amazing selection of fish brought out by four wonderful vendors.

The vendors list for this year included:

The fish themselves all appeared to be in good health, and hailed from all corners of the world it seemed. There were fish for sale from Malaysia, Japan, China, Thailand and Vietnam, and the vendors were ready and able to help all weekend.

It was particularly fun to see a couple of the vendors sell literally every fish they bought, and so just about everyone that showed up left with at least one (and often entire bags of) fish.

Other sponsors sent amazing prizes to be given or raffled away, and products from Coralife, Omega and Hikari (among others) were gratefully gobbled up by those who were able to attend. No lacking for things to come home with, that’s for sure!

The Event

Although we came down on Friday to help the crew setup, the main show started on Saturday June 18th.

After checking in with the friendly crew at the registration desk:

…the first event on the docket was a talk on goldfish nutrition given by none other than the President of Hikari USA, Mr Chris Clevers.

Seminar One – Goldfish Nutrition with Hikari USA’s President, Chris Clevers

In addition to a wonderful presentation on both Hikari itself and goldfish nutrition in specific, Mr Clevers addressed what seemed to be at least a couple of dozen questions that had been submitted by Goldfish Council members in advance.

I’ll confess…about a dozen of them seemed to be mine! Thanks Hikari!

The subjects discussed included:

  • nutrition for all stages of life
  • what goes into a good food
  • why you can’t get a good feel for the quality of a food just from reading the ingredients on the label
  • what makes goldfish get “floaty”

…and a whole host of others as well.

I was amazed to learn about the sheer scope of the Hikari company overall, and was particularly impressed to learn about their extensive research and development wing.

I’m not going to say I’m a fan-boy yet, but I was impressed enough to decide to try some of their foods…and was lucky enough to nab some samples from the event AND win a bag of the new red fry food in a draw from King Koi.

Of particular note for me from this presentation was the fact that, although Hikari has plenty of research internally to show that feeding goldfish floating foods has no connection to them getting swim bladder issues, there’s been enough market pressure from people that believe this that they’re coming out with new sinking pellet variations.

Go figure!

Seminar Two: Medicine Cabinet with Gary Hater of The Goldfish Council

The second seminar was one that I personally took a lot away from; namely, how to manage medications and disease management in fancy goldfish.

Having had no end of problems with fish we’ve purchased from vendors in Canada or imported from the US, over the last couple of years we’d been considering ourselves unwilling but de-facto pseudo experts on managing sick goldfish using the small number of medicines available in Canada over the counter.

In this seminar we added a number of new options to our medicine cabinets, and Gary provided wonderful insight into both managing AND preventing disease in fancies.

The talk even included Gary’s recommendations for what people should have on hand for all stages of goldfish ownership, including:

  • a simple but effective medical setup for new or casual goldfish owners
  • a more complete setup for those with a number of goldfish tanks
  • a pond kit for larger water volumes
  • a full blown kit for breeders or hobbyists with large numbers of tanks and fish

We sadly got the chance to put some of the recommendations into practice with a fish not long after we got home, when one of our long-term chronic issue fish came down with dropsy.

It’s times like that where you appreciate having the experience of long-time breeders like Gary to lean on!

    Seminar Three: Selecting Fancy Goldfish for Display Tanks with Joshua McWilliams of The Goldfish Council

    The third seminar of the day (3! You REALLY should come next year, you know) was a neat talk by Josh on selecting fish for display tanks.

    Most people don’t take too much time in doing this, and instead just throw fish they like together, but Josh gave some great points to consider to make those tanks more beautiful and enjoyable on topics like:

    • what fish are more suited to be displayed in tanks vs pond
    • why certain fish are more compatible with others
    • what sorts of decor and lighting are going to show off fish to their best
    • how you can set different varieties up for success in different setups

    …and many more.

    As with the other talks there were a ton of questions asked and answered, and we even ended up running a half hour over the allotted time in enthusiastic debate.

    It was a great talk to end off the seminars for the day, and everyone was buzzing with excitement as they headed for the raffle and judging event.

    Show Judging

    Since Erica and I were working at the check in desk during this even we can’t report on exactly what happened, but I walked by a couple of times and can give you a quick overview at least.

    One of the highlights of Goldfish Palooza is that it’s a chance to bring out your best fish to be judged by experts in a fun and friendly way.

    The judges aka “Men who stare at fish” #goldfishpalooza2018 #goldfish

    A post shared by Alexander Nguyen (@ihatework_) on

    Although last year the fish were judged from top view in bowls, this year competitors were arranged in 20 gallon tanks provided (and sterilized!) by The Goldfish Council, and heavy aeration was available at all times to help beat the California heat.

    There were fish on display from just about every variety you could think of, and most of the photos you see in this article were of show fish that were proudly arragned on display by people who attended.

    The official classes were:

    • American born in 2018 Japanese Ranchu / Top View Ranchu
    • 2017 and older Japanese Ranchu / Top View Ranchu ( imported or domestic)
    • Oranda
    • Ryukin
    • Chinese Ranchu / Side View Ranchu
    • Telescope Eye – Including Butterfly, Demekin, Broadtail
    • Pond Varieties – Including All Single Tail and Long Bodied Goldfish – Wakin, Tamasaba, Shubunkin, etc.
    • Other – Including Jikin, Pearlscale, Celestial Eye, Bubble Eye, Pom Pom, Lionhead, Veiltail, Fantail, and Cross-Bred Varieties

      Very differently from shows up in Canada, the competition was judged in an “educational fashion” by TGC Certified Judges Joshua McWilliams and Gary Hater.

      What that meant was that the judging was done out loud with the audience listening, rather than behind closed doors with only the results shared like in “normal” competitions we’ve had back home.

      As a result, people were able to hear what Josh and Gary were thinking as they graded each fish, and everyone got a deeper understanding of what the judges were looking for.

      The feedback was useful and friendly, and more than just understanding the structure of the fish (which we have limited control over), people even got a new understanding of how to “groom” (or prepare a fish) for a show.

      In fact, the winning places were decided by a slightly sad fish not being able to show it’s best in a new tank, proving that it’s just not a “bring the fanciest fish” competition in the end.

      A great time was had by all, and the winners were understandably ecstatic in the end 🙂

      Here’s a link to the winner!

      Raffle & Silent Auction

      In addition to items that were for sale, there were a ton of things that were available to win at Goldfish Palooza as well. Tickets were $5 each or six for $25, and everyone who’d bought could be seen anxiously holding their tickets (and their breath!) at the time of the draw.

      All the fish donated by vendors and TGC members were raffled off a the end of the day, and there were some gorgeous fish available (bubble eyes, fancy moors, Japanese ranchu, and even a blue egg phoenix!).

      (not the raffle fish, but a wonderful example of a blue egg phoenix)

      There were an absolute ton of products available too, from lights to huge tubs of food, and the Grand Prize was even a Coralife Biocube 16 and matching stand!

      With that day one was over, and everyone went home to get some well deserved sleep, settle their fish purchases in from the day, and to get a good night’s sleep before day two.

      Day 2: Judges School

      The second day was the one I know I was looking forward to the most, and was a good part of why I came…judges school!

      Erica and I have taken aquarium fish judging training up in Canada, but that was sadly lacking in goldfish education. This was the chance to take a deep dive into TGC’s standards, and to learn from actual judges (Josh and Gary) what it took to judge in TGC shows.

      The group was intentionally quite small due to the requirements that were asked for, but the knowledge passed down was amazing! We hope to get our certification at some point soon, and to petition our local club in Calgary to include some fancy goldfish classes in our local shows.

      Group Discussions

      Since we were in the judging school, I can’t comment too much on these next events, but we heard enough boisterous debate and luaghter that I can at least attest that all seemed to be having a good time.

      While the judging training was going on, everyone else was engaged in some amazing round-circle type discussions on Food Types and Feeding Regimens and Tank/Pond Set Ups.

      Led by Josh, these discussions seemed to get everyone involved, and people commented afterwards on how much they enjoyed the discussions.

      Sad we missed them, but like this little guy we were hiding in the judging tent and learning a ton 🙂

      Live Goldfish Auction

      After the day’s events were done, the last event of the weekend was a live goldfish auction featuring fish from both the vendors and from the private stock of members of The Goldfish Council.

      The deals to be had were AMAZING, and everyone that had even a slight interest in bringing home fish did so in droves!

      Although we were already bringing home 10 butterfly telescopes:

      …I couldn’t resist the chance to nab some of Gary Hater’s Hyashi ranchu as well. It was a lot of goldfish to bring home on the airplane, but totally worth it!

      If all goes well look for us to bring fry down next year so we can participate in the auction as well.

      When half of your suitcase is fish…#goldfish #goldfishpalooza2018 #ranchu #topviewranchu

      A post shared by Adam Till (@arcticlightsaquatics) on

      Food & Drink

      Since most times other events like this only have terrible greasy concession food available, I wanted to particuarly commend TGC on their choice of inviting Antojitos Caitime, a San Jose based Mexican food truck, to the event.

      The food was amazing, and given that Erica and I have a few dietary restrictions to work around, it was especially fun to actually have options aside from bag lunches and sadness like we usually end up with.

      Hope To See You in 2019!

      All in all this was an amazing event, and we made a ton of new friends which we can’t wait to see again next year (here are just a few):

      Even coming from Canada, it was totally worth the trip, and we hope to bring our own fish down next year (and since they can’t legally come back to Canada after being to a show, be sure to be there to take them home with you!).

      Event planning is already underway for 2019, and if 2018 is anything to judge by, we’ll be there with bells on (Jennifer Lynx of Solid Gold has even said she’d be back in 2019 too).

      Thanks again TGC!

      Erica and Adam Till, Arctic Lights Aquatics https://arcticlightsaquatics.com)

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