Foreword by Dougall Stewart
This account was acquired from Fred after many months of nagging,
cajoling, threats of pain and tickling. To be honest I still cannot
believe my luck in that he consented.
For me Fred has been a shining and brilliant example of what this hobby
is all about. He is modest to the point of self sacrifice, knowledgeable on
all aspects of fish and in my opinion life. He has a severe and unquenchable
thirst for learning that I have never seen before. He soaks up knowledge
like no other person I have met. Yet – and this is the most important part –
he shares his knowledge in an uncompromising and friendly way, never forcing
his opinion but always prepared to rationalise out an argument, discussion,
train of thought etc. The time he spends at the pc sharing his wisdom is
I will stop there folks, as I am sure most folks already know all this
and would just like to say to Fred – Fred, don’t stop doing what you do, in
the way that you do it! – thank you!
I am Fred Goodall and by some accounts I am "a know nothing hobbyist
barely able to do a water change even IF I am told how and when to do it"
and considering the source of that statement (which will remain anon) I am
damn proud of it, as I think we should question those that set themselves up
as gods and decalre "because I SAID SO!!!". We need to ask for some
supporting science behind the "I said so!!! ". In our daily lives we
question even the fitness of the morning doughnut, so why the "hands off"
when it comes to discus fish? Well that is me... WHAT??? can't open THAT
door??? why??? just explain why and I will decide about opening it, thank
I first got into fishkeeping when my Dad decided I should take care of my
pet gold fish myself and at the same time that I could learn to do some
research. So at the age of 7 I had a 5 gal tank for the "Moors" and the
traditional goldfish bowl for the "comets". By age 8 I learned that I did
not want to be a "pooper scooper" for those "pooping machines" and got some
guppys from a friend’s mom. That led to more trips to the library and
leaning about culturing "infusoria" and "rotifers" which also got me in
trouble at school as THOSE were NEXT year's science project for my projected
grade/class. This was the first 'set back' as was just having a world of fun
and couldn't then understand that people have preset ideas of just who
should be able to "do fish" and at what age they should be. Guppies were
nice but they sure managed to need a 10 gal tank to go with the 5 gallon and
the 1 1/2 gal goldfish bowl was now an experiment for hatching out brine
shrimp "eggs" ( it wasn't until the 80 that the term "cysts" was commonly
used here ).
At either 6 months or 9 months with the guppies led me to these neat "anabantids"
so of course I had to have a betta or two. They were fed easily on my culls
from the guppies... my friend's mom needed some of those "cobras" and "snake
skins" to fill out her customer's orders and so I found out one could break
even on the fish hobby. Bettas then were the high price fish locally so back
to the library for info on spawning THEM. That provided a use for those
cultures that the books from the 30's and 40's in the local library said
were needed to raise "pet fish fry". The only problem was "soft water"... in
1962 - '63 "soft water" for fish meant distilled water or rain water. What
about peat??? well... "hardness" tested out at 22DGH and peat did not do
much other than end up in the veggie garden. Finding out the hard way at age
9 about collected rain water from a roof led to a tarp in the backyard which
ended up with Mom & Dad deciding that distilled water was just fine for my
"hobby". Birthday presents were easy and so were Christmas prestents...
"special order fish" for me. So, by Nov. 1962 I was privy to a "Libby" male
doing the "betta embrace" on a "Long finned red" female. June of 1963 was
supposed to be the high point in my "fish life" as that was THE MONTH that a
"local" aquarium society was to hold its first fish show, open to all who "bred"
their "entries". Long into short is that I was rejected because "no damn
little kid could bred a betta like THAT." .... "THAT" was a long finned RED
bodied RED finned male betta with the finage at that time unique to "Libby"
That experience taught me to my way of seeing it, that the hobby was more
about the adults accepting only their friends and paying customers as "in"
and that any threat to "them" was going to be ridiculed right out "the door"
no questions asked. What upset me then was that the person who ruled along
with the "guest judge" was the person we ordered the Libby from and whom I
had bought the female from... not to mention all of my supplies... and who
also BOUGHT my extra guppies. I had proven myself to him many times by
picking out the males that were "starting to turn" in his guppy grow
tanks... along with swords and platys when he questioned my Dad as to just
who was breeding the fish and caring for them. From age 10 through high
school graduation saw me add fish... mollies, swordtails, platys, gouramis
and angels to the list of fish to breed to sell to the 3 local fish shops.
Yes I had hard feelings for one of these stores... so they were getting the
last of the fish... and their money spent just fine, hard feelings or no.
College saw me have to end with the fish business such as it was as time
was not available to do "right" by the fish and so I sold the betta line,
sold all the live bearers as a group and kept my favorite angel pair as they
nearing the end of breeding usefulness and they deserved a good "retirement".
In that year the city changed water sources and from 18dGH and 15dKH the tap
started consistently being in the 8 - 10dGH range... so.... having done all
those years researching fish... and actively breeding the above mentioned
species ( pet peeve here... 'breeding' = knowledgeable control of the
genetics with a sound written down charting of the lineage and F series YOU
are running through and NOT just slapping any two randy fish together and
announcing "I am breeding fish" ), I decided it was time to get those
amazing discus fish. I did all the "right" things by the books and with all
the latest 1972 technology. By 1974 the discus were nicely salted with the
latest water softening pillows and 'acid buffers'. No, rain water was not an
option ... we had moved from a large property to a more modern home with a
very tiny yard. My one regret with those green discus was in not staying
with the "old fashioned" peat moss acidification process but instead moving
over to the "state of the art" methods.
From '74 until today I have kept at least one tank with various species
of fish and plants ( all my fish tanks except the betta production line were
planted tanks starting in 1962 ). My high point was in meeting Walter
Soestbergen and the other regulars on DPH. Low point is a tie between that
first and last fish show and my first excursions on the various forums in
late '97 through late '98. People I admire for various reasons: Henry
Kissinger, Steven Hawkins, Robert Heinlien, Chief Joseph of the Nez Pierce,
Ernie Banks, John Marshall, Jonas Salk, Koos Krujit, Walter Soestbergen,
Bwian of Nazereth, Jack Wattley, "old Piet", Gene Rodenberry, Niels Bor, my
wife and the person who invented 'erasers' so that we can more easily
fred by Fred