Meet Fred Goodall

Meet Fred Goodall


Meet Fred Goodall the Hobbyist
date: 23-08-2002

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 simply phenomenal.

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!

Fred Goodall

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 you much.

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" bettas.

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 correct ourselves.

fred by Fred

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