To see a full-size view of the images posted, just click on them.

RULES FOR POSTING COMMENTS: This blog is meant to be interactive. Please utilize the comment feature to respond to posts that prompt a reaction. You do not have to agree with me to post, but I do ask that your comment pertain to the post itself. I also ask that "anonymous" guests attach some sort of name to their comments so readers can tell everyone apart. (If you cannot follow these simple rules, your post may be DELETED or at the very least mocked for the entertainment of those who can respect my guidelines.)

Thursday, April 12, 2018


I know that theoretically a good pet owner should love all of their 'children' equally.....but I'm guilty of a definite prejudice: while I love and protect all of my finned friends in my ponds out back, I can't help but have a special fondness for my shubunkins.

An array of common shubunkin goldfish.

Shubunkins are like the Calico cats of the pond.....and I've always had a thing for calicoes over tabbies or gingers. Visitors to my yard often ask if my pond fish are koi, but while they can be a bit shy, I have to admit that they are just common Comet goldfish. Most are special selections saved from the "feeder tank" at Petco and cost about twenty cents. 

But I did buy a few "special" fish over the the newly-bred yellow comet from Israel:

I bought two of these and lost one to some backyard predator. They really are eye-catching when mixed with regular goldfish variations.

But as striking as the yellow comets are, they can't compete for that special place in my heart reserved for my shubunkins. (click for more about the shubunkin)

I was working on my main pond yesterday and relocated the antique water pump I use as my filter return to a better spot along the perimeter. I also changed some plants and stones along the edge. And as I was working I kept looking at my shubunkins. I need to get a good shot of the ones I have. Most look like the ones pictured, but there are other variations and one orange and black one I found in a feeder tank has grown to look like the glowing coals in a fire pit after the main blaze has gone out. 

A shot of my main pond. You can see the antique water pump on the edge of the right frame.

Another humorous side note on these fish is Rosa's reaction to hearing me say "shubunkin". She happens to think it's one of the most annoying-sounding words she has ever heard and teases me about it whenever I say it. (Even I have to admit it sounds more like a city in Wisconsin than a Japanese hybrid carp.) She does like the way they look though.

Feeding time! 


  1. Oh, what lovely shots of your pond and fish. I would love a yellow comet. Our goldfish go out into our pond in June and back inside in October, as they cannot overwinter. The pond isn't deep enough. We must buy new plants each spring so they have to wait until there is enough cover for them.

    We also have bought feeder fish. Many die, but some survive and are perfectly lovely.

    Thanks for sharing your shubunkins with us. Spellchecker wants to change that to "chunkiness" - LOL!


    1. Thanks for the compliment! I'm glad to find a fellow pond-keeper/goldfish-wrangler LOL.

      Too bad about the overwinter issue. I imagine Canada is a lot colder than NJ in winter. I overwinter mine with a trick I came up with: I keep the filter pump on the deepest portion of the pond and remove the hose that leads to the external return (in my case, the antique water pump I mentioned). Then I re-route the out-flow through a tube pointing to the surface causing a gurgly surface rippling. Unless it goes below 20 degrees F for an extended period, (which it sometimes does) the moving water won't freeze in that circle and the movement keeps enough aeration to keep both plants and fish happy. It's easier than a heater or bringing them inside.

      As for plants, I just use varieties that are cold-hardy to my zone and never have much problem .......though losing one or two on occasion isn't uncommon. Still, the remaining ones spread so fast, my issue is usually too much rather than too little!

      I also collect from the wild, so I rarely spend money on a plant.....though I have.....and those are the ones that invariably die.

      All the best!

  2. oh, are they meant to be said "shoo boo kin"? that would sound more like Jap phonetics no?

    And i like what you did with the koi / shy thing there :)

    1. Not sure about the pronunciation. I'm assuming 'shuh-BUNK-in'. Whenever I say it I run a loop in my head of a variation of "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off"

      "You say, 'Sheboygan' I say 'shubunkin', you say 'Tobago' and I say 'toboggan'.........."

      Yeah, it's silly.......but I can't help it! ;-)

  3. And I guess a source of great peace and tranquility at the bottom of the garden.

  4. I've always wanted a koi pond but it's another one of those things that never seem to make it off my to-do list.

    1. I am very drawn to water and all forms of aquatic life.....plant & animal. My father had a pond and waterfall. Having my own was sort of inevitable.

  5. Love this! Its fantastic you can winter them out there. A neighbor of mine has a front yard with some fish... I have no idea what they do with them in winter!

    1. Thanks, Lea.

      As for your they seem to have a lot more fish dinners after October? ;-)