“My Golfball Goldfish Won’t Eat” and Other Goldfish Lover’s Dilemma…

Someone typed “my golfball goldfish won’t eat” and found his / her way to theloveculture.

I know the panic the goldfish lover must be feeling. I know the desperation of not knowing what to do and who to go to for help. As a last measure, J drove up to a clinic to see a vet about our goldfish. The doctor actually laughed at him when he said our goldfish was sick and needed meds.

It’s true most people rarely take goldfish seriously as a pet. They even joke that if one dies, just get another. They don’t realise that every goldfish is unique and irreplaceable. They are not only intelligent, sentient beings with good memories. They are super playful, lovable, and have a strong mind of their own. We got the idea of making swimming hoops by observing Patches’s way of playing with the tubings sticking out of his quarantine tub. He’d head-bang the tubes until it formed a circular loop, swim through it and make a round. By the time he’s back, the tubes would be back to its original position. He’d push at it again till it gives way and forms a circle, shoot right through it, then repeat, till he’s bored of it.

I’ve also observed my goldfish trying to communicate to me, using body language. After a while, though they can’t speak or bark or make any audible sounds, you can learn to ‘hear’ what they’re saying, simply by observing the way they’re being when they see you. They say A LOT.

The thing is, I met an amazing man last Friday. He is a retired army guy, and is now in the business of goldfish. He’s in it for the passion. He knows so much about goldfish and how to treat them when they’re sick. I wish I met him years ago. He might’ve been able to help me save my chubs. And the thing is, it’s never too late to start. I just got the idea of interviewing him and featuring him on my site. We can learn so much from him, and the wonderful thing is that he is willing to share what he knows, with us.

He taught me all about APACHE Goldfish last week. I didn’t know there were such a thing before this! “See this goldfish? It’s orange now, but two weeks ago, it was black!” Then he shows me a picture of how it looked like before. “Now see the lips? Looks black isn’t it? It means it’s beginning to change colour again. It’s slowly changing back to black. Then back to orange… this will happen throughout its lifetime.”

This solves the mystery! There are quite a few goldfish owners panicking in forums, wondering why their black goldfish had become a “common orange” colour. They’re guessing that maybe the goldfish didn’t get enough sunlight so the colour is “fading”. Or that something’s wrong with the food or water. If only they knew they have a magical APACHE in their hands and that it’s genetics! They’d freak out less and celebrate!

Anyways. I like this idea of interviewing the goldfish man and learning how to take better care of our goldfish. The fancy ones are able to live 9 – 12 years, and the wild ones are known to live up to 30 years. Let’s not allow our unintentional ignorance to cut short their wonderful years.

Let’s help each other take better care of our goldfish. If you’re a goldfish lover and you’ve got some questions to ask / tips to share, please leave a comment here below.



Here are pictures of a goldfish I fell in love with, last week, at his shop. I call him PEPPPER, cos he has a speckle of freckles like pepper across his cheeks. Also, all my goldfish have names beginning with P. No reason why, it just started off that way and will stay that way, as a tradition, and just for fun. 




“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture

Allowing Guilt To Serve You

At work today, a pang of guilt just came out from nowhere and took me by surprise. My question was, “Why?” Why am I feeling this way now? Could there be a reason for all this?

My mind was flooded with painful memories of how my beloved goldfish, Patches and Peaches, had died. Though they were both ill, I have come to realise eventually that what killed them wasn’t entirely their sickness or disease.

It actually had a lot more to do with me and my own ignorance, unawareness, stubbornness and poor listening skills.

Patches was in a real bad shape, and I had gone down all the way to Singapore to see someone and also to hunt down some Parzi for my baby. I couldn’t wait to bring the meds home so he could get well.

Apparently, he was still eating before I got back. But on the night that I got home, I did a water change, introduced him to the meds and he stopped eating. I had not put two and two together at that time, that perhaps his refusal to eat was a sign that something really wasn’t right.

When I got up at 3 in the morning to check on him again, I saw peaches in her tank, huddled at a corner, looking down below into the blue tub where Patches was quarantined. The moment she saw me, she whipped her tail and swam in the opposite direction–a sign that she’s upset…

And I soon discovered why. There below was Patches, still looking like he’s sleeping, except that he was really gone this time… My heart broke.

I had really hoped that he would get well and live on forever…

I didn’t understand why he was gone the same night I got back.

So I repeated that mistake with Peaches, when she too fell sick.

Patches & Pebbles

Pebbles & Patches

Peaches, Pebbles & Patches

Peaches & Pebbles

It was only when I had spent endless hours and days and weeks and months grieving and agonizing over their death and wondering WHY over and over again when the reason became so clear to me one day.

Aunty Christine, the kind lady whom I had stayed with in Singapore had told me how her whole bucket of kois died after she gave them way too much medicine. “Only a few drops will do.”

But I, always thinking I know better, did what I felt was right.

I dropped two cap fulls of Parzi into Patches’s water. I do believe now that he died from an OD. And the same might be said for Peaches. I will never be 100% sure and there will always be a million and one other reasons that could’ve contributed to their early demise–but on my part, I am sure I was hugely responsible for their sudden departure, too.

And for that, I couldn’t forgive myself for a long time.

The guilt and sadness of knowing that you killed your own baby with your own bare hands–that’s a hard thing to live with. I loved them so much and wanted the best for them. But my ignorance didn’t help. I wasn’t paying attention to the details of their body language. I didn’t listen. And it cost two innocent goldfish their life.

So I felt so much fury at myself today, while at work.

I was kicking air under my table, partially wanting to give my own ass a kicking if that were possible.

But I was also largely aware that this must all be coming up for a reason?  Why now? Why am I suddenly feeling this way?

I thought I have been through this before and have decided to let myself off the hook when I came into awareness that the root of my sorrow and grief over my goldfish was my unforgiveness towards myself. So why are these negative feelings of guilt surfacing now, of all times?

Soon as I threw out the question why,

I began to see a clear parallel and lesson.

I loved my goldfish so much.

So did The Loved Ones in my life.

I wanted the best for them.

So did The Loved Ones in my life.

Out of my ignorance, unawareness, stubbornness and poor listening skills, I made things worst for my goldfish instead of the best I was hoping for them.

So did The Loved Ones in my life.

I really, really, didn’t mean to hurt them.

So did The Loved Ones in my life.

But I messed it up–and repeated my mistake more than once!

So did The Loved Ones in my life.

The fact is, I really, really loved them.

And I’m sure The Loved Ones in my life really, really loved me too.

I didn’t mean for them to be in pain.

I’m sure The Loved Ones in my life didn’t mean for me to be in pain too.

This mental dialogue went on for a while until a point was made.

I began to understand that I had asked for this. I had prayed for a bigger capacity to love and forgive a specific loved one. I didn’t know how that might happen…

…till this.

*It was only when I got in touch with my own humanness, weaknesses and brokenness that I remembered I too have been guilty of the same.

*If silly me deserved forgiveness and grace, what more These Loved Ones in my life.

*I just need to put myself in their shoes… must not be easy being the one living with guilt.

*I also learnt once again, the importance of feeling our emotions, acknowledging it and letting it go.

Could your guilt or ‘negative’ feelings serve you today? 

There’s always a reason and lesson for everything. Ask Why…

…then be ready. The answers will come, in all shapes and forms.

Accept the truth–no matter how hurtful it may be to know the truth at first–because in the end, the truth really does sets you free.




“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture

Love… While You Can, When You Can.

Have you ever wondered “What If?” and allowed Fear to come in between you and Love–in the present?

The better question we can ask is this instead, “What would Love do now?”

My biggest lesson for this week is to Love… While you can, when you can.

Last Tuesday, was the first time I saw Sweetie. He was the only one of his kind…

…swimming in a blue tub, mixed up with two black moors, much bigger in size.

He paddled frantically to hide when he saw me, docking himself next to a black moor. I only had a top view of Sweetie. Since he wouldn’t budge from his hide-out, that was that. We left him at the shop that day.

But I was feeling a tug of war.

To bring him home?
To leave him there?

…but I kept thinking “What If?”

“What if I go all the way back, but don’t feel like bringing him home?”
“What if no one keeps an eye on him while I’m at work in July?”

“What if we move by end of the year and there’ll be logistical issues?”
“What if I leave for NZ next year and there’s no one to care for him?”

If I knew then what I know now.

That I’d only have 2 days and 2 nights with him, plus 30 minutes…

…I would’ve brought him home sooner.

By the time I went to see him for the second time on Sunday, his tub was overcrowded with black moors–freshly stocked. Poor sweetie, a tiny thing surrounded by giants, was left there to fend for himself.

My friend Pam had came along for this unplanned trip to the petstore so we both got to look at his face for the first time in the viewing tank that day. It was love at first sight! But we were both also aware that he sank right to the bottom of the tank when scooped up for us to see. His blood-streaked fins indicated that he was severely stressed and not feeling well.

I knew though, this time, I couldn’t just walk away and leave him there.

I was aware I would be bringing home a sick goldfish to care for.

After all the pain and grief and heartache from the loss of Pumpkin, Ponyo, Peaches, Patches, Pebbles, I had some reservations. Why risk getting hurt again? But loving Sweetie felt like the natural thing to do…

I’m glad I chose Love over Fear.

The last 2 days and 2 nights filled Pam’s heart and mine with so much awe, gratitude and wonderment for this tiny and handsome goldfish.

It’s true what they say…

“Better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.”

Bringing home Sweetie was a great decision I wish I made sooner.

But more than that, I guess the biggest lesson of all for me…

…and for us all,

Is to always, always, always,


While we can.

When we can.

He refused to eat on his first day home… my heart sank. If there’s anything a goldfish loves doing, it’s eating. And when they don’t… it means goodbye.

Have you seen a face cuter than his? He’s got such a cartoon face it’s surreal. Heart-meltingly adorable…

In the petstore, he’s already lost his ability to float or swim. So when I brought him back home, it was no different. But he kept wiggling his tail and hands (front fins) and propelled himself all over the tank.

*Most adorable picture of Sweetie by his god-mother, Pam. It was love at first sight when we saw his face.

“We love you lots, Sweetie. And we’re sad you have to go. Someday we’ll be together again. Thank you for coming into our lives–you’re a gift from heaven above, and we’re glad to have met you, before you went back home. 




The Love Culture – A Loving Way Of Being


Love Never Dies… It Merely Changes Form.

It’s heartbreaking, waking up to the reality that Pebs is gone. I stayed in bed crying and wondering why…

Blaming myself for the million things that I should’ve, would’ve, could’ve done seemed the easier solution.

But I’ve been through this before and I know this won’t help…

…and it’s not the entire truth (if it can be called truth at all).

The truth is, I really, really, really loved Pebbles my Goldfish.

I took my time cleaning off her tank, filter and other things today.

The water may smell… but it’s the water Pebs swam in. A part of her is still in there… and draining it down the sink was like pouring the last remaining bit of her away.

I kept taking breaks in between… to just stare at the tank, imagining the way she comes up to play, or looks at me, or dives at the food, or goes to sleep, or stay up late. Or I just sit there and cry.

There was a moment, when the sight of yellow butterflies flying in and out of the forest caught my eye, even as tears streaming down my face was clouding my vision.

I went up to the couch by the window to get a closer look. There were so many of them out today. All of them were yellow… the colour of sunshine.

Earlier in the day, the song “you are the sunshine of my life,” was playing in my head as I was thinking of happy days with Pebs.

So I kept staring at the yellow butterflies, wondering if perhaps, they were here to send me a message?

And then, all of a sudden, I saw a single butterfly that was a striking blue…

The last time this happened, was pretty phenomenal. I was majorly depressed, and I had lost my reason to smile for a long time. I was looking up the sky as I was walking up the hill on the way home, angrily directing my thoughts Above.

“God! I feel all alone in this world now! I’m not even sure if You’re hearing this… I’m not even sure if You’re real! Or if there’s a God!”

Suddenly, out of nowhere, a bunch of white butterflies rose up from the bush beside me and surrounded me like a hurricane. I stood rooted on the ground, struck by the awesomeness of what just happened… and then noticed that one of the butterfly, was a striking blue! A smile broke across my face at the wonder of it all, which was the time the butterflies flew away and disappeared, as if their mission had been accomplished.

I knew that my question had just been answered. I am not alone in this world. He heard me. And He cares. And He is very real… I am assured.

As I continued gazing at the butterflies outside the window, a reassuring voice of comfort, came to me from within.

“Pebs didn’t die… like the butterfly, she merely changed forms. And now, she is flying free… in heaven.”

Later in the afternoon, I decided to console myself with “Brother Bear.” I had no idea what the story was about when I had bought the VCD. I was hunting for a happy movie last night, and saw this cartoon in the RM5 corner. A friend had liked it on facebook, so I assumed (something I’ve been consciously trying to do less and less these days) that it has to be meaningful…

…but true enough, from the start of the story, there were many lessons to be learnt. It begins by saying, “The world is full of magic…” 

*Cue a beautiful animation of the Aurora Borealis / Northern Lights… Loved ones and friends would know just how crazy I am over the Revontuli, as the Finnish calls them in Lapland. So I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw it swirling and dancing before me–as if to cheer me up!*

It goes on to say, “Ever changing lights, that dance across the skies… they have the power to change things. Small things becomes big, winter turns to spring, one thing always changes into another…”

I tend to look at this line, a little more philosophically, of course.

We are the ‘ever changing lights’ symbolised by the Aurora Borealis in the cartoon…

…and we have the power to change things.

Small, seemingly insignificant things, can grow and become big before our very eyes, when watered with Love…

Seasons of cold, loneliness and darkness symbolised by Winter can turn into the warmth of life and colours and light, like Spring time…

“…one thing, always changes into another.”

I understood this completely… When the earlier pair of Oranda goldfish, Ponyo and Pumpkin died… we kept hunting and hunting for the exact same pair. We never found one of course–there is no other like them! We thought that we’d never love another goldfish the way we loved them…

But we were wrong.

We ended up discovering three of the most amazing Ranchus, Patches, Peaches and Pebbles, a different breed of goldfish. They were as different from the earlier pair, as night is from day, and special in their own ways.

In the end, our hearts were filled with so much love for them, because they were every bit as lovable as the earlier two.

The idea all along, is not to be attached to the one… to how Love should appear to be, and to just let it flow, and go with the flow–just let Love be.

It’s funny and beautiful too, that the song that comes up after this significant scene in the cartoon, has a verse that goes, “Every corner we turn, leads to another… a journey ends, but another begins.”

My journey with Pebbles ends here, on 29th April 2012, the day she passed on unexpectedly.

I cannot imagine right now, how the next few days will be. All I know is that I keep turning around in my seat at the computer to look for her… but she’s not there. Everytime I come upstairs expecting to see her in her tank… she’s not there. After 1 year and 7 months with us… she’s not here anymore. She’s stuck around for so long… kept me company through all my ups and down. And she was the reason why I loved waking up in the morning, and coming home. I feel absolutely lost from this loss…

And then, as if knowing how lost I feel, the next scene in “Brother Bear” unfolds where NaNa, the grandmother is talking to her grandson Kenai.

“Some of us use Courage to guide us, others Patience. And then some of us Beauty… to be a man, your actions must be guided by one thing…” 

She hands him a carved wood in the shape of a bear. “Your totem is LOVE.”

“What?!” Kenai is disappointed. He expected a Saber Tooth for Bravery…

“Yes, LOVE,” NaNa repeated herself.

“The bear of Love?” Kenai is very confused now, and very embarassed.

“LOVE… the one thing that connects all living things. LOVE is the most precious of totems. It reveals itself in unexpected ways. Let LOVE guide your actions… one day, you’ll be a man.”

Kenai shrugs her words off… and later ends up killing a bear.

As a lesson, Kenai is “transformed” into a bear, to help him understand what it’s like to walk in the shoes of another.

*Amazing how the idea of ‘transformation’ keeps flowing, from the butterfly, to the opening of the cartoon using the visual of the Aurora Borealis, and then now, in the form of a bear.*

“You’re going to get a new perspective,” Nana said wisely, aware that her grandson has transformed into a bear.

“…do you see the world in black and white, or in colours?” she asked, before disappearing and leaving the boy to go off on his own journey of self-discovery and growth, from a boy, to becoming the man that he is.

I miss Pebbles so much…

While she was here, it was white, it was light, it was perfect. Now, I just want to see the black… How can it be any other way, now that she’s not here? But here is NaNa, challenging me with a question…

“Do I see the world… in colours?”

I guess the yellow butterflies (+ one blue), appeared today for a reason… to help me see in colours. And rediscover this wisdom all over again:

Love Never Dies… It Merely Changes Form.

Pebs seen here in her quarantine tank back in Sept 2010…

“Heaven is not Heaven without you, Pebbles.”




“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture

TLC ~ Love Of The Day

Think of this as your ‘Soup Of The Day’ special for your Heart, Mind and Spirit:

“Saved by the Poop.” 

Last night, a beetle flew into the ceiling fan and landed in my goldfish’s tub of poop!

It’s a water filled container which I clear a few times a day.

I wouldn’t have seen that beetle and rescued it in time, if not for my goldfish’s blessed poop LOL. Her green vege had made it through her system. So as soon as I spotted it, I went over to her tank to clear it and saw that upside down beetle, kicking frantically in the water.

Upon closer inspection (it was dark and late, with only a dim yellow wall light on), I saw another creature in the tub! It was a baby cricket! And that cricket was paddling away like mad too…

…and before my very eyes, I watched as it climbed on top of the beetle!

In the end, I emptied the water and set the two insects free.

Wow. I was smiling when I realised there was a lesson to be learnt here!

That tub of poop may have been a nightmare to the beetle, who was upside down, and wondering if he’ll drown. BUT. It saved him from a hard landing which could’ve crushed his shell, when he was flung off by the fan. AND. His being in the tub of poop, saved the cricket!

AND. My goldfish’s poop, saved them both! Haha! :p

Sometimes when you think that life can’t get any worst, and it does, with more poop than you could ever handle in a day–hang on there lovers. It may just be a blessing in disguise and FREEDOM is on it’s way… 😉

“You Never Know.” 

Yesterday morning, while having a glass of water at the balcony, I looked at my pot of Japanese Rose and complained to my help, “I bought the wrong type. The other ones always have a pot full of flowers… this one only has one!” It hardly ever flowers. All we usually see is a pot full of leaves. I wished I stuck to the other species I’m more familiar with.

This morning, to my big surprise, I counted 7 flowers in the same pot!

WOW. How could this be? Just overnight?

What can we learn from this?





“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture

Work To Make Love Last

Goldfish are one of the most rewarding pets to keep. Like little puppies, they are always super excited to see you–especially in the morning, they go nuts!

They swim like they’re flying, stage a dance-off for attention, have incredible memory, striking personality and individual food preference too.

I love my goldfish.

Pebs in her quarantine tank back in Sept 2010... Best 1 year 7 months with her.

Pebbles in her quarantine tub

Pebbles is about the size of my palm lengthwise, and her head’s slightly bigger than a golfball. She’s a playful Crystal Ranchu–a type of goldfish with pretty, sparkly scales. With her big, beady black eyes, she makes you think you’re looking at a live anime! I hope she lives forever and I tell her a million I Love Yous everyday cos I do love her…

…or do I?

I realize that inherently, it’s so easy to think I love my goldfish because of how she makes me feel. But when it comes down to practical love, that’s one department challenging me all the time to prove it.

One thing you must know about goldfish is, they’re high maintenance.

If you don’t realize the amount of time and work needed to keep them alive, it’s easy to assume goldfish have very short lifespans. The truth is,  a wild goldfish can live up to 30 years. And a fancy goldfish, up to 12 years. With lack of awareness on proper care, a goldfish may not make it past 3 months.

If you’re planning on buying a goldfish, there’s a lot more to keeping them alive besides feeding them and changing water.

You need to  read up on goldfish healthcare, be aware of the various symptoms of diseases, learn how to treat it, have meds ready stocked,  maintain a balanced water pH, invest in a good filtration system AND keep the filter clean.

Now, cleaning the  filter is TEDIOUS work.

I have to take everything apart, wash each bioballs in tank water, clean off the sponge, empty out all the muck and rinse out the containers in hot water, brush out the pipes and then reassemble everything. This takes FOREVER. By the time it’s done, my body is aching all over.

Everytime I say “I Love You” to my goldfish, I must be ready to put in the work needed to keep her healthy, happy and alive.

What are you willing to do to keep LOVE alive?

This LOVE can be a relationship, a friendship, a significant someone, your friend, your family, your business, your dream or your pet.

Besides enjoying the pleasure and happiness it can bring on a good day, are you willing to put in the time and effort needed to maintain it and make it last?

Out of Faith, Hope and Love, Love is the greatest of all because true love seeks to be a solution to a problem and not just a prayer or hope for a solution.

LOVE is proactive–it does not turn a blind eye, it does not wait till it’s too late.

LOVE is willing to open up that can of worms with the intention of cleaning it.

LOVE is willing to risk discomfort to go through that vital maintenance process.

Do you LOVE, truly?

Or do you want to take the easy way out and assume love won’t last long and let it die prematurely?

WORK to make love last–it’ll be worth it!

Long Live Love,



“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture