A True Story
indonesian college professor began selling bottles of a very potent bacterial
strain to local fish farmers. Through a "fortuitous laboratory accident", he
had discovered a bacteria strain which would attack several different types of
piscine body fungus. The fish farmers quickly reported good results and begged
him for more. Before long, the professor was shipping multiple bottles on a
daily basis. The realization hit that he had struck gold. He quit his teaching
job and began producing his mystery goop on a full-time basis. Within a year,
he had expanded his operation into an impressive factory. Feeling the need to
protect his suddenly-important trade secrets, he hid his production facility
and made his sales through a small retail office.
A short time later,
he ran into production problems. Due to overwhelming user demand, street prices
began to skyrocket. According to inside sources, production was being
ramped-up, but it could take up to two years to meet the demand.
the two-year production crisis, the professor began to tour the United States
as a sort of promotional tour. He gave lectures, expounded on the utility of
his product, cursed his production lag and began to work out a sales territory
arrangement. A fancy four-color brochure showed his state-of-the-art research
and production facilities, a crowd of happy employees, and teeming vats of
healthy carp. His spoke of his company as a "family organization" and credited
his success to his "happy accident" and "close personal ties". His employee
roster boasted 80 people. His quality control was "excellent".
professor had been in the United States for less than two weeks when a
sharp-eyed dairy farmer noticed an astonishing similarity between the "bacteria
production facility" photograph and a milk processing plant. A few phone calls
and a smudged facsimile later conclusively proved the photo was a milk
processing plant owned by the Indonesian goverment.
A bit more research
by a shrewd businessman proved equally productive. As a result of the professor
physically abusing an employee, it was learned the company employed only four
people. All were poorly paid. None knew what they were producing. They simply
followed a recipe and collected their wages in the hope of feeding their
More shocking still was the revelation that the "Miracle
Goop" was actually a mixture of ground beet tops, brewers yeast, and scraps of
vegetable material retrieved from the discard pile of the local farmers market.
The only "bacteria" present were those capable of surviving the blanching and
grinding process. The production facility was a back-alley kitchen.
While the US market literally evaporated after these revelations, only
a moderate reduction in Indonesian sales occured. Some fish farmers were firmly
set in their beliefs. They believed this product worked, had "seen with their
own eyes" the amazing effects, and could not be disuaded from their beliefs.
The Indonesian government did nothing other than demand he not depict a
government-owned facility as being his own.
The moral of this story
should be obvious. Purchase what you will, but unless you have a control group
to compare your results against, your degree of success is based largely on
"faith" and subjective opinion. If the product instructions require you to
sacrifice a yellow chicken at midnight beneath a full moon, go for it... but be
humane with the chicken.
The bottom line is this: Beware of snake-oil
salesmen. If you love your pond, don't put your faith in Miracle Goops. Put
your faith in tried-and-proven techniques which haven't changed in over 150
years of koi keeping. Clean the pond when it when it needs cleaning. Filter it
when it needs filtering. Don't overfeed. Don't overstock. Invest in a good
biofilter. The only "magic" needed is that which Mother Nature freely provides.
Reproduced with kind permission from