Thursday, November 15, 2007

Guinness World Record - Our Fish Story

Ever since the day Kyle and I dreamed up the idea for Fish School, sitting around our house looking for something do to one Sunday afternoon several years ago, we've dreamed of getting a fish in the Guinness Book of World Records. In fact, I've loved that book since I was a kid, many years ago.

As you may have read about already on the Fish School website, our dream recently came true, when one of our trained Fish, Albert Einstein, was awarded the Guinness World Record for "The fish with the largest repetoire of tricks." Here is the page from the 2007 print addition of the record book:

Isn't Albert a sharp looking fish?

We thought the record name ("The fish with the largest repetoire of tricks") was pretty lame. Since it was an entirely new record, we tried to convince them to use a title with a bit more punch, like "World's Smartest Pet Fish". But the Guinness folks insisted on the name they chose, so that it would be parallel to the dog record with the same name.

Other than that silly choice, we were extremely impressed with the professionalism the Guinness folks demonstrated through the entire process, which took about six months. They required us to jump through quite a few hoops (pun intended) to make it official.

First we were required to submit photos and written documentation with they reviewed in an initial screening process, which took several months. After we passed that hurdle, they sent us instructions for how to conduct the official record attempt. It included having two "expert witnesses". We decided to enlist the help of a small animal veterinarian, and the proprietor of our local aquarium shop. They were happy to serve as witnesses, and even write up "sworn affidavits" after the demonstration attesting to what they saw.

We videotaped the whole demonstration, during which Albert performed all of his tricks including:

  • Eating from hand

  • Limbo

  • Hoop

  • Soccer

  • Football

  • Tunnel

We submitted the witness letters, videotape, pictures and several other forms, which the judges at Guinness reviewed and eventually approved. Here is a picture of the cool wooden plaque we got from Guinness when they awarded Albert the world record.

Albert was a very smart fish, but we think our latest star trained fish is a common goldfish named Comet is even smarter. In addition to all of Albert's six tricks, Comet can do:

  • Chimney

  • Limbo

  • Fetch
  • Basketball

Here is Comet swimming through a chimney, and a picture of him doing all his tricks is shown below. To see video of Comet doing all his tricks, check out the R2 Fish School Kit, which we developed and used to train Comet.

We plan to submit Comet to the Guinness folks soon so they can update the record. But we're not sure how long he'll hold onto the record. We expect when the new training kit hits the market in February '07, Comet will soon have some tough competition!