Goldfish have been kept in captivity and selectively bred since before 1000 AD.
In this time an extensive range of variations have been developed. The diversity within this species is astonishing.
Almost every aspect of the goldfish has been enhanced, extended or otherwise changed resulting in varieties which are far removed from it's drab original form.
specimens are silver grey or yellow grey with a typical carp like body shape. Captive bred stock is more likely to be orange,
red, gold, black, bronze, brown, silver or white. The coloration may be
solid or mixed together on the same goldfish.
Comets, shubunkins and black
moors are often seen for sale in pet shops. These are inexpensive and hardy
varieties perfect for the first time fish keeper. They are characterized as
being generally more tolerant of temperature but usually plainer than ornamental
Comets have shorter front and
top fins and are usually seen in red, orange and white. They have a long tail
that is forked and fairly thin. In mature specimens the tail can be almost as
long as the body. Comet goldfish are the variety usually offered from carnival
sideshows because of their ease of care and low price.
on the other hand have dark rounded bodies with big eyes and long fins. This
tail is made up of two forks that known as a double tail. Though there are many
different colors the black moor is the most popular. The top part of these fish
is black and velvety in appearance while the belly scales can be bronze and
shiny, especially in younger fish.
shubunkin is quite similar to a comet in shape but they have some pearly
metallic scales mixed in with the normal ones. As they reach 40cm in length they
make ideal pond fish.
Highly ornamental goldfish are
much sort after but often harder to care for. These fancy types sell for much
higher prices than the more simple variations. Typical traits in such fish are
elongated fins, wide bodies and large heads. On the downside for the fish they
usually swim slower and have less than perfect eyesight. Varieties to look out
for include the orandas, ryukin and ranchu goldfish.
oranda is known for the interesting growth it has at the top of it's head. This
mass of tissue will not be seen until the fish have reached more than a year in
age and sometimes not until the second year. While the head growth is usually
darker than the rest of the body can be any of the typical goldfish colours.
There are further recognised varieties amongst the oranda. When the body is
white and the growth remains red it is known as a red cap oranda.
Panda orandas are named so because
they are solely black and white.
have round bodies that form a large hump at the top. Growing to around 20cm they
are a better choice for an aquarium than larger breeds. Their tails have three
or four long wide lobes that grow notably longer than the top and front fins. No
shiny scales are found on a ryukin
goldfish are similar to the ryukin. It's back hump is less pronounced and the
tail is not as spectacular long.Unlike the ryukin a fantail can have shiny
scales which can give them a rich gold color
These fancy goldfish have been
after the mythical lion dogs of china. They have stout bodies
with a wide head that can grow bunched tissue on the top, sides and bottom.
Caring For Goldfish
All fish require some level of
care but goldfish are relatively trouble free. As a cold water species they
require no heating.
This allows goldfish to thrive in outdoor ponds also. The water should be below
22 degrees Celsius because above this level the fish's health will begin to
Goldfish kept in
bowls are often subject to poor water quality. Due to the small water volume
in such containers ammonia can easily reach problem levels. Although hardy even
these fish have their limits and dirty water can kill them by causing fin rot
and damage to the gills. Using a goldfish bowl filter
can offer some improvement but frequent partial water changes must also be
People who buy
aquariums for goldfish will find it a lot easier to keep the water clean.
In these larger homes larger
can be used with better effect. Ammonia concentrations will be better managed
with smaller fluctuations. The goldfish will also have a larger swimming range
to amuse themselves in.
Planting out a goldfish
aquarium will often lead the plants being eaten. Instead of live specimens you
may find it more convenient to use
Otherwise choose unpalatable varieties such as
Goldfish can be prone to overeating
as they just do not know when to stop. Feed only what they can consume in five minutes
to avoid overfeeding. Keep them satisfied with high plant content fish food.
Blanched greens are also eaten and recommended. Try tempting them with leafy
green vegetables you have at home. Growing some
duckweed will give you
another excellent alternate goldfish food. In a large pond these fish may
require only minimal feeding if their is algae and plants for them to nibble.
When feeding goldfish only a small amount of food is added to the aquarium at a time. The fish owner in the video above has trained his fancy goldfish to be hand fed.
Family - Cyprinidae
Some goldfish varieties can grow up to 60 cm
Fish Origin - Asia
Water - Adapts to a range of
pH and hardness values but ph 7 is best
Temperature - Unheated but avoid temperature fluctuations
Feeding - Green food, algae & plants in a natural environment
Sexing - Male has small pearl like tubercles on gill covers during breeding
Breeding - Egg layer
spawning on plants
Aquarium - Keep with other goldfish or cold water fish of similar size