Goldfish

Goldfish

Overview
The goldfish is a freshwater fish
Freshwater fish
Freshwater fish are fish that spend some or all of their lives in freshwater, such as rivers and lakes, with a salinity of less than 0.05%. These environments differ from marine conditions in many ways, the most obvious being the difference in levels of salinity...

 in the family
Family (biology)
In biological classification, family is* a taxonomic rank. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, genus, and species, with family fitting between order and genus. As for the other well-known ranks, there is the option of an immediately lower rank, indicated by the...

 Cyprinidae of order
Order (biology)
In scientific classification used in biology, the order is# a taxonomic rank used in the classification of organisms. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, family, genus, and species, with order fitting in between class and family...

 Cypriniformes
Cypriniformes
The Cypriniformes are an order of ray-finned fish, including the carps, minnows, loaches and relatives. This order contains 5-6 families, over 320 genera, and more than 3,250 species, with new species being described every few months or so, and new genera being recognized regularly...

. It was one of the earliest fish
Fish
Fish are a paraphyletic group of organisms that consist of all gill-bearing aquatic vertebrate animals that lack limbs with digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony fish, as well as various extinct related groups...

 to be domesticated
Domestication
Domestication or taming is the process whereby a population of animals or plants, through a process of selection, becomes accustomed to human provision and control. In the Convention on Biological Diversity a domesticated species is defined as a 'species in which the evolutionary process has been...

, and is one of the most commonly kept aquarium fish.

A relatively small member of the carp
Carp
Carp are various species of oily freshwater fish of the family Cyprinidae, a very large group of fish native to Europe and Asia. The cypriniformes are traditionally grouped with the Characiformes, Siluriformes and Gymnotiformes to create the superorder Ostariophysi, since these groups have certain...

 family (which also includes the koi carp
Koi
or more specifically , are ornamental varieties of domesticated common carp that are kept for decorative purposes in outdoor koi ponds or water gardens....

 and the crucian carp
Crucian carp
The crucian carp is a member of the family Cyprinidae, which includes many other fish, such as the common carp, or the smaller minnows. They inhabit lakes, ponds, and slow-moving rivers throughout Europe and Asia. The crucian is a medium-sized cyprinid, which rarely exceeds a weight of over 3.3...

), the goldfish is a domesticated version of a less-colorful carp (Carassius auratus) native to east Asia
East Asia
East Asia or Eastern Asia is a subregion of Asia that can be defined in either geographical or cultural terms...

.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'Goldfish'
Start a new discussion about 'Goldfish'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
The goldfish is a freshwater fish
Freshwater fish
Freshwater fish are fish that spend some or all of their lives in freshwater, such as rivers and lakes, with a salinity of less than 0.05%. These environments differ from marine conditions in many ways, the most obvious being the difference in levels of salinity...

 in the family
Family (biology)
In biological classification, family is* a taxonomic rank. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, genus, and species, with family fitting between order and genus. As for the other well-known ranks, there is the option of an immediately lower rank, indicated by the...

 Cyprinidae of order
Order (biology)
In scientific classification used in biology, the order is# a taxonomic rank used in the classification of organisms. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, family, genus, and species, with order fitting in between class and family...

 Cypriniformes
Cypriniformes
The Cypriniformes are an order of ray-finned fish, including the carps, minnows, loaches and relatives. This order contains 5-6 families, over 320 genera, and more than 3,250 species, with new species being described every few months or so, and new genera being recognized regularly...

. It was one of the earliest fish
Fish
Fish are a paraphyletic group of organisms that consist of all gill-bearing aquatic vertebrate animals that lack limbs with digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony fish, as well as various extinct related groups...

 to be domesticated
Domestication
Domestication or taming is the process whereby a population of animals or plants, through a process of selection, becomes accustomed to human provision and control. In the Convention on Biological Diversity a domesticated species is defined as a 'species in which the evolutionary process has been...

, and is one of the most commonly kept aquarium fish.

A relatively small member of the carp
Carp
Carp are various species of oily freshwater fish of the family Cyprinidae, a very large group of fish native to Europe and Asia. The cypriniformes are traditionally grouped with the Characiformes, Siluriformes and Gymnotiformes to create the superorder Ostariophysi, since these groups have certain...

 family (which also includes the koi carp
Koi
or more specifically , are ornamental varieties of domesticated common carp that are kept for decorative purposes in outdoor koi ponds or water gardens....

 and the crucian carp
Crucian carp
The crucian carp is a member of the family Cyprinidae, which includes many other fish, such as the common carp, or the smaller minnows. They inhabit lakes, ponds, and slow-moving rivers throughout Europe and Asia. The crucian is a medium-sized cyprinid, which rarely exceeds a weight of over 3.3...

), the goldfish is a domesticated version of a less-colorful carp (Carassius auratus) native to east Asia
East Asia
East Asia or Eastern Asia is a subregion of Asia that can be defined in either geographical or cultural terms...

. It was first domesticated in China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 more than a thousand years ago, and several distinct breed
Breed
A breed is a group of domestic animals or plants with a homogeneous appearance, behavior, and other characteristics that distinguish it from other animals or plants of the same species. Despite the centrality of the idea of "breeds" to animal husbandry, there is no scientifically accepted...

s have since been developed. Goldfish breeds vary greatly in size, body shape, fin configuration and coloration (various combinations of white, yellow, orange, red, brown, and black are known).

History


In ancient China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, various species of carp
Carp
Carp are various species of oily freshwater fish of the family Cyprinidae, a very large group of fish native to Europe and Asia. The cypriniformes are traditionally grouped with the Characiformes, Siluriformes and Gymnotiformes to create the superorder Ostariophysi, since these groups have certain...

 (collectively known as Asian carps) were domesticated
Domestication
Domestication or taming is the process whereby a population of animals or plants, through a process of selection, becomes accustomed to human provision and control. In the Convention on Biological Diversity a domesticated species is defined as a 'species in which the evolutionary process has been...

 and have been reared as food fish
Aquaculture
Aquaculture, also known as aquafarming, is the farming of aquatic organisms such as fish, crustaceans, molluscs and aquatic plants. Aquaculture involves cultivating freshwater and saltwater populations under controlled conditions, and can be contrasted with commercial fishing, which is the...

 for thousands of years. Some of these normally gray or silver species have a tendency to produce red, orange or yellow color mutation
Mutation
In molecular biology and genetics, mutations are changes in a genomic sequence: the DNA sequence of a cell's genome or the DNA or RNA sequence of a virus. They can be defined as sudden and spontaneous changes in the cell. Mutations are caused by radiation, viruses, transposons and mutagenic...

s; this was first recorded in the Jin Dynasty (265–420).

During the Tang Dynasty
Tang Dynasty
The Tang Dynasty was an imperial dynasty of China preceded by the Sui Dynasty and followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period. It was founded by the Li family, who seized power during the decline and collapse of the Sui Empire...

 (618–907), it was popular to raise carp in ornamental ponds and watergardens
Water garden
Water gardens, also known as aquatic gardens, are a type of man-made water feature. A water garden is defined as any interior or exterior landscape or architectural element whose primarily purpose is to house, display, or propagate a particular species or variety of aquatic plant...

. A natural genetic mutation produced gold (actually yellowish orange) rather than silver coloration. People began to breed the gold variety instead of the silver variety, keeping them in ponds or other bodies of water. On special occasions at which guests were expected they would be moved to a much smaller container for display.

By the Song Dynasty
Song Dynasty
The Song Dynasty was a ruling dynasty in China between 960 and 1279; it succeeded the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period, and was followed by the Yuan Dynasty. It was the first government in world history to issue banknotes or paper money, and the first Chinese government to establish a...

 (960–1279), the domestication of goldfish was firmly established. In 1162, the Empress of the Song Dynasty
Song Dynasty
The Song Dynasty was a ruling dynasty in China between 960 and 1279; it succeeded the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period, and was followed by the Yuan Dynasty. It was the first government in world history to issue banknotes or paper money, and the first Chinese government to establish a...

 ordered the construction of a pond to collect the red and gold variety. By this time, people outside the imperial family were forbidden to keep goldfish of the gold (yellow) variety, yellow being the imperial color. This is probably the reason why there are more orange goldfish than yellow goldfish, even though the latter are genetically easier to breed.

During the Ming Dynasty
Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

 (1368-1644), goldfish also began to be raised indoors, which led to the selection for mutations that would not be able to survive in ponds. The occurrence of other colors (apart from red and gold) was first recorded in 1276. The first occurrence of fancy tailed goldfish was recorded in the Ming Dynasty
Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

. In 1603, goldfish were introduced to Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

, where the Ryukin
Ryukin
The ryukin is a short deep-bodied fancy goldfish with a characteristic hump in the shoulder region.-Description:The ryukin is a hardy and attractive variety of goldfish with a pointed head and has a pronounced hump on the back behind the head. It may be long-finned or short-finned with either a...

 and Tosakin
Tosakin
The Tosakin or curly fantail goldfish is a very distinctive breed of goldfish with a large tail fin that spreads out horizontally behind the fish. Though technically a divided tail, the two halves are attached at the center/middle forming a single fin.It was developed in Japan, and is rarely seen...

 varieties were developed. In 1611, goldfish were introduced to Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 and from there to other parts of Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

.

During the 1620s, goldfish were highly regarded in Southern Europe because of their metallic scales, and symbolized good luck and fortune. It became tradition for married men to give their wives a goldfish on their one year anniversary, as a symbol for the prosperous years to come. This tradition quickly died, as goldfish became more available, losing their status. Goldfish were first introduced to North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

 around 1850 and quickly became popular in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

.

Related species



Goldfish were bred from Prussian carp
Prussian carp
The Prussian carp, silver Prussian carp or Gibel carp , is a member of the family Cyprinidae, which includes many other fish, such as the common carp, and the smaller minnows...

 (Carassius auratus gibelio) in China, and they remain the closest wild relative of the goldfish. Previously, some sources claimed the Crucian carp
Crucian carp
The crucian carp is a member of the family Cyprinidae, which includes many other fish, such as the common carp, or the smaller minnows. They inhabit lakes, ponds, and slow-moving rivers throughout Europe and Asia. The crucian is a medium-sized cyprinid, which rarely exceeds a weight of over 3.3...

  (Carassius carassius) as the wild version of the goldfish. However, they are differentiated by several characteristics. C. auratus have a more pointed snout while the snout of a C. carassius is well rounded. C. gibelio often has a grey/greenish color, while crucian carps are always golden bronze. Juvenile crucian carp have a black spot on the base of the tail which disappears with age. In C. auratus this tail spot is never present. C. auratus have fewer than 31 scales along the lateral line while crucian carp have 33 scales or more.

When found in nature, goldfish are olive green. Introduction of goldfish into the wild can cause problems for native species. Goldfish can hybridize with certain other species of carp. Within three breeding generations, the vast majority of the hybrid spawn revert to their natural olive color. The mutation that gave rise to the domestic goldfish is also known from other cyprinid species, such as common carp
Common carp
The Common carp is a widespread freshwater fish of eutrophic waters in lakes and large rivers in Europe and Asia. The wild populations are considered vulnerable to extinction, but the species has also been domesticated and introduced into environments worldwide, and is often considered an invasive...

 and tench
Tench
The tench or doctor fish is a freshwater and brackish water fish of the cyprinid family found throughout Eurasia from Western Europe including the British Isles east into Asia as far as the Ob and Yenisei Rivers. It is also found in Lake Baikal...

. Koi may also interbreed with the goldfish to produce a sterile hybrid fish.

There are many different varieties of domesticated goldfish. Fancy goldfish are unlikely to survive in the wild because of their bright fin colors; however the hardier varieties such as the Shubunkin may survive long enough to breed with wild cousins. Common and comet goldfish can survive, and even thrive, in any climate that can support a pond.

Varieties of domesticated goldfish


Selective breeding
Selective breeding
Selective breeding is the process of breeding plants and animals for particular genetic traits. Typically, strains that are selectively bred are domesticated, and the breeding is sometimes done by a professional breeder. Bred animals are known as breeds, while bred plants are known as varieties,...

 over centuries has produced several color variations, some of them far removed from the "gold
Gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

en" color of the originally domesticated fish. There are also different body shapes, fin
Fin
A fin is a surface used for stability and/or to produce lift and thrust or to steer while traveling in water, air, or other fluid media, . The first use of the word was for the limbs of fish, but has been extended to include other animal limbs and man-made devices...

 and eye
Eye
Eyes are organs that detect light and convert it into electro-chemical impulses in neurons. The simplest photoreceptors in conscious vision connect light to movement...

 configurations. Some extreme versions of the goldfish live only in aquarium
Aquarium
An aquarium is a vivarium consisting of at least one transparent side in which water-dwelling plants or animals are kept. Fishkeepers use aquaria to keep fish, invertebrates, amphibians, marine mammals, turtles, and aquatic plants...

s—they are much less hardy than varieties closer to the "wild" original. However, some variations are hardier, such as the Shubunkin. Currently, there are about 300 breeds recognized in China. The vast majority of goldfish breeds today originated from China. Some of the main varieties are:
Common goldfish
Common goldfish
Common goldfish or hibuna are a type of goldfish with no other modifications from their ancestors other than their colour. Most varieties of fancy goldfish were derived from this simple breed...

Black Moor
Black Moor
The black moor is a telescope-eyed variety of fancy goldfish that has a characteristic pair of protruding eyes. It is also referred to as popeye, telescope, kuro demekin in Japan and dragon-eye in China.-Description:...

Bubble Eye
Bubble Eye
The Bubble Eye is a small variety of fancy goldfish with upward pointing eyes that are accompanied by two large fluid-filled sacs. It is a dorsal-less fish, and good specimens will have a clean back and eye bubbles well matched for colour and size...

Common goldfish differ only in color from their closest relative, the Prussian carp
Prussian carp
The Prussian carp, silver Prussian carp or Gibel carp , is a member of the family Cyprinidae, which includes many other fish, such as the common carp, and the smaller minnows...

. Common goldfish come in a variety of colors including red, orange/gold, white, black and yellow or 'lemon' goldfish.
The Black moor is a telescope-eyed
Telescope Eye
The telescope eye or demekin is a fancy goldfish characterized by its protruding eyes. It is also known as globe eye or dragon eye goldfish.-Description:...

 variety of fancy goldfish that has a characteristic pair of protruding eyes. It is also referred to as popeye, telescope, kuro demekin in Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 and dragon-eye in China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

.
The small, fancy Bubble Eye has upward pointing eyes accompanied by two large fluid-filled sacs.
Celestial Eye
Celestial Eye
Celestial eye goldfish or Choten gan is a double-tailed breed of fancy goldfish that has a breed-defining pair of telescope eyes which are turned upwards, pupils gazing skyward...

Comet (goldfish)
Comet (goldfish)
The comet or comet-tailed goldfish is the most common variety of fancy goldfish in the United States. It is similar to the common goldfish, except slightly smaller and slimmer, and is mainly distinguished by its long deeply forked tail.-Origins:...

Fantail (goldfish)
Fantail (goldfish)
The Fantail goldfish is the western form of the Ryukin that possesses an egg-shaped body, a high dorsal fin, a long quadruple caudal fin, and no shoulder hump.-Description:...

Fancy Celestial eye goldfish or Choten gan has a double tail and a breed-defining pair of upturned, telescope eyes with pupils gazing skyward. The comet or comet-tailed goldfish is the most common fancy variety in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. It is similar to the common goldfish
Common goldfish
Common goldfish or hibuna are a type of goldfish with no other modifications from their ancestors other than their colour. Most varieties of fancy goldfish were derived from this simple breed...

, except slightly smaller and slimmer, and is mainly distinguished by its long, deeply forked tail.
The Fantail goldfish is the western form of the Ryukin
Ryukin
The ryukin is a short deep-bodied fancy goldfish with a characteristic hump in the shoulder region.-Description:The ryukin is a hardy and attractive variety of goldfish with a pointed head and has a pronounced hump on the back behind the head. It may be long-finned or short-finned with either a...

 and possesses an egg-shaped body, a high dorsal fin, a long quadruple
Quadruple
Quadruple may refer to:* Tuple, a mathematical structure* Quadruple, a term for winning four association trophies* Quad , a figure skating jump* Home run in baseball* Quadruple-precision floating-point format in computing...

 caudal fin, and no shoulder hump.
Lionhead (goldfish)
Lionhead (goldfish)
The lionhead is a hooded variety of fancy goldfish. This fish is the precursor to the ranchu.-Description:The tremendous hood or headgrowth and fat cheeks of lionheads give them a facial appearance similar to canine puppies. The "wen" fully covers the head, cheeks and gill plates of the fish...

Oranda
Oranda
An oranda is a type of goldfish characterized by a prominent raspberry-like hood encasing its head. The hood or headgrowth encases the whole head except for the eyes and mouth.-Description:...

Pearlscale
Pearlscale
The pearlscale or chinshurin in Japanese, is a spherical-bodied fancy goldfish with finnage similar to the fantail.-Description:The characteristic feature of the pearlscale is its thick, domed scales with pearl-like appearance. Its body is round and similar to a golf ball. The finnage may be long...

The fancy lionhead has a hood. This fish
Fish
Fish are a paraphyletic group of organisms that consist of all gill-bearing aquatic vertebrate animals that lack limbs with digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony fish, as well as various extinct related groups...

 is the precursor to the ranchu
Ranchu
The ranchu is a hooded variety of fancy goldfish developed in Japan. It is referred to as the "king of goldfish" by the Japanese.-Origins and evolution:The modern-day ranchu is a Japanese development of the lionhead...

.
The fancy oranda is characterized by a prominent raspberry-like hood or (also known as wen or headgrowth) that encases the whole head except for the eyes and mouth. The fancy pearlscale or chinshurin in Japanese
Japanese language
is a language spoken by over 130 million people in Japan and in Japanese emigrant communities. It is a member of the Japonic language family, which has a number of proposed relationships with other languages, none of which has gained wide acceptance among historical linguists .Japanese is an...

, is spherical-bodied with finnage similar to the fantail
Fantail (goldfish)
The Fantail goldfish is the western form of the Ryukin that possesses an egg-shaped body, a high dorsal fin, a long quadruple caudal fin, and no shoulder hump.-Description:...

.
Pompom (goldfish)
Pompom (goldfish)
Pompoms or pompon or hana fusa are a type of fancy goldfish that have bundles of loose fleshy outgrowths between the nostrils, on each side of the head.-Description:...

Ryukin
Ryukin
The ryukin is a short deep-bodied fancy goldfish with a characteristic hump in the shoulder region.-Description:The ryukin is a hardy and attractive variety of goldfish with a pointed head and has a pronounced hump on the back behind the head. It may be long-finned or short-finned with either a...

Shubunkin
Shubunkin
are a hardy, single-tailed fancy goldfish with nacreous scales, and a pattern known as calico. The shubunkins are of Japanese origin....

The fancy Pompoms or pompon or hana fusa have bundles of loose fleshy outgrowths between the nostrils, on each side of the head. The fancy ryukin has a short, deep body with a characteristic shoulder hump. Fancy and hardy Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

ese (translated literally as "red brocade") have single tail with nacreous scales, and a pattern known as calico.
Telescope eye
Telescope Eye
The telescope eye or demekin is a fancy goldfish characterized by its protruding eyes. It is also known as globe eye or dragon eye goldfish.-Description:...

Ranchu
Ranchu
The ranchu is a hooded variety of fancy goldfish developed in Japan. It is referred to as the "king of goldfish" by the Japanese.-Origins and evolution:The modern-day ranchu is a Japanese development of the lionhead...

Panda Moor
Panda Moor
The panda moor is a fancy goldfish with a characteristic black-and-white color pattern and protruding eyes.-Description:Panda moors have delicate projecting eyes, deep bodies, and long flowing fins. Like any other moor goldfish, pandas can grow very fat. They are metallic-scaled.Young moors...

The fancy telescope eye or demekin is characterized by its protruding eyes. It is also known as globe eye or dragon eye goldfish. The fancy Japanese ranchu is hooded. Japanese
Japanese people
The are an ethnic group originating in the Japanese archipelago and are the predominant ethnic group of Japan. Worldwide, approximately 130 million people are of Japanese descent; of these, approximately 127 million are residents of Japan. People of Japanese ancestry who live in other countries...

 refer to it as the "king of goldfish".
The fancy panda moor has a characteristic black-and-white color pattern and protruding eyes.
Veiltail
Veiltail
The veiltail is a type of goldfish known for its extra-long, flowing double tail.-Description:The veiltail has a modified deep-and-round ryukin-shaped body, though without the dorsal 'hump' characteristic of ryukins...

Butterfly tail (goldfish)
Butterfly tail (goldfish)
The Butterfly tail or Butterfly telescope is a variety of goldfish that is distinguished by the butterfly-shaped caudal fins when viewed from above. It is a variety that only until recent has been deemed a major lineage by a few published works...

Meteor goldfish
Meteor goldfish
The Meteor goldfish is a strange-looking variety that has been developed by specialist breeders of fancy goldfish. It has no tail fin, hence its name.The meteor goldfish may simply be a rumor....

The fancy veiltail is known for its extra-long, flowing double tail. Modern veiltail standards require little or no indentation of the trailing edges of the caudal fins, as in a wedding veil for a bride. The Butterfly Tail Moor or Butterfly Telescope is of the telescope-eye lineage, with twin tails best viewed from above. The spread of the caudal fins mimics butterflies underwater. The Meteor goldfish is a strange-looking variety that has been developed by specialist breeders of fancy goldfish
Goldfish
The goldfish is a freshwater fish in the family Cyprinidae of order Cypriniformes. It was one of the earliest fish to be domesticated, and is one of the most commonly kept aquarium fish....

. It has no tail fin, hence its name.
Lionchu
Lionchu
The Lionchu or lionhead-ranchu is a fancy goldfish that has resulted from crossbreeding lionheads and ranchus.-Description:The Western criteria for lionchus combine the traditional characteristic side-view profiles of the ranchu and the lionhead...

Egg-fish goldfish
Egg-fish goldfish
The egg-fish goldfish is an artificial creation of specialist fancy goldfish breeders which lacks a dorsal fin and has a pronounced egg-shaped body.-Variant:...

Shukin
Shukin
The Shukin is Ranchu-like goldfish developed from Ranchu and Oranda at the end of the 19th century in Japan.-Description:The Shukin has a body shaped like long type of Ranchu. But it also has a long tail fin like the Oranda....

The Lionchu or lionhead-ranchu is a fancy goldfish
Goldfish
The goldfish is a freshwater fish in the family Cyprinidae of order Cypriniformes. It was one of the earliest fish to be domesticated, and is one of the most commonly kept aquarium fish....

 that has resulted from crossbreeding lionheads
Lionhead (goldfish)
The lionhead is a hooded variety of fancy goldfish. This fish is the precursor to the ranchu.-Description:The tremendous hood or headgrowth and fat cheeks of lionheads give them a facial appearance similar to canine puppies. The "wen" fully covers the head, cheeks and gill plates of the fish...

 and ranchu
Ranchu
The ranchu is a hooded variety of fancy goldfish developed in Japan. It is referred to as the "king of goldfish" by the Japanese.-Origins and evolution:The modern-day ranchu is a Japanese development of the lionhead...

s.
The egg-fish goldfish is an artificial creation of specialist fancy goldfish
Goldfish
The goldfish is a freshwater fish in the family Cyprinidae of order Cypriniformes. It was one of the earliest fish to be domesticated, and is one of the most commonly kept aquarium fish....

 breeders which lacks a dorsal fin
Dorsal fin
A dorsal fin is a fin located on the backs of various unrelated marine and freshwater vertebrates, including most fishes, marine mammals , and the ichthyosaurs...

 and has a pronounced egg-shaped body.
The Shukin is Ranchu-like goldfish
Goldfish
The goldfish is a freshwater fish in the family Cyprinidae of order Cypriniformes. It was one of the earliest fish to be domesticated, and is one of the most commonly kept aquarium fish....

 developed from Ranchu
Ranchu
The ranchu is a hooded variety of fancy goldfish developed in Japan. It is referred to as the "king of goldfish" by the Japanese.-Origins and evolution:The modern-day ranchu is a Japanese development of the lionhead...

 and Oranda
Oranda
An oranda is a type of goldfish characterized by a prominent raspberry-like hood encasing its head. The hood or headgrowth encases the whole head except for the eyes and mouth.-Description:...

 at the end of the 19th century in Japan.
Curled-gill goldfish
Curled-gill goldfish
The Curled-gill or Reversed-gill goldfish is another uncommon variety of fancy goldfish that has been developed by specialist enthusiasts. It owes its name from the out-turned appearance of its gill covers....

Tamasaba
Tamasaba
The Tamasaba or Sabao is an uncommon Japanese variety of goldfish with a body shaped similar to the Ryukin and a very long, flowing, single tail that is similar to that of a mackerel, hence its other name, Mackerel Tail. This attractive and strong goldfish variety makes a very suitable pond fish...

Tosakin
Tosakin
The Tosakin or curly fantail goldfish is a very distinctive breed of goldfish with a large tail fin that spreads out horizontally behind the fish. Though technically a divided tail, the two halves are attached at the center/middle forming a single fin.It was developed in Japan, and is rarely seen...

The Curled-gill or Reversed-gill goldfish
Goldfish
The goldfish is a freshwater fish in the family Cyprinidae of order Cypriniformes. It was one of the earliest fish to be domesticated, and is one of the most commonly kept aquarium fish....

 is another uncommon variety of fancy goldfish
Goldfish
The goldfish is a freshwater fish in the family Cyprinidae of order Cypriniformes. It was one of the earliest fish to be domesticated, and is one of the most commonly kept aquarium fish....

 that has been developed by specialist enthusiasts. It owes its name from the out-turned appearance of its gill covers.
The Tamasaba or Sabao is an uncommon Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

ese variety of goldfish
Goldfish
The goldfish is a freshwater fish in the family Cyprinidae of order Cypriniformes. It was one of the earliest fish to be domesticated, and is one of the most commonly kept aquarium fish....

 with a body shaped similar to the Ryukin
Ryukin
The ryukin is a short deep-bodied fancy goldfish with a characteristic hump in the shoulder region.-Description:The ryukin is a hardy and attractive variety of goldfish with a pointed head and has a pronounced hump on the back behind the head. It may be long-finned or short-finned with either a...

 and a very long, flowing, single tail that is similar to that of a mackerel
Mackerel
Mackerel is a common name applied to a number of different species of fish, mostly, but not exclusively, from the family Scombridae. They may be found in all tropical and temperate seas. Most live offshore in the oceanic environment but a few, like the Spanish mackerel , enter bays and can be...

, hence its other name, Mackerel
Mackerel
Mackerel is a common name applied to a number of different species of fish, mostly, but not exclusively, from the family Scombridae. They may be found in all tropical and temperate seas. Most live offshore in the oceanic environment but a few, like the Spanish mackerel , enter bays and can be...

 Tail.
The Tosakin or curly fantail goldfish is a very distinctive breed of goldfish
Goldfish
The goldfish is a freshwater fish in the family Cyprinidae of order Cypriniformes. It was one of the earliest fish to be domesticated, and is one of the most commonly kept aquarium fish....

 with a large tail fin that spreads out horizontally (like a fan) behind the fish. Though technically a divided tail, the two halves are attached at the center/middle forming a single fin.
wakin goldfish jikin goldfish imperial goldfish
The wakin is a common goldfish with a divided, fantail-like tail and is the common goldfish of the Far East. The jikin, also known as the peacock-tail, has a divided tail which is splayed outwards. It is one of the most difficult varieties to breed to the standard. This fish was developed in Japan from the wakin. the imperial is an extremely uncommon experimental goldfish being developed by the GSGB.

Chinese goldfish classification



Chinese tradition classifies goldfish into 4 main types. These classifications are not commonly used in the West.
  • Ce (may also be called "grass")—Goldfish without fancy anatomical features. These include the common goldfish, comet goldfish and Shubunkin.
  • Wen—Goldfish have a fancy tail, e.g., Fantails and Veiltails ("Wen" is also the name of the characteristic headgrowth on such strains as Oranda and Lionhead)
  • Dragon Eye—Goldfish have extended eyes, e.g. Black Moor
    Black Moor
    The black moor is a telescope-eyed variety of fancy goldfish that has a characteristic pair of protruding eyes. It is also referred to as popeye, telescope, kuro demekin in Japan and dragon-eye in China.-Description:...

    , Bubble Eye
    Bubble Eye
    The Bubble Eye is a small variety of fancy goldfish with upward pointing eyes that are accompanied by two large fluid-filled sacs. It is a dorsal-less fish, and good specimens will have a clean back and eye bubbles well matched for colour and size...

    , and Telescope Eye
    Telescope Eye
    The telescope eye or demekin is a fancy goldfish characterized by its protruding eyes. It is also known as globe eye or dragon eye goldfish.-Description:...

  • Egg—Goldfish have no a dorsal fin, and usually have an 'egg-shaped' body, e.g. Lionhead
    Lionhead (goldfish)
    The lionhead is a hooded variety of fancy goldfish. This fish is the precursor to the ranchu.-Description:The tremendous hood or headgrowth and fat cheeks of lionheads give them a facial appearance similar to canine puppies. The "wen" fully covers the head, cheeks and gill plates of the fish...

     (note that a Bubble Eye without a dorsal fin belongs to this group)

Size


As of April 2008, the largest goldfish in the world was believed by the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 to measure 19 inches (48.3 cm), and be living in the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

. At the time, a goldfish named "Goldie", kept as a pet in a tank in Folkestone
Folkestone
Folkestone is the principal town in the Shepway District of Kent, England. Its original site was in a valley in the sea cliffs and it developed through fishing and its closeness to the Continent as a landing place and trading port. The coming of the railways, the building of a ferry port, and its...

, England, was measured as 15 inches (38.1 cm) and over 2 pound (0.90718474 kg), and named as the second largest in the world behind the Netherlands fish. The secretary of the Federation of British Aquatic Societies (FBAS) stated of Goldie's size that "I would think there are probably a few bigger goldfish that people don't think of as record holders, perhaps in ornamental lakes". In July 2010 a goldfish measuring 16 inches (40.6 cm) and 5 pounds (2.3 kg) was caught in a pond in Poole
Poole
Poole is a large coastal town and seaport in the county of Dorset, on the south coast of England. The town is east of Dorchester, and Bournemouth adjoins Poole to the east. The Borough of Poole was made a unitary authority in 1997, gaining administrative independence from Dorset County Council...

, England, thought to have been abandoned there after outgrowing a tank.

In ponds


Goldfish are popular pond fish, since they are small, inexpensive, colorful, and very hardy. In an outdoor pond or water garden
Water garden
Water gardens, also known as aquatic gardens, are a type of man-made water feature. A water garden is defined as any interior or exterior landscape or architectural element whose primarily purpose is to house, display, or propagate a particular species or variety of aquatic plant...

, they may even survive for brief periods if ice
Ice
Ice is water frozen into the solid state. Usually ice is the phase known as ice Ih, which is the most abundant of the varying solid phases on the Earth's surface. It can appear transparent or opaque bluish-white color, depending on the presence of impurities or air inclusions...

 forms on the surface, as long as there is enough oxygen
Oxygen
Oxygen is the element with atomic number 8 and represented by the symbol O. Its name derives from the Greek roots ὀξύς and -γενής , because at the time of naming, it was mistakenly thought that all acids required oxygen in their composition...

 remaining in the water and the pond does not freeze solid. Common goldfish, London and Bristol shubunkins, jikin, wakin, comet and some hardier fantail goldfish can be kept in a pond all year round in temperate and subtropical climates. Moor, veiltail, oranda and lionhead can be kept safely in outdoor ponds only in the summer, and in more tropical climates.

Small to large ponds are fine though the depth should be at least 80 centimetres (31.5 in) to avoid freezing. During winter, goldfish become sluggish, stop eating, and often stay on the bottom of the pond. This is completely normal; they become active again in the spring. A filter is important to clear waste and keep the pond clean. Plants are essential as they act as part of the filtration system, as well as a food source for the fish. Plants are further beneficial since they raise oxygen levels in the water.

Compatible fish include rudd
Rudd
The common rudd Scardinius erythropthalmus is a bentho-pelagic freshwater fish, widely spread in Europe and middle Asia, around the basins of the North, Baltic, Black, Caspian and Aral seas.-Artificially introduced:...

, tench
Tench
The tench or doctor fish is a freshwater and brackish water fish of the cyprinid family found throughout Eurasia from Western Europe including the British Isles east into Asia as far as the Ob and Yenisei Rivers. It is also found in Lake Baikal...

, orfe and koi
Koi
or more specifically , are ornamental varieties of domesticated common carp that are kept for decorative purposes in outdoor koi ponds or water gardens....

, but the latter require specialized care. Ramshorn snail
Ramshorn snail
The term ramshorn snail is used in two different ways. In the aquarium trade it is used to describe various kinds of freshwater snails whose shells are planispiral, meaning that the shell is a flat coil. Such shells resemble a coil of rope, or a ram's horn...

s are helpful by eating any algae
Algae
Algae are a large and diverse group of simple, typically autotrophic organisms, ranging from unicellular to multicellular forms, such as the giant kelps that grow to 65 meters in length. They are photosynthetic like plants, and "simple" because their tissues are not organized into the many...

 that grows in the pond. Without some form of animal population control
Animal population control
Animal population control is the practice of artificially altering the size of any animal population besides humans. It typically refers to the act of limiting the size of an animal population so that it remains manageable, as opposed to the act of protecting a species from excessive rates of...

, goldfish ponds can easily become overstocked. Fish such as orfe consume goldfish eggs.

In aquaria



Like most carp, goldfish produce a large amount of waste both in their faeces and through their gills, releasing harmful chemicals into the water. Build-up of this waste to toxic levels can occur in a relatively short period of time, and can easily cause a goldfish's death. For common and comet varieties, each goldfish should have about 20 gallons (75.7 l) of water. Fancy goldfish (which are smaller) should have about 10 gallons (37.9 l) per goldfish. The water surface area determines how much oxygen
Oxygen
Oxygen is the element with atomic number 8 and represented by the symbol O. Its name derives from the Greek roots ὀξύς and -γενής , because at the time of naming, it was mistakenly thought that all acids required oxygen in their composition...

 diffuses and dissolves into the water. A general rule is have 1 square foot (0.09290304 m²). Active aeration
Aeration
Aeration is the process by which air is circulated through, mixed with or dissolved in a liquid or substance.-Aeration of liquids:-Methods:Aeration of liquids is achieved by:...

 by way of a water pump
Water Pump
Water Pump is one of the neighbourhoods of Gulberg Town in Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan. It is near main Water Pump that supplies fresh water to the city of Karachi....

, filter
Filter (water)
A water filter removes impurities from water by means of a fine physical barrier, a chemical process or a biological process. Filters cleanse water to various extents for irrigation, drinking water, aquariums, and swimming pools.-Methods of filtration:...

 or fountain
Fountain
A fountain is a piece of architecture which pours water into a basin or jets it into the air either to supply drinking water or for decorative or dramatic effect....

 effectively increases the surface area.

The goldfish is classified as a coldwater fish
Coldwater fish
Coldwater fish, in the context of aquariums, refers to fish species that prefer cooler water temperatures than tropical fish, typically below . Some examples are koi and goldfish...

, and can live in unheated aquaria
Aquarium
An aquarium is a vivarium consisting of at least one transparent side in which water-dwelling plants or animals are kept. Fishkeepers use aquaria to keep fish, invertebrates, amphibians, marine mammals, turtles, and aquatic plants...

 at a temperature comfortable for humans. However, rapid changes in temperature (for example in an office building in winter when the heat is turned off at night) can kill them, especially if the tank is small. Care must also be taken when adding water, as the new water may be of a different temperature. Temperatures under about 10 °C (50 °F) are dangerous to fancy varieties, though commons and comets can survive slightly lower temperatures. Extremely high temperatures (over 30 °C (86 °F) can also harm goldfish. However, higher temperatures may help fight protozoa
Protozoa
Protozoa are a diverse group of single-cells eukaryotic organisms, many of which are motile. Throughout history, protozoa have been defined as single-cell protists with animal-like behavior, e.g., movement...

n infestations by accelerating the parasite's life-cycle—thus eliminating it more quickly. The optimum temperature for goldfish is between 20 °C (68 °F) and 22 °C (71.6 °F).

Like all fish, goldfish do not like to be petted. In fact, touching a goldfish can endanger its health, because it can cause the protective slime coat to be damaged or removed, exposing the fish’s skin to infection from bacteria or water-born parasites. However, goldfish respond to people by surfacing at feeding time, and can be trained or acclimated to taking pellets or flakes from human fingers. The reputation of goldfish dying quickly is often due to poor care. The lifespan of goldfish in captivity can extend beyond 10 years.

If left in the dark for a period of time, goldfish gradually change color until they are almost gray. Goldfish produce pigment in response to light, in a similar manner to how human skin becomes tanned
Sun tanning
Sun tanning or simply tanning is the process whereby skin color is darkened or tanned. The process is most often a result of exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun or from artificial sources, such as a tanning bed, but can also be a result of windburn or reflected light...

 in the sun. Fish have cells called chromatophore
Chromatophore
Chromatophores are pigment-containing and light-reflecting cells found in amphibians, fish, reptiles, crustaceans, and cephalopods. They are largely responsible for generating skin and eye colour in cold-blooded animals and are generated in the neural crest during embryonic development...

s that produce pigments which reflect light, and give the fish coloration. The color of a goldfish is determined by which pigments are in the cells, how many pigment molecules there are, and whether the pigment is grouped inside the cell or is spaced throughout the cytoplasm.

Because goldfish eat live plants, their presence in a planted aquarium
Aquascaping
Aquascaping is the craft of arranging aquatic plants, as well as rocks, stones, cavework, or driftwood, in an aesthetically pleasing manner within an aquarium—in effect, gardening under water. Aquascape designs include a number of distinct styles, including the garden-like Dutch style and the...

 can be problematic. Only a few aquarium plant species for example Cryptocoryne
Cryptocoryne
Cryptocoryne is a genus of about 50-60 species of aquatic monocot plants from the family Araceae . The genus is naturally distributed in tropical regions of Asia and New Guinea....

and Anubias
Anubias
Anubias is a genus of aquatic and semi-aquatic flowering plants in the family Araceae, native to tropical central and western Africa. They primarily grow in rivers and streams, but can also be found in marshes. They are characterized by broad, thick, dark leaves that come in many different forms....

, can survive around goldfish, but they require special attention so that they are not uprooted. Plastic plants are often more durable, but the branches can irritate or harm a fish that touches one.

Feeding



In the wild, the diet of goldfish consists of crustacean
Crustacean
Crustaceans form a very large group of arthropods, usually treated as a subphylum, which includes such familiar animals as crabs, lobsters, crayfish, shrimp, krill and barnacles. The 50,000 described species range in size from Stygotantulus stocki at , to the Japanese spider crab with a leg span...

s, insect
Insect
Insects are a class of living creatures within the arthropods that have a chitinous exoskeleton, a three-part body , three pairs of jointed legs, compound eyes, and two antennae...

s, and various plant matter. Like most fish, they are opportunistic feeders and do not stop eating on their own accord. Overfeeding can be deleterious to their health, typically by blocking the intestines. This happens most often with selectively bred goldfish, which have a convoluted intestinal tract. When excess food is available, they produce more waste and faeces, partly due to incomplete protein
Protein
Proteins are biochemical compounds consisting of one or more polypeptides typically folded into a globular or fibrous form, facilitating a biological function. A polypeptide is a single linear polymer chain of amino acids bonded together by peptide bonds between the carboxyl and amino groups of...

 digestion. Overfeeding can sometimes be diagnosed by observing faeces trailing from the fish's cloaca
Cloaca
In zoological anatomy, a cloaca is the posterior opening that serves as the only such opening for the intestinal, reproductive, and urinary tracts of certain animal species...

.

Goldfish-specific food has less protein and more carbohydrate
Carbohydrate
A carbohydrate is an organic compound with the empirical formula ; that is, consists only of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, with a hydrogen:oxygen atom ratio of 2:1 . However, there are exceptions to this. One common example would be deoxyribose, a component of DNA, which has the empirical...

 than conventional fish food. It is sold in two consistencies—flakes that float, and pellets that sink.
Enthusiasts may supplement this diet with shelled pea
Pea
A pea is most commonly the small spherical seed or the seed-pod of the pod fruit Pisum sativum. Each pod contains several peas. Peapods are botanically a fruit, since they contain seeds developed from the ovary of a flower. However, peas are considered to be a vegetable in cooking...

s (with outer skins removed), blanched green leafy vegetables, and bloodworms
Chironomidae
Chironomidae are a family of nematoceran flies with a global distribution. They are closely related to the Ceratopogonidae, Simuliidae, and Thaumaleidae...

. Young goldfish benefit from the addition of brine shrimp
Brine shrimp
Artemia is a genus of aquatic crustaceans known as brine shrimp. Artemia, the only genus in the family Artemiidae, has changed little externally since the Triassic period...

 to their diet. As with all animals, goldfish preferences vary.

Behavior


Behavior can vary widely both because goldfish live in a variety of environments, and because their behavior can be conditioned by their owners.

Goldfish have strong associative learning abilities, as well as social learning
Social learning
Social learning may refer to:* Observational learning , learning that occurs as a function of observing, retaining and replicating behavior observed in ones environment or other people....

 skills. In addition, their visual
Visual perception
Visual perception is the ability to interpret information and surroundings from the effects of visible light reaching the eye. The resulting perception is also known as eyesight, sight, or vision...

 acuity allows them to distinguish between individual humans. Owners may notice that fish react favorably to them (swimming to the front of the glass, swimming rapidly around the tank, and going to the surface mouthing for food) while hiding when other people approach the tank. Over time, goldfish learn to associate their owners and other humans with food, often "begging" for food whenever their owners approach.

Responses from a blind goldfish proved that it recognized one particular family member and a friend by voice, or vibration of sound. This behavior was remarkable because it showed that the fish recognized the vocal vibration or sound of two people specifically out of seven in the house.

Goldfish are gregarious, displaying schooling
Swarm
Swarm behaviour, or swarming, is a collective behaviour exhibited by animals of similar size which aggregate together, perhaps milling about the same spot or perhaps moving en masse or migrating in some direction. As a term, swarming is applied particularly to insects, but can also be applied to...

 behavior, as well as displaying the same types of feeding behaviors. Goldfish may display similar behaviors when responding to their reflections in a mirror.

Goldfish that have constant visual contact with humans also stop considering them to be a threat. After being kept in a tank for several weeks, sometimes months, it becomes possible to feed a goldfish by hand without it shying away.

Goldfish have learned behaviors, both as groups and as individuals, that stem from native carp behavior. They are a generalist species with varied feeding, breeding, and predator avoidance behaviors that contribute to their success. As fish they can be described as "friendly" towards each other. Very rarely does a goldfish harm another goldfish, nor do the males harm the females during breeding
Biological reproduction
Reproduction is the biological process by which new "offspring" individual organisms are produced from their "parents". Reproduction is a fundamental feature of all known life; each individual organism exists as the result of reproduction...

. The only real threat that goldfish present to each other is competing for food. Common
Common goldfish
Common goldfish or hibuna are a type of goldfish with no other modifications from their ancestors other than their colour. Most varieties of fancy goldfish were derived from this simple breed...

s, comet
Comet (goldfish)
The comet or comet-tailed goldfish is the most common variety of fancy goldfish in the United States. It is similar to the common goldfish, except slightly smaller and slimmer, and is mainly distinguished by its long deeply forked tail.-Origins:...

s, and other faster varieties can easily eat all the food during a feeding before fancy varieties can reach it. This can lead to stunted growth or possible starvation
Starvation
Starvation is a severe deficiency in caloric energy, nutrient and vitamin intake. It is the most extreme form of malnutrition. In humans, prolonged starvation can cause permanent organ damage and eventually, death...

 of fancier varieties when they are kept in a pond with their single-tailed brethren. As a result, care should be taken to combine only breeds with similar body type and swim characteristics.

Intelligence


Goldfish have a memory-span of at least three months and can distinguish between different shapes, colors and sounds. Goldfish vision is among the most studied of all vision in fishes
Vision in fishes
Vision is an important sensory system for most species of fish. Fish eyes are similar to terrestrial vertebrates like birds and mammals, but have a more spherical lens. Their retinas generally have both rod cells and cone cells , and most species have colour vision. Some fish can see ultraviolet...

. By using positive reinforcement, goldfish can be trained to recognize and to react to light signals of different colors or to perform tricks. Fish respond to certain colors most evidently in relation to feeding. Fish learn to anticipate feedings provided they occur at around the same time everyday.

Reproduction


Goldfish may only grow to sexual maturity with enough water and the right nutrition. Most goldfish breed in captivity, particularly in pond settings. Breeding usually happens after a significant temperature change, often in spring. Males chase females, prompting them to release their eggs by bumping and nudging them. A pregnant goldfish is called a "twit".

Goldfish, like all cyprinid
Cyprinid
The family Cyprinidae, from the Ancient Greek kyprînos , consists of the carps, the true minnows, and their relatives . Commonly called the carp family or the minnow family, its members are also known as cyprinids...

s, are egg-layers. Their eggs are adhesive and attach to aquatic vegetation, typically dense plants such as Cabomba
Cabomba
Cabomba is an aquatic plant genus, one of two belonging to the family Cabombaceae. It has divided submerged leaves in the shape of a fan and is much favoured by aquarists as an ornamental and oxygenating plant for fishtanks...

or Elodea
Elodea
Elodea is a genus of aquatic plants often called the waterweeds. Elodea is native to North America and is also widely used as aquarium vegetation. The introduction of some species of Elodea into waterways in parts of Europe, Australia, Africa, Asia, and New Zealand has created a significant problem...

or a spawning mop. The eggs hatch within 48 to 72 hours.

Within a week or so, the fry
Spawn (biology)
Spawn refers to the eggs and sperm released or deposited, usually into water, by aquatic animals. As a verb, spawn refers to the process of releasing the eggs and sperm, also called spawning...

 begins to assume its final shape, although a year may pass before they develop a mature goldfish color; until then they are a metallic brown like their wild ancestors. In their first weeks of life, the fry grow quickly—an adaptation born of the high risk of getting devoured by the adult goldfish (or other fish and insects) in their environment.

Some highly bred goldfish can no longer breed naturally due to their altered shape. The artificial breeding method called "hand stripping" can assist nature, but can harm the fish if not done correctly. In captivity, adults may also eat young that they encounter.

Mosquito control


Like some other popular aquarium fish, such as the guppy
Guppy
The guppy , also known as the millionfish, is one of the most popular freshwater aquarium fish species in the world. It is a small member of the Poeciliidae family [females long, males long] and like all other members of the family, is live-bearing....

, goldfish and other carp are frequently added to stagnant bodies of water to reduce mosquito
Mosquito
Mosquitoes are members of a family of nematocerid flies: the Culicidae . The word Mosquito is from the Spanish and Portuguese for little fly...

 populations. They are used to prevent the spread of West Nile Virus
West Nile virus
West Nile virus is a virus of the family Flaviviridae. Part of the Japanese encephalitis antigenic complex of viruses, it is found in both tropical and temperate regions. It mainly infects birds, but is known to infect humans, horses, dogs, cats, bats, chipmunks, skunks, squirrels, domestic...

, which relies on mosquitoes to migrate. However, introducing
Introduced species
An introduced species — or neozoon, alien, exotic, non-indigenous, or non-native species, or simply an introduction, is a species living outside its indigenous or native distributional range, and has arrived in an ecosystem or plant community by human activity, either deliberate or accidental...

 goldfish has often had negative consequences for local ecosystem
Ecosystem
An ecosystem is a biological environment consisting of all the organisms living in a particular area, as well as all the nonliving , physical components of the environment with which the organisms interact, such as air, soil, water and sunlight....

s.

Controversy over proper treatment



Some countries ban the sale of traditional fishbowls under animal welfare
Animal welfare
Animal welfare is the physical and psychological well-being of animals.The term animal welfare can also mean human concern for animal welfare or a position in a debate on animal ethics and animal rights...

 legislation due to the risk of stunting, deoxygenation
Deoxygenation
Deoxygenation is a chemical reaction involving the removal of molecular oxygen from a reaction mixture or solvent, or the removal of oxygen atoms from a molecule.Classic representatives of deoxygenation are:...

 and ammonia
Ammonia
Ammonia is a compound of nitrogen and hydrogen with the formula . It is a colourless gas with a characteristic pungent odour. Ammonia contributes significantly to the nutritional needs of terrestrial organisms by serving as a precursor to food and fertilizers. Ammonia, either directly or...

/nitrite
Nitrite
The nitrite ion has the chemical formula NO2−. The anion is symmetric with equal N-O bond lengths and a O-N-O bond angle of ca. 120°. On protonation the unstable weak acid nitrous acid is produced. Nitrite can be oxidised or reduced, with product somewhat dependent on the oxidizing/reducing agent...

 poisoning in such a small environment. Because of their large oxygen needs and high waste output, such bowls are no longer considered appropriate housing for goldfish.

In many countries, carnival
Carnival
Carnaval is a festive season which occurs immediately before Lent; the main events are usually during February. Carnaval typically involves a public celebration or parade combining some elements of a circus, mask and public street party...

 and fair
Fair
A fair or fayre is a gathering of people to display or trade produce or other goods, to parade or display animals and often to enjoy associated carnival or funfair entertainment. It is normally of the essence of a fair that it is temporary; some last only an afternoon while others may ten weeks. ...

 operators commonly give goldfish away in plastic
Plastic
A plastic material is any of a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic organic solids used in the manufacture of industrial products. Plastics are typically polymers of high molecular mass, and may contain other substances to improve performance and/or reduce production costs...

 bags as prize
Prize
A prize is an award to be given to a person or a group of people to recognise and reward actions or achievements. Official prizes often involve monetary rewards as well as the fame that comes with them...

s. In late 2005 Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 banned the use of goldfish and other animals as carnival prizes. Rome has also banned the use of "goldfish bowls", on animal cruelty grounds. In the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, the government
Government
Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...

 proposed banning this practice as part of its Animal Welfare Bill, though this has since been amended to only prevent goldfish being given as prizes to unaccompanied minors.

In Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

, during summer festivals and religious holidays (ennichi
Ennichi
Ennichi is a day believed to have a special relation with a particular Japanese deity. Often, it is a day when a deity is believed to have been born or left the world. In Shinto, this day is encouraged to be embraced as it is in the "four affirmations" of their religious code...

), a traditional game called goldfish scooping
Goldfish scooping
is a Japanese traditional game in which a player scoops goldfish with a special scooper. It is also called, "Scooping Goldfish", "Dipping for Goldfish" or "Snatching Goldfish". "Kingyo" means goldfish and "sukui" means scooping. Sometimes bouncy balls are substituted for goldfish. Japanese summer...

 is played, in which a player scoops goldfish from a basin with a special scooper. Sometimes bouncy ball
Bouncy ball
A bouncy ball, power ball or super ball is a popular polybutadiene rubber toy ball which rebounds proportionally to the amount of force used when thrown at a hard surface. The first such ball was the proprietary Super Ball. The Sky Ball is an example of another bouncy ball...

s are substituted for goldfish.

Although edible, goldfish are rarely eaten. A fad among American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 college students for many years was swallowing goldfish
Goldfish swallowing
Goldfish swallowing was an American school fad starting in the 1930s, where a live goldfish is swallowed.It is not clear how it became a fad: various people have made claims...

 as a stunt
Stunt
A stunt is an unusual and difficult physical feat, or any act requiring a special skill, performed for artistic purposes in TV, theatre, or cinema...

 and as a fraternity
Fraternities and sororities
Fraternities and sororities are fraternal social organizations for undergraduate students. In Latin, the term refers mainly to such organizations at colleges and universities in the United States, although it is also applied to analogous European groups also known as corporations...

 initiation process. The first recorded instance was in 1939 at Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

. The practice gradually fell out of popularity over the course of several decades and is rarely practiced today.

External links