Your aquarium buddy, Goldfish

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The goldfish is a freshwater fish belonging to the Cyprinidae family of the order Cypriniformes. It is one of the most popular aquarium fish that we keep as a pet in indoor aquariums. The goldfish is a small class of the carp family, includes the Prussian carp and the crucian carp. It is native to East Asia. It was first selectively bred for color over 1,000 years ago in ancient China, and many distinct breeds have since evolved. The scale, body shape, fin configuration, and coloration of goldfish breeds differ (various combinations of white, yellow, orange, red, brown, and black are known).

People bred the Asian carp in East Asia for thousands of years, which are gray or silver species that develop to red, orange, or yellow color mutations since the Jin dynasty in ancient China. Carp were common in ornamental ponds and water gardens during the Tang dynasty. Instead of silver, a natural genetic mutation created gold (actually yellowish orange). People started breeding the gold variety instead of the silver and kept them in ponds.

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A wild Prussian carp (Carassius gibelio)


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A bubble eye goldfish

They would be transferred to a much smaller container for a show on special occasions when expecting visitors. The selective domestic breeding of goldfish happened in the Song dynasty. The Song Dynasty's empress ordered build pond to collect the red and gold variety in 1162. People outside the imperial family were no longer allowed to hold goldfish of the gold (silver) type, as yellow was the imperial color at the time.

Although yellow goldfish are genetically easier to breed, there are more orange goldfish than yellow goldfish. There are carp aside from red and gold in 1276. Goldfish started to be raised indoors during the Ming dynasty, which allows for mutations that would not exist in ponds. We attributed to Ming Dynasty the fancy-tailed goldfish.

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A large black moor goldfish

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Rare Chocolate Oranda with Red pompoms

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An orange colored wild-caught Prussian carp with goldfish-like coloration

In 1603, Japan started breeding goldfish while Portugal in 1611, and the rest of Europe. Goldfish were prized in southern Europe during the 1620s for their metallic scales, which people thought to reflect good luck and fortune. It became customary for married men to give their wives a goldfish on their first anniversary as a token of the years ahead. When goldfish became more readily available, the practice died out fast, and goldfish lost their status. Around 1850, goldfish were introduced to North America and quickly became common in the United States.

Goldfish in small indoor aquariums appear to remain between 1 inch (2.5 cm) and 2 inches (5.1 cm) in length. If we transfer the goldfish to larger fish tanks, they can grow larger. However, they rarely grow longer than 6 inches (15 cm). Goldfish can reach a length of 14 inches (36 cm) in outdoor ponds and the wild. The goldfish can reach up to 19 inches (48 cm). We can found large goldfish in the Netherlands.

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Dragon eye goldfish

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Rare Chocolate Oranda with Red pompoms

In 2008, a goldfish kept as a pet in a tank in Folkestone, England, measures about 15 inches (38 cm) and over about 2 pounds (0.91 kg). They declared it the world's second-largest after the Netherlands fish. "I would think there are probably a few bigger goldfish that people don't think of record-holders, maybe in ornamental lakes," the secretary of the Federation of British Aquatic Societies (FBAS) said of Goldie's height. In July 2010, a goldfish measuring 16 inches (41 cm) and weighing 5 pounds (2.3 kg) was discovered in a pond in Poole, England, after it outgrew its tank.

With enough water and a diet, goldfish may reach sexual maturity. Many goldfish breeds in captivity, particularly in ponds. Breeding occurs after a temperature rise, which occurs in the spring. Gravid female goldfish (females carrying eggs) are chased by males, who bump and nudge them before they release their eggs. Both cyprinids, like goldfish, lay eggs. Their eggs are sticky and stick to aquatic vegetation, typically dense plants like Cabomba or Elodea or spawning mops. Within 48 to 72 hours, the eggs will hatch.

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Goldfish eggs showing cell division

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Pool Fisheries, a goldfish farm in Lonoke, Arkansas

The fry takes on its final form within a week or so, but it may take a year to grow a mature goldfish color; before then, they are a metallic brown like their wild ancestors. The fry develops rapidly in their first weeks of life due to the high risk of being eaten by adult goldfish (or other fish and insects) in their habitat. Due to their altered form, some highly selectively bred goldfish can no longer exist naturally. Hand stripping is artificial that helps goldfish to mature early. But if done incorrectly, it can damage the fish. Adults in captivity can eat any young they come across.

Goldfish are gregarious, showing schooling habits as well as the same feeding behaviors as other fish. When goldfish see their reflections in a mirror, they can show similar behaviors. Goldfish have acquired habits that are derived from native carp behavior, both as a group and as individuals. They are a generalist species with a wide range of feeding, breeding, and predator avoidance behaviors that help them thrive.

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Red Oranda (Wen) goldfish reared in a small outdoor pond with lilies

We can characterize goldfish as sweet towards other fish. A goldfish rarely hurts another goldfish, and males rarely harm females during breeding. The only real danger that goldfish pose to one another is food competition. During a meal, commons, comets, and other faster varieties can quickly consume all of the food before fancy varieties can get to it. When kept in a pond with their single-tailed relatives, this can cause stunted growth or even malnutrition in the fancier varieties. As a result, only breeds with similar body types and swimming abilities can be mixed together.


Note: All images is from Wikimedia, except for the cover image. The cover image is created by the author using Canva

References

  1. Goldfish aren't the ho-hum fish you thought they were
  2. Four secrets your goldfish is hiding from you
  3. Goldfish: Myths Debunked
  4. The epic history of the humble goldfish
  5. The History of Goldfish – From Ancestors to Modern Day
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I didn't know that the competition for food could be so fierce. I guess even if they don't fight each other, the survival of fittest is still something they follow.

I agree with your statement. Regardless the goldfish are not aggressive but those physically advantage will have more food. It is indeed survival of the fittest.

Interesting. Is the goldfish named goldfish because the body is made of gold or because of its color? Just occurring to me that I never know.

Yeah it is interesting. I could not find the scientific reason why goldfish are called goldfish, but from my reading, it rooted with Chinese impress preferring to got her hand with all the gold or yellow variety of the Asian carp. With that in mind, people called it goldfish hence it is rare to acquire at that time and it is illegal for ordinary to have one.

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