Gold Fish

History of Goldfish

Did you know that goldfish are a species created by the Chinese? The history of goldfish is quite fascinating. Back in the Song Dynasty, 960 - 1127 AD, an orange fish was discovered with brilliant golden scales. It was a species of carp called the Crucian Carp. The royal family had ponds in their palaces and captured these fish for their ponds.
To ensure survival of these spices, high class Chinese began to breed them and raise them domestically. It spread to become a hobby for many Chinese in their homes. Instead of raising them in large pools, people began raising them in jars and smaller aquariums in their homes, as a result over time, the shape of the goldfish changed, their bodies became short and stout, some had protruding eyes, some had long flowing tails. They bred together certain goldfish of certain traits and created different varieties of fancy goldfish, now we commonly refer to these tropical fish as Fancy Gold Fish. Over the last thousand years, today there is a huge variation of different types of goldfish for us to keep!

Species of Gold Fish

All goldfish originated from the same fish but humans have created various varieties. All these varieties fall into 3 categories: Dragon, Egg-shaped and Carp like. The dragon fish have large rounded eyes, high fins and long tails. The egg-shaped goldfish have a egg shaped body with no dorsal fins and short sculpted tails. The carp like variety has elongated body and shorter fins. The following pictures are some of the many species of Gold Fish, although they are actually varieties, not really species.

Lion Head Goldfish

Notice the egg-shaped body has the absence of dorsal fins.

Dragon Eye Goldfish

A very common variety. The bulging eye look is very popular and cute looking.

Bubble Eye Goldfish

A common variety often seen in fish shops.

Pearlscale Gold Fish

Notice the rounded smooth-looking scales.

Sky-Gazing Velvet Balls

An outrageous and rare variety.

Carp-like Goldfish

The most simple variety, closest to the original carp that created all these fish varieties.

Sexing Goldfish

It is difficult to determine if your fish is male or female until they are about to breed. If you look closely, there are a couple of ways to sex your tropical fish. Here are the ways to determine the sex of your fish:
- If you gently press the scales of your fish, you will notice that the scales on the male overlap each other in rows and the female's scales are not overlapping.
- On the male, it is difficult to determine where the belly ends and the tail begins. On the female, it is obvious where the tail ends and the belly begins.
- males usually have a firm looking breasts fin whereas the females have a softer looking breast fin.
You may notice that with the multiple varieties, it might be difficult to notice the difference between males and females unless you have one of each sex side-by-side.

Keeping Goldfish

Goldfish are a cold water fish and do not require a heater. They do best in large tanks, do not keep goldfish in bowls as they are very messy fish, they produce allot of waste and water conditions will quickly deteriorate if you do not have a filter on your fish tank.
However if you do decide to keep your fish in a bowl, change half the water once a week, twice a week as your fish grows. Never change all the water at once or you may shock your fish. They need consistent water conditions and going from dirty water to clean eater will shock them and could kill them.
We highly recommend putting your fancy goldfish in a larger fish tank, at least 20 gallons since goldfish can grow to be quite large. Maintenance will be easier if you have a filter on your aquarium. See the section about aquarium filtration for ideas on fish tank filters to use.
They need to have their water dechlorinated so make sure that you purchase dechlorinator and add it according to the specifications on the bottle at each water change. It is recommended to change 20 percent of the aquarium water every month. See our aquarium maintenance section for tips and advice on aquarium maintenance.
Goldfish are easy to care for but know that they are not long lived fish compared to some other tropical fish. Goldfish live about 5-6 years. Of course, you may be lucky and acquire one that will live for 10 years but consider this lucky!

Feeding your Goldfish

Feed your goldfish only once a day whatever amount they can eats in 2 minutes. Always remove extra food or it will rot and cause ammonia problems in your aquarium.
Feed your goldfish freeze-dried tubifex worms and goldfish food. The difference between tropical fish food and goldfish food is that goldfish food is a heavier vegetable base because they can get constipated is they eat too many proteins, which is what is found in tropical fish food. Also, the goldfish food will help to amplify their colors as they can fade over time.

Proper water conditions and not over-feeding are essential to healthy fish. however goldfish can be prone to diseases such as dropsy and fin-rot. If you encounter either of these problems in your fish, visit our tropical fish diseases section for care tips.