Goldfish are one of the all-time favorites of fish keepers everywhere. Why? Because they are beautiful and fun to watch. They have a good memory and becoming very sociable with their keepers. Most of the commonly available goldfish varieties are also relatively easy to care for.
Originating from Asia (Siberia), goldfish are one of the first aquatic animals in recorded history to be kept as pets. The majority of the fancy goldfish have been developed by Oriental breeders. It is estimated that there are over 125 types of gold fish. There is a wide variety of beautiful goldfish colors that can be metallic, iridescent, or flat and they come in many interesting forms.
Many goldfish types are very hardy species, especially the Common goldfish and the Comet Goldfish. These two are great for beginners. Both the Fantail Goldfish and Shubunkin Goldfish are also good beginner fish. Other hardier types include Black Moor Goldfish and the Ryukin Goldfish. Once you've gained experience and confidence in keeping these hardier goldfish, try some of the more delicate fancy goldfish like the Bubble-eye Goldfish, Celestial Goldfish, Oranda Goldfish or Lionheads.
The Goldfish types list below includes popular goldfish, as well lesser known goldfish varieties. Each fish guide has a description of the goldfish, its place of origin, habitats and behaviors, as well as goldfish care to successful maintain them in an aquarium. Goldfish pictures are also provided within each fish guide to help with identification, and to aid in choosing the best type of goldfish for your freshwater tank.
The goldfish available in pet stores today are descendants of a wild carp fish, known by such names as the Prussian Carp, Silver Prussian carp, or Gibel Carp Carassius gibelio (syn: Carassius auratus gibelio). For many years it was believed that goldfish had originated from the Crucian Carp or Golden Carp Carassius auratus auratus described by Linnaeus in 1758, but more recent research is pointing toward the former.
Goldfish were originally developed in China. In the 1500's goldfish they were exported to Japan. They were then sent to Europe in the 1600's and to America in the 1800's. These countries developed them into the wondrous variety of goldfish colors and forms we see today. The majority of the fancy goldfish have been developed by Oriental breeders. It is estimated that there are over 125 types of gold fish.
Often people start out keeping goldfish in small 1 or 2 gallon bowls with no heater or filtration. But for the best long-term success in keeping both common and fancy goldfish, goldfish aquariums work better than goldfish bowls. In an aquarium you can provide your pet goldfish with the same filtration, especially biological filtration, that other aquarium residents enjoy and you'll have long lived, healthy fish.
Goldfish are a cold water fish and will do best at temperatures between 18°-22° C (65°-72° F). Several of these durable goldfish types, like the Black Moors, Shubunkins, Comets, and common goldfish can actually tolerate temperatures a few degrees above freezing as long as the cooling drops only a few degrees a day.
Goldfish are easy to breed and their fry are not difficult to rear. These are very social animals that typically shoal, forage and feed in groups and are likely to breed in groups as well. They will spawn when you feed them lots of high protein foods, and then mimic the conditions found in nature when spring arrives.
Goldfish are egglayers and their tiny eggs are adhesive. Once the female drops the eggs, the male will then fertilize them. The eggs will stick to the plants by sticky threads. A spawn generally lasts for about 2 to 3 hours, and up to 10,000 eggs can be produced.
But yikes! once they've spawned, the parents will eat all they eggs they can find. So the parents must quickly be moved to another aquarium. The young once hatched need to be fed fry foods. These babies are dark brown to black in color, but will start gaining their gold colorations in a few months. At about 1 inch long, they can be moved in with larger fish. For more information on how to breed Goldfish, see: Breeding Freshwater fish: Goldfish.