A domestic fish since the Ming
But how did the goldfish come to be a pet, like a dog or a cat? This was not at all in its genes: this freshwater fish populated Chinese rivers and ponds.
It was then a golden cyprin (Carassius auratus), to which it hardly resembles anymore. No more common point? Yes, precisely, its genetics! Because, if the goldfish has somehow mutated, it was never because of a selection of this kind.
Why, then!? Well, the emperor Koa-Tsung (1107-1187) loved the goldfish so much that he dedicated stone basins to it. Only, all Chinese wanted a goldfish, but not all could afford stone basins.
From the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), it was even fashionable to have a goldfish: it was “classy”. Except that instead of an aquarium, the Chinese kept it in a ceramic jug. So the goldfish adapted to its habitat, even if it meant becoming a little miniature, but with a double or triple tail.
In the end, the goldfish has a little “bonsai” side: it is like having raised sardines in their can!
Goldfish breeds: about twenty species
The little goldfish in its bag full of water smells of childhood: everyone has had one, and it seems to be always the same.
The common goldfish
Of course, there is the “basic” goldfish, the common one, the one the English call the goldfish. Note that this goldfish also exists in yellow. And it swims wonderfully well: just flick the wall of the aquarium and you’ll see it start to swim away.
But we warned you, the goldfish is not as ordinary as that: it comes in nineteen variants to suit your tastes and colors. On the English side, the London Shubunkin has the same shape as the basic goldfish, but with nicely “calico” scales, red and white spotted with black. Also calico and English, the Bristol Shubunkin has a very wide caudal fin, which gives it a nice elegance of movement.
In fact, most goldfish varieties today are English: the Pearlscale has bulging scales in the shape of pearls: it looks like it has pillows! As for the Pom pom (yes, that’s its name), its nostrils are equipped with rather original orange excrescences and its body is no longer elongated, but shaped like a ball.
But the most unusual is the Oranda: it is bright orange, with an ovoid body and a head with a bulging forehead. And that’s not all: this curious goldfish can reach forty centimeters long! Really not commonplace.
The Bubble Eye
And that’s not all: the Buble eye has two pockets like inflatable balloons under the eyes, and also a double tail but no tail fin. It is also a real curiosity. Another version is the “sky spyglass”, which has its eyes squarely in the air. Decidedly, the stay in the ceramic jugs of the Ming period gave birth to strange phenomena.
The Japanese goldfish: the Ryukin
This fish is native to Japan and is very popular there. It is distinguished by its double tail and its compact body ending in a triangular head.
Goldfish: jar and fairground prize: illegal!
It’s another classic: the fishing pole stand at the fair, where the winning prize is a goldfish. It is illegal: so says the Rural Code, which prohibits “the awarding of prizes or premiums for any live animal, except for farm animals, in the context of festivals, fairs, sports, folk and local traditional events, etc.” (Article L214-7).
It must be said that the poor winning lots are rather badly treated, stored in the sun or in the cold, and crammed into trucks like junk.
But at home, the jar is supposed to be prohibited. Reason?” Any animal being a sentient being must be placed by its owner in conditions compatible with the biological requirements of its species.” (Article L214-1).
Now, not only does the jar make the fish blind by dint of spinning in circles, but it drastically reduces their life expectancy: a goldfish normally lives on average a good ten years. However, in a jar, it only lasts six months: the famous jar is, no more, no less, the programmed death of the fish.
Goldfish: aquarium, food and needs
A goldfish needs, by itself, 50 to 100 liters of water: at least! Reason: the goldfish needs a lot of oxygen and pollutes a lot at the same time. Why does it do this? Because it produces a lot of waste.
In fact, one of the goldfish’s main occupations is to feed itself: however, it digests in five minutes and expels the corresponding dejections. The temptation is great to feed him a lot: he always agrees! But this is like filling a glass of wine, it is endless!
As for the water in the aquarium (this is another disadvantage of the jar), you should never change the entire water: this is like changing the environment too suddenly for your goldfish. Change a third of the water each time, not more.
What about plants? Your goldfish love to sneak and hide in them, but also to munch on them. Plastic plants are nice, but they are useless: choose real aquatic plants, adapted to goldfish (Java fern, etc).
Plants that don’t grow on the wall of the aquarium or on rocks: in pet shops, you can find a special mixture made of soil and fertilizer.
What about small companions for my goldfish? Yes, but beware of overpopulation, which he also suffers from. Friends, yes, but the density of the subway, no.