A domesticated version of the wild olive-green type, goldfish have multiple genetic variations in color, body shape, size, finnage, and eye shape. They can have the colors black, brown, white, red, orange, blue, and metallic versions of those colors. A goldfish with a single tail fin (cadual fin) and normal fish-shaped body is either a comet or a shubunkin. All the rest have double tail fins and shortened, squat bodies. Some of them have head growths, bulging eyes, no dorsal fin, nasal growths, and other weird features. Koi are another domesticated fish similar to goldfish. Goldfish are cool-water dwellers, and prefer neutral pH water of temperatures in the 60's. These are often the first (and more often, the last) fish that people own when venturing into the hobby of fishkeeping. Unfortunately, because you actually need to read a book to know how to take care of fish, most people aren't successful at it and drop the hobby.

The "lowly" goldfish (Carassius auratus) is possibly the oldest, domesticated fish. To find the first recorded reference goldfish experts must go back to the, Sung dynasty in China, circa 1000 A.D. It is agreed that this is when the first "red" mutation appeared. The goldfish was then taken to Japan in about 1500 A.D., while definite dates, 1611, 1691 and 1728 give them a place in European history. The goldfish reached America, from Japan, in 1876 and found a permanent home. These imports were of exceptional quality, a fact which is not common today.

The Chinese have produced the most varieties of this genetically variable fish, with depending on which expert you choose to believe, over one hundred varieties and sub-varieties being produced. Most purists would start at the beginning with the first mutation, the "Red Hibuna" or..... the common goldfish.

Most ichthyologists would describe best specimens as those that have a "sturdy look" to it. The back and ventral area should be moderately curved. The head area should be short and "wide". The caudal peduncle is short but strong, supporting a short, narrowly forked, caudal fin. Pectoral, anal and pelvic fins are paddle shaped and carried stiffly. Scaling is of a bright, metallic sheen in even, overlapping rows. Coloration is very variable, from the "wild" grey-green color thru crimson red. Often one will find orange or red fish marked very attractively with black fins, lips, etc...., these are going through a phase known as "discoloring". These fish are in the process of shedding the black pigment and allowing the underlying colors to show through. Some fish do this very early in life, others may never change color at all.

These are the fish one usually wins at carnivals, fairs or as a joke door prize at parties. Most die early on, but many will live if given proper care.

Goldfish have been proven to have a very long life span.......

  • The oldest goldfish on record is Freda who died in Sussex, England aged 41 years.
  • No wait... another claim for the oldest goldfish on record is Tish At least 43. Tish was acquired at a fair in July 1956 and died in early August 1999.
  • and yet another fish tale??? The 1995 Guinness Book of World Records reports that a goldfish died in 1980 at age 41. The fish was owned by A.R. Wilson of Worthing, Great Britain and was named Fred.

Kinds of goldfish:

  1. Comets have a straight tail and are orange.
  2. Fantails are orange and have a flared tail.
  3. Shubunkins have a bluish tint and a straight tail.
  4. Calicoes have a flared tail and a bluish tint.
  5. Sarassas are bred for their red and white color.

I visited over 35 web sites looking for goldfish trivia and this is what I found!
  • Goldfish lose their color if they are kept in a dim light or they are placed in a body of running water, such as a stream. They remain gold when kept in a pond or in a bowl with adequate illumination.
  • The Chinese Lettered Goldfish is covered with Chinese characters, achieved through thousands of years of crossbreeding
  • Misnamed Fish:The electric eel is not an eel, but is related to the harmless goldfish.
  • The first successful goldfish farm in the United States was opened in Martinsville, Indiana in 1899.
  • The most popular name for a goldfish in Great Britain and the United States is "Jaws".
  • The collective noun for goldfish is a troubling.
  • The Game and Fish Department in Silver City, New Mexico suspects the goldfish came to populate Lake Quemado by the thousands from a stash dumped out of a fisherman's bait bucket years ago.
      "Back in late winter, early spring, we got a report in Las Cruces that the goldfish were going bonkers in Quemado," a spokesman said. "When we got there, I was shocked. The whole cove by the boat ramp was orange." Fishermen aren't interested in catching the goldfish and the Game and Fish Department department removed more than five tons of the goldfish - about 45,000 - but it didn't put a dent in the population.
  • It's against the law in Seattle, Washington, for goldfish to ride on a bus--unless they lie still.
  • The common goldfish is the only animal that can see both infra-red and ultra-violet light--Goldfish have four color receptors in their eyes compared to our three - the mantis shrimp has ten color receptors.
  • A goldfish has a memory span of three seconds, but...goldfish remember better in cold water than in warm water.
  • The brain of a goldfish makes up 0.3% of its total body weight. An adult human brain is about 2% of total body weight. (Statistic from G.E. Nilsson, "The Cost of a Brain," Natural History, 12/99-1/00.)
  • A pregnant goldfish is called a twit.
  • Goldfish can suffer motion sickness, maybe that's because goldfish have ears inside their heads. So the next time you feel queasy on a boat, it may comfort you to know that fish can also get seasick. Scientists were able to make goldfish seasick by creating artificial waves in a glass bowl.
  • In 1939, one of the most famous and certainly most disgusting of the college fads, swallowing live goldfish, started.
      A young lady at University of Missouri was the first female student to swallow a live goldfish. But a co-ed student of Boston University became known that spring because of the goldfish sugar cookies she had created. Finally, a Massachusetts state legislature introduced a bill that would "preserve the fish from cruel and wanton consumption." The president of the Boston's Animal League made sure that goldfish swallowers would be arrested if campus officials did not stop this behavior. A pathologist at the U.S. Public Health Service said that goldfish may contain tapeworms or harbor a disease that causes the swallower to become anemic.

    Today among the amazing acts is one performed by Stevie Starr The Regurgitator who swallows large coins, Rubic's cubes, ladies rings and padlocks. He can return the items in any order with the cube solved and the ring locked inside the padlock. Many people are astonished to watch him swallow a live goldfish and return it unharmed.

  • On Sesame Street, Bert's goldfish were named Lyle and Talbot, presumably after the actor Lyle Talbot. What were the names of Loretta Hager's two pet goldfish in the TV series Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman? Conway and Twitty. Bianca is the name of Mickey Mouse's pet goldfish and Pinocchio's was Cleo.
  • Pepperidge Farm produces over one million flavored Goldfish per hour.
  • and finally from Randy's Homestead: My Pets...
      The Associated Press reported in December 1985, in Eugene, Oregon, a 6-month-old kitten set a Christmas tree on fire while batting at the lighted bulbs. The heat of the fire cracked a nearby fishbowl, and water from the bowl doused some of the fire. Firefighters arrived within minutes of the fire starting and put out the fire, which had spread to the carpet. A goldfish named Clyde was found lying prone in the cracked bowl, and when put into another bowl with water, was quickly revived and survived the ordeal. The water in Clyde's bowl had prevented the fire from getting out of control.

Disclaimer: The web tales, fish tales, and trivia gathered from web sites are meant for the sole purpose of entertainment and cannot verified as factual.


Petnet - Responsible Ownership in Australia - Petrivia Library:
Accessed Mar 17 2001

Randy's Homestead: My Pets:

Accessed Mar 17 2001

Tip 'o the hat to spiregrain for the information about Stevie Starr The Regurgitator. (August 26,2006)

Trivia for Kids:

Accessed Mar 17 2001

Wow Animal and Pet Pictures:
Accessed Mar 17 2001

Goldfish, as a species, are one huge design flaw. In the most literal sense, the first goldfish were mistakes that would not live long enough in the wild to reproduce consistently with each other. Goldfish began when a spawn of a species of grass carp that were normally muddy brown occasionally threw a mutant with bright bronze scales that reflected the sunlight and made the normally dull fish brilliant and easy to see. Fortunately for them, most humans thought them attractive and caught them to keep as pets, keeping them from being eaten like their brown siblings by humans or being easy targets for predators. But that's ancient "goldfish". Today's goldfish carry on the tradition of being flawed in design thanks to man, not nature. Only the plain "comet" goldfish that are sold as feeders, ten for a buck, resemble in any fashion their carpish ancestors and the natural durability of the species.

Goldfish are now bred for show and decoration and as many fancy mutations as possible. And most of these "beauty marks" lead to inbred fish that could never, ever survive in the wild. Just a few examples:

The lionhead has been bred for a huge fleshy growth on its skull, reminiscent of a lion's mane. This is extra tissue, much like a wart on humans. This particular mutation also has been bred to have no dorsal fin whatsoever. This leads these fish to often be "weighted down" by their own heads and stand motionless, noses to the gravel, until something happens that makes it worth their time to move (usually food is about the only reason) because it is physically exhausting for them to swim unnecessarily.

The bubble-eye has been bred to have sacs of fluid under its eyes. A thin balloon of skin--no scales--gradually develops on these fish and fills with fluid as the fish ages. However, this skin is very very delicate and will burst quite easily when brushed against anything sharp or abrasive. Sometimes the sac heals and fills again, sometimes it does not and leaves the fish lopsided. In many cases, the burst bubble kills the fish, not because the bursting hurts the fish much, but because it is an open wound and a secondary infection will quite readily destroy the already delicate breed.

The pearlscale looks like a swimming golf ball with a very round body and very thick scales, low on the edges and thick and high in the middle, looking like seed pearls collected on the fish. These fish often have so much difficulty swimming that it is terribly detrimental to their health and they will rest, stomach on the gravel, most of the time. It is also nearly impossible to tell if they have parasites, a common problem in goldfish, because they are so bloated and misshapen around the stomach area anyways, any increase is difficult to detect.

Other flaws in goldfish are not so breed specific, but include huge flowing finnage that makes swimming terribly difficult for the fish, "telescoping" eyes that are more easily damaged, enlarged bodies which can increase swim bladder problems, and other, more minor, issues. The long and short of it is, nearly all fancy goldfish are incredibly impractical, improbable creatures that need a bit of extra attention to insure their health. They're marvelous little animals, but they don't make sense.

Right, I love fancy goldfish. Love them. They are chubby and ungainly and daft-looking. Some of them have eyes that bulge out of their heads and bobble around independently, while others have layers and layers of diaphanous fins that provide a ridiculous contrast to their basic spherical-ness. They are shiny.

They can be kept in a nice cheap bowl, with all the water whipped out and all the gravel given a good scrub under the tap every week, to keep it sparkling clean. Alternatively, you don’t have to clean them out at all and they will live happily in their green stagnant pool. Either way, just chuck in a good heft of food flakes daily and leave them to it! Not like those tiresome tropical or marine fish, who need expensive technology developed by NASA just to get them home from the shop, chuh, fish with ideas above their station, if you ask me, living up on nob hill with their filters and lighting systems and heaters. Goldfish: the proletarian fish! The fish for the busy working individual!

Um, not quite. They are great pets, but they are a bit more work than that. Goldfish are shit-machines, to put it bluntly. They have the ability to eat as much as they like, cramming it in with greedy abandon, hoovering it all up with glee, but only taking the nutrients that they need and dumping the rest. Their prodigous eating and pooing is only outmatched by their peeing, which contains high concentrations of ammonia.

They are also prone to about ten billion diseases: white spot, velvet, swim-bladder, fin rot, mouth rot, constipation, flukes, little parasites called ich (among others), and multiple variations of worms. There is apparently something out there that will make a hole appear in your goldfish’s head. There is the dreaded dropsy – a coldwater fish fan sees dropsy, a bacterial infection, as your average medieval inhabitant saw bubonic plague. This will cause poor fishy to swell up like a balloon and become spiky like a pine-cone. And then die.

You want a goldfish? You can have a bowl, if you want, but then you can keep your pet dog in a cupboard, if you want; you can let it live in a pile of its own poo and rotting food, if you want. It’s just not very nice.

Quick aquarium guide

So, what do you actually need?

You need water, lots of water – because they poo so much, your average goldfish actually needs more water than most other fish: about twenty UK litres per individual fish. They also like lots of surface area on that water, so a square-ish tank is better than a long thin one, even though their volume might be the same.

With regards to aquascaping, you can stick pretty much whatever you want in; luminous or natural gravel, sand, bog wood, towering gothic castles, river pebbles, corpses that spring from coffins, ruined bridges, plants of any description in silk or plastic. A general rule of thumb is that your substrate should be a couple of inches deeper at the back than at the front, and that real plants are nothing more than a pain in the arse when it comes to your average ravenous goldfish. If they don’t eat it, they’ll rip it to shreds and watch it float around. Also, real plants mean snails. This is never good.

However, before you leap into action with a bucket, one little thing: chlorine will poison your aquatic pal. Get thee to the nearest aquatic supplies shop and get yourself a declorinator. While you’re there, you’re going to have to get a filter as well. Sorry about this but you are; what with all the poo, and the wee, and the hordes of fatal germs waiting to invade at any time, you and your fish need a little something on your side. Filters, and their store of friendly bacteria, are that little something. Once it is up and running, it will break down the ammonia, move the water around, and keep your water quality high.

You can also get lights, heaters, gravel cleaners (I think these are quite handy, for what it’s worth), feeding rings, aloe vera drips, nets, reverse osmosis water filters, bubble stones, spray bars, blah blah ad infinitum. Some of these are good, and some are ways of parting credulous muppets with their cash. But, you know, whatever makes you happy. Your little golden swimming nuggets are looking a bit less minimalist now, aren’t they? Again, one thing: pretty much anything that claims to allow you to stock your tank instantaneously is a BIG FAT LIE, for the following reasons:

So you’ve got your dechlorinated water, your tank is looking swish, and the filter is in and churning away. Fish Time! Uh-uh, sorry – your tank has to sit there for a week AT LEAST, more if possible. This is to avoid the dreaded New Tank Syndrome, where the filter has insufficient bacteria to cope with the levels of ammonia, can’t break it down, and all the fish are poisoned. You can buy products that claim to have friendly bacteria suspended in them, or steal some water from an existing tank, or best of all, some filter media from an established filter, and put it in yours. Restrain your impatience, let it run for as long as possible: I’m obliged to say that really, you should buy a water testing kit and not stock your aquarium until the water levels are optimum, with zero ammonia, zero nitrate, and nitrite at less than 25ppm. But to be honest, I don’t think that I’ve ever done this if the testing kit wasn’t free.

at last…Get the fish!

A quick guide to fish would be basically useless here, as it really requires pictures and there are plenty of places on the internet that will show you those. But there are enough varieties to fulfil your heart’s desire; black, gold, white, black and gold and white, round, streamlined, ones that look just like golf balls. You can get really complicated with talk of groups and units and spec, but basically don’t stick fast thin ones with slow fat ones: the fast skinnies will steal all the food, nibble the fins, and generally harass the fatties.

And that’s it! Don’t put vodka in the tank to see if they get drunk, add fresh dechlorinated water every week but don’t change any more than thirty percent of the water at any one time, don’t overfeed and try and wet any dry food with tank water before you give it to them. That comedy floating upside-down thing they do is actually pretty bad for them…

Many years ago, as a somewhat naive first time parent, I shook my head in disbelief when I first heard that Goldfish were fast becoming a favorite snack food for kids. I knew that swallowing goldfish was some kinda fad for college kids in the 40's or 50's and thought that maybe it had re-kindled itself along the way. After a few months of trepidation and wonderment I decided to join the burgeoning herd and let my kids try ‘em. I think it was when they started kindergarten or something that I decided to pack a few of them in their lunch box along with the proverbial peanut butter and jelly sandwich and an apple or a banana.

So I ran off to my local pet store and purchased about a dozen or so. I got them home and decided my best course of action was to refrigerate them overnight so they wouldn’t reek of that fish smell in the morning. Sure enough, when the time came to pack their lunch, the little suckers were dead enough but they still felt a little slimy and I had a bit of a problem getting them into one of those zip lock bags. I think that a few might’ve even hit the floor but since nobody was around I decided to invoke the five second rule and nobody would be any the wiser.

So I dropped my little darling off at school and we exchanged our ritual peck on the cheek and good wishes for the day. I felt good, the sun was shining, the traffic was light and I made it to work without experiencing any road rage. It had all the makings of a great day.

I think it was around noon. I was sitting at my desk munching on the last remnants of a pastrami on rye when the phone rang. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t have bothered to answer it and would just let it go to voice mail but I saw the number on caller ID and recognized it as my kids school. Fearing that sickness or injury had befallen my little one, I immediately answered the phone and tried to hide the panic in my voice.

”Hello Mr. Borgo, this is little borgo’s teacher. I was just wondering if I might have a word with you?”

”Uhm sure, is everything all right? She’s not hurt or sick or anything? She didn’t hit anybody did she?”

”No, no, it’s nothing like that. It’s, uh, something else that we need to talk about. Specifically it’s what your daughter brought to lunch today.”

And then the truth was revealed to me! Man, let me tell you, I don’t know if there’s a shittier feeling in the world than that of discovering that you were a bad parent. You can plead ignorance all you want but the hollow feeling you feel at that moment in time can gnaw at you forever.

Since then I’ve learned that Goldfish are little snack type crackers made by the good folks at Campbell Soup Company. They’re sold under the brand name of Pepperidge Farm. Some of them have little smiley faces on them and other don’t. Why they all aren’t wearing the same face remains a mystery. Since they contain none of those dreaded trans fats and are baked instead of fried, they’re considered a much healthier option than something like your standard everyday potato chip. When the first hit the shelves of your local supermarket there was only one flavor available, the “original”. Nowadays, due to their popularity, you can find them in about seven different varieties. They include cheddar cheese, parmesan cheese, pretzel flavored, pizza flavored, reduced salt, calcium enriched and cheddar made with whole grain.

Well, I think there’s an old saying in the marketing world that a consumer can never get too much of a good thing. Campbell’s surely had this in mind when they later invent what they call a “flavor blasted” version of the tiny goldfish. Those include the following:

  • Xtra Cheddar
  • Xplosive Pizza
  • Nothin’ But Nacho
  • Burstin’ BBQ Cheddar
  • Jalapeño Cheese
  • Blazin’ Buffalo Wings
  • Salt and Vinegar
  • In closing, I’ve come along way since my early days of being a parent. I don’t think I’d ever make the same mistake or one similar to it that I made in those early days. As with most things, there’s always a bright side to look at.

    At least I knew what Animal Crackers were.

    (For Andromache01 and what she found behind her computer.)



    Goldfish is the stage name for Dominic Peters’ and David Poole’s electronica group. Based in Cape Town, South Africa, Goldfish has received critical acclaim on their interesting fusion of dance music with jazz elements. It is common to hear saxophones, double basses, flutes and other acoustic instruments sampled and mixed with more traditional electronica synthetic sounds.

    There are those who think electronic music has no skill behind it and its proponents are mere hacks playing from their computer to a live audience, cheating them out of their hard earned cash.1 This belief comes tumbling down when one sees Peters and Poole actually playing their instruments on live performances, and then using those samples on that night’s soundscape.

    I would describe their style as upbeat and generally positive. They often compose in the Major key and have no problem using minor harmonies to emphazise good melodies and vocals. Several of their lyrics reflect this laid-back, looking-for-adventure attitude. From their «Soundtracks and Comebacks»:

    It’s the kind of place of place to show your face, where no one cares,
    What you do or what you say, or what you wear.

    Also from «We Come Together»:

    When we come together
    no matter the weather
    we gonna love each other till the end of time
    till the end of time

    According to their official Discography page, Goldfish has released the following albums (not counting compilations and singles/EPs):

    Caught in the loop
    January 1, 2005
    Perceptions of Pacha
    June 1, 2008
    Get Busy Living
    September 1, 2010
    Three Second Memory
    January 1, 2013
    Late Night People
    October 3, 2017

    (Before you go out looking for these amazing musicians, a word of warning: to the chagrin of my fellow MusicBrainz editors, there’s at least another six groups named “Goldfish”.)

    De que callada maneraAndy’s Brevity Quest 2019 (293 words) → making love in a canoe

    1. And, truth be told, this can be true of many untalented «musicians»

    Gold"fish` (?), n. Zool. (a)

    A small domesticated cyprinoid fish (Carassius auratus); -- so named from its color. It is native of China, and is said to have been introduced into Europe in 1691. It is often kept as an ornament, in small ponds or glass globes. Many varieties are known. Called also golden fish, and golden carp. See Telescope fish, under Telescope.


    A California marine fish of an orange or red color; the garibaldi.


    © Webster 1913.

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