The goldfish is one of the most popular aquarium fish in the world. Wherever we go where there are tanks, whether in houses, hotels, malls, or parks, there will always be goldfish in these aquariums. They are adored by their beautiful colors and body configurations. But goldfish may not only be a thing of beauty…
Here are some facts about goldfish that you may not know:
- The goldfish belongs to the carp family which also includes the koi carp and the crucian carp.
- Goldfish grown in wild are actually olive green in nature. Only in captivity do they adapt fancy colors. Likewise, domestic goldfish, when released in wild, will eventually revert to olive green color. Furthermore, if goldfish are left in dark for an extended period of time, they can change color to gray. Like humans, they produce pigments in response to light.
- There are different goldfish breeds which vary in coloration, size, body shape, and fin design (see Ten Beautiful Breeds of Goldfish).
- The goldfish was first domesticated in China. During the Tang Dynasty (618-907), people were fond of raising carps in ponds and water gardens. When it was observed that some carps have genetically-mutated from their silver color to gold (yellowish orange), people began to breed these colored carps in the ponds. On special occasions, these carps are taken out and placed on smaller container for display.
- Because yellow is the imperial color, people outside the royal family were forbidden to keep goldfish of the gold or yellow variety during the Song Dynasty (1162).
- During the 1620s, it became a tradition in Southern Europe for married men to give their wives a goldfish on their one year anniversary. It was believed that goldfish signify good luck and fortune; therefore, doing so will bless the couple with more prosperous years to come.
- In Japan, goldfish scooping is a traditional game during summer festivals and religious holidays. In this game, a player scoops goldfish from a basin with a special scooper.
- Goldfish can survive in a pond with ice forms on the surface, as long as there is enough supply of oxygen and the pond does not freeze solid.
- Goldfish easily die in uncared tanks. Hence, a filter is important to clear waste and keep the pond clean. Moreover, they are very sensitive to sudden temperature changes. Care must be practiced when adding water to the pond or aquarium as the new water may be of different temperature.
- Goldfish are prolific and ponds can easily get overstocked. So it is recommendable to provide some form of population control such as raising fish like orfe to consume goldfish eggs.
- The goldfish are voracious eaters; they do not stop eating on their own accord. However, overfeeding can block their intestinal tracks and endanger their health.
- Goldfish do not like to be petted. Touching them can endanger their health since this can cause their protective slime coat to be damaged or removed, consequently exposing them to infections from bacteria and other parasites.
- Goldfish can be trained. They respond to human by surfacing at feeding time, and so they can guided to take pellets from human fingers.
- Goldfish have strong associative learning abilities, as well as social learning skills. They are able to distinguish their owners from strangers. They are observed to react favorably to their owners in a “begging for food” manner, while they hide when other people approach the tank.
- Goldfish can also recognized the voice, vocal vibration, or sound of thier owners and people around them.
- Goldfish have a memory-span of at least three months and can distinguish between different shapes, colors and sounds. The goldfish can be trained to recognize and to react to light signals of different colors or to perform tricks, such as the limbo, fetch, and soccer.
- The goldfish can be added to stagnated water bodies to reduce mosquito populations.
- Goldfish are edible, though they are rarely eaten.
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