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Fish Tank Forum • View topic - Goldfish and Varieties of Fancy Goldfish
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Goldfish and Varieties of Fancy Goldfish

Articles on general fish keeping

Goldfish and Varieties of Fancy Goldfish

Postby Mick » Fri Mar 26, 2010 6:54 am

Goldfish And Their Variations

Goldfish come in many shapes and sizes, they are also selectively bred over generations to produce the dominant features that we see in so many of the fancy strains available today. But where did the original goldfish come from? They did not evolve on this planet the same as original species did, they themselves were also selectively bred by the Ancient Chinese from the common carp Carassius auratus where they were kept in terracotta pots, this has actually had a side effect when viewing fancy goldfish, their dominant features are always displayed better when viewed from above. Unfortunately the round shape of the terracotta pots held fast as glass vessels were developed for keeping fish and we ended up with the goldfish bowls. Thankfully these are now frowned upon as the are not large enough for housing goldfish and are to put it quite bluntly cruel for keeping fish in. The common goldfish is still one of the most popular species that are kept by fish keepers but fancy goldfish are now becoming something of a collectors items as prices can be high for quality specimens.
Goldfish come in a variety of colours, brown, orange, red, blue, black, bronze, green, calico, red,white mixed. Gold and black specimens tend to be goldfish that are undergoing colour changes as they mature and cannot be classed as a colouration in its own right.
Single tailed goldfish can grow up to 40cm whereas the fancy varieties will only grow between 10cm -20 cm, as with all fish species, there may be the odd exception to this rule but this is very rare. Fancy goldfish are often categorised by their head growth or their eye type.


Bred for head growth
Oranda- these have head growth that can either cover the whole of the head or just the top. The Oranda that has growth on the top of the head are known as high-head Oranda. They have a round body with a double tail.
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Lionhead- these goldfish will have very large head growth with a box shaped body. Their back should have an even curve although less quality fish will have bumpy backs. Their tail will be a double but smaller than seen on the Oranda.
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Ranchu- the Ranchu has a smaller head growth compared to the Lionhead and has a more pronounced curve on its back. Their body should be shaped like an egg and they possess a double tail without a dorsal fin.
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Bred for Eye type
Bubble Eye- the eyes on this fish are very exaggerated, they are basically water filled sacs causing the eyes to wiggle as the fish swims. Their bodies are shaped like a cigar and they possess double fins without a dorsal fin. Quality fish will have eyes of equal size and a smooth back line.
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Celestial- similar to the bubble eye but the eyes protrude from the head and always point upwards. They are also double finned without a dorsal fin.
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Telescope- also similar to the bubble eye but the eyes on these fish protrude but do not point upwards. They are double finned with a short and round body shape.
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Other double tailed varieties
Pearl-scale- these fish have scales that have a white colouration that can appear silver as they swim around. The body shape should be perfectly round and most specimens do not develop head growth but there are some specimens that do.
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Chinese pom pom- these fish develop a growth over their nostrils up to the size of a pea. They have short bodies but should not develop any head growth.
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Fantail- this has to be the most popular fancy goldfish kept in the hobby. They are hardier than other fancy varieties and have long, flowing fins. Their head shape should end in as point.
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Ryukin- another popular variety that displays a humped back. As they get older head growth may develop but not always.
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Single tailed Goldfish
Common Goldfish- the grandfather of all the fancies. They can be found in a variety of colours, the most common being orange, red and white, brown and green.
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Comet- these fish have extended finnage, the tail should be as long as the body and end in pointed lobes. They are available in the same colouration as the common goldfish.
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Shubunkin- a multi-coloured fish that should have blue, red and white markings on the body. Black spots should also appear randomly. Specimens with more blue colouration are highly prized.
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