Animal stories: Goldfish

Goldfish are one of the earliest fish to be kept as pets. They are the most common fish kept in aquariums and water gardens. Goldfish comes in many variations with different colours, head shapes from pointed to square and various body shapes like single tails or double tails. The common goldfish has two sets of paired long fins. They also have bright orange scales.

Common goldfish also comes in colours like yellow, red, brown and black. They grow upto 3-5 inches long. They have very large eyes and acute senses of smell and hearing. Their teeth is located in the throat which they use to feed. They have a memory span of approximately three seconds. Goldfish are quite intelligent and will recognise the person who feeds them. They will show they know them by swimming rapidly back and forth when they are near the tank or splashing.

Favourite food

Goldfish are omnivorous so they feed on both plants and animals. They eat tiny plants and animals found rooting in the mud on the pond floor. During winter, they become sluggish and stop eating. But, they become active in the spring again. Goldfish kept as pets are commonly fed dried flake or pellet food.

Their home

Goldfish are mostly found in ponds. They will survive in water temperatures ranging from freezing to 30 degrees centigrade. As long as there is enough oxygen in the water and the pond does not freeze solid, they may survive.

Young ones

Goldfish lay eggs both in the spring and in the summer. Their eggs are sticky and will stick to the water plants. They lay about 500 to 2,000 eggs, depending upon the size and condition of the female. The fertilised eggs are about 1.5 mm in diameter and are amber-coloured when first laid. The eggs hatch within a week.

The baby goldfish called fry appears like an ‘eyelash with two eyeballs’ for the first few days. After a week, the fry begin to look more like a goldfish in shape but they are metallic brown in colour. It takes about a year to develop a mature goldfish colour.

Life span

Goldfish have an average life span of about 10 years. They can live a long and healthy life if cared for properly. They may also live up to 25 years if they are fed a varied diet and kept in exceptional water conditions.

Goldfish like to play and benefit from the exercise. So, they need sufficient swimming room. They will be in better health if they are kept with their own types. Goldfish do best if kept single than in crowd.

Changing colour

Goldfish will turn almost white if kept in the dark for certain periods of time. They may also lose their colour if left in dark for longer periods. Fish have cells called chromatophores that produce pigments which reflects light and gives coloration. Goldfish have pigment production in response to light much like human skin tanning in the sun.