Common Goldfish

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Common Goldfish
Common Goldfish
Juvenile Common Goldfish
Carassius auratus
Family Cyprinidae
Size Variable
Tank Level Middle and Lower
Temperament Peaceful
Tail Type Single-tailed
Country of Origin China
This article is about the anatomy and history of the Common Goldfish and has very little how-to information.
For an in depth tutorial, see our guide

Originating from the Prussian Carp, the Common Goldfish most likely emerged through a form of favoritism. As fish were once kept in captivity for food, fish-keepers may have learned to recognize individuals and then become attached to their charges, and it is likely that an occasional genetic sport, or non-standard colored fish, would appear and draw greater attention. Such fish would be segregated and kept for their appearance rather than their meat, and so the Common Goldfish slowly emerged.

Physical Description

Common Goldfish.jpg

Traditionally, the body color of the Goldfish is metallic red-orange with matching fins. Young fish may be greenish bronze, changing to adult coloration after about one year. Dorsal and anal fins are relatively long based, and the caudal fin is forked and stiffly held. The lateral line is visible. Females usually appear plumper when they are viewed from above. At spawning time the male develops small white spots (tubercles) on the gill covers and head.


Kept by man since the 11th century, Carassius auratus (the goldfish) is probably the best known of all aquarium or pond fish. The wild form of this fish is the dull green to brown Prussian Carp, with little to recommend it as a potential aquarium fish, but a mutation occurred which developed lovely gold patches on the body which eventually turned the whole fish gold. The goldfish's first recorded breeding in Europe took place in Holland in 1728, but in its native China it has been domesticated since around the 11th century AD.

In the aquarium

In the aquarium the goldfish will inhabit the middle and lower levels, and eats flakes, vegetation, live foods, and bloodworms. They are generally peaceful, and can grow up to two feet long. However, if placed in an aquarium that is too small, the goldfish will stop growing when it runs out of room. When this happens the internal organs do not stop growing, causing a painful, stunted death for the fish. Generally speaking a goldfish should be placed no more than nine inches of fish (two four-and-a-half inch fish, or one nine inch fish) per 10 gallons of water.

Goldfish are noted for being messy, greedy feeders that produce a lot of waste. Needless to say they require a very efficient filtration system to cope with this.

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Other related topics


  • Rogers,Geoff. Freshwater Aquarium Fish. 1 ed. Focus on. Buffalo, New York: Firefly Books
LTD., 2004.
  • Mills,Dick. Aquarium Fish. 1 ed. Eyewitness Handbooks. New York, New York: Dorling
Kindersley, Inc., 1993.
  • Bailey,Mary. Aquarium Fish & Fish Care. paperback ed. The Ultimate Encyclopedia of. New
York, New York: Hermes House, 1999.