Comet (goldfish)

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

The comet or comet-tailed goldfish is the most common variety of fancy goldfish in the United States. It is similar to the Common Goldfish, except slightly smaller and slimmer, and is mainly distinguished by its long deeply forked tail.

Physical Description


The body shape of all Comets is elongate, with equally curved dorsal and ventral contours. It is not as deep as the Common Goldfish. The colors of these fish depend on the strain, the most popular of which show red-orange and lemon-yellow colorations. The varieties shown here include an uncolored juvenile Comet, a Gold (or Metallic) Comet, and an extremely popular strain, the Sarasa (or Red Cap) Comet. A distinctive, cultivated feature of these varieties is the deeply forked caudal fin, which can be almost as long as the body.


The comet goldfish breed was developed in the United States from the Common Goldfish by Hugo Mulertt, a government worker, in the 1880s. The first comet goldfish was seen in the ponds of the U.S. Government Fish Commission in Washington. Mulertt later became a propagator of goldfish and an author of books on goldfish. He was the first person to place the comet onto the fishkeeping market in quantity.

In the aquarium

The Comet Goldfish behaves much like the Common Goldfish, with a few exceptions. While the Common Goldfish usually inhabits the bottom and middle levels of a tank, Comet's inhabit all levels. Also unlike Common Goldfish, Comets are schooling fish, and should be kept in schools of no less than five Comets to a tank.

Goldfish Farms

Goldfish are commonly bred on fish farms in many parts of the world. In most instances, the fish produced are offered for sale to aquarists. However, in North America, there is a demand for goldfish used as bait or "feeder fish" to other fish by anglers. Due to the relatively inexpensive prices of comet goldfish, they may also be used as prizes in carnivals or other places of entertainment. The use of goldfish as bait, feeder fish and carnival prizes is controversial, and animal rights activists have attempted to make the practice illegal, albeit unsuccessfully.


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  • 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.