Gold fish, or "Carassius auratus" as they are known by their scientific name, were first bred in places like China and Japan about four to five hundred years ago.
Every goldfish, often looking quite dissimilar, is derived from the very first brown-colored carp-type fish which, after its first genetic change, became the more familiar orange color we know today.
Indeed, you can see many different varieties of goldfish but they are all related.
The common goldies is stronger and hardier but the more fancy types are harder to keep successfully.
This is because of the various mutations of the gene pool but on the positive side has created the often striking and weird-looking features.
That being said ALL types of gold fish can be interbred and it is more often the case that these types of "rare" mutations are the more sought after type of fish for hobbyists and fish enthusiasts.
Who wouldn't want to keep fish like these beauties?
The common types of goldies these days include: common goldfish: comets; shubunkins; fantails; black moores; ryukin; bubble-eyes; lionheads; pearlscales; oranda; telescope-eyes; celestial-eye; butterfly-tails; ranchus; veiltails; pompons.
Even though they are quite hardy most gold fish types generally need to have their tank cleaned about every one to two weeks because they produce a high amount of waste matter which can cause the water conditions to become quite unhealthy.
If you change about a third of the tank's water every one to two weeks you will generally have satisfactory conditions to keep these fish successfully for many years.
It is also advisable to give these fish plenty of room in a good sized tank as they use up a lot of oxygen as they swim and forage for food, often digging up gravel and un-potting plants in their quest.
Really, the bigger the tank you can afford the better for the fish's longevity.
Indeed most goldfish will live several years at least if looked after properly. Some have been known to last over 40 years!
Most will grow to around 10 centimeters but they can grow in excess of 30 centimeters depending on tank conditions of temperature and chemical composition.
As for food, goldfish do appreciate a diet of both vegetable and animal matter being omnivorous, but this can best be served by a good fish food formula from your local hobby or aquarium store.
These commercially produced foods contain the right amounts of protein, vitamins and minerals to keep your goldfish happy and healthy.
You should only feed them enough so that all the food is consumed in approximately five minutes.
Over-feeding is one of the major causes of diseased fish because it can really affect the water conditions and change the chemical composition and make the water highly polluted.
The ideal conditions vary slightly for different types of goldfish (see individual pages) but generally the approximate temperature range should be from 15 degrees C to 25 degrees C. The pH ranges from around 6 to 8 and of course, they are freshwater fish! The water should also be moderately hard.
If you're going to breed goldfish then you must realize it is very hard to get them to breed in overcrowded conditions.
This means both the size of the tank and the number of fish in it.
And remember, you can breed just about any type of goldfish with any other type of goldfish.
Indeed, it is often desirable to do this because the unusual features it can produce makes them highly prized.
Remember also though that the more they are "in-bred" the weaker will be their physical constitution. in other words, they'll be more prone to disease and infection and probably have a shorter life span as well.
Keeping goldfish is a pleasant and enjoyable hobby which can give you many years of enjoyment.
Children can learn valuable lessons of responsibility and caring for living creatures also so it is a great thing for them to get involved with too.
So there it is...great pleasure and something that can bring the family closer together. Just some benefits of keeping gold fish.
For further info on gold fish click here...
Let's look at some of these goldfish in more detail...
Good luck and enjoy!