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People often think that all goldfish look alike. However, there are actually many different types of goldfish and some of them look very different to what you might expect! For example, you may be surprised by the range of colors (far more than just “gold”), fin types and body shapes that exist.
Goldfish arose from a type of carp that was domesticated in ancient China and bred for food over 1000 years ago.
A genetic mutation in the carp meant that they would sometimes produce red, orange, yellow or gold offspring. People liked these colors and started selectively breeding carp to deliberately produce colorful offspring.
It was from this selective breeding that the first type of goldfish – the common goldfish – was born!
However, the selective breeding didn’t stop there. People wanted a wider variety of goldfish, so they kept selectively breeding to produce goldfish with certain traits. For example, big “bubble eyes”.
How many varieties of goldfish are there?
Around 300 different types of goldfish exist today.
Most of these have been selectively bred from the common goldfish. However, some fancy varieties are actually bred from other fancy goldfish. For instance, the Ranchu was bred from the Lionhead.
This selective breeding is all designed to produce a wide variety of body shapes, eye types, fin configurations and colors.
Popular types of goldfish
The Black Moor has a distinctly velvety black, round body with long flowing fins and protruding eyes.
The Bubble Eye is one of the most delicate breeds of fancy goldfish. It is characterized by the two fluid filled sacs or ‘bladders’ underneath its eyes.
The celestial goldfish has paired caudal fins and anal fins, and no dorsal fins. They can be found in orange, white, or a combination of both colors.
The Comet goldfish is very similar to the Common goldfish. However, there are differences. For instance, the Comet goldfish has a longer body and longer, flowing fins.
The common goldfish comes in a variety of colors; ranging from red, yellow and orange to bronze and black.
The fantail goldfish has a rounded, egg-like body and a split tail fin. While any goldfish with a split tail is considered a “fantail", the Fantail is regarded as a separate breed.
The Lionhead is characterized by the ‘wen’, or head growth, that covers its head.
Another type of goldfish with a wen – or ‘hood’ – the Oranda has a hood that develops only towards the top of its head.
The Pearscale has uniquely-shaped scales, which are caused by calcium carbonate deposits, and have a pearly appearance.
The pompom goldfish is distinctive due to the two bubble-like growths than develop on its nose.
The Ranchu is a strain of fancy goldfish developed from the Lionhead. However, Rachus have a much more rounded back than their Lionhead cousins.
The Ryukin can be identified by the large dorsal hump that starts near its neck and makes its head look quite pointed.
Shubunkins have a calico coloring , which contains shades of red, gold, purple, blue, black and white.
The veiltail is one of the more recently recognized fancy goldfish varieties. It was developed in Philadelphia, USA, in the early part of the 20th century.
In conclusion, there are lots of different goldfish types – around 300 in fact – and they all have their own characteristics and needs. Because of these different requirements, you should think carefully about which fish you choose to keep.
Do you have a large tank or pond that can handle fast-swimming common goldfish, for instance?
Maybe you have a smaller tank that might be best suited to a single Black Moor?
Perhaps you plan to keep several goldfish in the same tank? If so, you should be careful to only keep types that go well together. For example, common goldfish don’t go well with fancy varieties.
Finally, goldfish don’t mix at all well with some other types of fish. So if you plan to keep goldfish in a community tank, you need to do your research before choosing other fish to live with your goldfish.