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The domestication of the goldfish is believed to have its origin in ancient China during the Song dynasty. It was around this period that people in China began keeping goldfish in private home ponds. Keeping goldfish in these single species communities greatly helped in creating new goldfish variants. After the collapse of the Song Dynasty in 1276 until 1546, there is little information about the development of goldfish during this period. Sometimes after 1546, earthenware containers became popular for the housing and propagating different goldfish varieties in addition to keeping them in ponds.


The Goldfish


Goldfish Classification
Temperament: Prefer to be in a community with other goldfish
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Sub-phylum: Vertebrata
Class: Osteichthyes
Sub-class: Actinopterygii
Infra class: Teleostei
Super order: Ostariophysi
Order: Cypriniformes
Family: Cyprinidae
Native To: Asia and surrounding regions
Diet: Omnivore - eating both animal and plant matters
Temperature: 65° - 78°F
Scientific Name: Carassius auratus
Environment: Adapted for freshwater only


Some goldfish variants created over the centuries include the Japanese Comet, Nymph, Fringetail, Fantail, and Paradise or Barnacled goldfish. Other variants are the Chinese Tumbler, Piebald or Lettered Telescope, Mottled Telescope, and Fringetail Telescope goldfish.

The Chinese Tiger or Piebald goldfish was considered an unusual and strange goldfish in that it had a body that was short and triangular. The Mottled Telescope goldfish had a shape similar to the modern day fantail.


Modern Day Comet Goldfish
a comet goldfish

Another breed of goldfish believed to have been developed around 1840 is called the Oranda Shishigashira. The name translated from Japanese means Dutch Lionhead. This particular breed of goldfish had a body depth that was more elongated than the Ranchu but shorter than the Ryukin goldfish.

One of the strangest goldfish variant ever produced is called the Scaleless Veiltail Telescope. It was a result of crossbreeding the Japanese Fringetail with the Scaleless Chinese Telescope.

Goldfish variants that are not as well known are the Tosa goldfish, Tesu-wonga or iron coloured long tail goldfish, Hanafusa goldfish, Watonai goldfish, and Kinranshi goldfish.

For more information about goldfish, check the additional topics below: