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One of the most common aquarium fish, the goldfish (Carassius auratus) is a freshwater fish in the family Cyprinidae under the order Cypriniformes. Ubiquitous in nature and seen as a symbol of luck and fortune, the goldfish was domesticated years ago for ornamental use in ponds and tanks.
See the fact file below for more information on the goldfish or alternatively, you can download our 21-page Goldfish worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Originating in ancient China, different species of carp, collectively called Asian carp, have been bred and raised as food for a number of years. Some of these normally gray or silver species tend to develop red, orange, or yellow color mutations, and were first documented during the Jin Dynasty.
- During the Tang Dynasty, it was a trend to rear carp in ornamental ponds and tanks. A natural genetic mutation started the yellowish orange coloration. People began to produce the gold lineage instead of the silver, keeping them in ponds or other bodies of water. Occasionally, these fish would be transferred to a smaller container for display.
- By the Song Dynasty, the selective domestic breeding of goldfish had begun. In 1162, the empress commanded the construction of a pond to collect the red and gold variety. By this time, the public were not allowed to keep goldfish of the gold breed, as yellow was seen as an imperial color. This may be why the orange goldfish outnumbered the yellow variety, even though the latter are genetically easier to produce.
- During the Ming Dynasty, goldfish also started to be kept indoors, which allowed selection for mutations that would not be able to thrive in ponds. The first incident of fancy-tailed goldfish was seen in the Ming Dynasty and in 1603, these fish were imported to Japan. In 1611, they were brought to Portugal and other parts of Europe.
- During the 1620s, goldfish were highly sought after in southern Europe because of their metallic scales, and were emblems of good luck and fortune. It became a practice for married men to give their wives a goldfish in their first year, as a symbol for the prosperous years to come.
- Goldfish were first introduced to North America in the 1850s and instantly became famous in the United States.
- The goldfish is a small member of the family Cyprinidae, which is a domesticated version of a dark-gray/brown carp endemic to East Asia.
- The Cyprinidae family is the largest family of freshwater fish, and usually associated with a number of members, with 210 genera and over 2,000 species, about 1,270 species found in Eurasia, 475 species in 23 genera native in Africa, and about 270 species in 50 genera in North America.
- Members of this family are distinguished for their pharyngeal teeth in one or two rows, with more than eight teeth per row; usually thin lips, and upper jaw usually retractable and outlined by premaxilla.
- A group of goldfish is referred to as a troubling.
- Although rare, goldfish may reach 23 inches in length and grow to a maximum weight of 9.9 pounds. The longest goldfish was recorded to be 18.7 inches from snout to tail-fin end in March 2003 in Hapert, Netherlands. In excellent conditions, they may live more than 20 years, but most pet goldfish usually live only six to eight years, due to being housed in bowls.
- If left in the dark for a long period of time, a goldfish may turn lighter in color. They have pigmented production as a reaction to light, released by cells called chromatophores that reflect light and give coloration.
- Some believe goldfish have a three-second memory, which was proven false. Studies show that goldfish have a memory span of at least three months and can identify between various shapes, colors, and sounds.
- They also have strong associative learning abilities, including social learning skills. Their strong visual acuity lets them differentiate their owners and other humans with food, sometimes “begging” for food whenever their owners go near them. Auditory responses from a blind goldfish proved that it can distinguish one family member and a friend by voice, or vibration of sound.
- They also show a variety of social behaviors. When new fish are placed in the tank, aggressive social behaviors may sometimes take place, such as chasing the new fish, or fin nipping. Those fish that have been living together sometimes show schooling and feeding behaviors.
- Goldfish, like other fish kept as pets, dislike being petted. Touching a goldfish can be dangerous to its heath, causing the protective slime coat to be destroyed or removed.
LIFE CYCLE AND REPRODUCTION
- Just like all cyprinids, goldfish produce adhesive eggs fastened to aquatic vegetation. These eggs hatch within two to three days, releasing fry big enough to be described as “an eyelash with two eyeballs”.
- WIthin a week, the fry start to take the shape of a goldfish, although it can take as much as a year before they mature; until then, they are covered with metallic brown scales. In their first few weeks after hatching, the fry grow quickly, an adaptation born of the high risk of getting eaten by the adult goldfish in their habitat.
- Most goldfish will breed if left to themselves, especially in ponds. Males run after females, bumping and nudging them to allow females to release their eggs, which the males will fertilize.
- Some scientists assume goldfish can only be sexually mature if provided with enough water and right nutrients. If kept well, they may also be bred indoors. Breeding usually takes place after a critical change in temperature, often in spring. In aquariums, eggs should be placed in another tank, as the parents will most likely feed on their young. Dense plants like Cabomba or Elodea or a spawning mop are used to hold their eggs.
- Similar to other aquarium fish, like guppies, goldfish and other carp are usually moved to stagnant bodies of water to lessen the mosquito populations, preventing the spread of West Nile Virus, which depends on mosquitoes to migrate.
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the goldfish across 21 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Goldfish worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the goldfish (Carassius auratus) which is a freshwater fish in the family Cyprinidae under the order Cypriniformes. Ubiquitous in nature and seen as a symbol of luck and fortune, the goldfish was domesticated years ago for ornamental use in ponds and tanks.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Goldfish Facts
- Good Day Goldfish
- Label a Goldfish
- Think Tank
- Spectrum of Colors
- There’s More Than You Know
- Gold and Koi
- Fishy Questions
- As Pets
- Goldfish Life Cycle
- Economic Importance
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Link will appear as Goldfish Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, January 4, 2021
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.