Did you have a Goldfish as a ‘pet’ when you were a kid? Raise your hand if you did. Yes, I see lots of hands raised. If your Goldfish lived more than a week, raise your hand. Not so many hands that time. As a rule, Goldfish don’t live very long for two reasons, either they don’t get fed or they get overfed. You probably know that already. But here are 13 things you may not know about Goldfish:
#1: The Chinese have been breeding Goldfish for over a thousand years.
#2: Goldfish were introduced to America late in the 1900’s.
#3: Goldfish and Koi are both members of the Carp family. Can you tell one from the other? Koi have barbels around their mouth. A barbel, from the Latin word barba meaning beard, is an organ similar to a whisker. Goldfish do not have barbels.
#4: Goldfish come in more than one color. There are gold, of course, as well as red, blue, brown and combinations of those colors.
#5: Goldfish can live inside in a fish bowl or tank, as well as outside in a pond.
#6: There are at least twenty different types of Goldfish. The most common Goldfish, is called the ‘Common Goldfish’, which is a hardy specimen. It can grow to be ten inches in length when it lives in a large enough bowl. It can live for 10 years.
#7: The ‘Calico Goldfish’ shows a mixture of transparent and metallic scales which gives them an overall pearl-like appearance.
#8: The ‘Black Moor Goldfish’ is black, as the name implies, and looks like black velvet but with a silver belly. His eyes are protruding, but his eyesight is not very good and should not live in an outdoor pond. When well taken care of, this specimen can live to be 20 years old.
#9: The ‘Lionhead Goldfish’ originated in China and was then introduced to Japan. They have short bodies with no dorsal fins and do not look much like what we know as a Goldfish. Since they don’t swim fast, they should only be housed with other slow swimming Goldfish.
#10: As of 2008 the largest Goldfish in the world measured 19 inches long and lived in the Netherlands.
#11: Goldfish have a 3-month memory span.
#12: Goldfish can distinguish between different shapes, different colors as well as different sounds.
#13: Goldfish are edible. The only time Goldfish were eaten was during fraternity stunts. The first recorded stunt of Goldfish eating was at Harvard University. To read more about that old time fraternity stunt, click here.
Don’t you feel smarter now? I do after reading 13 things you may not know about Goldfish. If your kids want a pet, but for the time being a cat or dog aren’t good choices, get them a gold fish or two. They look pretty, they are smarter than we thought and it will give the kids a heads-up in becoming a responsible pet owner.