Guest Author - D. J. Herda
Of all of the flat-bodied goldfish, the Common Goldfish is considered the hardiest. With its long, sleek body, it remains closest to its wild carp cousin. he fish are fast swimmers and extremely competitive when it comes to feeding. As young fry, they tend to be a dull blue-gray in color, turning to a metallic orange as they mature.
Of the hundreds of different varieties of goldfish, the only one developed in the United States is the Comet. It features longer flowing fins and tail and a more streamlined body than its Common cousin; yet, it retains the hardiness for which goldfish are known. The Comet is also an aggressive swimmer and feeder.
Shubunkins, both the Bristol and the London variety, are a variation in color on the Common goldfish. They are distinguishable by their nacreous scales. These fish are bred for their beautiful patches of red, orange, yellow, sky blue, violet, brown, or black, often scattered across a field of blue.
Wakins are the common goldfish of Japan. They are similar in conformation to the Common Goldfish except that they have a double tail fin. Nevertheless, Wakins swim fast enough to be kept with single-tailed fish.
A very old race of goldfish, the Jikin, also called the peacock tail or butterfly tail, is as pleasing to view from above as it is to view from the side. The color on the fins is solid red astride a solid white body.
Round-bodied (sometimes called egg-shaped) goldfish can be found in an unbelievable variety of different tail lengths and sizes, body shapes, eye types, and head shapes.
Ryukins are round-bodied fish with a highly developed shoulder hump. Hardy and colorful, they make good fish for beginning fish keepers. The Ryukin is known in Japan as “Onaga,” which means long-tailed. Telescope-eyed Ryukins are commonly called Demekins. They should not be mixed with flat-bodied fish because of their passive nature.
Graceful Veiltails are among the most beautiful of all goldfish. They feature flowing, square-cut double tails along with delicate dorsal fins. Veiltails are difficult to keep, requiring special care that is best suited to experienced hobbyists.
Many breeds of goldfish, including Orandas, Telescopes, Moors, and Pearlscales, owe their own dramatic finnage to the Veiltail. The Veiltail is one of the hardest fancy goldfish to breed true to type. It is nonetheless one of the most graceful and ornamental fish well deserving of its popularity among water gardeners.
Many goldfish enthusiasts consider Orandas their favorites. Their full bodies, flowing fins, rounded head growth, and inquisitive nature add up to an unusual and appealing fish. They require exceptionally clean water to keep their head growth and fins in good condition.
Perhaps no other round-bodied goldfish are as eye-catching as the Pearlscale. Their overly plump bodies and distinctive scales are well worth a second look. Good quality Pearlscales feature a hard raised area, usually white, in the center of each scale. The Pearlscale’s tail is square-cut, similar to a Veiltail’s, but considerably shorter.
Ranchus and Lionheads are two very popular dorsal-less breeds of goldfish. They are similar in appearance in many ways, both missing dorsal fins and having elaborate head growth. They differ in that the Ranchu’s back displays a sharp downward angle near its double tail. The Lionhead’s back is straighter, although it curves down slightly toward its butterfly tail. The Lionhead’s head growth differs from that of the Oranda in that it covers the entire face, whereas the Oranda's is limited to the top of its head.
Celestials, according to Chinese legend, were the jewel of one particular emperor because its gaze was constantly upward toward the heavens...and, of course, the emperor. Celestials’ upturned eyes are encased in a hard covering. Because of their conformation, they eat only floating food and must be mates only with similarly docile fish.