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Location: Water Life

Goldfish (Carassius auratus)



Goldfish (Carassius auratus)
Order: Cypriniformes, Family: Cyprinidae

Although goldfishes originated in China, they have now spread worldwide in aquariums, ornamental pools, and into the wild. In the wild, goldfish can be found in slow-moving, freshwater bodies of water. As with their close relative the carp, they thrive in slightly murky water. In captivity, an aquarium with live plants and a dirt bottom is ideal. Bi-weekly water changes are a good idea as a goldfish tank is hard to keep clean. Live plants must be replaced fairly regularly; goldfish enjoy eating them. Small pebbles are a suitable substitute for the pond-like bottom. Typically, goldfish will survive in water temperatures ranging from freezing to 30 degrees centegrade. Goldfish prefer a pH range of 6.5-8.5.



I. GEOGRAPHIC RANGE
  • Although goldfishes originated in China, they have now spread worldwide in aquariums, ornamental pools, and into the wild.
  • In the wild, goldfish can be found in slow-moving, freshwater bodies of water. As with their close relative the carp, they thrive in slightly murky water. In captivity, an aquarium with live plants and a dirt bottom is ideal. Bi-weekly water changes are a good idea as a goldfish tank is hard to keep clean. Live plants must be replaced fairly regularly; goldfish enjoy eating them. Small pebbles are a suitable substitute for the pond-like bottom. Typically, goldfish will survive in water temperatures ranging from freezing to 30 degrees centegrade. Goldfish prefer a pH range of 6.5-8.5.
II. PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS
  • Mass: Up to 6.6 lb (3 kg)
  • Length: Up to 16.1 in (41 cm)
  • As there are over a hundred varieties of goldfish, coloration and physical characteristics vary greatly. The common goldfish has two sets of paired fins the pectoral fins and pelvic fins, and three single fins the dorsal, caudal, and anal fin. The head lacks scales. Goldfish have very large eyes and acute senses of smell and hearing. Instead of true teeth, goldfish have teeth in their throats which they use to crush food.
  • Some key physical features are: sexes alike.
III. FOOD HABITS
  • In the wild, goldfish are omnivores. They eat plants, insects such as mosquito larvae, small crustaceans, zooplankton, and detritus (dead plant and animal matter found on the bottom).
  • In captivity, goldfish are commonly fed dried flake or pellet food. Good diet supplements include freeze dried Tubifex worms, mosquito larva, bloodworms, Daphnia, brineshrimp, and vegetation such as boiled peas and lettuce.
  • Eating habits: carnivore (eats birds, mammals, aphibians, or reptiles), eats non-insect invertebrates, herbivore, omnivore (eats plants and animals)
IV. REPRODUCTION
  • Goldfish usually mature in their second year but this varies with diet, water temperature, and other environmental influences. In the wild, breeding occurs during the summer; breeding can occur year round in indoor aquariums. Mature female goldfish will become rounder during breeding; males develop small bumps on their heads, gill covers, and pectoral fins. Males chase the females for several days before spawning occurs. Females can produce several thousand eggs per spawning period up to several times every 8 to 10 days. Goldfish eggs hatch in about 4-5 days at 18-20 degrees centigrade (64-68 degrees F).
  • Key reproductive features are: iteroparous, seasonal breeding, fertilization, external, oviparous
  • Parental care: no parental care
V. BEHAVIOR
  • In the wild, goldfish often travel in schools. They are not particularly aggressive fish.
  • Key behaviors: able to move around, lives mainly in a group
VI. HABITAT
  • These animals are found in the following types of habitat: temperate, freshwater
  • Aquatic Biomes: lake, river
VII. ECONOMIC IMPORTANCE FOR HUMANS
  • Positive
    Goldfish farming has become an industry of notable size. Millions of fish are bred each year and sold to aquarium shops for resale to fish enthusiasts. In North America there is a demand for goldfish to be used as bait by anglers. Pet shops often have feeder goldfish to sell to owners of carnivorous aquarium fish. Introduced populations are due primarily to people releasing their pets into local waterways.
  • Negative
    Goldfish should not be released into ponds in the wild because they breed quickly and are capable of crowding out native fish species. They are considered pests in most places where they have been introduced.
VIII. CONSERVATION
  • Goldfish are quite abundant.
IX. OTHER COMMENTS
  • Just about anything that eats fish would eat goldfish.
  • Predators: Great blue heron, green heron, ring-billed gulls, kingfishers, turtles, game fish such as walleye
  • Lifespan: Although there is one report of a pet goldfish who lived 43 years, 25 years is a more reasonable maximum lifespan for a goldfish kept in a pond. In an aquarium, ten years is more likely. In the wild, lifespan is undoubtedly less.
  • Goldfish and common carp can hybridize.



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