What do you do when you really wish to have a pet, but due to some reason or the other, getting a dog or a cat is not an option? The easiest alternative is to get some fish. A dog or a cat requires a certain amount of space, commitment and a lot of time and investment. People might even possibly be allergic to them. Also, more often than not, your guests may not be particularly comfortable with a dog or a cat in the house. Somehow, most guests find the quiet and peace of fish in a fish tank endearing. And in terms of commitment, all that a fish needs is some food, comfortably sized fish tank and a little bit of love and you are good to go. But at the same time, one needs to ensure that their fish tank is cleaned regularly and they are well fed even if the owner is away. To ensure good health, one can also feed them vet-approved medicines.
The most famous, easily available and loved species among fish is the Goldfish. Its small in size and beautiful to look at, hence earning that name. It was one of the earliest fish to be domesticated, and most commonly kept aquarium fish. It was first domesticated in China, thousands of years ago with various other species of the carp family. It was originally reared as food fish, but slowly gained favor as a pet. Some of these normally were gray or silver in color, but produced mutations in red, yellow or orange. This mutation was first noticed during the Jin Dynasty (265-420). With time, the breed was then introduced in Japan, Portugal and subsequently to other parts of the world where it quickly became popular. There are many different varieties of domesticated goldfish, but due to their bright colors and long fins, they are likely to perish in the wild. Common and comet goldfish can survive and breed in any climate that can support a pond.
Goldfish are usually small and can survive in small tanks but they can grow fairly large. Goldfish as big as 19 inches have been recorded. A 15 inch goldfish in England was known to weigh 2 pounds. This being a pet fish, it is believed that there are several fish in ornamental lakes that could possibly be much larger in size. A fish was caught in a pond in England 16inches long and weighing 5 pounds. It was assumed that it was probably abandoned as it outgrew its tank. In the wild, goldfish usually feed on crustaceans, insects and plant matter. They can’t willingly stop eating, which can cause damage their intestines. Overfeeding can be diagnosed by excessive waste and faeces produced. Compared to typical fish food, goldfish-specific food has less protein and more carbohydrates. Shelled peas, blanched green vegetables, blood-worms and brine shrimp are a favorite, but goldfish preference vary similar to all other animals. Goldfish have the capacity to distinguish between 4 primary colors-red green blue and ultraviolet, thus making their vision the most widely studied amongst all fish visions.
There are over 300 breeds of goldfish available in China currently, almost all of which have originated there. These breeds have differences in their color, body shapes, and fin and eye configurations. Some extreme versions can thrive only in aquariums and are far removed from their wild counterparts. Goldfish exist in colors like, orange, yellow, silver, black and several combinations of these. The Chinese classify goldfish based on their features. Ce goldfish lack fancy anatomical features. Wen have a fancy tail. Dragon Eye have extended eyes, and Egg have an egg shaped body with no dorsal fin. Goldfish reproduce only when there is enough water, right nutrition and the right temperature. Goldfish are egg layers that typically hatch within 48 to 72 hours. The newborns can take almost a year to develop a mature goldfish color. Some highly bred goldfish can no longer breed due to their altered shape, and hence require artificial breeding, that, if done incorrectly can harm the fish.
Goldfish are some of the most intelligent fish. They have strong associative abilities and social learning skills. Due to their visual acuity they can distinguish between individual humans. They are joyful when they spot their owners, or a known face, but hide and shy away from others. Goldfish rarely harm each other, although they can be extremely competitive when it comes to food. They have a memory span of 3 months. By using positive reinforcement, they can be trained to react to visual stimuli or to perform tricks. They are just as friendly and make a good companion as most pets. Goldfish have a tendency to generate a lot of waste, in the form of faeces and also from their gills. This creates a toxic environment in the fish tank, if it is not cleaned frequently. Certain laws are in place that restrict having goldfish in a fish bowl. This is considering the constricted space available for movement and the dangers of a toxic environment. Ideally a cleaning mechanism should be employed in the fish tank to ensure optimum measures.
Another reason why people prefer having goldfish as pets is its value in terms of feng shui. Feng shui is an ancient art of good living. Goldfish are said to bring good luck in the house. In fact according to certain customs a husband gifted his wife a goldfish on successful completion of one year of marriage. In fact, placing just a model or image of a goldfish in the house is said to bring good luck in the house. More often than not, it has been noticed that fish don’t last very long. In spite of their short lifetime, they bring us joy the whole time. No wonder, they are loved by all.