Hello and welcome again to another exciting edition of Fish of the Week. This one has been requested by James Crosse, a work colleague of mine. Personally I think it’s a challenge to find something interesting and different about what appears to be a bland and mundane fish which I’m sure he wishes me to fail. Well my friend…challenge accepted.
Like many of the good things in life Goldfish were originally ‘made in China.’ Various species of carp (Prussian carp) were domesticated of eating fish. As time progressed however, it became more popular to put them into ornamental ponds and water gardens. Natural genetic mutations meant that some fish developed a golden colour which was favoured and consequently bred to produce more gold beauties.
During the Song Dynasty (960-1279) it was forbidden for anyone outside the Imperial family to own golden fish since yellow was the Imperial colour. This is probably why there are more orange fish compared to the rarer yellow goldfish. Different species arose to good old fashioned selective breeding which produced the popular fancy tailed goldfish which was first recorded in 1603 (Ming dynasty).
Now let me get a few things straight and try and restore some dignity to the ‘stupid, forgetful and downright gormless creatures’ as quoted by my Dad.
Firstly, Goldfish have pretty good memories (3 months or equal to mine) and possess strong associative and social learning skills. They have a memory powerful enough to distinguish human faces from each other displayed by recognising the owner and swimming against the glass in a ‘begging’ motion mouthing for food. If treated badly by a person a goldfish will shirk away from them a hide.Cute 😀 I’ve also been informed that some species of goldfish are sensitive about comments concerning their ‘huge, bulging, hideous eyes which jut like gelatinous boils from their gormless bodies’. Another thing I’ve discovered is my fathers burning hatred of goldfish…
Goldfish are saving lives. Fact. Along with other popular aquarium species such as guppies, they are added to stagnant bodies of water to help stop the spread of not only malaria but additionally West Nile Virus by eating up those pesky mosquitoes. Nom nom nom.
So be thankful for the humble goldfish, treat him right and not only will he be a loyal friend but an ally against disease. Dog who?