Goldfish are the domesticated Asiatic subspecies of Carassius auratus, the gibel carp, a species that naturally shows a wide range of morphological variation when raised in different environments. In its native China it inhabits rivers, streams, ponds, lakes and ditches, living in running, still and even stagnant water from 10°C to 32°C, growing to about 30 cm in length and 2.5 kg in weight within 2-3 years and living for about 10 years. It is a delicious food fish! It crosses readily with any ornamental or fsncy goldfish, producing viable offspring.
Fancy goldfish is quite often a reslut of cross and special breeding.
There are either two or three types of pigment cells in goldfish:
The presence or absence of these pigment cells in different combinations, together with variations in the chemical composition of the pigments and the location of the pigments, gives the following range of colours:
Colour types in goldfish
All goldfish are born with one of three colour types: wild type, bronze or pink (albino). The pinks and bronzes are culled by selective breeders, and the wild type colouration slowly changes (as melanophores are gradually lost) from black/grey to the adult, ornamental colourationof fancy goldfish.
Ornamental colour groups
There are two ornamental colour groups in goldfish:
A balance of colours and reflective properties with an overall blue background is regarded as the ideal calico combination, and has a special term: shubunkin (which means red brocade in Japanese, the name coming from the overall red-on-blue colour pattern Common fancy goldfish).