Goldfish -- Direct from the Orient
Pet World Visit
for Everybody. Fish keepers frequently enter the hobby by starting
with the economical U.S. goldfishes -- maybe even a free one they won at
the state fair. They
move up to
tropicals and then evolve to the oriental goldfishes --a level that most
hobbyists cannot afford to attain.
You Pay for Quality. Freight from these far-away Asian countries costs considerably more, of course. However, your biggest expense revolves around the culling process. Goldfishes spawn thousands of eggs at a time. Unfortunately, even the purest of purebreds produce relatively small percentages of offspring that are true to type -- at least for us. Oriental goldfish breeders reduce their crop by as much as 90-99% in the culling process.
Notes on Culling. Mature adults spawn readily. In fact, we often have (unwanted) spawns of the larger imported varieties at Aqualand. Of the thousands of fry that were spawned, we never raised one adult that conformed to breed standards. Still, if they spawned tomorrow, we'd probably try to raise them again.
You Pay for Size. Small oriental goldfish cost a fraction of the price of mature adults. It costs much more to raise a goldfish to adult size than to sell it as a youngster. Unfortunately, as they grow, fewer and fewer of the youngsters continue to conform to breed standards. In the Orient, they join their brothers and sisters who were culled out earlier. They send them here.
Notes on Size. You can crowd goldfishes considerably. They are among some of the hardiest fishes. However, if you want yours to grow to their full potential, give them plenty of elbow room.
You Pay for Development. Finnage and hoods (in the Lionheads and Orandas) continue to develop for years. In the very best strains, the hoods start appearing at around a year or so. When you buy a small one, you never know exactly what it will grow into. We now see hoods on them much earlier.
Comments on Hoods. The Japanese have developed goldfish husbandry beyond science -- to more of an aquatic art. They now produce foods that contain enzymes that encourage growth of the hoods. Is this magic or what? They started with a Lionhead food (long a Japanese favorite) and now offer a food for Orandas (the U.S. favorite). We suspect the main difference is the packaging. And that white stuff you see on their hoods -- hood jam -- its harmless. Ignore it. Its like toe jam.
You Pay for Color. Certain color strains cost more than others. Very intense colored specimens cost the most. Oddly enough, we rarely see the best reds. Few Americans are willing to spend the extra dollars necessary to acquire them. Probably because we cant tell the difference.
Notes on Color. Sunlight greatly enhances the color of all goldfish varieties. They show off like living jewels in patio pools. Whiskey barrels sawed in half, fiberglass ponds, pond liners, and even rubber stock-watering tanks make these outdoor miniature water gardens accessible to everyone. Add a water plant and frame it with a couple of taller plants. These mini-ponds make very nice additions to any outdoor area. Avoid full sun. One serious drawback: Raccoons (very thick in our area) love goldfishes as much or more than you do. They work at night and are nearly unstoppable fish catchers. Many goldfish will swim right up to the raccoons to find out, Whats for dinner.
Another Note on Color. If you want the best colors, feed your goldfish the best foods -- and feed them a variety. Look for color foods, foods that contain shrimp, foods based on spirulina, and special goldfish foods. Never feed your oriental goldfish an okay food, unless you want okay results. Bring out their best colors by feeding the right foods and feeding a varied diet.
Specialize in Goldfish. Fancy goldfish do best when kept by themselves. Avoid ornaments with sharp corners or scratchy surfaces. Though not particularly difficult to keep, they are more susceptible to injuries than other fishes. Leave out livebearers especially. Those innocent-looking little guppies, moons, mollies, and swordtails constantly pick, pick, pick at goldfishes. They either enjoy eating their slime covering or they just like to watch them jump.
Decorate for Goldfish. Goldfish really stand out when swimming in tanks with darker colors. Dark gravel and dark backgrounds make them literally pop out at you. And always use the special fluorescent bulbs designed for aquaria -- not the cheapie garage fluorescent bulbs. Aquarium bulbs definitely bring out their red colors.
Last Words. Dont crowd them, keep their water clean, and theyll live for years--as long as 10 years. When you see fine oriental goldfish kept properly, you can easily see why they are so highly regarded in Asian countries. You cant beat oriental goldfish for good looks and ease of keeping. LA
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