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Goldfish Characteristics

Discussion in 'Goldfish, Koi, Pond Fish' started by cooltow1, Aug 11, 2009.

  1. cooltow1

    cooltow1 Thread Starter Member

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    Basic Goldfish Characteristics
    1. Scalation – Three basic types of scalation occur in goldfish: metallic,
    matte, and nacreous.
    a. Metallic – Has a shiny, reflective appearance, much like a metal
    object, hence the name metallic. The shiny appearance is caused
    by the presence of guanine in the scale.
    b. Matte – Scales which lack the reflective guanine layer, leading to a
    dull or non-reflective appearance.
    c. Nacreous – A scale type which combines characteristics of the
    metallic and matte scale patterns, often in random proportions,
    causing a mixture of reflective and non-reflective scales on a fish.
    2. Colors – Goldfish come in a number of distinct colors, including
    combinations of colors. Common goldfish colors include the following:
    red, orange, white, black, blue, chocolate brown, yellow, red and white,
    black and red, black red and white, calico (a combination of colors usually
    including red, white, black and blue).
    3. Eyes – Goldfish have several different eye-types, as follows:
    a. Normal eye types
    b. Telescope eyes – eyes which are mounted atop a cone-shaped
    protrusion on either side of the head.
    c. Celestial eyes – Similar to a telescope-eyed goldfish, but the eyes
    are pointing upward at the end of the “telescope” feature
    d. Bubble Eyes – the eyes of a bubble-eyed goldfish are actually
    considered of the normal type. The distinguishing feature of this
    fish is the large, fluid-filled sack which forms on each side of the
    face, directly underneath the eye of the fish.
    4. Tail types – Goldfish have a great deal of variation in the caudal or tail fin,
    as outlined below.
    a. Single tail – The most common form of tail type, which is
    moderately forked, and rounded at the edges.
    b. Comet tail – longer than the single tail variety (about 2 – 3 times
    longer), with a marked forking, and pointed tail tips.
    c. Shubunkin tail type (primarily in the Bristol Shubunkin) – a long
    tail, similar in size to the comet tail type, but having rounded tail
    edges, which tend to flare out the at tail edge, causing the tail to
    look more full than that of the comet.
    d. Double tail – a tail which has two distinct components or lobes, and
    which is not joined along 2/rd3s of its length, and which has
    rounded tail edges. The size of the double tail can range from
    2/3rds the length of the body to double the length of the body,
    depending on the goldfish variety.
    e. Lionhead or Ranchu tail – Similar to the double tail, but forking is
    permissible. Generally speaking the double tail of the Ranchu or
    Lionhead is ¼ to 3/8 the length of the body.
    f. Tosakin tail a variation on the double tail, where the tail is not only
    joined, but is rounded at the edges, producing a curlicue-type
    appearance in the tail of the fish.
    g. Jikin tail – Similar in appearance to the Rancho or Lionhead tail, but
    forming an “X” shape when looked at from behind, due to the
    angle at which the tail is joined to the caudal peduncle.
    h. Veiltail – A modification of the double tail variety, whereby the tail
    is 2-1/2 to 3 times the body length of the fish, and where the
    forking is non-existent, producing a tail with a straight edge, hence
    the name “veil” tail.
    5. Head Growth – Some varieties of goldfish, including the Oranda,
    Lionhead, and Ranchu have a growth on the head known as a “wen.” This
    growth looks like a raspberry, and causes a distinct appearance, similar to
    a lion’s mane, when viewed on the fish. Several varieties of head growth
    are recognized.
    a. Goose head – growth limited primarily to the top of the head, with
    little or no “wen” occurring on the cheeks or opercula.
    b. Tiger head – head growth which appears on the top of the head
    and on the cheeks of the fish.
    c. Lionhead – Full head growth, which appears on the top of the
    head, cheeks, and opercula.
    6. Dorsal fin characteristics – the fin located on the back of the fish is known
    as the dorsal fin. In some varieties (Ranchu, Lionhead, Celestial, and
    Bubbleye), the dorsal fin is not present. The dorsal-less varieties can be
    further sub-divided into the Ranchu and Lionhead type of back profile.
    a. In the Ranchu type back profile, the back is gently arched, until it
    reaches the caudal peduncle, when it sharply angles downward and
    meets the tail at a 45 degree angle.
    b. In the Lionhead type back profile (which is also shared with the
    Celestial and Bubbleye), the back is much straighter than that of
    the Ranchu, and joins the tail at an angle that is much less severe
    than in the Ranchu-type tail.
    7. Other growth characteristics of goldfish. Goldfish have been selectively
    bred for growth characteristics over the centuries. A partial listing of
    these characteristics appears below.
    a. Narial bouquets – a tuft-like series of growth appearing on the
    narial area (nose) of the fish, which in fully developed specimens
    resembles a cheerleader’s pom-pom.
    b. Pearlscale – an encrustation on each scale of the fish, causing the
    scale to appear to have a miniature dome in the center. In the
    best specimens, the pearling occurs over the body of the fish, and
    wraps around the entire fish completely.
    c. Out-turned operculum – a fish with the gill-plates turned-over, so
    that the gills are revealed.
    8. Body shape characteristics – Body shape characteristics are varied among
    goldfish types, and are difficult to succinctly categorize, since body shapes
    can vary within the same variety (as an example, and Oranda may have a
    fantail or Veiltail body conformation).
    a. Streamlined body shape – this shape is found on the common
    goldfish, Shubunkin, and Comet varieties. It is the basic torpedo
    shape common to most types of fish.
    b. Fantail shape – This body shape is more egg-like, and produces a
    rounded profile in the fish. This body type is commonly seen in the
    fantail, some varieties of telescope, some Oranda bodies (especially
    on the Red Cap), some Pearlscales, and on the celestial and
    c. Veiltail body type – this body type is similar to that of the Ryukin,
    without the hump on the back. It is more rounded than that of the
    fantail, and the body depth is approximately ¼ to 1/3 deeper than
    that of the traditional fantail. This body type is found on some
    Telescopes, some Orandas, Pearlscale, Veiltails, and some ribbon
    d. Lionhead or Ranchu body type – A very rounded body type, with a
    depth that is ¼ to 1/3 greater than that of the Veiltail variety. The
    body appears chunky. Especially in the area of the caudal peduncle,
    which does not flare out to meet the tail as on most fish, but looks
    more like a part of the body.