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You can't tell your goldfish without a scorecard

Updated on August 15, 2015
Red cap orando goldfish
Red cap orando goldfish

It all started out with a rather drab, olive colored fish called the crucian carp. Centuries ago, Asian hobbyists would keep them as pets and notice once in a while an individual fish would appear with an unusual splash of bright color, or oddly shaped fin.

Through diligent breeding, this very ordinary fish exploded into a variety of breeds in many different colors and shapes - so many that the uninitiated often think they're looking at several different species. Following are some of the more commonly seen goldfish varieties.

Comets are typically fish shaped, but in bright orange, white or other colors and are the best suited type of goldfish for outdoor ponds.

Fantails have short, chunky bodies and long, flowing double tails. they're the type most usually kept in fish bowls (Which really are not ideal habitats for any fish).

Calicoes, as the name implies, sport a patchwork variety of coloration, including orange, white, blue and black. Comets and fantails can come in calico as can many other goldfish types.

Black moors are all black, with bulging "telescope" eyes and fantails. Telescope eyes can also come in orange, calico or an all white variety known as China dolls.

Celestial eyes also have eyes that bug out, but point upward; originally developed by Asian mionks so they would be forever gazing heavenward.

Bubble eyes (what's with this fascination with eyes?) have waterwing-like sacks under each eye. Care must be taken that there are no sharp objects in their habitat.

- Orandos are fantails with a Klingon-like growth on the top of their heads.

- Lionheads are also fantails, but lacking a dorsal fin. Like orandos, they have a warty growth but it covers the entire head.

Finally, a poem by an author apparently unknown to the Internet:

Goldfish

Consider the goldfish, a household pet.

You have nothing to do but keep him wet.

His bearing is mild, his manners are neat,

His face is clean and his breath is sweet.

He doesn`t bark or scratch or sting

Or sneak out at night in search of a fling.

He doesn`t shed feathers, or fur or hairs

All over your sofa, carpet or chairs.

You`ll never find him underfoot,

Wherever you put him, he`ll always stay put.

He asks for little, here below.

Just food to eat and room to grow.

If either of these is long denied,

When you look in his bowl

He`ll have quietly died.

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