4 facts about goldfish that you might not know

The goldfish which originated in China are seen as creators of prosperity in Chinese fengshui tradition. Goldfish are called “jin yu” in Chinese. The first character (“jin”) means gold and the second (“yu”) has the same sound as the character for abundance.


Scientific name:Carassius auratusAnimal type: Fish

Diet: Omnivorous. Wild goldfish eats crustaceans, insects, and various plants.

Size: to 15 centimetres when kept in small fish tanks; to 35 cm in the wild

Here are four curious facts about the goldfish:

  1. Goldfish are the oldest pet fish

The goldfish have the longest recorded history as ornamental fish. The first gold fish was recorded in China in the Qin dynasty (265 to 420 AD). By Tang Dynasty (618-907), goldfish were popular pets. They were first kept in outdoor ponds but eventually moved to bowls displayed indoor during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

There was a period in time the Song Dynasty (960 to 1279) when those who didn’t have royal blood were forbidden from keeping yellow goldfish since the colour was an imperial colour. That’s also why we see more orange goldfish now despite yellow goldfish being easier to breed.

  1. Goldfish were not originally gold

Wild goldfish are olive green in colour. Due to a natural genetic mutation, some of the fish turn out to be red, orange or yellow. People started breeding the colourful version instead of the duller version.



  1. Goldfish shouldn’t live in fishbowl

You’re probably familiar with the image of a solo goldfish in a fishbowl. Actually, a fishbowl is a bad environment for the fish. Goldfish need a lot of space to grow as they can reach up to 40cm.

A small goldfish bowl without filter can cause ammonia poisoning as the goldfish’s waste is circulated inside the bowl. The small surface area of a fishbowl leads to the lack of oxygen which causes the fish to gasp for air at the surface.

Goldfish are active and sociable, it’s best to have at least two goldfish in the same tank, preferably a tank that’s at least 2 metres long.



  1. Goldfish are quite smart

There’s a myth that goldfish only have 3-second memory and swimming a lap in the fishbowl (not recommended as noted in Fact #3) feels like the first time for them each time.

Many experiments debunk this myth. Mythbusters proved that the goldfish can recognize colour patterns even remember how to complete an obstacle course for over a month.

Music is another area that the goldfish has talent in. Not only can the goldfish distinguish between classical music and blues music (wonder how that sounds like underwater), it can also know the difference between works of composers Johann Sebastian Bach and Igor Stravinsky. Talk about musically inclined pets.


There you have it, four fun facts about the goldfish.

S.E.A. Aquarium is celebrating the 2016 Lunar New Year with the Gong Sea Fa Cai programme from 23 January to 22 February 2016. You’ll find goldfish displayed on the Trail of Fortune.

S.E.A. Aquarium promotions


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