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freshwater fish, genus Carassius, of the family Cyprinidae, popular in aquariums and ponds. Native to China, it was first domesticated centuries ago from the wild form, an olive-colored carplike fish up to 16 in. (40 cm) long. It reverts to this type when it escapes from domestication and has been known to hybridize with the carpcarp,
hardy freshwater fish, Cyprinus carpio, the largest member of the minnow family; it is also known as the common carp. A native of Black, Caspian, and Aral sea basins of Eurasia, the carp has been introduced widely elsewhere in the world and has become so well
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. Breeders have developed bizarre varieties with fan, fringe, or veil tails and sometimes with double or triple fins. Some have bulging "telescope" eyes. The majority of those bred commercially are known as scaled goldfish and have a metallic sheen of red, gold, white, silver, or black. The rarer forms, which are called scaleless, actually have transparent scales and appear in bright red, blue, shades of purple, and calico patterns. Marketed goldfish range in length from 1 to 4 in. (2.5–10 cm). In pools, they are beneficial as well as ornamental, since they feed on mosquito larvae; however, their carplike feeding habits make them a nuisance in lakes and streams. Goldfish are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Actinopterygii, order Cypriniformes, family Cyprinidae.



the domesticated form of the silver carass (Carassius auratus) and common aquarium fish. The first mention of goldfish breeding in China dates from the tenth to the 12th centuries; in 1611 it was brought to Portugal and later to England. In Japan the goldfish was first bred in the 16th century, and it appeared in Russia at the end of the 17th century. Selection by mutation and hybridization have produced a large number of breeds with attractive coloration, long fins, and protruding eyes, including the comet, shubunkin, veiltail, telescope, stargazer, lionhead, oranda, and pearl. When kept under proper conditions, goldfish reach sexual maturity in their second year; during spawning the female lays up to 2,000–3,000 eggs. The fish can live from 15 to 35 years in an aquarium. The goldfish feeds on moths, daphnids, shredded meat, earthworms, and various cereals and bread.


Molchanov, A. V. Akvarium liubitelia, 4th ed. Moscow, 1948.
Il’in, M. N.Akvariumnoe rybovodstvo. Moscow, 1965.



(vertebrate zoology)
Crassius auratus. An orange cypriniform fish of the family Cyprinidae that can grow to over 18 inches (46 centimeters); closely related to the carps.


1. a freshwater cyprinid fish, Carassius auratus, of E Europe and Asia, esp China, widely introduced as a pond or aquarium fish. It resembles the carp and has a typically golden or orange-red coloration
2. any of certain similar ornamental fishes, esp the golden orfe (see orfe)
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