Where do goldfish come from?

Goldfish as we know them do not exist anywhere in the wild state. They are a product of long years of selective breeding. The wild fish from which goldfish were developed belong to the carp family and are still numerous in the streams of China. They do not naturally have the golden hue, but are dark in color, much like ordinary carp,’although the species tends toward albinism. Centuries ago the Chinese fish culturists interbred light-colored specimens and produced many beautiful varieties. Fanciers further induced and strengthened the golden and silvery colors by regulating the quantity of minerals-in the water. The bright colors in goldfish are not very stable. They change readily. Often scarlet specimens turn silver, silver ones turn black, and black ones turn gold, etc. When goldfish are restored to a natural environment they often revert to the original dark color after a few generations. Goldfish kept in darkness for several years will turn white and become totally blind. Ordinary goldfish may live in a bowl as long as twenty-five or thirty years. In the Orient specimens have been known to live seventy years. Their longevity is accounted for by the fact that they are members of the carp family, which is noted for its long-lived species. The size to which a goldfish will grow is determined to some extent by the size of the bowl in which it is kept. Goldfish are very sensitive to the condition of the water in which they live. During the First World War it was discovered that goldfish had a practical use m determining what kind of gas the enemy had used in chemical warfare attacks. It is supposed that goldfish were first introduced into England in 1691. Some of the first specimens sent to France [494] were presented to Mme. de Pompadour, mistress of Louis XV. Goldfish are now produced in large commercial aquariums. A 150 acre hatchery near Frederick, Maryland, normally produces five million goldfish a year. For centuries it has been an annual custom for the city officials of Grammont in Belgium to swallow live goldfish. In 1939, just before the outbreak of the Second World War, eating goldfish alive was a fad among American college students.