In aquaria, there are many fish considered staples but none more so than the group of fish we’ll be taking a look at today. These fish have been bred and kept for more than a thousand years and are one of the most common aquarium fish to this day. These are the fish known simply as goldfish to us, but also come in shades of copper and silver, as well as other names in Eorzea.
Goldfish, scientific name Carassius auratus, are actually a species of carp with various subspecies around East Asia. They were first domesticated and bred in Tang Dynasty China and have become a common pet in China since then. Despite growing up to 12 inches long (~30 cm), they are actually the smaller species in the family, with the well known koi being an example of a larger one, able to grow more than twice the size. However, due to their still quite large size in aquariums, the less fancy varieties are commonly kept outdoors in ponds, similarly to koi. Keeping them in aquariums is a challenge as the general safety recommendation for a full grown fancy goldfish is around 30 gallons (120 L) for just one and the streamlined body varieties are recommended to be kept only in ponds. Goldfish can also live for quite long, with the oldest on record being 43 years and 20 or more years (in proper care) is not uncommon.
While people recognize goldfish by their characteristic bright gold-orange color, wild goldfish are actually a relatively dull grey. Selective breeding has not only changed goldfish colors, but also their shapes as well! Two typical shapes exist today: the streamlined bodies closer to the wild forms, and the egg-shaped bodies (usually also with double tails), with many of the commonly known fancier varieties primarily being of the egg-shaped type. However the fancy breeding is unfortunately not without issues. Egg-shaped goldfish frequently suffer from digestive problems, usually constipation due to the “squashing” of their digestive system. Other fancy varieties have delicate features such as long fins, enlarged, protruding eyes, sacs under their eyes, or just “fancy” growths on their heads.
In Eorzea, goldfish are considered several varieties of fish, and can be caught in multiple locations ranging from ponds in Thanalan to Azys Lla! The specific basic varieties are: copperfish, silverfish, goldfish, bubble eye, vanuhead, and the platinum fish. All of these can be likened to actual goldfish breeds but vary greatly in size and location.
In Eorzean aquariums, the vanuhead, for example, is considered a large fish while the copperfish is small! There are also several varieties of big fish related to them, with unfortunately only Mirrorscale being displayable in aquariums currently. The copper, silver, and Eorzean goldfish are all described as fish kept in aquariums and ponds just like their real life counterparts.
The vanuhead can also be kept in aquariums as well but is not described as one kept by Eorzeans. In terms of appearance, the copper, silver, gold, and platinum fish are all based on the simple egg-shaped fantail, also known as the Ryukin. The bubble eye is based on the black telescope (or black moor), with the white parts on the body reminiscent of the “panda” variant. The vanuhead is similar to the lionhead and ranchu goldfish with the growth on the head called a “hood.”
There are strangely none of the streamlined bodied variants currently in game, though there are fish based on koi that somewhat overlap with them that are in the game and useable in aquariums. I’m hoping that someday we will have outdoor ponds as an extension of aquariums for such fish when they are added so we may properly display them!
Let it be known that all that glitters is indeed not gold, but gold and fishy! Goldfish are one of the most popular fish for good reason and can be quite rewarding and long-living pets when kept properly. They may not be uncommon or exotic, but they certainly still have their appeal and a great variety to choose from!
I look forward to the possibilities of more varieties of goldfish in the expansion so I can do as I always do: keep calm and fish on!