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Stoutland, MO 65567

2195 State Road 37 North
Martinsville, IN 46151

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Goldfish Information » Goldfish History

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Goldfish History

Goldfish, as we know them today, with their bright colors and many forms, in no way resemble their "ugly duckling" wild ancestors. While the early history has been lost, it is known the Chinese began developing them before 1000 A.D.

The development and domestication of goldfish, from a plain, olive-colored fish, to the many forms and colors now produced has astounded modern scientists. No other species of animals has been modified into so many weird or graceful forms as the goldfish. Chinese art is reflected in the grotesque varieties such as the telescopes with their large, protruding eyes.

From China, the goldfish reached Japan before 1500 A.D., where new varieties were established, and here again, the artistic instincts of another race are shown in the graceful fantails and veiltails with long flowing tails and fins; brilliant but harmonious colors.

The first goldfish to reach Europe may have arrived in England as early as the reign of James I (1566-1625), but an authentic date is 1691. History records that Madame de Pompadour, mistress to King Louis XV of France, was presented with goldfish about 1750 by the Chinese.

Goldfish were first brought to the U.S. in 1872 by Rear Admiral Ammen of the U.S. Navy, who presented them to the Bureau of Fisheries in Washington, D.C., where they were placed in hatchery ponds and a number were produced. Eventually, these were given to anyone requesting them.

From about 1900 to 1925, most goldfish in the United States were owned by fanciers and hobbyists, who had imported rare and exotic form from the Orient. There were many Goldfish Societies in the major cities, and the devotees had regular shows, similar to the cat and dog shows of today, with cash prizes and trophies. Many rare specimens sold for as much as $1500 each, and prices of $100 to $500 were not unusual.

By 1925, there were 35 to 40 small commercial hatcheries in operation in various parts of the country, with an annual output of about five million goldfish. Since that time, untold millions of these interesting pets have been sold.

It can truly be said, goldfish are one of the oldest domesticated forms of animals, and through the centuries their popularity has ever increased. They are welcomed into the humblest of homes, and grace the palaces of Kings.

It is believed, hundreds of years ago, goldfish were probably used in religious ceremonies, and there is evidence many people believed they brought good luck to their homes. We can't vouch for this, but it is known, in ancient Japan, a family's position in society, was known by the quality and beauty of their goldfish.

It is strange, indeed, to understand how these ancient people, with no scientific tools to aid them, were able to perform these transformations of nature, but their achievements have been in accordance with natural laws.

In the foregoing condensed history of goldfish, gleaned from many sources, we have given you a glimpse of the romance of the study and development of this interesting pet. Too most of we modern-day Americans, goldfish have been thought of as purely ornamental, and purchased for decorative purposes, much as we buy a beautiful vase, or a picture, or an ornament.

An aquarium, or a bowl, properly set with plants, and stocked with goldfish of various colors, bring a beautiful bit of nature into the home. With proper care, and plenty of space, the goldfish will live for many years - ages of five, ten, fifteen and even twenty five years are not uncommon. With each passing year, the tails and fins grow to add grace and beauty to the goldfish, and pride in your display.

Someone has said: "A thing of beauty is a joy forever", but an aquarium of goldfish offers more than just beauty. It provides a way of learning about life, and the educational value is being recognized by leading educators in many countries.