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Aquatic Gardens

Ponds, Streams, Waterfalls & Fountains:
Volume 1. Design & Construction
Volume 2. Maintenance, Stocking, Examples

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Pond goldfish/Shubunkins changing colour       3/19/15
Sent from my iPad
Hi, I hope you may be able to answer my question, have tried reading various info sites to no avail. We have had a garden pond for approx 15years. We had 2 Shubunkins & 2 goldfish then one year we discovered several babies......
<All goldfish varieties are the same species (cross actually); and hence can/do interbreed>
all of which were black & obviously superb at going unseen.
<Brown, black are their "natural" colors... Gold et al. are not of use in the wild>
Over the years they have perished at the hands of cats, weather & natural progression no doubt, so for the last two years have only had 2 of the black ones remaining. I believe they will be about 10-12yrs old now, are approximately 6-7" long. Today (being lovely get into garden day) we have noticed that one of them has changed colour over winter, all it's underbelly is orange, top of head & back remains black,
<Happens... they do/can change colour>
it also looks quite fat.
<This too>
The other is still black although (as in previous years for them both) when the sun is shining on them you can see gold 'highlights'....but only in that certain light. Is this a normal thing, is it like a human going grey or may the fish be ill?
It looks quite happy, not swimming strangely or anything.
I would be most grateful if you could offer me an explanation or advice if you think it's necessary.
Thank You,
Irene Gibson
<I'd peruse our Pond Subweb: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/Pond%20Sub%20Web.htm
Bob Fenner>

Calico or Normal Color Changes?       10/2/14
I have a very small (about 1") goldfish fry in my pond. It is probably around 1 month old. It has a very odd color to it. On some internet sites they say Shubunkins and fancy goldfish can get their colors in before other types of goldfish. There was a Shubunkin adult in my pond along with my comet goldfish. Could this one be obtaining calico coloring?
<Appears so>
Or is this just a normal part of goldfish development. Some photos of the fish in question are provided below.
Here is my 1st photo of the fish.
Here is another photo of it a few days later.
Thank you.
<Thanks for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Re: Calico or Normal Color Changes?      2/3/14
Thank you Bob! :)

Definitely a Calico :)    11/8/14
Do you recall me writing in and asking if my smallest fish was a calico?
<Not I, said the little red hen.>
Well, it is official. It is a calico! :)
Picture below. It is the one in the lower right corner. The larger if the two fish is the little one's big brother.
If you recall I wrote in and told you my Shubunkin had died. Well, turns out this little fish was that one's baby. It's mother was the white comet I had that died. So now it is official, those that died live on through this
little fish. The little fish is a Shubunkin comet cross for sure. It brings me some measure of comfort to know the fish that are gone passed on some of their traits. The little fish is currently about 1 inch long. 2 inches if
you count it's long flowing tail. I live in the Arizona desert. Should I rear the little fish indoors this winter, or will it do ok with the other fish in the pond? Thank you.
<Depends a lot on ambient wintertime temperatures, but if you have a reasonably large (20+ gallons) aquarium plus a mature aquarium filter, then yes, rearing very small Goldfish indoors can be helpful if the pond is likely to get very cold, especially if it ices over. If ambient temperatures don't get that low, perhaps no lower than 10 C/50 F for more than a few days at a time, then there's no need to bring them in because at that temperature they can feed normally. It's below 10 C/50 F they stop feeding, and this can be extremely hard on very small (a few months' old) Goldfish. Cheers, Neale.>

re: Definitely a Calico :)    11/8/14
Thank you Neal! :)
<Most welcome.>

Orandas in Ponds  6/5/06 Hi, Great site!      I have two questions: 1.  Can Orandas be kept in ponds with koi, catfish, and single  finned goldfish? The Orandas are 5-8", the koi are 8-24", the  single tailed goldfish are 8", and the catfish are 10", 14", 18". Right now the  three Orandas are in a 55 gallon tank, and are beginning to outgrow it. <Mmm, not a good risk... the chubbier varieties of fancy goldfish take a beating when mixed with these likes. Can't compete/move for food...> 2. Also, can these be kept in the pond during the  winter? I live in New Jersey. Thanks, Anthony <Mmm, again, not worth trying IMO. Bob Fenner>

Mystery Goldfish - 11/10/2005 Hi <Hello.> I have contacted you in the past and you have been a great help.  I thought you wouldn't mind hearing about my weird fish: <Sure.> I have a small pond (100 gallons), and had a bit of trouble getting it established early this year, and having lost a few fish early on, my neighbour has kindly put a few of his babies into my pond.  Also recently my local source of pond stuff was selling off little fish, all claimed to be goldfish.  One of them was very dark, with shiny metallic edges to the fins.  I was assured they were all goldfish.  Recently I have noticed that the smallest orange goldfish has a weird tail.   (Weird fish 1)  Like it is on 90 degrees the wrong way round (horizontal), but with half a tail (top half) where it should be - vertically.  Looks like the tail of an airplane!    <Hmm, excellent description.> It is the smallest fish, and I wondered if this may be why?  It seems to swim ok but with a weird wriggling action.  My books all tell me that deformed fish should be culled.  I do not want to do this, and wondered if you thought it was an acceptable abnormality.   <This could just be injury-related....  I would prevent this fish from breeding, though, to be on the safe side.> <<Could this be some sort of koi/fancy goldfish cross?  MH>> Will it affect it long term, or should I just wait and see? <Probably is a permanent condition, but if you are partial to the animal, I see no reason to cull/kill it, as long as you can prevent it from breeding when it becomes mature.> The very dark fish with metallic bits (Weird fish 2) - can this really be a goldfish?   <Possibly.> I have been reading about Koi and am concerned it might be a ghost koi.  How can I tell the difference in a koi and a comet goldfish?   <Pretty simple, once you've seen many of both....  I urge you to go see some of both in person and compare them to your animal.  Pay especial attention to the small "whiskers" under the chin of koi.> The fish is about 2 1/2 inches long tail included, and now that it is colder outside I rarely see it, mostly perhaps because it is nearly black (other than shiny edges).  If it so happens to be a koi, how big do they grow, <Very.  Very, very very big.  If you're ever in San Jose, look up Tse Koi.  Wander your way through the maze of statuary in the back to the REALLY big pond (or just ask to see the BIG fish).  There are animals in that pond that could easily swallow my fist....> <<On the order of 3'+.  Good thing they don't have "teeth"! MH>> <<<Much, much larger, my friend....  -SCF>>> and should I be trying to find it a new home?     <Eventually.  They are slow growers, so you have plenty of time to determine what he is.> Your help and advice is much appreciated. <Glad to be of service.> Wendy <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Goldfish Types A number of years ago I was given a number of really nice golden yellow 3" long pond fish. I kept some in a large aquarium and the best I put in a 20 gallon tank where they spawned. I raised and gave away many. The males are deeper in color and have a black patch on their head, while the females are just lighter with no black. Now I have but one left, a male. Through the years I have not been able to identify it so I can not ask for more to buy to renew my stock. Any guesses? <Yes. Please take a read through this site: http://goldfishconnection.com/ Goldfish are all the same species, as with the domestic dog, and will breed amongst themselves. Bob Fenner>

Not Goldfish variety... mystery fish Thanks for the speedy reply, BUT it is not a GOLDFISH!...... <Mmm, many other possibilities...> I have seen pictures on internet that claim to be Golden Orfe. Fish sellers often mis-id their fish.... http://www.huntingcreekfisheries.com/images/newfish/orfe.jpg <Yep> However, Orfe grow much larger. http://www.jjphoto.dk/fish_archive/leuciscus_idus_auratus.htm <Agreed> mine get to 3" max. Finally, today I found a site that shows a picture that claims them to be the Rosy Red form of  Fathead Minnows. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/rosies.htm <Another common species used in the ornamental and baitfish trades in the U.S.> Now another site claims that these are a hybrid of several species. Finally I feel that the variation I have seen is correct. Most of the males I saw had a black spot on their head but some did not. http://www.nanfa.org/archive/nanfa/nanfadec00/0063.html If you have links that I could use. I would appreciate it. Thanks Dan Borman <Mmm, we don't have much on N. American cyprinids... only what is presented on WetWebMedia.com thus far. I would get/use a digital camera and send a few pix to the folks at NANFA re your species identification. Bob Fenner>

Orfes by any other name I saw a fish in China Town NYC. There was a row  of tanks of what seemed to be one type fish, but I did not recognize it. No other fish in the place. Hand shaped, meaning tall and long and thin; pink to red to white, in more solid color per fish; up to a twenty incher or so in the front show tank; a bump on the head that had scales like the rest of the body and gave a Buddha forehead; no whiskers. Can you tell what fish this is from my description? <Mmm, a minnow family (Cyprinidae) member of some sort> I gave a description to a local pet supply and they called it an Orfi. Also what are the growing conditions for this fish and are they available? <About the same as for koi, goldfish... cool, neutral to semi-hard water, low-protein diet, frequent partial water changes...> I did not ask while I was in NY it all happened so fast and I did not think about asking or getting a card. Thank you, Richard Mullinax Durham,NC <Bob Fenner, WetWebMedia.com>

Re: Orfes Do you have a picture of Orfes on your webpage? <Unfortunately no. But the Google search to Google images... search under "Orfes" has some pix> Where can I get them? <Call your local pond, fish store outlets. They should be able to offer these crosses (most are goldfish and carp/Nishikigoi-koi blends) in season. Bob Fenner> Richard

Aquatic Gardens

Ponds, Streams, Waterfalls & Fountains:
Volume 1. Design & Construction
Volume 2. Maintenance, Stocking, Examples

V. 1 Print and eBook on Amazon
V. 2 Print and eBook on Amazon

by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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