Whenever we pass by pet shops, goldfish are certain to be part of the display.Every year, more and more varieties of ornamental fish are seen in the market, such as flowerhorns, new age cichlids, arowanas, tetras, and exotics. But what keeps the goldfish so popular? Goldfish (scientific name Carassius auratus) are known to be a sociable lot; they are not picky, and have a robust appetite. Common goldfish are cheap, hardy, and can tolerate being in various sizes of aquariums.

I conducted a survey among goldfish lovers and their comments are as follows: Goldfish are hardy, non-picky and robust eaters, cute, graceful, colorful, easy to raise. Here are nicknames for some of the more popular goldfish varieties:1 Ranchu – You might call this the “Sumo wrestler” because of its stocky build2 Bullhead oranda – The bodybuilder3 Celestial – It can be considered the fishy counterpart of the basset dog, what with its intriguingly sad face 4 Pearscale – The ping pong or golf ball The X factor for popular goldfish? Their personalities.

Different types of enthusiasts are attracted to goldfish. They can be described as follows:The Beginner As soon as Beginners enter a pet shop, the goldfish engage them with grace and excitement. It may be said that the Beginner is “hooked at hello.” Beginners will then inquire about the price and requirements to maintain goldfish. They will be happy to learn that goldfish are among the most sociable fish.

They can survive and grow well in different aquarium sizes. There’s no reason why a beginner shouldn’t get a goldfish; it’s a sure catch and a winning bet!The Hobbyist The Beginner eventually develops a deep interest in goldfish and does research on it. Hobbyists then find out that there are so many species of various types and colors—orandas, ryukins, lionchu, ranchus, lionhead, demekin, bubble eyes, celestial, and so much more. The Hobbyists then starts to save in order to collect all varieties.

They also add more tanks and equipment—and even their own fish rooms. They get to meet new acquaintances who share the same hobby through shows and social media.The Advanced Hobbyist This occurs when the Hobbyist’s passion for the goldfish increases and advances to wanting to learn about breeding goldfish. Advanced Hobbyists soon discover that they can create their own lines and develop more strains of their beloved fish.The Entrepreneur While not all Advanced Hobbyists take this route, successful breeding may make Advanced Hobbyists quite popular among their peers. They may use their popularity as an opportunity to sell their fish, especially if they have produced new strains. Entrepreneurs now categorize their goldfish as follows: class B, class A, and even Class AAA. These are their source of profit, and may encourage them to venture into export.

Special thanks to the members of (Philippine Association of Goldfish Enthusiasts). If you have questions, suggestions, or requests, please email Mr. Yap at mbanimalscene@gmail.com with the subject line, “Fins & Feathers.”)

This appeared in Animal Scene’s August 2015 issue.