The goldfish has a fairly self explanatory name: "gold" describing its color, and "fish" describing its species. Goldfish are a relatively small member of the Cyprinidae or carp family. The Cyprinidae family is the largest family of freshwater fishes in the world. Apart from the goldfish, other well-known members include the minnow, chub, shiner, zebrafish, various Asian carps and koi.

Selective breeding over centuries has produced many different color variations, some of them far removed from the 'golden' color of the original goldfish. There are also different body shapes, fin and eye configurations. Some extreme versions of the goldfish need to be kept in indoor aquariums as they are much less hardy than varieties closer to the "natural" original. However, some varieties such as the Shubunkin are hardier, and can be kept in outdoor pools.


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