Goldfish (Carassius auratus)

Goldfish are similar in appearance to carp, but differ in two major respects: they lack barbels and a dark spot at the base of each scale. Goldfish have serrated spines, one each, on the dorsal and anal fins. All Goldfish do not have the well-known bright gold color. Wild populations vary in color from the well-known gold to olive green or even creamy white. All of the basic color patterns may also be combined with black patches of varying size and shape. Goldfish do not reach the large size attained by carp; about 16-18 inches is maximum.

Goldfish are similar to carp in many respects other than appearance. Like carp, it is an introduced species, being a native of Asia. Goldfish are currently widespread throughout much of New York in waters suitable to their survival. They feed on aquatic plants and small aquatic animals, spawn in late spring, and seem to interbreed freely with carp. Like the carp, goldfish are generally considered a nuisance by fishermen.


Distribution of goldfish in NY state.

A 463 KB image of the goldfish is also available for download.

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