Fish. You’ve seen them swimming around in their tank, playing hide-and-seek, flashing their fancy fins, and really just making you want to sit and contemplate the meaning of life as you watch their soothing, fluid movements. Fish really are quite fantastic! And we’re lucky that we get to peek in on their quiet underwater world. Here are some things you may know and some things that you didn’t about some of the most popular pet fish!
If you are shopping your local pet store, you’ll find that the cheapest fishy friend a person can buy is a basic goldfish. You can buy these guys for as little at 10 to 20 cents. But don’t be fooled by their price. Goldfish can become a priceless pet with their own unique personality. You’d also be surprised by their longevity. If properly cared for, goldfish can live for 10 or even 20 years. The oldest goldfish on record is 45-year-old Goldie.
Other interesting facts about goldfish:
A group of goldfish is called “a troubling.”
Goldfish don’t have stomachs. That probably means that they never get stomachaches.
If exposed to more light, goldfish can develop a deeper, more vibrant color.
Goldfish memories can last up to 3 to 4 months.
You could also say that the cheapest fish are free! I had some friends who caught some catfish in our local lake and decided to keep them for a while. They got them set up with a tank and everything. And these weren’t your small, pet store kind of fish. They were big, full grown, lake catfish, so they made quite the splash whenever company came over to see them.
Funny enough, if you’re looking for the most expensive fish you can buy at the pet store, it will probably be a gold fish! Wait, didn’t we just say the goldfish is the cheapest? Yes, but there are also many types and breeds of goldfish out there. In fact, goldfish have been kept as pets for thousands of years. In China, they were considered to be good luck. Some types of fancy goldfish are bigger and have very big, flowing fins. You can buy them for as much as 30 or 40 dollars.
But we’re just talking the little pet store pond right now. If you were a fish aficionado, you might be looking for some of the rarer and more sought-after fish that need to be bought through specialty breeders. And if you’re curious, some of the most expensive fish are specially bred koi, arowanas, or flowerhorn cichlids. A buyer once offered $400,000 for a rare, platinum arowana fish owned by a breeder in Singapore. (The breeder turned the offer down.)
The smallest fish you’re likely to find at the store is a guppy. These guys may only grow to about an inch and a half, and a good part of that length comes from their tail. A guppy can have a beautiful, frilly, and colorful tail.
Something a little harder to find (and not just because of its size) is a Phoenix rasbora. These little fish only get to be about three quarters of an inch long. Many fish owners suggest getting a group of at least six, probably so they don’t feel like the only little fish in a big pond.
If you were to ask a fish dealer, “What’s the biggest fish I can get?” They’d probably respond, “How big is your tank?” All it takes is a visit to your local aquarium to realize that there are some really, really big fish out there.
The biggest fish you can buy at the store might be a koi. Technically, these guys shouldn’t go in an aquarium because their preferred habitat is a pond. And no wonder, since they can grow to be a foot long!
For the record, the biggest fish that you’ll find in the world (not counting sharks in the cartilaginous category) would be the sun fish. This type of bony fish (yep, he’s got bones instead of cartilage) lives in the ocean. The largest sun fish on record measured 14 feet from fin tip to fin tip.
This is a hard one to put your finger on. Even within breeds, you can have a whole spectrum from modest browns and blacks to vibrant blues and pinks. But my vote is on the mandarin fish since he fits a lot of bright color on his little body. Also check out the Jack Dempsley cichlid. That guy is iridescent, so he’s got all the colors covered.