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Goldfish Glossary - A list of commonly used terms.

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Albino - An albino fish has absolutely no pigment at all. Albino fish therefore appear white, but should not be confused with fish that have white coloration. A white fish has actual white pigment, where and albino fish simply has no pigment at all. Albino fish can be identified because they have red eyes and transparent fins. Their flesh also tends to be white/pink colored instead of truely white.

Biological Filter - This term is used to describe the bacterial colony that lives in the aquarium and consumes (at a microscopic level) many of the waste products of the fish.

Calico - This is similar to mottled coloration except that it includes nacreous scales as well. The nacreous scales give the fish a translucent gray color that is often percieved as blue. All Calico fish have nacreous scaled by definition.

Canister Filter - A large power filter that sits outside of the aquarium...canister filters are distinguished from power filters in the sense that they are not directly attached to the aquarium.

Caudal - The Caudal fin is the tail fin. It is separated into two lobes (upper and lower).

Cycling - A term used to describe the process of establishing a nitrate cycle in a new aquarium.

Dechlorinator - A chemical used to remove chlorine and heavy metals from tap water. Dechlorinator words instantly and is usually quite cheap.

Depth - This term is often used to describe the shape of a fish's body. The depth is the "height" of the big it is from the dorsal fin (back) to the ventral area (stomach). It is usually measured in relation to the length of the body. The depth of the fish never includes the fins...only the actual body.

Dragonhead - A variant of a telescope goldfish, this term is sometimes used to describe any goldfish with Wen.

Dropsy - An uncommon bacterial or viral infection that destroys the internal organs of the fish (usually the kidneys), resulting in its eventual death. Dropsy can be identified when the fish's body bloats, and its scales stand out like a pinecone. Dropsy is not very contageous, but is almost always fatal by the time symptoms are apparent.

Fin Rot - A fungal infection that eats away at the Fish's fins slowly over time. It can be cured with over the counter medications available at most pet stores.

Flashing - This describes a fish that is rubbing against surfaces in the aquarium (usually the bottom). Flashing behavior indicates that the fish's skin is irritated. This could be due to sickness, or simply changes in the water chemistry (chlorine in the water, large temperature changes, a radical pH shift, ect..). Flashing is usually a sign of stress.

Full Hood - Wen that covers the entire face as well as the head. A full hood goes from the "cheecks" to the top and back of the head.

Fused Tail - This term is used to describe double tailed fish which have both Caudal fins joined in the middle. Though there are a few exceptions (such as Tosakins), most goldfish should have caudal fins that are separated to some defree.

Gas Exchange - This describes the process in which oxygen is absorbed into the water through the surface, and other gasses are released the same way. Agitating the water surface (using bubbles for example) will enhance gas exchange.

Goosehead - Another name for a High head. Wen that is proportionally very tall.

Half Hood - A goldfish with wen that only covers the top of it's head (like an exposed brain).

Hard Water - This describes water that is alkaline (less acidic). Water with a pH above 7 is considered hard.

High Head - A highhead is a goldfish (usually an oranda) with a half-hood that is very tall.

H.O.B Filter - This is an acronym for "Hang on Back"...basically another word for Power Filter. HOB filters are the most common power filters sold in the US. HOB Filters are like small tanks that hang on the back edge of the aquarium. A tube from the filter sucks up water from the aquarium. It passes through the filter and cascades back into the aquarium.

Hood - Another word for Wen, the spongy headgrowth seen on some goldfish breeds.

Ick - A very common parasitic infection that all freshwater fish are prone to. Ick is easily cured and ick treatment is cheap. Ick appears as tiny white dots all over the infected fish's body.

Nacreous Scales - This describes scales that are partly reflective...halfway between metallic and matte. It can also be used to describe fish that have a combination of Metallic and matte scales.

Nasal Bouquets - These are basically exaggerated nasal flares. They are the defining characteristic of the "Pom Pom" breed, and do look like minature pom poms when fully developed. But the term can be used to describe the growths on any fish with larger than normal nasal flares.

Nasal Flares - These are the outer edges of the fish's nose (nasal septa). They have been enlarged to a degree that they curl back on themselves. Very large nasal flares turn into Nasal Bouquets.

Nitrification - A word used to describe the process of the Nitrogen Cycle.

Nitrobacter - One of the two main types of bacteria that make up the Biological Filter. Nitrobacter eat nitrates.

Nitrogen Cycle - The process by which a biological filter is established in a new aquarium. More commonly referred to as "cycling".

Nitrosomonas - One of the two main types of bacteria that make up the Biological Filter. Nitrosomonas eat nitrites.

Matte Scales - This describes scales that are completely transparent. They show the color of the fish's skin, but are not reflective.

Metallic Scales - This describes scales that are highly reflective, giving the fish a metallic appearance. Goldfish have metallic scales by default, but some breeds have been bred to have scales that are matte (non-reflective) or nacreous (partially reflective).

Mottled - This is a form of coloration where two or more colors occur in patches on the fish. The patches contain scales that are all the same color but are distinct and separate from other patches. This is NOT the same as Calico coloration, in which patches of colors overlap and blend with each other.

Panda (Panda Moor) - A type of coloration where the fish has black eyes and black and white patterns similar to what you would see on a Panda Bear. This term is almost always applied to Telescope golfdish, but in recent years other breeds have appeared with Panda coloration.

Ph - This describes how acidic the water is. On the Ph scale, higher ph means less acidic (alkaline), lower ph means more acidic. The ideal ph for goldfish is 7.0, which is in the middle of the scale. Most tap water in the United States fits within the 6.5 to 7.5 range.

Piping - A word used to describe a fish that is gulping air from the surface. Piping is almost always a sign of oxygen depravation.

Power Filter - This referrs to any electrically powered filter (as opposed to a filter powered by an air pump). In most cases, "power filter" refers to an HOB filter. But any filter that is electrically powered is technically a power filter.

Power Head - A power head is like a compact high power pump that sits inside the aquarium. They are mostly used to oxygenate the water and provide strong current, but can be used to power undergravel filters as well, or can be fitted with sponges to act as a spong filter.

Redcap - A slang term used to refer to fish with Tancho coloration. It is almost always used in reference to orandas.

Salt Bath - Much like a Salt dip except with lower concentrations of aquarium salt and for longer periods (30 minutes to an hour). Water used for a salt bath consists of around 1 tablespoon of salt per gallon.

Salt Dip - A way of medicating sick fish. The fish is submerged briefly (30 seconds to five minutes, and no longer) in a tank with high concentrations of aquarium salt in an effort to kill parasites or viruses. While effective (salt is very toxic to most parasites), Salt dips are stressful for most goldfish, and should only be used sparingly. Water used for a salt dip consists of around 1/2 cup of Aquarium salt per gallon.

Slime Coat - A term commonly used to refer to the layer of mucus that covers the body of a goldfish. This slimy layer is normal and natural, and provides a barrier against infection and parasites. Aquarium salt will stimulate the production of mucus and enhance the fish's slime coat.

Sport - Sport varieties are goldfish that dont conform to a recognized breed, often combining the traits of two or more separate breeds. True sport fish are deliberate cross breeds intended to produce a hybrid with characteristics of both parent breeds.

Surface Agitation - The act of creating ripples or bubbles on the surface of the water in order to aid in gas exchange.

Tancho - A type of color pattern where a white fish has a single circle of red on top of it's head. Tancho coloration is very popular and is most commonly seen in Orandas, but can be found in all breeds of exotic goldfish. There are even Tancho varieties of koi.

Twelve Reds - A color pattern in which a white fish has red points on twelve specific areas of it's body (all fins, the lips, and both gills). This assumes the fish has all split fins except the dorsal. This color pattern is usually in reference to Jikins, but can apply to other fish as well.

Self-Colored - This term is applied to goldfish that are all the same color.

Soft Water - This describes water that is acidic. Water with a pH below 7 is considered soft.

Sponge Filter - This is the simplest form of an active filter. A sponge is attached to a tube. An external pump creates bubbles in the tube. The bubbles rise and create a vaccum, which causes a current that sucks water through the sponge. The sponge and tube are both completely submerged in the aquarium. The spong filters out large particles floating in the water and provides a habitat for the benign bacteria that make up the biological filter.

Substrate - A term used to describe any material that covers the bottom of the aquarium...soil, gravel, crushed coral, peat moss and sand are all forms of substrate.

Trickle Filter - Another term for Wet/Dry Filters. Water is pumped to the top of a cylinder, and gravity sucks it down through many layers of filtering material. At the bottom the water is pumped back into the aquarium.

Undergravel Filter - A common type of filteration in which water is circulated through the gravel at the bottom of the tank in order to trap debris. A pourous plate runs under the gravel with tubes leading to the surface. Bubbles in the tubes (provided by an air pump) rise to the surface creating suction. The suction creates a downward current in the aquarium, pulling water through the gravel.

Variegated - This is a color pattern where the colors are mixed on each scale. For example, a single scale may be part orange and part white. Many of these scales together form dithered patterns that are considered variegated coloring. This can also be used to describe a fish with very intricate mottled patterns (alternating one white scale, one black scale ect..).

Water Conditioner - Another word for Dechlorinator.

Wen - Used to describe the spongy headgrowth some goldfish have. This is present in all goldfish to some degree, but has been bred to be more prominant in breeds like Orandas and lionheads.

Wet/Dry Filter - Similar to a canister filter, it sits outside the aquarium and draws water from a tube. The water trickles do more extreme conditions. Most "breeding" between the two species is not deliberate, with one species fertilizing the eggs of the other by accident when spawing with their
d patterns...the patterns could change on the fly der when kept with the same goldfish for longer periods.

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