A native to China and Eastern Europe, Goldfish are widely distributed throughout United States having been documented in all states, except Alaska. This exotic species has been introduced via a variety of method; fish hatcheries, ponds, home aquariums, and bait buckets. It is believed that Goldfish might have been the aquatic invasive species to reach North America, appearing in the Seventeenth Century. Goldfish prefer quiet heavily vegetated waters. They are tolerant of turbidity, low oxygen levels, temperature fluctuations, and aquatic pollution.
Like common carp, goldfish have a long dorsal fin. These elongated, stocky bodied fish also have sharp spines in the front of the dorsal and anal fins. Goldfish lack barbells that are present on carp. While in pet shops Goldfish sport a variety of colors, such as scarlet, red, pink, orange, silver, brown, white, gray, and black. Color mixes are also common. However, feral goldfish tend to be olive green. Wild goldfish may hybridize with other carp species A smallish carp, goldfish seldom exceed 15 inches. The typical lifespan is under ten years, but they have be documented to live to thirty years in captivity.
Like carp, goldfish spawn in the spring or early summer once the waters warm. They are broadcast spawners. The males chase and bump the females prompting them to release their eggs that they then fertilize. The eggs are adhesive and as they settle, they attach to aquatic vegetation where they hatch in two or three days.
Wild goldfish feed on a variety of items, such as crustaceans, insects, and various plant matters.
Foraging goldfish may create high levels of turbidity.