The pearlscale is very unique and can be easily distinguished from any other fancy goldfish, as its scales are domed and pearl-like–hence its name. But in actuality, these raised white lumps aren’t literally pearls. Instead, they are masses of calcium carbonate which can be scraped off. The tiny mounds take a long time to grow back, but eventually –– like all fish scales –– they do regrow but actually become normal scales after regeneration.
This fancy goldfish can come in different forms. It can have nothing atop its head, have regular head growth (a lumpy wen) like an orandas, or be a Hama Nishiki with two globe-like bubbles resting on its forehead.
As for their size, pearlscale goldfish are typically chubby and should be raised to this standard. Furthermore, the width of its abdomen should be over half of its total length as these are the strict competition criteria.
But being stout also has its downfalls. An “egg-shaped” body (a name for fish with a short and fat form) correlates to a small swimbladder –– an air-filled pouch within a fish’s body. This organ controls buoyancy, which gives the fish an ability to change depth while submerged in water by expelling then inhaling air. The swimbladder also controls the fish’s balance, and it can be much like a human eardrum. This sack is connected to its owner’s head by nerves, which allows the swimbladder to clarify sounds and intensify the sounds it captures. Therefore, having a short swimbladder not only results in subpar swimming, but poor hearing as well. Additionally, a weak swimbladder may become infected –– leading to diseases in that particular body part.
Egg-shaped goldfish are easy targets for illnesses, but do not fret –– it is not contagious and can even be fought off by the fish itself. There are multiple ways your goldfish can get this disease, like through rough-handling –– which can damage the swimbladder –– though it is quite simple to tell if your fish has been infected. Some symptoms include sinking while trying to swim upwards, floating while attempting to swim downwards and swimming sideways, upside-down, or constant flipping over.
Luckily, there are many different solutions to getting rid of this nuisance of a disease. You can give your fish a salt bath by putting it in water with added aquarium salt or antibiotics, or by feeding it medicated food.
Still, don’t get too discouraged from buying fat fish. They not only look aesthetically pleasing, but are also more valuable with good body form. If you still don’t have a fish collection, now is the time to start one! Already a budding fish-enthusiast? Well now you’ve been introduced to a beautiful species.
As with my previous post, I will gladly answer any questions left in the comments box.
Words and photos by Eugene Liu.