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Posted by: Ranchugirl Oct 6 2004, 07:25 PM

Goldfish of the month October: The COMET.
This month we are having a complete opposite compared to last month's fish - slender in appearance, and only a few color choices.

Of the different varieties, only the comet was developed in the United States. Hugo Murkett and the U.S. Fisheries Department first bred the Comet around 1881. This variety is also an aggressive swimmer and feeder.

The comet has a long (up to 12 inch in length) slim body and a high dorsal fin. The body depth of the fish should be approximately 3/8 of the length of the body. The dorsal fin should be as high or higher than the depth of the body. The single caudal fin should be deeply forked, with log narrow lobes that end in a point. The caudal fins should be as long or longer than the length of the body. The pectoral and pelvic fins are paired, long and end in a pointed fashion (Description of the breed Comet taken with permission of the GoldfishSociety of America).
The comet is one of the few fish that is supposed to have a single anal fin, while in most other fish its considered a flaw in shows. The scales of the fish are metallic, and its being bred in colors of red or orange, or red/white, commonly known as sarassa comet. In a sarassa comet the red is really bright and deep, and is a stunning contrast to the crisp white background.

Being a slender and fast fish, the comet is a ideal candidate for ponds, and very easy to take care of if given the right amount of water. With a foot in length, the comet is not a small fish, and to have him live comfortable and to his full size, anything above 20-30 gl is welcome. Considered his enormously long finnage, that is quite easy to figure out. He is a great companion for other pond fish like the koi and wakin, and can very well overwinter outside, as long as there is a hole left in the ice for oxygen and gas exchange, and the pond isn't frozen solid.

The comet is the original inventor of the phrase "Goldfish eat like pigs" and he can eat anything that fits in his mouth. Unfortunately, the comet is too big for his own good, and could care less if other - slower - fish in his pond/tank are not getting enough food. Therefore it is recommended not to keep him with anything slower than him, otherwise the tranquil movement of the other fish won't get them very far, especially not to the food.
Speaking of food, due to his slender body shape and the fact that his intestines are not cramped at all, compared to lionheads, ryukin and orandas for example, floating pellets and flakes can't do him much harm at all. He takes very well to the food that is being fed to koi, so there is no need of feeding him separately.
Other food choices are spirulina, veggies like spinach, cucumber, lettuce, peas; all kinds of pellets and flakes, as well as the frozen varieties of krill, bloodworm, daphnia and so for. When out in the pond, the algae growing on the bottom and walls is a welcome snack for the comet as well.

One negative aspect
Being in the group of the "non fancy" goldfish, a lot of comets, as well as common goldfish, have the same fate year after year in fish store history -as babies being fed to bigger fish like oscars, and ending up in feeder tanks all over the world. This is a sad fact, and you can find many beautiful little comets in feeder tanks for a fraction of the cost of other goldfish, and they have the disadvantage of not being properly cared for before ending up in the feeder tank.
So, go ahead, next time you visit your local pet store, have a look in "the tank of death", and you might just be able to find a special little fish that will stay with you for a long time and grow into a big gorgeous beauty.

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