The Pearlscale

Posted by: Ranchugirl Dec 2 2004, 11:14 AM

History
The pearlscale's first mentioning happened around the 1900s, and he is not considered one of the "normal" goldfish. A bit extravagant, his distinctive scales are worth a second glance. Although because of this feature some people might call him a "freak of nature". However, in my case, he is one of my favorite fish.

Features
The pearlscale is the only goldfish variety with differently shaped scales, which have a hard raised area in the center of each scale, usually white, which gives them the appearance of a pearl, hence the name. The pearlscale is a very plump and roundbodied fish (therefore being nicknamed "Golfball" sometimes), with all the finnage being in pairs, except of course for the dorsal fin. The body depth should be greater than 2/3 of the body length, the caudal fin should be evenly forked and divided. A webbed tail is not very desirable.


Varieties and colors
Pearlscales are one of those goldfish varieties that come in all kinds of colors - red, red/white, calico, blue, black, even in chocolate. There are two major groups of pearlscales - with and without headgrowth. Yes, a pearlscale can have headgrowth, and in this case its called a Hamanishiki. The most desired headgrowth should be all in one piece, round and even, with no little growth behind the dominant headgrowth. This is very hard to achive, and most commonly hamanishiki have a flaw in their headgrowth one way or the other. A crowned pearlscale with the perfect wen is highly desirable and priced accordingly.


Food
Belonging into the group of goldfish, there is only one thing to say when it comes to food -if it fits into his mouth, it will be eaten. There is however one thing that needs to be looked at before feeding a pearlscale - his body shape. Being extremely round and plump, one can only imagine how cramped his internal organs are, and therefore precautions need to be taken when feeding the pearlscale. If fed unsoaked pellets and flakes, the dry food will soak up water from the intestines and will expand inside the fish, which can be a very dangerous thing when feeding like this is practiced on a regular basis. Expanding food will cause pressure on the surrounding organs, and over time causes damage to the swim bladder, exposing the pearlscale to constipation and swim bladder problems down the road.
So, go ahead folks, and soak those pellets and flakes, and otherwise feed the fish a variety of other foods as well - frozen food like brine shrimp, bloodworms, daphnia, as well as a variety of vegetable like lettuce, cucumber, thawed and deshelled peas. The latter one is an excellent remedy for mild cases of constipation, and should be in a pearlscale diet at least once a week.

Housing
Well, what can I say - it's a goldfish. Big and messy, 10 gl is the absolute minimum a pearlscale should be kept. Remember, the bigger the better. He does well with most other goldfish varieties, as long as he doesn't have to compete with faster fish for his food. So, comets and shubunkins, as well as wakin, are not a good idea with pearlscales. He is a big round fish, and winning a swimming marathon is just not the first thing on his priority list.

What else is there?
Being a fish with such extraordinary scales, it should be taken care that he keeps as many of those scales as possible. Reason being, once the scale falls of due to breeding damage or sharp objects in the tank, it will not grow back to its original shape. In its place is the usual flat scale that we see on all the other goldfish breeds. So, you wonna keep those beautiful scales, watch them.
There is the precautionary statement going around that those delicate scales need more calcium in the water than the "usual" goldfish. That might or might not be a factor, all I can say is that I have kept pearlscales for quite a few years now, and don't own a calcium test kit.
So, anybody getting a golfball today?