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Last updated on April 17, 2014 at 1:21 EDT

Pearlscale goldfish

The Pearlscale is a breed of fancy goldfish which is commonly stocked in the aquarium trade. It has a short round body, and its noted feature (as the name suggests) is the white domed scales which rise out of the body slightly, glittering in the aquarium lights. This appearance is due to extra calcified scale material building up in the center of each scale. A variant of this breed with head growth is quite common and known as the Crown Pearlscale.

It is a highly sociable fish (like all goldfish) so should ideally be kept with other fancy goldfish. It is also fairly hardy, but is best kept at temperatures no lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit, as it can be sensitive to the cold. Although keeping them in ponds has been known, they are generally much happier and can be much more appreciated in an aquarium environment.

Most types of fancy goldfish including the Pearlscale are prone to problems with their swim bladders. To avoid this, a high-quality diet of sinking pellet-type food or gelatin-based food is optimal. Floating foods are high in ash content and are not a good idea for fancy goldfish. Sinking foods allow less air to be swallowed and can reduce bloating as well.

When choosing a Pearlscale, it’s recommended to look for one that can swim upright without losing buoyancy, explores the tank in an alert but relaxed manner, and does not have frayed fins or other body sores.

Pearlscales come in a variety of red, orange and white colors and grow to about 6 inches in length.

Photo by Bristol Aquarists’ Society

Pearlscale goldfish