Goldfish (Grade 4)

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Goldfish

Sometime during the seventeenth century, Portuguese sailors saw a very beautiful variety of fish. These fish were swimming in the lakes and rivers of China and Japan. They glistened like gold. The sailors captured some specimens. Then they brought them to Portugal.

The little fish found the lakes of Europe as nice to live in as the lakes of China. They at once domesticated themselves, and raised their little families. Soon the European streams became well stocked with these beautiful creatures. Today, they are also found in many brooks and streams in the United States.

The gold-fish belongs to the genus Cyprinus, or the great carp family, and is sometimes called the golden carp.

Breeding Goldfish
The glistening gold-color of these fishes made them much sought for as household ornaments. Demand for them became so great that businesses were opened for raising them for the market. One of the largest and most well-known of these places for goldfish breeding is in Oldenburg, Germany. There, more than a hundred small ponds contain the fish in all stages of growth. They include the tiniest baby to the big stout fellow. Some fish eight, and even ten, inches long.

Goldfish as Pets
There are grades of beauty in goldfish as well as in all other things. They are very pretty household ornaments. By caring for them and carefully watching their habits, boys and girls may learn their first lesson in natural history. If kept in a glass globe, nothing can be more interesting than to watch them. Still, the fish may be healthier if kept in an aquarium. This allows more surface to the water, and consequently more air and ventilation. In any case, fresh water should be given the fish at least every other day. If the globe or aquarium be ornamented with rocks and water-grasses, the fish should be carefully dipped out once a week. Then the rocks should be thoroughly cleansed from all impurities.

Feeding Goldfish
Although the fish draw nourishment from the water, and will live a long time without other food, it is advisable to feed them by throwing bread-crumbs, or flies and other small insects, on the surface of the water. The eagerness with which they dart for them proves them to be welcome. Care should be taken not to scatter more bread-crumbs than will be immediately eaten. Bread sours very quickly, and renders the water impure. In changing the water the fish should never be subjected to any sudden variation of temperature. The shock produced by a violent change from water of medium temperature, which is always best, to ice-cold, might ruin the whole stock of an aquarium in an instant.

The Nature of Goldfish
The little ones are carefully kept apart from larger ones. This is because the goldfish is a wicked cannibal. It devours its little brothers and sisters. It will even devour its own children, whenever it has an opportunity.

At the same time the goldfish is a great coward. It will hide away from fish much smaller than itself that might want to attack it. A gentleman who owned an aquarium in which there were several large goldfish, once placed a tiny "pumpkin-seed," or sunfish, about the size of a silver half dollar, in the water. Watching anxiously to see that the goldfish did not injure it, he was surprised to see the "pumpkin-seed" dart furiously at the larger fish. The larger fish huddled themselves in a corner, or scurried hastily through the water to hide among the stones and grottoes of the aquarium! From that moment the "pumpkin-seed" remained lord of the field. It scarcely allowed his companions to come to the surface or to take a mouthful of food until he had satisfied his own hunger. Finally he had to be removed from the aquarium. This saved the goldfish from dying of fright.

The ingenious Chinese make great pets of their goldfish. With patience they teach them many tricks. For example, they teach them to eat from their hands, or to rush to be fed at the tinkle of a bell.
1. 
Where were goldfish first discovered?
  1. Portugal
  2. England
  3. China
  4. United States
2. 
Goldfish survive best in small bowls filled with rocks and other ornaments.
  1. True
  2. False
3. 
What makes the goldfish a wicked cannibal?
  1. It attacks other fish in its bowl.
  2. It eats other goldfish.
  3. It shies away from different species of fish.
  4. It races for food thrown on top of the water.
4. 
Which word BEST describes goldfish when placed around other species of fish?
  1. Confident
  2. Cowardly
  3. Cannibalistic
  4. Caring
5. 
Some scientists think goldfish only have a three-second memory.
Which of the following details from the passage disputes this claim?
  1. The eagerness with which they dart for them proves them to be welcome.
  2. The ingenious Chinese make great pets of their gold-fish, and with patience teach them many tricks, such as eating from their hands, or rushing to be fed at the tinkle of a bell.
  3. Watching anxiously to see that the gold-fish did not injure it, what was his astonishment to see the "pumpkin-seed" dart furiously at the larger fish, which huddled themselves in a corner, or scurried hastily through the water to hide among the stones and mimic grottoes of the aquarium!
  4. The little ones are carefully kept apart from larger ones, for the gold-fish is a wicked cannibal, and devours its little brothers and sisters, and even its own children, whenever it has an opportunity.
6. 
When describing the sunfish, why did the author nickname it the "pumpkin-seed"?
  1. To help describe its color
  2. To help distinguish it from the other fish
  3. To help explain that it looked like a piece of food
  4. To help show how small it really was
7. 
According to the passage, what is NOT something you should do to keep the goldfish healthy?
  1. Give them clean water every other day
  2. Clean the rocks and other ornaments in the tank weekly
  3. Place the fish in very cold water while cleaning their bowl
  4. Feed them a little bit of food at once so food doesn't sit at the top of the aquarium
8. 
Goldfish are described as "household ornaments". Which word BEST replaces the word ornaments as used in the passage?
  1. pets
  2. furniture
  3. decorations
  4. species
9. 
Why does the author most likely include the final detail of the passage?
  1. To help share another name for goldfish
  2. To help fish lovers better understand what a goldfish is
  3. To help kids understand why goldfish are so cool
  4. To help explain where goldfish get their color
10. 
Why does the author most likely include the detail about the tricks the Chinese teach their goldfish?
  1. To provide a cool fact about goldfish
  2. To give another reason why goldfish can make neat pets
  3. To share a reason goldfish should be removed from the wild
  4. To help explain how smart goldfish really are

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