When Michigan angler Mike Martin pulled a 15-inch goldfish from Lake St. Clair last month, he was at a loss for words. According to Guinness World Records, his unexpected catch was not far from the 19-inch world record.

“I’ve been fishing this lake for 20 years, first [goldfish] I’ve ever caught,” a very surprised Martin told KSDK. “I called my dad the second it came out of the hole. I didn’t know what to do with it. Asked him what I should do with it. I’ve never caught a goldfish. What do you do with a goldfish?”

What indeed do you do with a goldfish? While Martin has plans for mounting the trophy on a wall–a big wall–he also finds himself asking how it got so large. It turns out the answer is fairly straight forward.

Feed it and keep it warm.

A diet high in protein and warm water is the ideal environment for goldfish, which were first domesticated from carp by the ancient Chinese. Originally bred as both an ornamental and food fish, Goldfish can live up to an incredible 43 years. Depending on the subspecies, the fish could increase in size throughout its lifespan. Goldfish are known to experience more noticeable growth spurts during the summer because of the water temperature. Accordingly, pet owners have adapted to heated aquariums when raising the fish.

China recently hosted the first International Goldfish Championships, an event where over 3,000 specimens are submitted for a number of categories. Some dedicated owners even taught their goldfish how to play fetch:


Image from Liz West (Muffet) on the flickr Creative Commons

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