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  1. Goldfish of the month: The Shubunkin! The shubunkin has a completely different body shape than last months goldfish, the oranda, and a different origin. The shubunkin was first introduced in Japan, and the originally variety is, despite its simple form and widespread popularity, a rather modern type, which was first bred in 1900 by Mr. Akiyama. Coloration The Shubunkin is only being allowed in one color pattern - calico, which contains black, white, red, orange, and brown, on a silvery-blue, almost lavendar colored back ground, and the black should continue into the finnage. The distinctive feature of the Shubunkin is its possession of transparent scales and an underlying opalescent sheen from which character it is termend "nacreous". Full development of the best Shubunkin coloration depends on the absence of the genes of the metallic common goldfish. The highly prized blue coloration depends on the actual presence of melanin in the sub-epidermal layers. Body features The Shubunkin is somewhat similar to a Comet, without having the same length of caudal fin, of course. Its a single tailed fin, reaching a length of 12 inch is not unheard of. His body should have a slender appearance, with the body depth appr. 3/8 the length of the body. The dorsal fin should be from 3/8 to greater than the depth of the body. The pectoral and pelvic fins are paired, the anal fin is single as well. Variations As for the tail configuration, there are 3 different types of Shubunkin around today. The Japanese/ American Shubunkin has a deeply forked caudal fin, with long narrow lobes ending in a point; it should be as long or longer than the length of the body. He is probably the basic Shubunkin and can be found in Japanese paintings of 80 years ago. (young American Shubunkin) The London Shubunkin should have a short caudal fin, with well rounded lobes with moderate forking, the length of the caudal fin should be appr. 1/4 of the body length. The peak of the development of the London Shubunkin is mostly the work of the British breeder, Mrs. Pamela Whittington, who produced some of the most striking species of Shubunkins. (Courtesy of Bristol Aquarists Society) The Bristol Shubunkin, my personal favorite, has a very dominant, and distinctive, feature not found in the other two Shubunkin kinds - his longer finnage, and its especially rounded form of the caudal fin, and particularly in the two lobes. There has been a tendency to select excessively for length and size of fins, which somewhat remind me of the shape of a heart, fallen sideways. Those huge, wide lobes tend to collapse as the fish gets bigger and older. The first Bristol Shubunkin was bred in Britain by the Bristol Aquarists Society (BAS) in 1934. (Courtesy of Bristol Aquarists Society) Environmental needs The Shubunkin is known to be one of the hardier varieties, and therefore is a very popular fish kept in ponds, especially since he does not mind sharing his home with koi. Due to the size he can grow into as an adult fish, he has a minimum need on gallonage, which should not be under 30-40gl per fish in adult hood, and not being less than 15 gl as a juvenile. It is not recommended to keep him together with slower swimming goldfish varieties like bubble eyes or telescopes, since he is so much faster and will always win in the race for the food, which is a big disadvantage for the slower species. Feed me, feed me The Shubunkin is not too particular when it comes to his food, and due to his slender body shape he does not have the problems that the more rounded and full bodied species of goldfish have - no swim bladder irritations! He can be fed pellets, flakes, veggies, frozen food like bloodworms, daphnia, krill, shrimp from the supermarket; he doesn't mind eating koi food either. Availability The Japanese/American shubunkin is easily available in various pet stores and water garden shops, while it is a bit harder to come by the other two varieties. I am not aware of anyone in the US breeding and selling London shubunkin right now, and the Bristol Shubunkin is can only be obtained due a few US breeders like Al Foster and Dave Mandley.
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