According to a New York Times article from November 1894, "The business of distributing free goldfish to the people of the District of Columbia has become such a tax on the (US) Fish Commission that it appears they must choose between running a goldfish bureau for Washington exclusively and conducting the legitimate work of the bureau."
Goldfish are still the most popular pet fish in the US. The oldest goldfish on record lived over 40 years! The main reason why so many goldfish die young is that they aren’t kept in the proper conditions. Turns out, these "easy care" pets can be sensitive to changes in temperature, light, and salinity.