Fancy Goldfish (Carassius auratus) | Ultimate Care Guide

Unknown to some, Fancy Goldfish isn’t just a more regal type of a traditional goldfish. They are actually a whole different classification, with several species of fish that fit into it. Each species of Fancy Goldfish are unique in their own way. They tend to be a very peaceful species, and they are omnivores which makes them relatively easy to keep. We’re going to cover everything you need to know about Fancy Goldfish so that you are prepared and ready to add some to your tank.

Fancy Goldfish are classified as Carassius auratus. They are members of the Cyprinidae family and are usually found in freshwater around the Eastern Asia area. Despite being closely related to carps, Fancy Goldfish are significantly smaller. One of the few common features among the many species that fit under the Fancy Goldfish umbrella is an egg-shaped body and double anal fins. Some of the many members of the Fancy Goldfish family are Ranchu Goldfish, Ryukin Goldfish, Bubble Eye Goldfish, Blackeye Goldfish, Wakin Goldfish, Sabao Goldfish, as well as many others.

What is considered a Fancy Goldfish?

Fancy Goldfish are those that have been selectively bred in an effort to create offspring to exhibit different features than those of the common Goldfish. The one standard feature in all Fancy Goldfish species is a double tail, which makes them a gorgeous species. Besides the double tail, every species of Fancy Goldfish is unique from one another. Their uniqueness makes Fancy Goldfish a popular and exciting choice for any tank.

Fancy Goldfish vs Common Goldfish

Fancy and Common Goldfish don’t have many differences. All Fancy Goldfish have a double tail, whereas the common variety does not. Fancy Goldfish are bred to exhibit specific characteristics and features, usually ones that are not found in the Common types of Goldfish. Fancy Goldfish tend to have a shorter, more rounded body than their common counterparts. However, Fancy Goldfish tend to swim slower than Common Goldfish. Fancy Goldfish are also more sensitive to water conditions. Common Goldfish and Fancy Goldfish should not be kept in the same tank together. Fancy Goldfish will be left hungry because the common variety will out-compete them for food.

Fancy Goldfish (Carassius auratus)
Fancy Goldfish (Carassius auratus)

Fancy Goldfish Care

Caring for most species of Fancy Goldfish isn’t too tricky or complicated. They don’t have many intense water or tank requirements. But that doesn’t mean that you can just toss them into a tank without the proper planning or care.

Are Fancy Goldfish hard to care for?

Fancy Goldfish aren’t hard to care for; they don’t have any special needs or intense tank requirements. Their ease of care makes them the perfect choice for beginning aquarists. The most important of owning a Fancy Goldfish is ensuring that you regularly clean their tank. You should have no issue raising a Fancy Goldfish if you do that regularly.


Since Fancy Goldfish do not appear organically in nature, there aren’t easily accessible parameters to follow when setting up a tank for them. But since most Fancy Goldfish are direct relatives of Carps, you can emulate the native environment of a carp in your tank. Carps tend to live in slow-moving waters like lakes, canals, or reservoirs in the wild. Those waters tend to be murky, with plenty of plants, and usually have a water temperature that falls between 42 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit. A Fancy Goldfish tank’s temperature should fall somewhere between 42 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit. A more accurate number can be found for each specific species of Fancy Goldfish.

Water pH

pH level is a crucial factor for any tank, even a tank that features the easy to care for Fancy Goldfish. Most Fancy Goldfish require their tank pH level to be between 6.0 and 8.0. If you plan to have your tank stay in that range, you’ll need to check your water parameters routinely. If you check the water regularly, you can easily catch any fluctuations in the pH level before it becomes a significant problem that could negatively affect the health and lifespan of your fish.

Fancy Goldfish Size

Fancy Goldfish tend to be a bit smaller than a traditional Goldfish. On average, most fancy Goldfish tend to grow to be around 6 inches in length. This number is an estimation; there are some Fancy Goldfish that can easily eclipse 6 inches. Fancy Goldfish also have uniquely shaped bodies that sometimes resemble an egg.

Food & Diet

Fancy Goldfish, just like traditional Goldfish, are omnivores. This means that in order to provide them with a balanced diet, you need to ensure you feed them both meat and vegetation. You want to attempt to emulate the diet of Carps. Carps tend to eat tadpoles, insects, and some greenery in the wild. Despite their varied diet, Fancy Goldfish can still be fed flakes or pellets. But there are better options that would be more beneficial to your fish. Frozen or live moist food is the best choice for your fish. That will keep their diet varied and help them avoid any potentially deadly digestive issues.

Fancy Goldfish Lifespan

The lifespan of any fish, or pet for that matter, is entirely dependent on the care they receive. On average, Fancy Goldfish tend to live between 5 to 10 years. A Fancy Goldfish can reach upwards of 10 years of age if cared for properly.

Fancy Goldfish Tank Size

Fancy Goldfish don’t require much space to live and thrive. A single Fancy Goldfish can live comfortably in a 10-gallon tank, although most aquarists recommend starting with a 20-gallon tank. From there, every additional Fancy Goldfish that you plan to add should be given at least 10 gallons. You can comfortably house 7 Fancy Goldfish in a 75-gallon tank. A 55-gallon tank can easily contain around 5 Fancy Goldfish. A tank that is 40 gallons in size should only have around 3 Fancy Goldfish housed in it.

Fancy Goldfish Tank Setup

Since Fancy Goldfish don’t occur in nature, you can’t emulate their native habitat. So the best course of action is to emulate their closest relative: the carp. Carps live in slow-moving murky water that usually has plenty of free-floating plants. The habitat of Carps is usually slightly colder than most fish are used to, the waters averaging between 42 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

Fancy Goldfish Breeding

Breeding Fancy Goldfish isn’t too difficult. These species are known to breed in the spring, so if you raise the temperature of your tank to around 65 degrees Fahrenheit, you can coax them into starting the breeding process. Fancy Goldfish lay eggs, which means once the female lays the eggs, the male will then fertilize them. If you want to breed Fancy Goldfish, you will need to have a dedicated breeding tank; this is because the parents will not hesitate to eat the eggs. Once the eggs are laid and fertilized, you’ll want to remove the parents from the tank.

Fancy Goldfish Types

There are over 200 different species of Goldfish. Some of those species of Goldfish are known as Fancy Goldfish; Fancy Goldfish is just a name for Goldfish that have been bred in order to achieve specific characteristics and features. Here are the Goldfish that are classified as Fancy Goldfish: Fantail Goldfish, Veiltail Goldfish, Butterfly Tail Goldfish, Ryukin Goldfish, Tosakin Goldfish, Sabao or Tamasaba Goldfish, Ranchu Goldfish, Oranda Goldfish, Lionhead Goldfish, Lionchu Goldfish, Butterfly Telescope Goldfish, Dragon Eye Goldfish, Black Moor Goldfish, Pearlscale Goldfish, Pom Pom Goldfish, Bubble Eye Goldfish, Celestial Eye Goldfish, Wakin Goldfish, Watonai Goldfish, and the Jikin Goldfish. We’ll be covering some of the most popular species of Fancy Goldfish in more depth, but any species of Fancy Goldfish can make an eye-catching addition to your tank.

Oranda Goldfish

To most, Oranda Goldfish are the most iconic and coveted of all the Fancy Goldfish. Their exact origins are unknown, but records of the Oranda Goldfish can be traced all the way back to the 15th century. They’re believed to be one of the many species of Fancy Goldfish created in Eastern Asia. Oranda Goldfish have several distinguishing features that have only served to increase their popularity. They have a different shape than most other Goldfish; Oranda Goldfish have egg-shaped bodies instead of the more slender bodies traditionally found in most Goldfish species. As in standard with all Fancy Goldfish, Oranda Goldfish have a double fin. But the most iconic feature of the Oranda Goldfish is neither its size nor its fins.

The most recognizable feature of the Oranda Goldfish is its crown. The crown of the Oranda Goldfish, sometimes also known as the wen or the cap, is a warty growth that grows as the fish gets older. The crown doesn’t begin to appear on the Oranda Goldfish until about 3 or 4 months into its life, but it doesn’t fully develop until two years into its life. In some cases, the Oranda Goldfish’s crown can continue to grow until it covers the entire head and face of the fish. Since Oranda Goldfish don’t appear naturally in the wild, you obviously cannot base their tank conditions on the water parameters they prefer in the wild. But, Oranda Goldfish have been around for centuries, so many aquarists know the perfect conditions to keep these unique fish in. The water temperature of an Oranda Goldfish tank needs to be between 65 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit. However, it would be best if you aimed to keep the temperature in the middle of that range. Oranda Goldfish prefer their tank to be at a neutral pH of around 7.0, although they can live at any range between 5.0 to 8.0 pH.

Ranchu Goldfish

Ranchu Goldfish, also known as Buffalo Head Goldfish, Korean Goldfish, Maruko, or the King of Goldfish, is a species of Fancy Goldfish. Ranchu Goldfish are unable to grow a dorsal fin; this inability negatively impacts their ability to swim. Similarly to Oranda Goldfish, Ranchu Goldfish also grow a crown or a wren on its head. Ranchu Goldfish are considered to be very delicate due to their unique body shapes and growth. They need to be kept with similarly delicate and slow fish; Ranchu Goldfish can get very stressed if kept in an understocked or bare tank. Because of their sensitivity, it is imperative e that you set up a tank for a Ranchu Goldfish correctly. Ranchu Goldfish require a stable pH level between 7.2 and 7.6; you need to check the water parameters regularly to ensure that they don’t fluctuate too drastically. Temperature is almost nearly as critical as pH, although the recommended temperature range is slightly more extensive than the pH range. When setting up a tank for Ranchu Goldfish, the temperature needs to remain between 65 – 77 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pearlscale Goldfish

The Pearlscale Goldfish is one of the most interesting-looking fish that you could ever add to any tank. They’re a species of Fancy Goldfish known for their extremely round belly. Mature adult Pearlscale Goldfish’s bellies can sometimes be so round and smooth that they resemble an orange fruit. Pearlscale Goldfish also have scales covering their signature belly. Those scales are raised and arranged in rows and have a bead-like shape. There are also some variants of Pearlscale Goldfish that have a crown in addition to their iconic bellies. Those variants sometimes go by one of several names, such as Crowned Pearlscale Goldfish, Hooded Pearlscale Goldfish, High-Head Pearlscale Goldfish, or Hamanishiki. Pearlscale Goldfish are believed to have originated in China before becoming more prominent in Japan. When setting up a tank for Pearlscale Goldfish, you need to make sure the water temperature stays between 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The pH level of a Pearlscale Goldfish tank needs to be between 6.5 to 7.5.

Ryukin Goldfish

Ryukin Goldfish are some of the most recognizable and iconic species of Fancy Goldfish. The intriguing Ryukin Goldfish is known for its unique body shape. They are basically shaped like an egg; they have a dorsal hump on the top of their body. The hump connects their somewhat pointed head to their uniquely shaped body. Ryukin Goldfish, like other species of Fancy Goldfish, are double finned. But what makes Ryukin Goldfish so interesting is that they can either be long-finned or short-finned. Long-Finned Ryukin Goldfish tend to be more coveted than their short-finned counterparts; this is likely because long-finned Ryukin Goldfish tend to be more vibrantly colored. Ryukin Goldfish can be found in various colors such as calico, white, red, and sometimes even tri-colored.

The exact origins of the Ryukin Goldfish remain a mystery, and their actual origin is likely lost to annuals of time. But, many historians believe that the Ryukin Goldfish first originated in China before being exported to Japan in the late 1770s. After their appearance in Japan, Ryukin Goldfish became widely popular. They were mentioned in many literary works, and their visage quickly became an iconic image. A Ryukin Goldfish can reach around 8 inches in length when fully grown. But that size can quickly increase if the fish is raised in an outdoor pond; they have been known to reach over 10 inches in those conditions.

Ryukin Goldfish are small enough to be kept in a 10-gallon tank, although they’d be comfortable in a bigger one. A 20 to 30 gallon is recommended because that leaves enough room to add more than one Ryukin Goldfish, preferred. Water parameters are also important when setting up a tank for your Ryukin Goldfish. The water temperature should fall between 64 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit. pH is one of the most critical parameters for any aquarium that you plan to set up. The pH level of a Ryukin Goldfish tank should be a steady level between 6.0 to 8.0.

Fantail Goldfish

Fantail Goldfish are widely considered the most basic of any species classified as a Fancy Goldfish. As such, they don’t have any of the defining traits that are traditionally found in Fantail Goldfish. However, some species believed to be Fantail Goldfish won’t develop their iconic trait until around six months of age; at that point, they are traditionally reclassified into whatever species they truly are. Fantail Goldfish are known for their double tail fins, each of which splits again, giving them the appearance of having four tails; if viewed from the side, it gives the appearance of a fan, hence their aptly selected title.

Fantail Goldfish have small, bulbous bodies. The size and shape of their bodies actually limits their organ growth which can cause significant issues for them later in life. Like most other species of Fancy Goldfish, Fantail Goldfish can be found in a wide variety of colors. The most common colors are yellow, orange, and red, while some rare colors are black, blue, white, and even calico. An average Fantail Goldfish can grow around eight inches in length and live for upwards of 10 years.

Fantail Goldfish aren’t particularly hard to keep; some people even keep them in outdoor ponds. If you wish to add a Fantail Goldfish to your aquarium, you should follow a few guidelines. Routine checks of water parameters are important to ensure that you can catch any fluctuations before they turn into a more significant issue. You want to ensure the water has a pH level of around 6.0 to 8,0. Temperature is also essential; Fantail Goldfish can live in a temperature between 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, although most aquarists recommend a temperature of around 73 or 74 degrees Fahrenheit.

Blackmoor Goldfish

Blackmoor Goldfish are known for their eyes; it is their most striking and distinguishable feature. They have large, telescoping eyes, and because of this, they are sometimes called telescopes. As with many other species of Fancy Goldfish, Blackmoor Goldfish originated in China before being exported to Japan, where their popularity boomed. These quirky fish can sometimes live up to 20 years if given proper care. As their name suggests, Blackmoor Goldfish are traditionally black in color. They are usually paler when they are young and get darker as they mature. The most noticeable feature of Blackmoor Goldfish is their eyes, which get larger and more pronounced as they age. Despite their large eyes, most aquarists report that the eyesight of Blackmoor Goldfish is actually very poor. Blackmoor Goldish can survive in a wide variety of tank conditions. The pH range of a Blackmoor Goldfish tank should be between 6.5 to 7.5. The temperature of a Blackmoor Goldfish tank isn’t nearly as important. Most aquarists recommended the temperature level to be between 50 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit; those lower temperatures won’t require a heater. Since Blackmoor Goldfish are a manufactured species, you can’t emulate their natural habitat when setting up a tank for them. However, you can and should attempt to emulate the native environment of the Asian Carp, which is their closest relative.

Bubble Eye Goldfish

At first glance, Bubble Eye Goldfish do not seem real; they almost look as though they were ripped straight from a cartoon. This is due to their most notable feature, their bubble eyes. These bubble eyes are fluid-filled sacs that are located directly under the fish’s eyes. Many people believe that the bubbles of a Bubble Eye Goldfish are filled with air, but that simply isn’t the case. They contain liquid, which makes the bubbles move as the fish swims. Unfortunately, the large sacs cause vision issues for the Bubble Eye Goldfish; the bubbles are so large that the fish can’t see over them. Don’t worry if the bubbles get popped or deflate; they will heal independently and refill with fluids.

As is the case with many species of Fancy Goldfish, it is believed that the Bubble Eye Goldfish was initially bred in China. Many aquarists believe that the Bubble Eye Goldfish results from precise cross-breeding with the Prussian Carp.

That cross-breeding means that you need to emulate the native environment of a Prussian Carp when you set up a tank for your Bubble Eye Goldfish. As such, the water parameters need to match those of a Prussian Carp. The temperature level of a Bubble Eye Goldfish tank should fall between 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, with most experts recommending it stay around 72 degrees Fahrenheit. The pH level of your tank should be approximately 6.0 to 8.0. Tank setup is vital for the Bubble Eye Goldfish. This setup is essential because their eye bubbles are very delicate. Any rough or jagged surfaces could easily pop them.

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With decades of collective fishkeeping experience, we are happy to share the fish care tips that we've picked up along the way. Our goal at Fish Laboratory is to keep publishing accurate content to help fishkeepers keep their fish and aquarium healthy.

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