In the wild, Goldfish (Carassius Auratus) are really different from what we are used to see in aquarium and ponds. During the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907), it was popular to keep carp fish in ponds. Some of these carp fish displayed yellowish orange colour rather than silver coloration. So they began to breed the yellowish orange variety instead of the silver variety and created what we call today the Common Goldfish. Today, many varieties of fancy goldfish are derived from the common goldfish. They have been breed to look different in color, shape and size.
Most Common Goldfish Types
The Common Goldfish is a coldwater fish so the tank does not have to be heated. It will do well with a water temperature of 65° – 78°F, a pH between 6.0 and 8.0 and a dH of 5 -19.
The Common Goldfish is a coldwater fish. This is actually one of the reason why it is not recommended to keep the common goldfish with tropical fish that require warmer water.
When buying new tank mate, remember that any fish that can fit into a goldfish’s mouth will get eaten. Finally, it is not recommended to keep narrow-bodied (common goldfish, comet and shubunkin) and fat-bodied goldfish (most fancy goldfish) varieties together because the narrow-bodied ones will have eaten all the food before the fat-bodied realise it’s time to eat.
It is not easy to find plants that are suitable for a goldfish tank. Most commonly available plants will not thrive in goldfish tank conditions because they are tropical plants. Most aquarium plants also require more light that what is provided with the basic aquarium kit. Some of the plants I have found to be suitable for most (not any) goldfish tanks are the floating plants ( Ceratophyllum submersum, Ceratopteris thalictroides, Limnobium laevigatum, Duck weed and others), Java ferns, anubias, echinodorus and other low light plants. Read here for more information about low light aquarium plants.
- Species name: Carassius auratus
- Common names: Goldfish
- Family: Cyprinidae
- Order: Cypriniformes
- Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
- Maximum length: 12 in.
- Minimum tank size: 25 gallons
- Hardiness: Easy to Hard
- Aggressiveness: May nip at fins. Will eat fish that can fit in it’s mouth.
- Diet: Omnivore. In the wild, they feed on a wide range of food including plants, small crustaceans, insects, and detritus. In captivity, they will accept most aquarium food including pellets, flakes, and live prey such as worms.
Below some of the most popular types of goldfish available today.
Single Tailed Goldfish
Single tailed have a longer body shape than other fancies and, as the name suggests it has a single tail. They grow to a size of almost 12 inches (30 cm) and are active swimmers, which makes them most suitable for ponds.
- Common Goldfish – is one of the most popular fish in the aquarium hobby. It is also one of the easiest fish to keep which makes it an excellent choice for beginners. The Common goldfish possess a long dorsal fin with a forked caudal and a short caudal peduncle. The body is tapered at the caudal peduncle and head, and it is also wider and deeper than the comet goldfish. They come in many colors but are mostly seen in solid gold/orange. In the wild, they feed on a wide range of food including plants, small crustaceans, insects, and detritus. In captivity, they will accept most aquarium food including pellets, flakes, and live prey such as worms.
- Comet Goldfish – are native to China and Japan. The Comet goldfish have originated from the United States and has been developed from common goldfish in the early 1880s. The Comet goldfish is a hardy and adaptable fish that do not require too much care. They are a lot like the common goldfish in appearance but the fins are longer. The tail is deeply forked and can be almost as long as the body. The tips of the tail can be clear, which makes the Comet goldfish a really attractive specimen. They come in a variety of colors including yellow, silver, as well as a combination of the two colors. Today, a few variants of the Comet goldfish can be found: Sarasa comets are characterized by their red-and-white coloration and resemble the Kohaku color pattern in koi. The Tancho single-tail is similar to the comet but it has a silver-colored body and finnage with a red patch on the head.
- Shubunkin Goldfish – Shubunkin (meaning “red brocade”), also known as the “Poor Mans Koi” or Chu-wen-chin in China is a type of single-tailed goldfish with calico colors: a combination of orange, white, black, red, and blue markings. The Shubunkin goldfish have been developed from mutations in telescope eye goldfish (Demekins) back in 1900 in Japan. They are good swimmers, relatively hardy and adaptable, so they are an excellent for a novice fishkeeper. They are a lot like the common and comet goldfish in appearance but distinguishes themselves by having orange, brown, red, and yellow colors combined with black spots. The colors normally extend to the finnage. This color pattern is what’s also called calico colors. Calico means there are at less three colors present.
The ideal shubunkins should have lots of blue with patches or yellow, gray, black, brown, red and orange. The more blue color it has, the more valuable it is.
Double Tailed Goldfish
- Wakin goldfish – Wakin goldfish “Japanese goldfish” are a nice mix of standard goldfish and fantal goldfish and are the ideal fish to be placed with koi. They have a slender body, similar to a Comet goldfish and a fantal shaped tail with shorter fins. Wakin typically comes in red and white. Every Wakin will display unique color pattern. They can be completely red or white just a few red stains. They are fairly difficult to breed and are not readily available. Originally discovered in China, the wakin goldfish is thought to be the first type of goldfish brought into Japan. The wakin goldfish is better suited for ponds.
- Jikin goldfish – The Jikin is a charming, colorful goldfish that the most beautiful fish for the freshwater aquarium. The jikin goldfish is the rarest, and this stunning creature is extremely sought after by aquarists everywhere. Also known as the peacock-tail goldfish, its most outstanding feature is its caudal fin (tail), which has four lobes and which, when the fish is viewed from behind. It has a short, slim, slightly oval-shaped body, similar to that of the common goldfish, and an indented dorsal fin. The body of the Jikin goldfish is a dazzling white color and its lips, gill covers and fins, including its spectacular caudal fin, are bright red. An aquarium with a minimum capacity volume of 50 gallons is needed to house the jikin goldfish as adult specimens will grow to 9 inches (25 centimeters) in length. It is a hardy fish but is less cold-tolerant than many other species of goldfish and prefers water with a constant temperature of 25°C (degrees Celsius), and a pH value between 6.5 and 8.5.
Double Tailed with No Dorsal Fin Goldfish
- Bubble eye goldfish – also known as the Water-Bubble Eye Goldfish. It is a member of the carp family and originates from Asia and China. The Bubble-Eye can easily be recognized by its upturned eyes and the fluid sacs beneath them. It has an egg-shaped body and a double tail, but no dorsal fin. The Bubble-Eye can grow to around 15cm/6inches in length and can be found in a variety of different colors, including gold, red, chocolate, red/white and even black. It is relatively easy to sex the Bubble-Eye, as during the breeding season the males develop tiny raised white spots (known as tubercles) on their heads, gill covers, and pectoral fins. The females will become fatter when they are carrying eggs. As Bubble-Eyes are slow swimmers and have poor eyesight, they are best kept on their own and are not really suitable for beginners.
- Ranchu goldfish – Variety of goldfish exclusively bred in china in the 1800s. They are excellent fish to keep in a pond. They require the same conditions as the common goldfish. Their lifespan is about 8-10 years. The ranchu goldfish has a body similar to the Chinese lionhead. Its body is egg-shaped and it lacks the dorsal fin. Its head growth is also almost similar to the lionhead goldfish. The tail of the Ranchu is bent a little more to face the bottom than that of the lion-head. Good specimens have a short fan-tail. The length of the head and the body should be proportional. The Ranchu goldfish have a few color mutations. There is the standard red, the black and the white and red, to name a few color forms. The head growth or the cap develops over a year or so, provided the environmental conditions are qualitative. The Ranchu gold grows up to 7 inches, and they need a lot of space to swim in the aquarium. They are not as hardy as the common goldfish. So when given the proper surviving conditions, they live for a long time in the aquarium. When kept in outdoor ponds, the temperature should be monitored constantly and they should be moved indoors at temperatures less than 18 degree Celsius.
Double Tailed with Dorsal Fin Goldfish
- Ryukin goldfish – Strikingly similar to the fan-tail but its most distinctive feature, a large hump just behind the head which develops as the fish matures, makes the ryukin easily identifiable. It has an unusually deep (almost as deep as it is long), egg-shaped body and a high dorsal fin which gives the fish a somewhat elevated appearance. The ryukin has a wide tail which typically has two lobes but fish with three or four lobed tails are not uncommon. They are normally red, white or a combination of the two in color. Nevertheless, there is a calico variant of the species which has a blue base color, a mixture of speckled pigments and the occasional metallic scale on its flanks. Ryukin goldfish become sexually mature when they measure 4 inches/10 centimeters in length.
Other popular types of goldfish available:
Double Tailed with Dorsal Fin Goldfish
- Fantail goldfish
- Oranda goldfish
- Pearlscale goldfish
- Moor goldfish
- Telescope-eye goldfish
- Pom-pon goldfish
- Veiltail goldfish
Double Tailed with No Dorsal Fin Goldfish
- Lionhead goldfish
- Celestial goldfish