If you’re looking for one of the most beautiful species of fish you can raise at home, you might consider the goldfish. When you think about goldfish, what do you think of? If it’s the standard orange fish you win in a bowl or plastic baggie at the fair, it’s time to rethink what you know about this varied, illustrious species.
There is a whole world of goldfish just waiting to be explored. Breeders have created all kinds of selectively bred varieties of goldfish, and there are a wide range available for aquariums today. Interested in learning more about which type of goldfish might be best for your aquarium? Here’s everything you need to know about the many types of goldfish that are available to you to raise in an aquarium.
Pick the one that is best for you – and get started!
- Single-Tailed Goldfish
- Fancy Goldfish
- Caring For Your New Goldfish
As you may have already guessed, single-tailed goldfish are named because they have just a single tail per fish. Referred to as “non-fancy” goldfish, these creatures still look a lot like their ancestors – the Prussian carp. These fish have slender bodies and long, flowing tails.
1 Comet Goldfish
Comet goldfish are another type of single-tailed goldfish that you need to consider. They look a lot like Common Goldfish, which we will tell you all about in a moment, but they have a different type of tail. While Comet Goldfish have long, flowing caudal fins, Common Goldfish have shorter, stockier tails.
These fish can be found in shades of white, orange, or yellow. There are other unique varieties available that come with blotchy orange colorations on white bodies. These fish can grow quite large, usually reaching nine inches or more in captivity.
2 Common Goldfish
The Common Goldfish is the one with which you are probably most familiar – it’s the one you will see at carnivals and it’s probably the one you may have owned as a child.
These fish are unassuming but sweet, available in yellow, white, or orange. They are commonly sold as feeder fish but can also be raised in a home aquarium. These fish grow quite large if given the change – the largest ever recorded was about 19 inches long. However, in most aquariums they will grow to 10 inches or so in size.
3 Shubunkin Goldfish
It’s not just the fun-to-say name of this goldfish that earns it a beloved spot on our list! These fish are also gorgeous to look at. They were bred exclusively for their colors and come in several different varieties. You can find them in blue, orange, black, and white, as well as mixtures of all of those colorings. They have a matte pattern and luminescent scales. The American Shubunkin is perhaps the most common type of Shubunkin Goldfish, possessing a gorgeous spotted calico pattern.
If you want a Shubunkin that is more similar to the classic choice – the Common Goldfish – you might consider the London Shubunkin, which has short fins. The Bristol Shubunkin, on the other hand, has long tails that are shaped not unlike hearts. Although Shubunkin Goldfish can be tricky to find – particularly if you are looking for a rare color or type of Shubunkin Goldfish – they are well worth the effort.
4 Wakin Goldfish
Wakin Goldfish are truly something else! These fish look like they are half non-fancy and half fancy, possessing elongated bodies and double tails. An ancestor of many of the common fancy goldfish types we are already aware of, this fish is categorized separately because of its unique body shape.
This fish grows much larger than stockier fancies. It has a long body and is an active swimmer. It is commonly kept in a pond – it is so active that it can be difficult to keep it confined in a smaller tank setting. In fact, in most other countries, you will see Wakin Goldfish raised in ponds.
What makes a Fancy Goldfish …fancy? It’s not refined manners or an elegant upbringing. No, a Fancy Goldfish is simply one that has been selectively bred to exhibit certain physical traits. These are physical traits that a single tail goldfish simply doesn’t have.
For example, all Fancy Goldfish have double tails. They also have stocky, short bodies instead of the long, torpedo-like bodies of their single-tail counterparts. Slow swimmers, these fish are sensitive to changes in water temperature and other tank conditions. They are best kept indoors because they do not handle low water temperatures well.
A word of caution – while it is easy for most fishkeepers to raise either fancy goldfish or single-tail goldfish separately, you should never raise them together. Single tails, or commons, will compete with fancy goldfish for food, causing serious problems.
1 Ryukin Goldfish
Ryukin Goldfish are tall fish with prominent shoulder humps just behind their heads. Interestingly, these fish are often taller than they are long, with pointed heads and tails that can be either short or long depending on the type. Some Ryukins have tails twice as long as their bodies!
Like other types of fancy goldfish, these fish are large. They should be kept in an extremely large aquarium, but a pond will often be a good choice for these fish, too. In fact, they are one of the few species of fancy goldfish that can safely be kept in a pond.
These fish have selectively bred traits like shoulder humps – these aren’t as noticeable when the fish are young but will begin to appear as it develops more fully. As your Ryukin grows larger, he will develop his height and shoulder hump, the latter of which is determined by the genetics of the fish as well as his diet.
2 Celestial Eye Goldfish
The Celestial Eye Goldfish is a unique type of goldfish that looks not unlike a telescopic eye. Selectively bred from mutation, this creature has eyes that point upward and not to the side. It does not have a dorsal fin and has been around for quite some time. This fish doesn’t have great vision and must be protected from sharp objects in the tank.
3 Oranda Goldfish
The Oranda Goldfish was selectively bred for its wen. when is a large fleshy mass on the side of the head that looks not unlike the mane of a lion. These fish start their lives looking like regular fantail goldfish but then develop the wens as they age.
These fish are hardy and fast growing quickly. You need to protect the wen from infection by avoiding sharp objects in the tank and keeping out aggressive tank mates. Some People try to cut the wen back, which you can attempt if you know what you are doing – otherwise, it should be avoided.
4 Fantail Goldfish
Fantail Goldfish are some of the most common fancy goldfish you will find. These creatures have the standard shape, with bodies that look somewhat like eggs and elongated dorsal fins. These fish also have long, flowy tails. They are considered to be the European version of the Ryukin goldfish, which we talked about above.
Fantails are a good choice for people who have just started raising goldfish and want to learn more about Fancys. These fish are relatively hardy and require minimal care. Although it can be challenging to keep them with single-tails, they are relatively agile and may be the only type of fancy goldfish that can actually complete with your single tails for food.
5 Telescope Eye Goldfish
Another unique looking goldfish, this one has a round, protruding eye that is somewhat fragile. You need to take care to protect the eye, as any illness or injury can lead to a loss of vision or even infection put a protector around your water change hose and always use a prefilter sponge – this can help prevent accidents.
6 Pearlscale Goldfish
The Pearlscale Goldfish is a strange-looking goldfish, but one that is definitely worth having in your aquarium. It almost looks like a golf ball, prized for its rotund body and thick, dense scaling. This fish is relatively difficult to keep and is not a great choice for someone who is just beginning to keep fish. Not the hardiest species of goldfish out there, this creature often suffers from a decline in water quality. You also need to be aware of potential issues with the swim bladder – the body shape of this fish has been altered in such a way that the swim bladder often does not function properly.
7 Bubble Eye Goldfish
Another bizarre looking fancy goldfish, the Bubble Eye goldfish looks like it has large tumors growing under its eyes. These tumors are actually bubbles- hence the name -that are sacs filled with water. They grow as the fish does and can reach pretty impressive sizes.
While this fish is definitely cool to look at, you need to be mindful that this fish requires more care than other fish you might have in your tank. For instance, bubble eyes can easily be popped by sharp objects in your aquarium. You will need to remove any potentially dangerous items and put a pre filter sponge around the filter intake. The bubbles can easily pop when they contact something and while they often grow back, popped bubbles can cause eye damage and infection.
You also need to be wary of keeping Bubble Eye Goldfish with other kinds of fish. They can only be kept with slow fancy goldfish. Faster goldfish will compete with them for food.
8 Ranchu Goldfish
The Ranchu Goldfish lacks a dorsal fin but has a wen. It is easy to care for, but know that the Ranchu Goldfish is relatively slow because it does not have a dorsal fin. This fish can also be somewhat vision impaired if the wen begins to cover the eyes. You need to make sure that your Ranchu Goldfish are only kept with non-competitive tank mates to avoid competition and saturation. Watch out for other hazards, like sharp decorations, that can damage their wens, too.
9 Lionhead Goldfish
The Lionhead Goldfish is often mistaken for the Ranchu Goldfish. While both have wings and lack dorsal fins, the Lionhead Goldfish has a larger head growth that provides it with fuller, more pronounced cheeks. It also has an elongated body. You will care for ta Lionhead Goldfish in the exact same way you would tend to a Ranchu Goldfish.
10 Veiltail Goldfish
Veiltail Goldfish are popular among collectors but are difficult to breed. These fish have long, flowing fins that are not forked. Veiltails can be metallic colored, solid, or calico, with colors that run into its fins. Not as hardy as many of the other goldfish listed, it can still survive in an outdoor pond as long as conditions aren’t too extreme. It can also be housed in an indoor aquarium.