Fancy Goldfish Types – 12 Best (With Pictures)

Thank you for visiting! By the way… any links on this page that lead to products on Amazon and other stores/partners are affiliate links. Aquarium Store Depot earns a commission if you make a purchase.

Goldfish have been bred and kept as pets for over a millennium, and today, they’re just as popular as ever! In fact, the humble goldfish is probably the most well-known and popular aquarium fish in the whole world.

Not all goldfish look the same, however. As a result of centuries of breeding, there are now many incredible types of goldfish available for your aquarium! In this article, I’ll be introducing you to the 12 best fancy goldfish types, and giving you a good introduction to their care.

So let’s get started!

What Is A Goldfish?

Goldfish are small to large freshwater fish that are kept in aquariums and ponds across the globe. These fish are members of the Cyprinidae(carp) family.

In the wild, goldfish can grow to over 15 inches and 9 pounds, although they usually stay below 8 inches in most fish tanks. Modern goldfish range from your regular common goldfish to weird and wonderful breeds like the bubble eyes and telescope goldfish.

What Makes Goldfish Such Great Pets?

Goldfish are undemanding pets that are very relaxing to watch. It’s easy to get attached to your goldfish because each individual can have a unique appearance and personality.

Goldfish are very peaceful aquarium pets that do not show aggression towards each other or other animals in the aquarium. They can live for over a decade, although the more usual lifespan is more like 5 years.

Where It All Started

Modern-day goldfish were originally bred from a small wild goldfish species known as Carassius auratus which is native to China and other parts of Eastern Asia. Amazingly, the first records of domestication of the species go back over 1000 years!

Glass aquariums did not exist hundreds of years ago when goldfish types were being bred, so many of the characteristic features were selected to make these fish look more attractive when viewed from above.

12 Types Of Goldfish for your aquarium

Now that you know a little more about the background of one of the world’s favorite fish species, it’s time to meet some fancy goldfish types! Before we get started, here are a few important technical terms to know:

  • Caudal fin: Another name for the tail fin
  • Dorsal fin: The fin on top of a fish’s back
  • Anal fin: The fin closest to the tail on the bottom of a fish
  • Hood: A growth on the top and/or sides of the head of a fancy goldfish. Known as a wen in Chinese.
  • Telescopic eyes: Protruding eyes that stick out from the sides of the head
  • Metallic scales: Glossy, reflective scales
  • Nacreous scales: Multicolored scales
  • Matte scales: Clear scales without color

1. Fantail Goldfish

Fantail Goldfish Swimming
  • Adult Size: 6-8 inches in length
  • Color Pattern: Varied
  • Unique Traits: Double tail

The fantail goldfish is one of the most popular fancy goldfish breeds. They are best known for their amazing double fins and large, flowing tail fin.

In this type of goldfish, all the fins are paired except for the dorsal fin. The body is egg-shaped and, when viewed from above, the tail creates a triangular shape.

Fantail goldfish can have either normal or telescope eyes and are available in a range of different colors and patterns.

2. Ranchu Goldfish

Ranchu Goldfish
  • Adult Size: 6-8 inches in length
  • Color Pattern: Varied
  • Unique Traits: Well developed hood, no dorsal fin

The ranchu goldfish is a Japanese breed that is seriously cute. This type of goldfish fish is best known for its prominent hood, thick body shape, and missing dorsal fin. They have a rounded back and small, rounded fins.

The impressive hood of this fancy goldfish type takes about a year to grow. Ranchu goldfish have double caudal fins that are flared out. When seen from above, this creates an interesting 3-lobed appearance.

3. Lionchu Goldfish

  • Adult Size: 6-10 inches in length
  • Color Pattern: Varied
  • Unique Traits: No dorsal fin

The lionchu goldfish is a cross between the popular lionhead and ranchu goldfish breeds. These fish share characteristics of both their parent breeds like their head growths and lack of dorsal fin.

This relatively new fancy goldfish breed was accepted in 2006 and is thought to have originated in Thailand (video source).

4. Ryukin Goldfish

Ryukin Goldfish
  • Adult Size: 6-10 inches in length
  • Color Pattern: Varied
  • Unique Traits: Large shoulder hump, pointed head

The ryukin goldfish is a stunning ancient Chinese breed with a very deep body shape. The body of this fancy goldfish variety is 75% or more of the fish’s body length. The impressive humped back of the ryukin goldfish develops as it gets older.

Ryukin goldfish have a pointed head that sticks out from their massive body, creating a unique look. They have double fins that can vary in length and a large and prominent single dorsal fin.

5. Pearlscale Goldfish

Pearscale Goldfish
  • Adult Size: 6-8 inches in length
  • Color Pattern: Varied
  • Unique Traits: Special scales, Spherical body

Like other goldfish from the double fin group, pearlscale goldfish have all paired fins except for the dorsal fin. The body shape of the pearlscale goldfish is short and rounded, and they can reach the size of an orange!

These fish have rounded fin tips and there are many varieties of pearlscale goldfish, including fish with oranda goldfish type heads.

6. Butterfly Goldfish

  • Adult Size: 6-8 inches in length
  • Color Pattern: Varied
  • Unique Traits: 180 degree horizontal paired caudal fins

The butterfly or butterfly tail goldfish (video source) is a breed that gets its name from its double tail fins. These fins are spread out and flattened. The effect is that the caudal fins look like a flying butterfly when viewed from above.

This amazing feature isn’t all that’s interesting about this breed though. These fancy goldfish belong to the double-finned group of breeds and butterfly goldfish most often have telescopic eyes/dragon eyes. This breed of goldfish is also available with normal eyes, however.

7. Oranda Goldfish

Oranda Close Up
  • Adult Size: 8-12 inches in length
  • Color Pattern: Variable
  • Unique Traits: Large hood, egg-shaped body

Oranda goldfish are a spectacular breed. They have an egg-shaped body with a prominent hood/wen. These fish have well-developed, flowing fins, including a large dorsal fin.

They have a similar body shape to the fantail goldfish. There are many different forms of oranda goldfish, with different color hoods and even telescopic eyes.

8. Black Moor Goldfish

Black moor goldfish in aquarium
  • Adult Size: 6-8 inches in length
  • Color Pattern: Black
  • Unique Traits: All-black color and telescopic eyes

The black moor is a popular and dramatic-looking telescope eye goldfish breed. These all-black fancy goldfish are one of the most easily recognizable breeds.

The black moor goldfish has a rounded body and the same double finnage as the typical fantail goldfish.

9. Veiltail Goldfish

Veiltail Goldfish in Aquarium
  • Adult Size: 6-8 inches in length
  • Color Pattern: Varied
  • Unique Traits: Large double tail with a straight edge and no fork, sail-like dorsal fin

The veiltail goldfish is a rare breed that is known for its large and beautiful tail. In this type of goldfish, the caudal fin should be 1 to 1.5 times the length of the body. Furthermore, the lobes of the caudal fin are not forked, and the back edge of the fin should be straight.

It is not only the tail that is impressive, this breed also has a large, upright dorsal fin. Veiltail goldfish have a similar body shape to the fantail goldfish, with the same double fins. Veiltail goldfish can have matte, nacreous, or metallic scales.

10. Lionhead Goldfish

Lionhead Goldfish
  • Adult Size: 6 inches in length
  • Color Pattern: Varied
  • Unique Traits: Large hood, no dorsal fin

The Lionhead goldfish is a centuries-old Chinese breed of fancy goldfish. They have a very well-developed hood that covers almost their entire head.

This breed was created before the ranchu and has a similar egg-shaped body. While they also have paired caudal and anal fins, and no dorsal fin, these slow-moving fish differ from the ranchu by having a fairly straight back.

11. Bubble Eye Goldfish

Bubble Eye Goldfish in Aquarium
  • Adult Size: 3-5 inches in length
  • Color Pattern: Varied
  • Unique Traits: Large sacs(bubbles) below the eyes, no dorsal fin

The bubble eye is one of the strangest fancy goldfish breeds available. These fish have fluid-filled sacs on their cheeks that make their eyes bulge out and look upwards.

Apart from their protruding eyes, bubble eye goldfish have the same body shape as the ranchu goldfish and also lack a dorsal fin. Because of this extreme body modification, bubble eye goldfish are pretty weak swimmers and need special care and tank setups to avoid injuries.

12. Sabao Goldfish

  • Adult Size: 6-8 inches in length
  • Color Pattern: Red and White
  • Unique Traits: Strongly forked single tail

This uncommon Japanese breed is also known as the Tamasaba goldfish (video source). They are a single tailed goldfish breed with a strongly forked caudal fin with pointed tail fins, almost like a fast swimming ocean fish.

While this fancy goldfish variety does have a plump body, the shape is more like a common or comet goldfish than some of the round-bodied breeds. These beautiful fish usually have red and white body colors.

Goldfish Colors

You may have noticed that almost all of the fancy goldfish types in my list are available in varied colors. Let’s take a look at some of the most common goldfish colors:

  • Red
  • Orange
  • Yellow
  • White

Other Goldfish Colors

apart from the regular colors you expect to see on a goldfish, there are also some more subtle and natural color forms available. These include:

  • Green- Green goldfish are actually more of a light bronze color than a true green
  • Black – Black goldfish are relatively rare. The black moor goldfish is a great example of this color morph
  • Blue – Blue goldfish have a dusty black look, rather than a true blue color
  • Wild/Iron – The silvery brown color of wild goldfish
  • Uncolored – Uncolored goldfish have the wild/iron color when young. They often develop brighter adult colors as they mature

Goldfish Patterns

Goldfish come in an almost infinite variety of patterns, and that’s what makes each individual so unique! Apart from single-colored fish, there are some well-recognized goldfish patterns that you are likely to encounter out there like:

Panda Goldfish

These goldfish are also known as magpie or black and white goldfish. They are variously marked in pure black and white.

Calico/Multicolored Goldfish

Calico goldfish usually have nacreous scales. They can have multiple different colors, in complex patterns.

Redcap Goldfish

These goldfish typically have a white body with a red ‘cap’ on the head.

Whitecap Goldfish

These goldfish typically have a red body with a white ‘cap’ on the head.

Goldfish Scale Types

The type of scales is another characteristic that varies between different individual goldfish. Fancy goldfish can have 3 different types of scales. These are:

Metallic

This is the most common scale type. Metallic scale types are glossy and reflect a lot of light. These scales are typically single-colored.

Matte

This scale type is translucent and does not reflect any light. Goldfish with matte scales do not have typical colors and tend to be a pinkish color.

Nacreous

This scale type is a mix between metallic and matte. Goldfish with nacreous scales can be multicolored, like calico goldfish.

Goldfish Tank Setup

Successful goldfish keeping starts with the right fish tank setup for their needs. In this section, we’ll take a closer look at how to set up a great goldfish aquarium.

Tank Size

Although many pet stores sell goldfish bowls, the truth is that goldfish need plenty of space. As a general rule, an aquarium of 20 gallons is necessary for keeping a single goldfish, and you’ll need a further 20 gallons for each additional goldfish you add.

That might sound like a lot of space for a 6-inch fish, but remember that goldfish are very stocky, which makes them very large in relation to their body length. Since they prefer to live in groups, you’ll need a fairly large aquarium to set up the perfect home for your fish.

Substrate

A substrate is not absolutely necessary for your tank. A bare bottom aquarium makes cleaning much easier but does not provide a very natural look.

https://aquariumstoredepot.com/blogs/news/what-do-goldfish-eatGoldfish love to search the substrate at the bottom of the tank while looking for food, and this natural behavior is not possible in a bare bottom tank. To create a more natural environment for your fish, consider using a fine gravel or sand substrate.

Ideal For Goldfish
Caribsea Super Naturals Sand

This sand by Caribsea is perfect for supporting the foraging habit of goldfish. Also works with bottom feeders and discus fish.

Buy On Amazon

Filtration

An aquarium filter is a very important piece of hardware for your goldfish tank. You can use just about any kind of filter for common goldfish, but weaker swimmers like bubble eye goldfish will do far better with a simple sponge filter that creates a very gentle flow.

Goldfish produce plenty of waste, so adequate filtration is important. That means you can run several sponge filters or even a combination of a hang-on back or canister filter with additional sponge filters.

Goldfish like cool, well-oxygenated water. Sponge filters are useful for oxygenating the water, but running a simple airstone or bubbler as well is a good idea.

Heating

Goldfish are cool water fish, which means they do not require a heater in many homes. Their ideal temperature range lies between 65-72°F, so if your home gets below these temperatures, a heater will be necessary.

At the same time, if you live in a tropical climate and the water in your aquarium naturally rises above about 72°F, you would need to keep your tank in an air-conditioned room or run an aquarium chiller to keep your fish comfortable.

Other Important Parameters

  • pH: 7-8
  • GH: 150ppm
  • KH: 70-140ppm

Live Plants For Goldfish

Goldfish are omnivorous, and they love to feed on live plants. Unfortunately, this means they are not good fish for aquascaped aquariums. There are, however, a few species of plants that goldfish don’t usually feed on.

Here are a few popular choices:

Your other option is to grow fast-growing plants that can keep up with your goldfish’s appetite and provide them with a natural food source. The following species work great for this:

Fake plants are another option if you would like to green up your tank without growing live plants. Be sure to select plant decorations that are aquarium safe, and have soft, smooth surfaces that can’t damage your goldfish’s eyes or fins.

Great For Delicate Fins!
Marina Naturals Plants

Silk plants that are designed to be gentle on fish with fancy fins like Bettas and Fancy Goldfish

Buy On Amazon

Decorations

Although decorations aren’t strictly necessary, they are a great way to make your aquarium more aesthetically pleasing.

You can let your creativity run wild when choosing your decor, but remember to keep the health of your fish in mind.

Fancy goldfish can be pretty clumsy, and sharp decorations can be a serious hazard for them. Veiltail goldfish, for example, have long flowing fins that can easily tear. Bubble eye goldfish can also burst the fluid-filled sacs on their cheeks on sharp objects.

How To Care For Your Goldfish

Goldfish are a relatively easy species to care for once you understand their needs. They are social creatures that should be kept in a pair at a minimum. Let’s take a look at how to keep your fancy goldfish well taken care of.

Water Quality

Maintaining good water quality is the key to success for any tank, and a goldfish aquarium is no different. Poor water quality puts your fish under stress, and this can lead to poor health and disease.

Good water quality is a result of an appropriate size tank, good filtration, correct feeding, and regular maintenance.

Testing

In order to keep your goldfish happy and healthy, you will need to keep your water parameters stable at the values listed above. To do this, you’ll need a test kit so that you can measure and monitor your water chemistry.

A liquid test kit is all that you will need. Choose a test kit that allows you to measure all of the following parameters:

  • Ammonia
  • Nitrite
  • Nitrate
  • pH

An inexpensive aquarium thermometer is also useful for monitoring the water temperature in your aquarium.

Aquarium Maintenance

Goldfish are hardy fish, but they do need good water quality and regular maintenance and monitoring. This means you’ll need to roll up your sleeves and get your hands wet every now and then to keep your pet’s tank in great shape.

Water changes and gravel vacuuming are the two most important maintenance activities, and you will need to do this every week or two. The bigger your tank, and the fewer fish you keep, the longer you can go between water changes.

Remember to test your nitrate levels regularly, because this will help you work out the perfect maintenance schedule for your tank. Ideally, you should aim to keep your nitrates to 20ppm, but goldfish are hardy fish, so anything below 50ppm before a water change is still well below their tolerance level.

Use your gravel vacuum or python system to suck up any waste at the bottom of your tank while removing water, and take this time to scrape off any algae that is growing on the glass of your aquarium.

Python Cleaner

The Python is a mainstay in the fish hobby. Easily clean your aquarium by connecting this to your sink!

Buy On Amazon

The new water you put into the tank should be the same temperature as the water you took out, and always remember to use a water conditioner to neutralize harmful chemicals like chloramine in tap water.

Feeding Your Goldfish

Goldfish are omnivorous, which means they eat both plant and animal foods. High protein diets can be good for improved growth and color, but balance is very important. To keep your goldfish in great health, always feed them a high-quality, varied diet.

The following food sources are recommended:

  • High-quality sinking pellets
  • Frozen brine shrimp
  • Frozen bloodworms
  • Vegetables

Many keepers feed floating foods without any issues, but there are reports of fish ingesting too much air while feeding at the surface. If your fish develops buoyancy issues, a change of diet may be necessary.

In warmer water, you can feed your goldfish 2 or 3 times a day. In cooler water, your fish will be less active and can be fed once a day or so. Avoid overfeeding your pets by only supplying enough food for them to finish within about 2 minutes.

For some clumsy fancy goldfish, 2 minutes may not be enough time for them to finish a meal. Another rough estimate then is to feed your fish a portion size that is the same size as one of their eyes.

Goldfish Tankmates

It is best to keep goldfish in a species-only tank. Furthermore, slow-moving fancy goldfish types should only be kept with other goldfish with similar needs, rather than with faster moving single tail common goldfish. This is to give the fancy goldfish a fair chance at reaching the food at mealtimes.

There are some other fish that are compatible with goldfish. Goldfish community tanks are only a good idea for more experienced goldfish keepers though. The important thing is that any tank mate must be peaceful and enjoy the same cooler water temperatures.

Possible options include:

  • Mystery snail
  • Hillstream loach
  • Dojo loach
  • Rosy barb
  • White cloud minnow

Breeding Goldfish

Although it can be challenging, it is possible to breed your goldfish at home. For starters, you will need an adult pair. Unfortunately, the goldfish sexes are not that easy to tell apart.

You can identify a male goldfish by his smaller, more streamlined body. You may also notice spots on his pectoral fins, and small bumps (tubercles) that develop on his gill covers when ready to breed.

Female goldfish tend to be heavier, with deeper bodies. The vent of a female goldfish will also protrude slightly when she is in breeding condition.

Goldfish prefer to breed in the spring, and if you find one of your goldfish is constantly following another one, you could have a breeding pair. When ready, they will spawn on plants in the aquarium and this is where the eggs will stick.

You will need to move the plant with eggs to a separate tank or container. Run an airstone in this tank to keep the eggs well oxygenated. The fertilized eggs will hatch in just days.

If successful, you will have a huge number of fry to feed with baby brine shrimp. Congratulations!

Goldfish Health Problems

Goldfish are generally hardy, but they can be susceptible to a few common goldfish conditions such as:

  • Swim bladder disease and other buoyancy issues
  • Polycystic kidney disease
  • Parasites such as anchor worms and fish lice
  • Bacterial infections such as fin rot
  • Fungal infections

The best way to prevent health problems is to keep your fancy goldfish in excellent water quality, feed them a high-quality diet, and keep their water at the correct temperature.

Due to the heavily modified body shapes of some of the fancy goldfish breeds, they can be affected by a few specific problems. Eye and fin injuries can be avoided by keeping sharp objects out of the tank.

Bubble eye goldfish can be very susceptible to infections if their bubbles should become damaged. Fortunately, their bubbles can heal and restore themselves naturally under ideal circumstances.

You can prevent exhaustion in weaker swimmers like ranchu goldfish by running sponge filters, rather than power filters.

Where To Buy Goldfish

Goldfish are one of the easier types of fish to find at your local pet store. Most aquarium stores sell common goldfish as feeder goldfish for other carnivorous aquarium fish. For different types of goldfish and fancy breeds, buying online or getting in touch with a local club is another great option.

FAQS

How many types of fancy goldfish are there?

There are about 200 types of goldfish breeds recognized today. Many of these fancy goldfish breeds are ancient, although breeders continue to create new fish today.

What types of fancy goldfish can live together?

Goldfish are peaceful animals that do not fight with each other. The only consideration when putting different breeds together is their speed and ability to compete for food.

It is best to not keep fast-moving breeds like comet goldfish with slower breeds like the lionhead goldfish.

What is the hardiest fancy goldfish?

The hardiest fancy goldfish are probably the breeds that are most similar to the regular common goldfish. Single-tailed types of goldfish like the comet goldfish are a good example.

What is the difference between a goldfish and a fancy goldfish?

Fancy goldfish are special breeds that have been bred for various traits like body and fin shape, double fins, head growths, and bubble eyes. A regular common goldfish can still be a beautiful fish but is not considered a fancy goldfish.

What is the most popular fancy goldfish?

The classic fantail is probably the most popular of the fancy goldfish varieties.

Final Thoughts

The fancy goldfish varieties make some of the best pets in the aquarium world because they are just so adorable and full of personality. I love that there are so many different types of goldfish and the rich history behind these fish is fascinating.

Which is your favorite goldfish breed? Let me know below!

by Mark

Mark is the founder of Aquarium Store Depot. He started in the aquarium hobby at the age of 11 and along the way worked at local fish stores. He has kept freshwater tanks, ponds, and reef tanks for over 25 years. His site was created to share his knowledge and unique teaching style on a larger scale. He has worked on making aquarium and pond keeping approachable. Mark has been featured in two books about aquarium keeping - both best sellers on Amazon. Each year, he continues to help his readers and clients with knowledge, professional builds, and troubleshooting.

Leave a Comment

ALSO IN THE AQUARIUMSTOREDEPOT.COM BLOG

Blue Freshwater Fish - 15 Amazing Types
Do you love blue fish? You may have seen amazing saltwater fish like royal blue tangs and yellowtail blue damselfish, but there are also many amazing freshwater options to choose from! In this article, I'll introduce 15 amazing blue fish species that you can keep in your own freshwater aquarium, so let's get started!
Food For Saltwater Fish - 7 Best (2022 Reviews)
Are you looking for the best food to feed your saltwater fish? You're in luck - we've compiled a list of the seven best options. Keep reading to learn more about which food for saltwater fish that's right for you and your fish. Let's start by looking at what criteria will determine the highest quality foods for your saltwater tank.
Ram Cichlid - EVERYTHING YOU WANT TO KNOW (Care, Tank Mates, Breeding)
If you are looking for a cute, vibrant, and tranquil freshwater fish species, then take a look at the Ram cichlid. Dwarf cichlids are divided into many types based on their coloration and physical appearance that selective and captive breeding has developed.