Fancy Goldfish: how do you know which one is right for you?
Fancy goldfish can sometimes seem as though they are anything but fancy. They vary in appearance and other traits so widely that it can be difficult to know who is who and what is what. Well, the confusion is over! The various types of fancy goldfish will be discussed as well as who their ideal tankmates are and much more!
There are approximately 15 known fancy goldfish which may come as a surprise to you! Many of them look and act so similarly to one another that they can be difficult to tell apart. For example, the Comet goldfish and the Common goldfish look very similar in their appearance. Both of whom sport a beautiful bright orange color and both of which are fast swimmers. However, they have their differences, too! So, let’s meet the fancy gang of goldfish!
The Black Moor is a beautiful fancy goldfish that can also be described as being a little on the ugly side. His most prominent features are his velvety black scales and his bulging eyes. This goldfish can be quite easy to distinguish from the others simply because they can only be found in this beautiful shade of black.
The Black Moor’s large eyes can be a little daunting at first glance. However, once you get to know their sweet and calm personalities, you will see right past their abnormalities. You may assume that since the Black Moor is equipped with large eyes that it means he has cat-like eyesight. Unfortunately, you would be wrong. In fact, the Black Moor has very poor eyesight. His large eyes also make him a delicate fancy goldfish, which means that he should only have smooth surfaces in his tank. Pointy or sharp objects in the aquarium could become harmful for your Black Moor if he were to swim accidentally into them. This physical trait just goes to show you that bigger is not always better.
These fancy goldfish not only have big eyes but, they also have big round bodies. Many fish enthusiasts find this trait to be ideal when searching for the right Black Moor for their aquarium. While this physical feature might be attractive, it is also restrictive for these fancy goldfish. Their poor eyesight matched with their round bodies make them rather slow swimmers. Any fish that is a slow swimmer will suffer when it come to feeding time. If they are tankmates with other Black Moors or other slow swimming fish, then there will be much less competition and many more full bellies.
The Black Moor’s ideal tankmate is the Ryukin (another type of fancy goldfish). These slow fish can even be hand fed and are very fond of veggies, insects, and algae.
This next fancy goldfish type appears as though it were from outer space! The Bubble Eye fancy goldfish is an easy target to spot when at the pet store. Although they do appear in various colors, they have a much more interesting physical trait. These goldfish have fluid filled bubbles (or sacs) that form right beneath their real eyes. This very noticeable physical feature makes them both unique and very delicate. These “bubbles” are incredibly fragile and if they were to rupture it could mean infection or other potential health problems for this adorable fancy goldfish. This risk of rupture is far less likely if there are smooth surfaces inside the aquarium as well as décor and plants that are not pointy or have sharp edges.
The Bubble Eye fancy goldfish also require special filtration. If your tank already has a power filtration system or a canister filtration system, then it is your responsibility to “Bubble Eye proof” your filter. The fluid filled sacs are so delicate that they can quickly be broken by the sucking power of the filter or could even be sucked into the mechanism. However, if you are just starting your aquarium, then it would be a good idea to purchase an undergravel filtration system for this breed. It would be a much safer option for them, and it would still do the job!
These fancy goldfish are also unique in that they are one of the only types of goldfish to be dorsal finless. They are considered a “handicapped” fancy goldfish because of their lack of a dorsal fin as well as their bubble eyes. These features make them slower swimmers. As previously mentioned any slow swimming fish will have a difficult time competing against faster fish during feeding time.
The Bubble Eye’s ideal tankmate is the Celestial Eye fancy goldfish.
These intriguing little goldfish seem always to be wishing upon a star. Confused? Well, the Celestial Eye fancy goldfish’s eyes are naturally turned upwards. That means that they are always looking up towards the sky (or at you). The Celestial Eye is one of the smaller types of fancy goldfish only growing to about five or six inches long. Their slender bodies can be covered in various colors and patterns, although the most common are the bright orange or orange and white. These fancy goldfish are similar to the Bubble Eye because they too lack a dorsal fin.
Their ideal tankmates are the Bubble Eye fancy goldfish and the Ranchu (another type of fancy goldfish).
These bright beauties are the supermodels of the fancy goldfish world. They are yet another very thin (or flat) type of fancy goldfish. However, don’t let their skinny bodies fool you! The Comet fancy goldfish has been known to grow to be 13 inches long and sometimes even longer depending on how well they are taken care of and the size of their tank.
It is recommended that Comet owners provide at least a 55-gallon tank although most fancy goldfish experts will suggest a 75-gallon tank. Their bodies allow them to be very agile swimmers and could easily out swim slower fish such as the lionhead or the Black Moor. They also prefer slightly warmer aquarium water (usually between 75º F and 86º F). The Comet is one of the most popular choices of aquarium fish here in the United States because of their beautiful color, shape, and energetic personalities.
The Comet’s ideal tankmates would include the Common fancy goldfish and the Fantail fancy goldfish.
The Common fancy goldfish is the only goldfish that almost completely resembles their ancestors, the Carp. These common goldies can come in various colors and patterns and can sometimes be mistaken for the Comet (or vice versa). These two fancy goldfish are both slender in body type, can come in a variety of colors and patterns and can grow to be about 10 or 13 inches long. Their overall physical appearance is so very similar. The best way to tell the difference is to look at their faces. The Comet will have a pointed face whereas the Common will have a more rounded face. The Comet will also have a distinctive forked tail whereas the Common has a small slightly forked tail.
The Common fancy goldfish has been known to live for decades if properly taken care of and can easily grow to be 10 inches or longer if given the space to do so. These goldfish make the perfect beginner fish because they do not require anything fancy or precise to survive. They are considered to be faster swimmers (like the Comet) and should not be kept in a tank with slow swimmers. They will easily out swim the slower fish during feeding time.
The Common fancy goldfish’s ideal tankmates are the Comet and the Fantail.
These flowing angels are similar to the Comet and the Common fancy goldfish. Except, that the Fantail has exactly that, a fantail. Their tail is the most prominent physical feature they have. You can tell them apart from other fancy goldfish because of how long, pointed and deeply forked their tails become.
A Fantail is a fast growing type of fancy goldfish that can come in any number of colors and patterns including orange, white, orange and white as well as calico. They are also considered to have flat or slender bodies which give them the ability to be fast swimmers.
A Fantail’s ideal tankmates are the Comet and the Common.
The Lionhead fancy goldfish type appears to have been born with his brains on the outside of his body. However, this “brain-like” part is actually their “hood”. This hood may be an abnormality and may give him a unique appearance, but it also makes him one of the most sought after types of fancy goldfish in the country.
The Lionhead also has a round body type and no dorsal fin, but don’t let his belly fool you! He is a strong fancy goldfish, and if he wants to attempt an escape, he will do so! Fancy goldfish specialists suggest a good light and lid for a Lionhead aquarium to help keep them inside the tank.
These goldies are sensitive to certain tank qualities such as oxygen levels and heat. They require an air stone to be placed inside the tank to provide more oxygen. The Lionhead also needs their tank water remain between 62º F and 72º F. A Lionhead aquarium should be a minimum of 30-gallons, but it would be wise to purchase (or plan to buy later down the road) a larger aquarium. A Lionhead’s hood can be very delicate and susceptible to both injury and infection. Avoiding sharp objects in the tank and keeping the tank clean should help prevent any potential for injury or disease.
Finally, Lionheads love to nibble on live plants. These live plants can provide your fancy goldfish with fiber and other nutrients that can help keep him happy and healthy.
A Lionhead’s ideal tankmates are the Oranda, Redcap Oranda, and Pearlscale (any similarly slow swimming fish).
The Oranda is very similar to the Lionhead in appearance. Orandas also have “hoods” and will require a good filter to help prevent their hoods from getting infected. These hoods can be rather delicate, so it is wise to avoid sharp objects in the aquarium. In addition to an Oranda’s funny-looking head, he also has a stocky, chubby body. This round body makes it more difficult for an Oranda to swim quickly and will, therefore, suffer against faster fish during feeding time.
Orandas may be amusing to look at but, they are a very sweet and docile goldfish. They usually are found in the bright orange variety, but they can come in various colors including calico. Orandas have been known to grow up to 10 inches long. In fact, there have been reports of well-cared for Orandas growing to be 12 inches long or more!
The Redcap Oranda has many of the same characteristics as the original Oranda. In fact, these fancy goldfish resemble both the Lionhead fancy goldfish and the Oranda so closely that they can be easily mistaken for them. The Redcap is also a rounded goldfish, with a hood and also a dorsal fin (unlike the Lionhead).
The Redcap Oranda has a beautiful flower-like tail when it is being fanned out. This attractive feature is sometimes what draws fish lovers to them. However, these fish are not recommended for first-time fish owners. Their hoods can easily become infected if harmful bacteria is present and not taken care of. Unlike the original Oranda, the Redcap Oranda is exactly that, an Oranda that seems only to have a white, rounded body and an orange-red hood.
The Oranda and Redcap Oranda would get along just fine sharing a tank with the Lionhead or Ranchu.
These unique fancy goldfish are very easy to spot in a crowd. All you have to do is look out for the goldfish that resembles a golf ball being covered in shimmering white pearls. Obviously, these fish were not actually covered in white pearls. However, their scales do give that illusion. Their scales do not initially form the same way that a Common goldfish’s scales would form. These scales are “bumpy” and give a bead-like appearance to the fish’s body. These beaded scales can be very delicate and damaged easily. In fact, once a beaded scale is lost or scraped off, a regular scale will grow in its place.
These fancy goldfish have rounded, beaded bodies and can come in various colors. They are slower swimmers and should be kept in tanks with similar fish (i.e. the Lionhead, Oranda, or Ranchu). The Pearlscale fancy goldfish can be a little high maintenance because they like their aquarium water to be a steady 75º F. Also, some specialists have said that these fancy goldfish may require additional calcium in their diets to assist in the growth of their bead-like scales.
The Ranchu fancy goldfish is very similar to the Lionhead. However, the Lionhead has a more noticeable “brain-like” hood. Whereas the Ranchu’s head can seem to disappear into their bodies. These rounded bodies can come in varying colors and patterns including orange, orange and white, panda, as well as calico. The Ranchu resembles the Lionhead as well because they too lack a dorsal fin. The Comet or other fast swimmers would easily out swim this chubby goldfish during feeding time. They would be much happier being tankmates with the Telescope or the Celestial.
These easy to please fancy goldfish are known as the Ryunkin. They will be easy to spot in a tank because they will likely be the only one with a mohawk appearance (high dorsal fin). This large dorsal fin not only makes them beautiful swimmers but it also makes them seem angelic under the water.
The Ryunkin’s body is described as being “deep” because it is neither flat nor golf ball like. This hardy fish’s body can come in almost any color scheme or pattern. However, the most common are orange and calico. They will also grow to be between six and eight inches long with the appropriate aquarium and care.
The Ryunkin’s ideal tankmates are the Oranda, the Fantail, the Black Moor, the Lionhead, and the Ranchu.
The Shubunkin fancy goldfish is more slender in shape than the Lionhead or the Ranchu. They are rather fast swimmers that are very similar to the Comet. However, the Shubunkin come in three different varieties. The American Shubunkin, the London Shubunkin, and the Bristol Shubunkin. You will be able to characterize the Bristol Shubunkin by its tailfin seeming to form the capital letter “B”. These three varieties vary in their body shape.
These fancy goldfish are always found in the calico variety of coloration. In fact, the more valuable Shubunkins will have more blue coloring than not. The tail of the Shubunkin should be long and flowing as well as deeply forked similar to the Comet.
The Shubunkin’s ideal tankmates are the Common fancy goldfish and the Comet fancy goldfish.
These unique fancy goldfish can be quick to spot in the aquarium because of their extended telescope eyes. They have large eyes on the sides of their head. They may be mistaken for the Fantail fancy goldfish. However, their eyes will extend out of their head further than the Fantail’s eyes would. Their eyes may be large, but they have poor eyesight.
The Telescope Eye fancy goldfish is also a short and stubby fish with poor eyesight that can have a difficult time fighting for food against a faster fish (i.e. the Comet). Their bodies may be chubby, but they can be a variety of different colorations. These fancy goldfish are not recommended for first-time fish owners.
The Telescope Eye fancy goldfish will be happy to share their tank with other slow swimming fish such as the Black Moor, the Bubble Eye, the Lionhead, and even the Celestial.
This type of fancy goldfish is exceedingly rare. They are also incredibly beautiful. The Veiltail has a round body shape and is most commonly found in the red or orange color variety. Their appearance is similar to that of the Fantail fancy goldfish.
These fancy goldfish may be beautiful and rare, but they are not without their own potential health problems. It is common for a Veiltail fancy goldfish to have a distorted swimming bladder and their fins are prone to infections.
The Veiltail’s ideal tankmates are the Celestial, the Bubble Eye, the Telescope Eye, and the Lionhead.
Relevant information to be aware of before purchasing your fancy goldfish:
It is essential that you provide enough space for your fancy goldfish to grow. Goldfish as a whole can be rather large fish and will not do well if kept in a small fish bowl or tank.
- If you are ever unsure about which fancy goldfish can live with each other, then follow this simple rule of thumb: Pay attention to their tailfins. Single tailfins should be tankmates with other single tailfins. Double tailfins should be tankmates with other double tailfins.
- Any fancy goldfish with a dorsal fin will need to be monitored for a condition called “Dorsal Fin Collapse.” This condition is common in various aqua species including dolphins and whales. In a goldfish’s case, it will usually mean there is something wrong with the quality of his tank water, or there are parasites present.
- They should not be fed the same old fish flakes each day. Shake things up once in a while! Provide some insects, algae, veggies, or worms. Your fancy goldfish will also go crazy for some mosquito larvae although you might be opposed to handling them.
- You may want to purchase a goldfish for your child but remember to supervise their behavior together. Make sure your child is aware of how much to feed and when as well as how to feed them. Also, you should look for a good “beginner” fish such as the Comet or the Common goldfish.
- Keep up with water changes. Goldfish (even fancy goldfish) are a very messy fish and require a 20% to 30% water change every one to two weeks. Also, remember to treat your tap water with water conditioner before adding it to the aquarium.
- Finally, Get a good filtration system. Undergravel filters, internal filters, and canister filters are just a few to consider.