17 Types Of Goldfish And Their Care Guidelines

Goldfish are by far the most commonly kept species of aquarium fish. Over centuries, they have been bred into many breeds. They are the first fish considered by new fish keepers.

Although all Goldfish breeds are still the same species, they have different requirements for water parameters. This is because the more a breed is developed to exaggerate a feature or to develop a pattern, the weaker its immune systems becomes. Here we will look at what 17 breeds of Goldfish need to stay healthy.

All Goldfish breeds require the same water hardness range of 5-25 °d and the same pH range of 6.5 to 8.0. However, some require cooler water temperatures than others. Let’s look at their requirements below.

In the following table, a beginner hobbyist is someone who has never kept fish before. The fish suitable for beginners have a relatively higher tolerance for fluctuations in water conditions. An intermediate hobbyist is someone who has kept fish healthy for at least 2 years.

Goldfish Breed NameWater Temperature RangeHobbyist LevelMax Adult SizeMin tank Size
Ryukin65-72 °F or
18-22 °C
Beginner8 in
(20 cm)
45 gallons (170 L)
Common, Comet, Shubunkin50-77 °F or
10-25 °C
Beginner15 in (38 cm)130 gallons (492 L)
Black Moor, Lionchu, Lionhead, Pearlscale,
Pom Pom
50-72 °F or
10-22 °C
Intermediate6 in
(15 cm)
25 gallons
(95 L)
Bubble Eye, Butterfly Tail, Celestial65-72 °F or
18-22 °C
Intermediate 5 in
(12 cm)
15 gallons
(57 L)
Fantail, Veiltail50-77 °F or
10-25 °C
Intermediate 10 in (25.5 cm)80 gallons (303 L)
Oranda, Telescope50-72 °F or
10-22 °C
Intermediate 8 in
(20 cm)
45 gallons (170 L)
Ranchu65-72 °F or
18-22 °C
Intermediate 6 in
(15 cm)
25 gallons
(95 L)

What to feed Goldfish: Flake foods, goldfish pellets, raw seafood, live or freeze dried tube worms or blood worms, boiled and deshelled peas, boiled beans. They should be small enough to be swallowed whole (about the size of a goldfish pellet), or they will spit it out and the water will rapidly become dirty. They don’t have teeth to chew. I have written what you can feed Goldfish in more detail over here.

What not to feed Goldfish: Too much meat, pellets and flakes designed for cichlids.

Where they eat food from: Water surface as well as the bottom of the tank

Where do they spend most of their time in the tank? No specific area. They swim about everywhere in the tank.

These plants do well with them: Java Fern, Java Moss, Anubias, Crypts, Amazon Swords.

These plants shouldn’t be kept with them: Water Sprite, Duckweed, Anacharis. (They will be eaten by the Goldfish)

Temperament: Peaceful

Will do well with these tank mates: Any Goldfish variety, other peaceful fish like Hillstream/Butterfly Loaches, Yoyo Loaches, Zebra Loaches, Snails, Shrimps. (But don’t keep snails with loaches! The Loaches will eat them! The Loaches move much faster than the Goldfish and will quickly eat any sinking food. So if you’re keeping Loaches, feed the Goldfish floating food only, otherwise they will starve.)

Do not keep Goldfish with these tank mates: Any Cichlids, Plecos, Bettas, any fish with aggressive temperament; Crabs, Crayfish. Avoid any fishes that move faster than the Goldfish, unless they are completely peaceful.

Special care that needs to be taken: Need to be fed 2-3 times daily, as they don’t have stomachs.

The breeds that have protruding eyes or other protruding parts like the Black Moor or the Bubble Eye Goldfish can get injured on the protruding parts easily. So to avoid this, don’t keep substrate or decorations that are even slightly pointed. Even filters and heaters should be out of reach. You can click here to read about the various types of filters and heaters, and choose one that will be good for your fish.


The Black Moor looks quite similar to the Telescope Goldfish, but its eyes do not extend as far outwards as the Telescope. Its entire body is black in colour, and has a rich velvet-like appearance. When kept in relatively warmer water, the belly of this fish can turn into a shiny golden colour. This is not problematic to the fish, but doesn’t revert to the original black shade once it changes. They have beautiful long fins, along with a large dorsal fin, which is absent in Lionheads and Celestial Goldfish.


This breed of Goldfish is named after the large sacs around their eyes. These sacs start developing when the Goldfish is around 6 months old, and continue to grow until the fish reaches 2 years of age. They are filled with a fluid, and can get very heavy. Combine this with the fact that Bubble Eye Goldfish do not have a dorsal fin, and you have fish that have issues swimming smoothly, especially as they get older. Their line of sight is also very limited, as they have upturned eyes.


The most unique thing about the Butterfly Tail Goldfish is their tail. When viewed from the top down, the tail’s shape resembles that of a butterfly’s wings. They have a short and round body, and their eyes can either be slightly protruding like a Black Moor, or normal like a Comet Goldfish.


The Celestial Goldfish was bred to make its eyes point upwards, so that it appears to be gazing at the sky. The Chinese even named it ‘The Stargazer’. These fish lack a dorsal fin, and their bodies are short and rounded, similar to the Telescope and Oranda varieties of Goldfish. They are slow swimmers and can’t see what is in front of them or at their sides, due to the peculiar placement of their eyes.


The Comet Goldfish are very close to the Common Goldfish in appearance. The only two differences are a taller dorsal fin and a much longer tail. Since they are not heavily hybridized, they are a lot hardier than the more fancy Goldfish varieties like Telescope or Bubble Eye.


These are the most common Goldfish found in the hobby. They are also the closest to their natural ancestors, making them a very hardy breed.


The Fantail Goldfish is a very beautiful breed of Goldfish. It has long, flowing fins and the tail is separated vertically at the base, giving it the appearance of having two tails, one beside the other


The Lionchu was developed by crossing the Lionhead and the Ranchu Goldfish varieties. Therefore, it has the body shape of a Ranchu and the growth on the face and head like a Lionhead.


The Lionhead is a type of fancy Goldfish, bred to have a fleshy growth on its head and face. Sometimes this growth is limited just to the top of its head. In some colour variations, people may confuse it with the Redcap Oranda. However, the simple distinction is the growth on the head, along with the fact that Lionheads do not have a dorsal fin (the long fin on a fish’s back), whereas Orandas do possess a dorsal fin.


The Oranda is a type of fancy Goldfish, bred to have a fleshy growth on its head. In some colour variations, people may confuse it with the Lionhead. However, the simple distinction is the growth on the head, which is quite small compared to the Lionhead’s, along with the fact that Orandas have a dorsal fin (the long fin on a fish’s back), whereas Lionheads do not have a dorsal fin.


The Pearlscale Goldfish has scales which are slightly raised at the center. The center is lighter in colour than the surrounding area on each scale. This gives the Goldfish a shimmering appearance, and is also how this breed got its name. They are a twin-tailed variety, meaning their tails are vertically split at the base, giving the appearance of having two tails. Unlike the Lionhead, they possess a dorsal fin.


Goldfish of this breed have a peculiar growth on their noses, which is why they are called Pom Poms. They have the shorter and rounder body type, like a Fantail Goldfish. They also have a dorsal fin (the fin on a fish’s back), which can be used to identify this breed.


These Goldfish look similar to the Lionhead, in that they also have a fleshy growth on their head and lack a dorsal fin. However. their backs are arched much higher than the Lionhead. They are among the most expensive Goldfish breeds.


The Ryukin Goldfish have exceptionally highly arched backs that look similar to a camel’s hump. The backs are also slightly tilted towards the head. They look similar to the Ranchu, except the hump is much higher and starts immediately after the head ends. They also have dorsal fins. All their fins and tail are long.


Shubunkins are beautiful Goldfish that come in various colours and patterns, called Calico pattern. They can have red, orange, black or brown on their bodies. The distinctive feature compared to other breeds, however, is the fact that all these colours are over a blue background. ‘Blue’, in Goldfish, is actually a dull silver colour, and is very rare in other breeds.


The Telescope Goldfish have eyes that extend outwards from their faces, making them look quite strange. Care needs to be taken that the eyes do not get damaged. In juveniles, the eyes start protruding when they are around 2 to 3 months old.


The Veiltail Goldfish is a beautiful breed of Goldfish. It has long, flowing fins and the tail is separated vertically at the base, giving it the appearance of having two tails, one beside the other. They can look similar to the Fantail, but their bodies are rounder and fins are a lot longer than the Fantails’.

Syed Baseeruddin Hyder

I’ve been keeping fish and invertebrates in aquariums for over 5 years. Over the years, I’ve kept more than 15 different species of fish and invertebrates. Through ParadiseInATank.com, I hope to guide new and experienced fish keepers alike with as detailed information as I can get.

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