- Single Tail vs Fancy Types of Goldfish
- 12 Popular Types Of Goldfish
- How To Choose a Goldfish
In addition to their beauty, goldfish are generally hardy and long-lived, with some breeds living up to 20 years or more. This longevity makes them an excellent choice for fish enthusiasts looking to establish a lasting bond with their aquatic pets.
Winning my first-ever goldfish at the fair is what got me into fishkeeping many years ago, Moby lived until he was 15 years old…not bad for my first pet fish.
We will explore the many different types of goldfish that exist. From the sleek, slim-bodied goldfish to the more elegantly adorned fancy varieties, there is a kind of goldfish to suit everyone’s preferences.
Single Tail vs Fancy Types of Goldfish
Single-tail slim-bodied goldfish have more streamlined bodies, which makes them more active, faster, and hardier than fancy goldfish, making them easier to care for if you have the space for them.
They are also closer to their wild ancestors, the Prussian carp.
Here are a few types of slim-bodied goldfish:
Slim-bodied goldfish can grow large (over 12 inches) so they need large tanks (or a pond), strong filtration, and frequent water changes due to their active nature and the amount of waste they create….these guys poop a lot!
Fancy goldfish are distinguished by rounder bodies, double or triple tail fins that come in a variety of shapes. They have different eye, head, and scale features, creating a very unusual look.
Their unusual look makes them very endearing and paired with their goofy personalities, you’ll love watching and spending time with these guys.
Here are a few common types of fancy goldfish breeds:
Fancy breed goldfish have been selectively bred over centuries and aren’t found naturally in the wild.
They do come with their own set of challenges and can require more care than the single-tail varieties, as they can be more prone to health issues and more sensitive to water quality, but on the whole, most varieties are beginner-friendly.
12 Popular Types Of Goldfish
Starting with single-tail goldfish and moving on to fancy types, here are 12 of the most popular choices in the world of goldfish keeping.
1. Common Goldfish
The original and most recognizable goldfish in the world. This type of goldfish has a slender body, single tail, and comes in a variety of colors, including red, orange, yellow, white, and black.
They are one of the cheapest and most widely available options for fish keepers. Often mass-bred, kept in terrible conditions, and sold as feeder goldfish. Make sure the fish you choose looks healthy if you want it to survive more than a week!
They can grow up to 10 inches in length so you’ll need a large tank of around 40 gallons for a single fish, plus an additional 12 gallons per extra goldfish.
They are very active, social, and friendly, and can live for over 20 years, making them a popular choice for fish enthusiasts.
This type of goldfish can be kept with other slim-bodied goldfish or other coldwater fish.
They are easy to feed and will eat almost anything, making them a low-maintenance option.
Suitable tank mates are more common goldfish, comet, shubunkin, and wakin goldfish. Do not put them in with fancy goldfish as they will out-compete them for food.
They are suitable for outdoor ponds and will appreciate the space.
2. Comet Goldfish
Comet goldfish closely resemble the common goldfish but have a longer and more forked tail.
Care requirements are just like the common goldfish and they need a tank of at least 40 gallons for a single fish as they can grow up to 12 inches in length.
Compatibility with other fish is just like the common goldie.
Also like the common goldfish they are suitable for outdoor ponds.
3. Shubunkin Goldfish
The shubunkin goldfish is similar in appearance to the common goldfish but with a calico color pattern of red, white, black, blue, and orange. They also can have nacreous scales that give a pearly effect.
Personality and care requirements are the same as the common goldfish, but…..
These guys can grow up to 14 inches in length so I’d recommend a minimum 75-gallon tank.
They’re super hardy and do well in outdoor ponds.
4. Wakin Goldfish
The wakin goldfish is similar to the comet goldfish, but a little chunkier, it has a long body and a double-tail fin. The wakin comes in a variety of colors including brown, calico, orange, red, red and white, and white.
The wakin is a peaceful fish that can thrive in both aquariums and ponds. However, if you plan on keeping a single wakin in an aquarium, you will need a large tank of around 40 gallons, as they can grow up to 10 inches in length. In a pond, they can grow up to 18 inches.
Because of their elongated body shape, wakins are fast swimmers and are not suitable tank mates for slower swimmers such as telescopics, moors, lionheads, ranchus, and others.
The best choice of tank mates for wakins are commons, comets, shubunkins, and koi.
5. Oranda Goldfish
The oranda is a highly popular fancy goldfish variety. It is easily recognizable due to the large fleshy lump on the top of its head, which can resemble a flat cap.
Orandas come in a wide variety of colors, including orange, red, red-and-white, red-and-black, black, blue, chocolate, bronze, white, silver, black and white, red black and white, and calico.
These fish thrive in groups of their own kind and can grow up to 7-9 inches in length. As a result, a large tank is needed to accommodate them.
A single oranda requires a minimum tank size of 20 gallons, but you may need to look at upgrading this down the line, so I’d go with a 29-gallon tank.
When selecting tank mates for orandas, it is important to choose other goldfish that cannot outswim them during feeding time.
Fin-nipping fish should be avoided, and smaller fish that can fit in the oranda’s mouth may become a tasty snack. Freshwater snails are also at risk of being eaten or pecked at.
Orandas are not well-suited for life in a pond, as the water can become too cold for them.
6. Ryukin Goldfish
The ryukin goldfish is a type of fantail goldfish that is suitable for both aquariums and ponds. While they share a rounded body shape with the fantail, the ryukin is distinguished by a prominent hump that begins right behind its head, giving it a unique appearance.
These fish can grow up to 10 inches in length, so it is important to purchase a large tank to avoid having to upgrade to a bigger one later on. Ryukins come in a variety of colors, including brown, calico, red, red and white, white, and tri-color.
In terms of temperament, ryukins can be a bit aggressive towards faster swimming fish and may bully more laidback goldfish like bubble eyes and celestial eyes. Therefore, it is recommended to keep them with other ryukins, fantails, lionheads, ranchus, or orandas.
Overall, the ryukin is a distinct and visually appealing goldfish variety that can thrive in both aquariums and ponds with proper care and suitable tank mates.
7. Lionhead Goldfish
The lionhead goldfish is an adorable species that was originally bred in China to resemble the mythical lion-dog. Like other goldfish with an egg-shaped body, the lionhead has no dorsal fin.
In terms of appearance, the lionhead is very similar to the Japanese ranchu goldfish, which is also on this list. However, the lionhead can be distinguished by its flatter back and less pronounced angle where the tail meets the body.
Due to its short, rounded body and lack of dorsal fin, the lionhead is a slow swimmer. It is important to house them with other slow-swimming fish to ensure they are not outcompeted for food.
Lionheads are typically colored in bold shades of red and orange, but they are also available in black, blue, yellow, tri-colored, calico, and other colors.
Despite their peaceful nature, I do not recommend the lionhead goldfish for beginners, as they are sensitive to poor water quality.
8. Ranchu Goldfish
The ranchu goldfish has a face that resembles the rancor creature in Jabba the Hutt’s palace from the movie Return of the Jedi.
In Japan, the ranchu is considered the “King of Goldfish” and can be found in a variety of colors, including black, calico, gold, red, orange, and white.
While the ranchu shares similarities with the lionhead goldfish, it can be distinguished by its prominently arched back and the acute angle where the body and tail meet.
Despite its friendly demeanor, the ranchu is not recommended for beginner fish keepers, as it is sensitive to dirty water conditions.
Ranchus lack a dorsal fin and therefore have a slow swimming speed and look rather clumsy maneuvering around their tank, so tank mates for the ranchu should be other peaceful slow swimmers, such as other ranchus, lionheads, or similar.
A hybrid of the lionhead goldfish and the ranchu, known as the lionchu, is also available. The lionchu goldfish has the head and tail of a lionhead and the body of a ranchu.
9. Telescope Eye Goldfish
The telescopic goldfish is a popular choice among fancy goldfish enthusiasts due to its unique appearance, with bulging eyes that give it a distinct look.
While the telescopic goldfish is suitable for new fish keepers, it is important to consider how easily their eyes can be damaged when setting up a tank for them.
Telescopic goldfish typically grow to be around 6-8 inches long, but some have been known to reach up to 10 inches. As a result, the 20-gallon tank that is suitable for a single fish may need to be upgraded in the future.
Telescopic goldfish come in several different colors, including blue, chocolate, calico, red, white, bi-color, and tri-color.
Due to their fragile eyes and poor eyesight, it is important to choose non-fin nipping and slow swimming tank mates for telescopic goldfish. Other telescopes, black moors, celestial eyes, and bubble eyes are good options.
10. Black Moore Goldfish
The black moor goldfish is a variant of the telescopic goldfish that is entirely black and has less protruding eyes.
11. Fantail Goldfish
The fantail goldfish is a beloved species in the aquarium and pond hobby due to its stunning appearance, ease of care, and peaceful nature.
While the fantail can grow up to 8 inches in length, most of this length is due to its long flowing tail. The body of the fantail is relatively small.
Fantail goldfish come in a variety of colors, including the common goldfish colors of orange, yellow, and red, as well as less common colors such as black, blue, and white.
The fantail enjoys the company of other fish, but, it is important to avoid aggressive fin-nipping tank mates and fast-swimming fish that may out-compete the fantail for food.
12. Pearlscale Goldfish
Also known as the ping pong or golfball goldfish, they are easily recognizable due to their very rounded belly.
Pearlscale goldfish are one of the more beginner-friendly fancy goldfish types as they are hardy and peaceful with other calm fish.
Pearscales come in a variety of colors, including black, blue, calico, chocolate, red, orange, white, and bi-colored varieties.
The rounder body shape of the pearscale develops as the fish ages, which can be mistaken for dropsy if you are not aware of this characteristic.
Due to their slow swimming speed, it is important to only add other slow-swimming tank mates to the aquarium or pond.
Pearscales require a lot of oxygen in their water. Adding plants such as anacharis, anubias, and java fern can help to increase oxygen levels in the tank or pond.
How To Choose a Goldfish
When it comes to choosing the right goldfish, the first thing you have to take into consideration is how big your tank is and whether you are prepared to upgrade it in the future.
For those who don’t have the space for a huge tank but have your heart set on having a goldfish, here are some small goldfish types to choose from including the following:
- Bubble eye goldfish (smallest goldfish)
- Butterfly tail goldfish
- Celestial eye goldfish
- Jikin goldfish
- Pompom goldfish
- Tamasaba goldfish
- Veiltail goldfish
Please be a responsible goldfish keeper and remember that goldfish require a large tank to thrive, they shouldn’t live in a bowl and some types such as the Shubunkin are better suited to living in a pond.
Goldfish are an incredibly diverse species, offering a wide array of choices for you to consider, with so many options to choose from, each with its unique characteristics, you’ll never run out of fascinating goldfish to keep as pets.
Setting up a goldfish tank properly is pretty straightforward. Do it the correct way now and not only will you enjoy many years with your new pet, you will also save yourself a ton of hassle and expense down the road when your goldie outgrows its home.
Check out the aquarium health section for more tips and guides on keeping your tank in tip-top shape.