August 1, 2022
Types of Goldfish | 2022 Guide

Types of Goldfish | 2022 Guide

The common goldfish is one of the most recognisable aquatic animals around. However, this popular breed is just one of over 200 species of goldfish. Aquarists have been selectively breeding goldfish for thousands of years, with the practice dating back to the time of Ancient China. Many of the fancy goldfish breeds we know and love today can trace their roots back this era.

Although some goldfish breeds have awkward dietary and maintenance requirements, many species are easy to care for. This makes them ideal for the novice aquarium owner who wants a colourful collection of fish that can be kept with relatively little fuss. Below are some of the most popular goldfish varieties you can introduce to your aquarium today.

Common Goldfish

The humble common goldfish is instantly recognisable with its simple silhouette and familiar orange and yellow hues. Common goldfish tend to have a fairly long body and a short, stubby tail. Although some of the most affordable of goldfish breeds, they are among the most robust. When kept in an outdoor pond or well-maintained aquarium, a common goldfish can live for up to 25 years, if not longer. Although juvenile common goldfish are on the small side, they can grow to considerable sizes. Provided your common goldfish are given plenty of living space, they can grow to lengths of 10 inches or more fairly easily.

Shubunkin Goldfish

If you’re looking to add some colour to your fish tanks, Shubunkin goldfish breeds are a good option. This goldfish variety has been cultivated for its eye-catching colours and patterned scales. Beyond their colourisation, they are almost identical to the comet goldfish breed. Shubunkin goldfish come in a variety of colours, with blue, black and orange hues particularly common. They also feature dramatic spotted patterning across their skin. Numerous breeds fall under the broader Shubunkin mantle, with the Bristol Shubunkin being particularly popular with those after more dramatic tails and longer fins.

Ryukin Goldfish

Although Ryukin goldfish are fairly similar to fantail species, they have a distinctly different body shape. Unlike other breeds, Ryukin goldfish are taller than other species, with ad distinct hump situated directly behind the head of the fish. In many cases, the overall length of a Ryukin goldfish is matched by its height.

The head of a Ryukin goldfish also tends to be somewhat pointed, while tail shapes and sizes can vary considerably, depending on the exact variety you are purchasing. If you’re looking for a larger breed of goldfish to take centre stage in an aquarium, a Ryukin is a good choice. However, you’ll need to ensure your Ryukin goldfish have plenty of living space to ensure they remain healthy for as long as possible.

Oranda Goldfish

The Oranda is one of the more popular choices of fancy goldfish. This breed of goldfish is easy to identify thanks to the large mass on its head. During their early development, Oranda goldfish are hard to distinguish from conventional fantails. However, as they grow older, the telltale mass (or wen) on its head will become more pronounced. Although their head growths make them slightly more susceptible to injury and disease, Oranda goldfish are surprisingly resilient. An experienced aquarium keeper can keep on top of excessive wen growth with a little care, although novices should avoid attempting such procedures.

Pearlscale Goldfish

Pearlscale goldfish are one of the more unusual varieties. Their body shape is broadly spherical, while the scaling of the fish is much thicker than what you might find with other breeds. In some cases, these thick scales can make colouration more pronounced, making Pearlscale goldfish a vibrant addition to your aquarium. Although attractive, Pearlscale goldfish can be hard work. This variety of fish has undergone extensive selective breeding to produce their trademark characteristics, which has had an impact on their hardiness. In order to thrive, Pearlscale goldfish require incredibly clean water and stable tank conditions.

Comet Goldfish

Comet goldfish are another hugely popular choice of breed for aquariums. These single-tailed fish look very similar to the common goldfish variety, but there are some key differences between the two. While common goldfish have a relatively short tail, comet varieties sport a much longer and more delicate looking tail. As such, they make a superb addition to an aquarium if you’re looking to add some decorative flair. Comet goldfish come in a similar range of hues as common goldfish.

You’ll have no trouble finding vibrant orange comets, while yellow and white colourisation is also common. In terms of health and life expectancy, comet goldfish are amongst the most resilient of all goldfish varieties. Lifespans don’t quite match that of standard common goldfish, but a comet will definitely last far longer than many other fancy breeds. If they’re kept in a large aquarium tank or outdoor pond, they can also grow to considerable sizes.

Fantail Goldfish

Fantail goldfish are perfect if you’re looking to add some personality to your aquarium. They have the standard body shape of most fancy goldfish varieties, along with an elongated dorsal fin. However, it’s the oversized and flowing tail that makes these goldfish so beloved by aquarists. They are fairly similar in appearance to Ryukin goldfish, with the fantail considered the European counterpart to this Asian breed. Unlike other types of fancy goldfish, fantails are fairly easy to care for.

Despite their tail shapes dorsal fin sizes, they are pretty resilient to disease and injury and require very little care. However, the swimming speed of a fantail goldfish brings with it some complications. Compared to other goldfish breeds, fantails are pretty slow. Therefore, you should avoid keeping them with single-tailed fish that can outpace them during feeding time. However, they should get along well with other fancies with similar levels of agility.

Bubble Eye Goldfish

Bubble eye goldfish are definitely one of the more peculiar looking breeds out there. This breed is easily distinguished by its bulbous eyes. However, it’s not the eyeballs of the fish themselves that are large. Rather, its the sacs underneath the eyes that swell as the fish grows, resulting in their unique appearance. Compared to other types of goldfish, bubble eye breeds need considerable care and special maintenance.

Their delicate eyes are prone to injury, so you’ll need to remove any potentially hazardous ornaments, plants and substrate material. This can limit your aquarium aesthetics considerably. Bubble eye goldfish are also one of the slowest breeds out there, so you’ll need to pick equally slow tank mates to ensure there is no unfair competition when it comes to feeding time.

Celestial Eye Goldfish

The celestial eye goldfish is another unique variety. This breed began life as a mutation of the telescopic goldfish species, although there are some noticeable differences between the two varieties. While telescopic eye goldfish have eyes that point outwards, the eyes of a celestial point upwards. What’s more, celestial goldfish do not have a dorsal fin.

Although these goldfish will add some dramatic flair to your tanks, their eyes cause some issues. Because the eyes point upwards, celestials have relatively poor vision. This can cause issues when it comes to feeding, so think carefully about the kind of tank mates you are adding to your aquarium. Their limited vision also means they are prone to colliding with obstacles within an aquarium.

Final Thoughts

These are just a few of the hundreds of goldfish varieties currently available. With many varieties to choose from, you can really mix it up when putting together your aquarium. However, you should avoid making judgements solely on appearance alone. While fancy goldfish might look great, you may need to undertake extensive maintenance and care routines to keep them healthy.

Some goldfish are also limited by their unique appearances. If you’re picking a slow moving breed or a variety with impaired eyesight, you’ll have to remove hazardous obstacles from your tank and ensure these disadvantaged fish are not going to be outcompeted by faster, more agile tank mates.

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