Origin/ History

Goldfish came from the family of Cyprinidae and also known as one of the freshwater fish. They is also known as the most common aquarium fish. Additionally, they are also domesticated less-colorful carp that related to a small member of the carp family species which is koi carp and crucian carp.

Koi Carp

Koi Fish

Crucian Carp

Crucian Carp


Goldfish is the first aquarium fish in China and developed many different breed in size of the fish, shape of the body, fin configuration and coloration for thousands of year. The domestic goldfish known as cyprinid species such as common carp and tench ever since mutation happen. During the Jin Dynasty in 265- 420, normal grey and silver color were mutated to orange and yellow color on it skin.

They were to raise in the water gardens during the Tang Dynasty in 618-907 and natural mutation produced gold coloration on the body of the fish. People began to breed the gold coloration goldfish instead of silver coloration in the pond and the fish will be display in a small container to the guest during some special occasion. The domestic goldfish is firmly established during the Song Dynasty in 960 – 1279 and the empress of the Song Dynasty ordered construction for the pond to collect red and gold coloration of the goldfish.

painting frm Liu Cai ( 1080- 1120)

painting of Three goldfish from Fish Swimming Amid Falling Flowers

During Song Dynasty, gold variety is only keep by the imperial family and prohibited to the public. One of the reason gold color breed is hard to found than the orange color breed is because gold color is only for imperial family during Song Dynasty. The fish has been kept as an indoor pet during Ming Dynasty 1368-1644 to make sure most of the goldfish survives and prevent them from evolving.

This is where the fancy-tailed goldfish were recorded in Ming Dynasty and they were introduce to Japan in 1603. They were introduced to Portugal during 1611 and other part of Europe country. During 1620s, goldfish is a symbol of fortune and bring luck in the Europe because of their metallic scales.

It also become tradition to a married men giving their wives goldfish on their first anniversary is a symbol of prosperous year for them. However, fish itself start to lose it status because it has become more available, so the tradition died. The fish become popular in United States after introduced to North America in 1850s.

Diet (Feeding)

The best food to feed them is feed them with fresh, frozen shrimp and flake foods. They are opportunistic feeder and do not stop eating on their own accord and cause their intestines blocking due to overfeeding. They will produce more waste and faeces due to incomplete protein digestion when excess food are given.

Live Brine Shrimp

Live Brine Shrimp


Frozen Bloodworm

Frozen Blood worms

Feeding them with brine shrimp, blood worms, Daphnia or Tubifex worms is the best food for them. By avoiding bacterial infection and parasites to the fish, it is best to feed them with freeze-dried foods as compared to live foods.


Aquarium Setup and Water

Keeping the fish healthy, setting up the aquarium in a manner is the first step to success. Attention on the size and shape of the aquarium is important and number of goldfish keep in the aquarium. Second, the fish will produce a lot of waste and need a lot of oxygen so providing them good biological filtration is very helpful to maintain the water quality of the aquarium.
By maintaining the health of the fish and keeping the aquarium clean, installing filtration system helps to remove excess food, detritus and waste in the aquarium. Here is some few tank parameters to consider for choosing an aquarium for them. First, the tank size of the aquarium.

A minimum size of 56.7 liters is required for breeding the fish and the best size of the tank is 76 -113 liters.   If any pet lovers want to add a new goldfish to the same tank, add on another 37.8 liters size of the tank. The number of water changes will be reduce by providing large amount of water per fish and helps dilute the amount of waste in the tank.

Second, the shape of the tank plays an important role. Providing a large amount of surface area will reduce possibility of oxygen shortage to goldfish in the tank. If the shape of the tank is oval, it provided more surface area than a tall tank. Which means, an oval tank provide more oxygen to the fish and more space than a square tank.

Third, the number of the fish play the important role by determine the number of fish can live in an aquarium. Starting from juveniles, a thumb is equal to 2.54 cm of the fish per gallon of water. This rule is applies generally to small goldfish only. An adult goldfish need more oxygen than the younger one and maintaining this formula for growing fish will lead to diseases and death of the fish.

Goldfish in Aquarium

Home Aquarium

Lastly, pet lover must consider the size of the fish and the growth of the fish for keeping them as a pet. Allowing the fish to grow in a healthy condition, reduce the number of fish in the tank or providing a larger tank to the fish to live in. The suitable water temperature for them to live in is between 18º C – 22ºC.

Suitable pH level for them to live in is 7.2 to 7.6 pH. Pet lover can buy pH level test kit in any pet shop for testing the water pH level. The fish cannot live in chlorinated water because chlorine can killed the fish. Pet lover need to install de-chlorinator in their aquarium before keeping them as their pet.

They can tolerate temperature in lower degree as long as the temperature don’t drop rapidly. They may die if the temperature drop too fast and prepare a heater in the aquarium to stabilize the water temperature if any pet lover staying in cold climate country to prevent them from dying.

Process of performing water changes

Process of performing water changes

Perform a 30% of water change once a week for keeping the water clean. Reducing algae in the aquarium, snail can be added into the aquarium. Adding some natural décor in the aquarium will provide a comfortable environment to them but make sure the ornamentation is smooth with no sharp edges. Adding some plants in the aquarium is the best decoration but goldfish are digger and they may uproot the live plants. If pet lover insist to decorate the aquarium with plant, replacing an artificial plants will make a good substitute.


In Ponds

Goldfish in Water Pond

Keeping them in Water Pond

They also isn’t just keep in the aquarium but also popular keeping in the pond since they are small, inexpensive, come with strong immune system and colorful. The pond or water garden provide enough oxygen in the water and they will survive if the pond doesn’t freeze solid. Installing a filtration system is important to clear waste and keep the pond clean if the pond is not big enough for maintaining the ecosystem.

Growing the plant in the pond is important because the plant act as the filtration as well as the food source for them. The plant in the pond also provide oxygen in the water for them too. The size of the ponds are fine if it is warmer although goldfish can be overheated in small volumes of water during the summer tropical climates.

For frosty climates, the depth of the pond must be at least 80 cm to preclude freezing and the fish can be sluggish and often stay bottom of the pond. They will be active during spring season. They also can be mix with different species of fish such as rudd, tench, orfe and koi but required specialized care. They can easily overstock without population control. Orfe fish consume their eggs and the population can be control.


Mosquito Control

Reducing mosquito breeding in stagnant water, goldfish is one of the biological control just like other carp and species of fish. This is one of the control measure used to control West Nile Virus which relies mosquito to spread it but introducing this fish had negative consequences for local ecosystem.


Sexual differences

As for differentiating between male and female of the fish, the male come in smaller size and more slender comparing with the female. As for breeding season, the male has white prickles so called as white tubercles on its head and gill covers and the female seem fatter from above because the female is carrying eggs.


Life cycle or Breeding

The maturity of the fish is depending on the right nutrition and enough water. They lay their eggs easily in the right condition and they can be bred in small groups or bigger group because they are easily socialize animal. In the wild, they spawn during the spring season and to spawn them in an aquarium, pet lover need to mimic the condition similar in nature.

The first step for breeding them is setting up the aquarium with at least 75.7 liters and make sure the fish is in healthy condition. Breeder will separate the male and the female in different tank for few weeks in order to increase the interest of spawning. Both sexes will be placed in the same tank after a few week at the same time. The fish need a lush environment with solid surface in order for the eggs to adhere.

Anacharis Plant

Anacharis Plant

Oxygenating plants such as Anacharis works well for spawning process in the tank. Pet lover also can opt to use artificial plants or fibrous spawning mops. The temperature of the fish tank set in 11ºC and slowly warmed it up by 2ºC per day until the egg deposit. When the temperature reach 20ºC – 23ºC, the spawning starts.

They need to be fed in small amount three times a day and the food contain a lots of protein such as live shrimp and worms to induce spawning. The uneaten scraps will sink to the bottom of the aquarium and it will contaminate the water in the aquarium. Performing 20 % water changes of the tank per day will keep the water clean.

The temperature of the tank must increase during the spawning because the male will start to bump and nudging the female for releasing the eggs. The body of the fish intensify in color during the spawning process and it will takes several days. The fish will start to swim side to side and the male will keep on pushing the female to the plant during the spawn.

Goldfish lay it eggs in fish tank

Laying it eggs in fish tank

The process will stimulate the female to drop its tiny eggs on the plant and the male will then fertilize the egg. They can laid up to 10000 eggs if the spawning takes 2 to 3 hours. After the spawning, it is best to remove the parents from the egg because the parent will eat up all the eggs if they found it. The eggs of the fish will hatch in 4 to 7 days by depending on the water temperature.

4 week old Goldfish fry

4 week old fry

After the fry are hatched, pet lover can feed them with high quality fish flakes that is crushed small enough for fry to consume. The fry are dark brown or black in color to prevent eaten by larger fish and takes several months to gain color on their body. They can be mix with larger fish when the size of new born goldfish reach 2.54cm.

Unfortunately, not all of the fry will survive into the adulthood because some will be born with deformity which will kill them off quickly and some will die of disease. Do not feel discouraged or at fault because that is a normal of the process.



Keeping them healthy and free from diseases, the aquarium or water pond need to be well maintain. They also come with strong immune system but can get infected by certain disease and could be fatal if left untreated. They will fully recover from the illness if treated early.

As treating the afflicted fish, move it to a tank without plants and gravel and do regular partial water changes. But if the disease is likely from the main tank, it is best to treat the fish in the main tank by following the manufacturer’s instructions for any medication. The water quality may be affected by the usage of certain medication that can destroy beneficial bacterial.

Removing the carbon from the filtration system is necessarily because it may absorbs the medications for making the treatment ineffective. Most of the freshwater fish disease, symptom and treatment are the similar with goldfish. There are few type of fish diseases that affected freshwater fish such as bacterial infection, fungal infection, parasites and protozoa. Injury, poor nutrition and poor water condition could cause diseases to the freshwater fish too.

Bacterial Infection

Dropsy Disease

Here is a few common diseases that infect them. As for bacterial infection Dropsy is one of the disease that cause by bacterial infection. Dropsy disease infected the kidney of the fish and the scale of the fish become raised also the body of the fish bloat because of the fluid build in its body.

Dropsy Diseases

Dropsy Diseases

Fin Rot

Fin rot is also a bacterial disease and this disease infected on the fin and tail of the fish. Fin rot is not just cause from bacterial infection but can caused by number of factors such as fin nipping, poor water quality, bullying, and fungal infection.

Fin Rot Goldfish

Fin Rot Diseases

Fungal Infection

Cotton Wool Disease

Fungal infection such as cotton wool disease will show a growth of white strands grown on the body, fin and mouth of the fish. The cause of this infection may cause by poor water quality and cause by other diseases.

Cotton Wool Diseases on goldfish

Cotton Wool Diseases

Parasites Infection

Anchor Worm

Disease such as anchor worm, Fish lice, Flukes and Velvet disease is parasites diseases. The anchor worm is worm that attach on the body of the fish to lay eggs and leave an ugly holes on the fish body. The hole can cause infection if it’s not treated.

Anchor Worm on gill

Anchor Worm on gill

Lice Disease

Fish lice disease is a flattened mite similar to crustaceans with 5mm long that attach to the body of the fish. Fish lice can be problematic but is easy to treat the fish and also the fish tank.

Fish Lice Diseases ( Argulus)

Fish Lice Diseases

Flukes Disease

As flukes disease is a parasites with 1mm long that come with a hook on it mouth. Flukes usually infest on the gill and body of the fish and this parasites disease is similar to Ich disease. The difference   between Ich and flukes disease is, Flukes can be seen by naked eye and Ich disease need magnifying lens to spot it. The fish start swimming around in the fish tank with a small lump in red or black color beneath the fish skin and the fish must be treated as soon as possible because it could be fatal.

Flukes infection on gill

Microscope show of Flukes infection on gill

Velvet Disease

This is a parasite disease that is known as Velvet disease also known as Rust or Gold disease. The fish give a dusty and slimly look that caused by tiny parasite known as Oodinium. This disease cause by un-quarantine new added fish.

Velvet Disease

Velvet Disease

Protozoan infection

Costia Disease

Ich disease and Costia disease is Protozoan disease. The Costia disease caused the fish’s body showing slimy patches around the fish body and the fish will die in a few days if not treated as soon as possible.

Costia Disease

Costia Disease ( Second Stage of Costia Disease and the body of the fish cover by Mucus all over its body)

Ich Disease

The Ich disease show white spot on the gill, body and fins of the fish. Treating this disease is easy if notice early but it could be fatal if left untreated.

Ich Disease

Ich Disease

Miscellaneous Infection

Cloudy Eye Disease

They also may get infected by miscellaneous disease beside bacterial, fungal, parasite and protozoan disease. Disease such as Cloudy eye, swim bladder disease, wound and ulcers also often infected them. Cloudy eye disease is an eye disease cause by different variety such as poor nutrition, bad water quality and rough handling.

Cloudy Eye diseases

Cloudy Eye diseases

Swim Bladder Disease

As for swim bladder disease are showing an abnormal pattern of swimming and difficult to maintain its balance. This can be caused by poor nutrition or parasitic infection to the fish. As for treating the fish with swim bladder disease, feed the fish with steam peas or defrost peas and make sure they could swim normally and stay healthy.

Swim Bladder Disease

Swim Bladder Disease


The fish will have ulcer on it body because of infected wound on the fish.  The wound can be caused by bacterial, fungal infection or both. They must be treated for each of the disease that infected the fish.

Ulcer disease

Ulcer beside the eye of the fish


The fish come with many different breed for centuries and produced several of color variations besides gold color.  Other than color variations, they also can be differentiated by its body’s shapes, fin and eye configuration. Over 300 different breeds of this fish are from China. Here is some varieties of the fish:


 Common Goldfish

Common Goldfish

Common Goldfish

Common goldfish is an elongated flat variety goldfish compared with other varieties, they are common goldfish that come from the small family of Cyrinidae family of the carp fish. The body of the fish is tapers smoothly from the back and come with a wide short head. The caudal fin forked well and stand fully erect.

Many pet lovers confused in differential the Comet and the Common varieties. As differential between Comet and Common, the dorsal fin of the Common Goldfish come in concave shape in the edge of it comparing with the Comet Goldfish. Growing them depends on the environment for them to reach the full potential size.

They will grow up about 10 cm in a well care in a 56.7 liters of fish tank. They may also grow larger and reach the size of 18 to 20 cm if they are living in a larger and uncrowded tank. As keeping them in a spacious fish pond the size of the fish can reaches 30 cm or even bigger

Goldfish live up to 15 year

Fantail that live up to 15 years

The color of the Common goldfish usually come in solid colors and combination colors of red, orange, white, yellow, black and brown. The Common Goldfish looks similar comparing with Comet and a lot of pet lovers confuse between this two varieties. Comet come with longer fins especially the caudal fin which is longer comparing with the Common Goldfish.

As the color, the Comet is generally in reddish- orange and the Common Goldfish just look orange on its body. The London Shubunkin is another similar type to the Common Goldfish. The body and fin of the Common Goldfish are almost same but the London Shubunkin goldfish come with different body coloration.

London Shubunkin Goldfish

London Shubunkin

The London Shubunkin come with variegated color pattern or cover with large number of spots but the Common Goldfish body just come with bright solid orange color. The Common Goldfish life span usually are 10 to 15 year and the fish can grow up to 20 years if kept in optimal condition. The best tank mates to mix up are Chinese Blue Bitterling, Northern Redbelly Dace, koi, and elongated type of varieties.

Chinese Blue Bitterling (Acheilognathus tonkinensis)

Chinese Blue Bitterling

Northern Redbelly Dace

Northern Redbelly Dace

Koi Fish

Koi Fish

Therefore, do not keep elongated type with egg-rounded type because elongated type swim faster and they compete for food and tank with the egg-rounded type.

Comet Goldfish

Comet Goldfish

Comet Goldfish

This varieties of goldfish come with elongated flat-bodies and reddish orange color on its body called Comet goldfish. The caudal fin of this fish is long and stands fully erect. They will reach its full potential size depending on the environment they live in.

This fish will grow up about 10 cm in size of 56.7 liters fish tank with proper care. The Comet will grow larger and reach the size of 18 to 20 cm if the fish is living in a larger and uncrowded tank. As keeping this fish in a spacious fish pond the size of the goldfish can reaches 30 cm or even bigger.

They also come in yellow, orange, red, and white color but it’s primarily color are reddish orange. Some Comet will come with Bi-color and also come with iridescent pearl scales. The influenced of good diet and amount of light will change the color of the fish.

Their life span usually are 5 to 14 year and they can live longer if kept in optimal condition. Sarasa Comet is a different type of Comet Goldfish. The Sarasa Comet characterized by red and white coloration that resemble to a koi color pattern name “Kohaku”. The name of “Kohaku” come from Japan but the origin of the fish is come from China.

Sarasa Comet Goldfish ( Kohaku)

Sarasa Comet

Goldfish is a friendly animal and also a great scavengers too. They can grow well in an aquarium without aggressive or territorial fish in the aquarium. The best tank mates to mix with them are Chinese Blue Bitterling, Northern Redbelly Dace, koi, and elongated goldfish.

Therefore, do not keep elongated type with egg-rounded type because elongated type swim faster and they compete for food and tank with the egg-rounded type.

Shubunkin Goldfish

Shubunkin Goldfish

Shubunkin Goldfish

This is also one of the elongated flat-bodies varieties and come in variegated color pattern which called Shubunkin Goldfish. The caudal fin of the fish stands fully erect and come with slight curve of dorsal fin at the edge of it. This size of the fish is slightly smaller than Common Goldfish and growing Shubunkin to it maximum size depend on the environment of the aquarium or fish pond.

Shubunkin will takes 2 to 3 years to become mature and that’s why they can live longer comparing with other varieties of it own. Shubunkin can grow up to 12.7cm with well cared and uncrowded environment in size of 56.7 liters of fish tank. Shubunkin can reach the maximum size of 43.7cm in an uncrowded and bigger fish tank or fish pond.

The color pattern of this fish are unique and it can come with multicolored on its body. The color can come with yellow, oranges, reds, browns, blacks, whites, purples and greys. If the color of blue on its body makes the fish unique and rare which makes it more valuable.

The life-span of Shubunkin usually are 10 -15 years and the fish can live more than 20 year in the fish pond or aquarium if it is well kept. Shubunkin come in three different types of Shubunkins and it’s called the London, the American and the Bristol. The London Shubunkin come with similar body shape and fin comparing with the Common Goldfish.

London Shubunkin Goldfish

London Shubunkin

American Shubunkin Goldfish

American Shubunkin

Bristol Shubunkin Goldfish

Green Bristol Shubunkin

The size of the Common Goldfish are bigger and come with different coloring on its body comparing with the London Shubunkin. As the American Shubunkin, it’s come with slimmer body shape, longer finnage, deeply forked and pointed tail fins compare with the London Shubunkin. The Bristol Shubunkin come with enormous tail fin, moderately forked and end with a rounded capitalized letter “B” shape on it tail.

As social behavior with other fish, Shubunkin is also friendly animal and great scavengers and no need to add other scavenger in the same fish tank with goldfish. The best tank mates to mix up are Chinese Blue Bitterling, Northern Redbelly Dace, koi, and different elongated goldfish. Therefore, do not keep elongated type with egg-rounded type because elongated type swim faster and they compete for food and tank with the egg-rounded type.


Fantail Goldfish

Fantail goldfish

Black Fantail Goldfish

Fantail goldfish is an egg-rounded variety goldfish that come with a wide head and stubby body. The scale of the fish available in 3 types such as metallic, a solid reddish orange, speckled on the nacreous in white color. Fantail also come with a Japanese version called Ryukin.

Reddish Orange Fantail Goldfish

Solid Reddish Orange Fantail

Metallic Body Fantail Goldfish

Metallic color

Ryukin come with wider caudal fin and high curve back comparing with the Fantail. Generally both of this varieties can grow to the size of 15 cm with uncrowded and well cared condition same with other variety goldfish. Some pet lover reported that fantail could reach the size of 30 cm with very well cared and well maintained aquarium.

Fantail is bred for showing because of its split caudal fin in a moderate length that slightly forked. The caudal fin of this Fantail will split very well if well taken care and it also shows a triangular view from the back of the fish. The life-span of the fish can live for 10 -15 years and the fish can live more than 20 year in the fish pond or aquarium if it is well kept.

Goldfish is a very socialize fish and friendly animal. They are also a great scavengers same like other varieties of goldfish and no need to mix it with other scavengers. The best tank mates with Fantail Goldfish are Chinese Blue Bitterling, Northern Redbelly Dace, koi, and different egg-rounded type.

Therefore, do not keep elongated type with egg-rounded type because elongated type swim faster and they compete for food and tank with the egg-rounded type.


Ryukin Goldfish

Ryukin Goldfish

Ryukin Goldfish

This is the egg-rounded Fantail but is in Japanese version and easily differentiated with the Fantail. Ryukin Goldfish come in a shape of pointed head followed by an extremely high back to its tail. The caudal fin of Ryukin is wider comparing with Fantail but both of this variety goldfish come with the same feature on its tail that can split or come in double caudal fin. This Goldfish usually categories as the Fancy Goldfish.

The size of this Ryukin generally reach about 15 cm but it can also reach up to 25cm if the fish is well – maintained and cared, living in an uncrowded environment. The color of Ryukin are available in red, white, red with white, tri-color, calico and chocolate color. They also come in long tail version and called as the Fringe-tail and Ribbon-tail Ryukin Goldfish.

Fringe-tail Ryukin Goldfish

Ribbon-tail Ryukin Goldfish

The life span of Ryukin usually live 10 to 15 year but it can live more than 20 year in a well maintained aquarium or fish pond. Ryukin and Fantail are both socialize fish and known as a friendly animal. They are also a great scavengers same like other varieties of goldfish and no need to mix it with other scavengers.

The best tank mates with Ryukin are Chinese Blue Bitterling, Northern Redbelly Dace, koi, and different egg-rounded type. Remember, do not keep elongated type with egg-rounded type because elongated type swim faster and they compete for food and tank with the egg-rounded type.


Oranda goldfish

Oranda Goldfish

Oranda Goldfish

This is one of the popular egg-rounded variety that come with hood on its head named Oranda Goldfish. Oranda come in rounder body or egg-shaped comparing with other varieties Goldfish. The fin of this fish come in pair except its dorsal fin and the tail of its fin is generally split. This is also one of the Fancy Goldfish varieties.

The fleshy growth on the head of the Oranda known as wen or crown and the growth can encase the whole head of the fish except the head and mouth. The wen of the fish start to develop at the age of 2. The wen on the head of this fish will start to develop in 3 to 4 months and takes 1 to 2 year to form well on the head of the Oranda Goldfish.

Special care is needed for the fish during the wen grows because it will prone to bacterial infection and the eye sight of the fish were bad and blind because of the wens grown   on the head exceeding covering the eye of the fish. Oranda is the general name for this varieties goldfish but also known as the Tigerhead or Tiger Goldfish in Asia because of the flesh growth on its head. The scale of Oranda isn’t come in metallic but also matte scale and it can come with many variety color such as blue, red, black, chocolate, calico and combination of red and white color.

They can reach to the size of 18cm but it can reach to 31 cm big in a well maintained fish tank or fish pond. The average life span for this Oranda can live up to 10 – 15 year but it can live more than 20 year if the fish is well kept. Oranda can tolerate in the temperature of 17ºC to 28ºC because they are very sensitive to cold temperature comparing with other varieties of goldfish.

Oranda itself come in 6 different variants. Azuma Nishiki is the calico version of the Oranda goldfish and called as Oranda Shishigashiri in Japan. The second is the red-cap Oranda come with silver color on its body and prominent reddish on its head growth on the forehead of the goldfish.  As the third is Nagate Oranda come with longer body frame comparing with the Oranda and found in Shikoku south west in Japan.

Azuma Nishiki Oranda Goldfish

Azuma Nishiki Oranda

Red Cap Oranda Goldfish

Red Cap Oranda

Nagate Oranda Goldfish

Nagate Oranda with Red white Phoenix tail

The fourth, an elegant pompom on its dorsal fin is the hana fusa or white pompom Oranda goldfish. The fifth is the panda Oranda. Panda Oranda come with bi-colored or tri-colored on its body. The last is telescope eye Oranda goldfish and it’s a cross breed of the telescope eye and Oranda. This bred is developed by the Chinese breeder.

Pom Pom Oranda Goldfish

Pom Pom Oranda

Panda Oranda Goldfish

Panda Oranda

Telescope Oranda Goldfish

Telescope Oranda

Oranda is friendly and socialize animal same like other varieties of goldfish. They are also a great scavengers same like other varieties of goldfish and no need to mix it with other scavengers. The best tank mates with Oranda are Chinese Blue Bitterling, Northern Redbelly Dace, koi, and different egg-rounded type. Do not keep elongated type with egg-rounded type because elongated type swim faster and they compete for food and tank with the egg-rounded type.


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