Fancy goldfish types: 20 varieties of fancy goldfish

With over 200 species of goldfish to choose from – including slim-bodied common goldfish and more slower-swimming fancy goldfish types – how can you possibly know what type of goldfish to take home? 

Hopefully this article will help, as we introduce 20 types of fancy goldfish that make fantastic pets.

And if you’re new to goldfish-keeping, you’re making a good decision! Did you know that keeping aquarium fish as pets is good for your health?

According to a recent survey, watching fish swimming in a beautifully aquascaped tank can reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and even help to improve the quality of life of those with Alzheimer’s disease. And goldfish make a great starter pet for kids, too.

Goldfish Types

All types of goldfish have the scientific name Carassius auratus and are descended from wild carp species. Many goldfish varieties were initially bred as ornamental pond fish to be displayed in the gardens of the wealthy. This means that most goldfish grow to be a fair size

For instance, the little Comet goldfish, traditionally given as fairground prizes, can reach a whopping 12 inches in length when fully grown! Even the smaller fancy goldfish that were developed to be suitable for life in an aquarium can reach six to eight inches long, not including their trailing, luxuriant finnage.

So, if you want to keep a goldfish in an aquarium rather than in a garden pond, choosing one of these types of fancy goldfish is the best way to go.

Fancy Goldfish Types

In this article, we introduce 21 of the most popular types of fancy goldfish, all of which are suitable for life in a home aquarium. A few of the larger ones can be kept in outdoor fish ponds too.

Fantail Goldfish

  • Color: orange, yellow, white, black, red
  • Patterns: Single-colored, bi-colored, calico, koi
  • Size: 6 to 8 inches
  • Minimum tank size: 20 gallons
  • Care level: Easy to moderate
A fantail fancy goldfish

Fantails are the starting point for almost all the breeds of fancy goldfish and have the characteristic egg-shaped body and comic, wobbling swimming style that’s typical of all fancies.

These hardy fish come in a wide range of colors, can have metallic or matte scales, and many have beautiful, floating double tails. But remember, that cute little 2-inch beauty you take home will grow rapidly into a massive 6 to 8-inch monster!

2  Veiltail Goldfish

  • Color: Orange, white, red
  • Patterns: Single-colored, bi-colored
  • Size: 7 to 8 inches
  • Minimum tank size: 20 gallons
  • Care level: Moderate to difficult
A veiltail goldfish

Veiltails have a compact, rounded body and are known for their flowing dorsal fins and super-elongated divided 3 to 4-inch tail.

These goldfish are certainly glamorous, but they need a tank with plenty of swimming space that’s not cluttered with too many decorations. Veiltails are not good swimmers, and their delicate fins can be easily snagged on rocks and driftwood, which can lead to bacterial infections and disease.

3  Butterfly Tail Goldfish

  • Color: Black, white, red
  • Patterns: Single-colored, bi-colored, tri-colored, calico, panda
  • Size: 7 to 8 inches
  • Minimum tank size: 20 gallons
  • Care level: Moderate to difficult
A black and brown butterfly goldfish viewed from above

Butterfly Tails are one of the relatively new types of fancy goldfish that have recently become very popular. 

These fish have a curved body and a long, broadly-spread double tail that has a butterfly’s appearance when viewed from above. Butterflies also come in hooded and telescope-eye varieties.

4  Ryukin Goldfish

  • Color: orange, yellow, white, black, red
  • Patterns: Single-colored, bi-colored, calico, koi
  • Size: 6 to 10 inches
  • Minimum tank size: 30 gallons
  • Care level: Easy to moderate
An orange Ryukin goldfish on a blue background

Ryukin fancy goldfish are directly descended from Fantails. These fish have a round body and a distinctive humped back, making them as tall as they are long, and they boast the classic double tail. Some variants have a longer fringed or ribbon tail.

Ryukins are one of the easier fancy breeds to keep, and they can also do well in an outdoor pond setting.

5  Tosakin Goldfish

  • Color: Red, black, white
  • Patterns: Single-colored, bi-colored
  • Size: 4 to 8 inches
  • Minimum tank size: 30 gallons
  • Care level: Difficult
An orange and white Tosakin goldfish

Tosakin goldfish are extremely rare and would have gone extinct were it not for the dedication of Japanese goldfish enthusiast Hiroe Tamura.

After the devastating effects of several natural disasters and the outbreak of World War II, the region where the fish was bred was decimated. But Mr. Tamura rescued just six specimens and was able to re-establish the breed. However, these days, Tosakins are rarely found outside of Japan.

These fish resemble a more hunched Ryukin, but their huge double tail is attached to the fish’s body rather than separated. The effect, when viewed from above, is that of a billowing skirt.

6  Tamasaba or Sabao Goldfish

  • Color: Red, white
  • Patterns: Single-colored, bi-colored
  • Size: 8 to 10 inches
  • Minimum tank size: 30 gallons
  • Care level: Easy to moderate
A red and white Tamasaba goldfish on a dark background

Tamasaba goldfish are rarely seen in fish stores outside of their native Japan, although you can find them for sale through online fish stores and dealers. The fish were bred using Ryukin stock, having the characteristic humped back and long single tail of their relatives.

These easy-care fancies make good aquarium specimens, but you can keep them in a large pond, too.

Ranchu Goldfish

  • Color: Red, white, gold, black, yellow
  • Patterns: Single-colored, bi-colored
  • Size: 5 to 8 inches
  • Minimum tank size: 20 gallons
  • Care level: Difficult
An orange Ranchu goldfish on a plain blue background

In Japan, where they originate, the Ranchu goldfish is known as the “King of the Goldfish,” as they are highly sought-after and valued.

Ranchus are one of the oldest fancy goldfish breeds and closely resemble the Lionhead goldfish, although the Ranchu has a broader back and less prominent hood. These fish don’t have a dorsal fin, which makes them rather ungainly swimmers. For that reason, Ranchu fancy goldfish should be kept with other varieties of a similar type in a tank with minimal clutter and plenty of open swimming space.

Oranda Goldfish

  • Color: Red, white, chocolate, gold, black, blue, calico
  • Patterns: Single-colored, bi-colored
  • Size: 7 to 9 inches
  • Minimum tank size: 20 gallons
  • Care level: Moderate to difficult
An orange Oranda goldfish foraging among some rocks and plants

The Oranda goldfish is sometimes mistaken for the Lionhead fancy goldfish (below), but the Oranda has a dorsal fin, where the Lionhead does not. Orandas have a noticeable hood on their head that sometimes extends over the face. Their bodies are round, and they have the characteristic double tail of all fancies.

9  Lionhead Goldfish

  • Color: Red, orange, white, chocolate, gold, black, blue, calico
  • Patterns: Single-colored, bi-colored
  • Size: 5 to 8 inches
  • Minimum tank size: 20 gallons
  • Care level: Difficult
An orange Lionhead goldfish inspecting some gravel substrate looking for food

The Lionhead fancy goldfish are easily recognized for their lack of dorsal fin on their backs, their classic round body, double tail, and their prominent hood that can sometimes cover the fish’s entire face and head. 

10  Lionchu Goldfish

  • Color: Red, orange, white, chocolate, gold, black, blue, calico
  • Patterns: Single-colored, bi-colored
  • Size: 5 to 8 inches
  • Minimum tank size: 20 gallons
  • Care level: Difficult
An orange red and white Lionchu (or Lionhead Ranchu) goldfish on a blue background

This fancy goldfish’s name gives away its origins! The Lionchu is a hybrid cross between a Lionhead and a Ranchu.

Lionchus have a similar body shape to the Ranchu but with the fantail and head growth of the Lionhead.

11  Telescope Goldfish

  • Color: Red, orange, white, chocolate, gold, black, blue, calico
  • Patterns: Single-colored, bi-colored
  • Size: 7 to 9 inches
  • Minimum tank size: 20 gallons
  • Care level: Moderate to difficult
An orange and white Telescope goldfish swimming over some gravel

Telescope fancy goldfish are easily recognizable for their comical, bug-eyed appearance. These fancies have the same body shape as regular Fantails, although they are generally slightly smaller.

There are several variants of Telescope goldfish, but all are best kept in a tank with others of a similar delicate type.

12  Dragon Eye Goldfish

  • Color: Red, orange, white, chocolate, gold, black, blue, calico
  • Patterns: Single-colored, bi-colored
  • Size: 7 to 9 inches
  • Minimum tank size: 20 gallons
  • Care level: Moderate to difficult
A black Dragon Eye goldfish with an orange belly
Photo credit Practical Fishkeeping

Dragon Eye fancies are an extreme variety of Telescope goldfish with black cone-shaped eyes that protrude from their face. These fish are popular in the U.S., although it’s thought that they were bred originally in China.

13  Black Moor Goldfish

  • Color: Black
  • Patterns: Single-colored
  • Size: 7 to 9 inches
  • Minimum tank size: 20 gallons
  • Care level: Moderate to difficult
A Black Moor goldfish with black and bronze scales

Black Moors are basically Telescope fancies that are a matte black color. Interestingly, the coloration often fades as the fish ages to finish up bronze or even red, white, and orange.

14  Pearlscale Goldfish

  • Color: Red, blue, white, calico, chocolate, black
  • Patterns: Single-colored, bi-colored
  • Size: 4 to 6 inches
  • Minimum tank size: 20 gallons
  • Care level: Moderate
A Pearlscale goldfish with white spots swimming on a blue background

The Pearlscale goldfish is a very unusual fancy variety that comes in many different color combinations and has a round, golf ball-shaped body. This unique fish’s scales stand out from the creature’s body and give the fish the appearance of being covered with tiny, shining pearls. 

15  Pom Pom Goldfish

  • Color: Red, blue, white, calico, black
  • Patterns: Single-colored, bi-colored, tri-colored
  • Size: 4 to 6 inches
  • Minimum tank size: 20 gallons
  • Care level: Difficult
A Pompom goldfish with a distinctive orange growth on its head

Pom Pom fancy goldfish are extremely popular in Japan from where the breed originates. These fish have the egg-shaped body and double tail of a fancy but that’s where the similarity ends.

Pompoms have no dorsal fin, and they have extremely prominent nostrils on either side of their face. Some Pom Poms also inherit other fancy goldfish traits, such as telescope eyes or a hood.

Breeders often cross Pompoms with Bubble Eyes, Oranda, or Fantails to create even more new variants.

16  Bubble Eye Goldfish

  • Color: Red, blue, white, calico, black
  • Patterns: Single-colored, bi-colored, tri-colored
  • Size: 4 to 6 inches
  • Minimum tank size: 20 gallons
  • Care level: Difficult
A bubble eye goldfish with very large round eyes

Bubble Eye fancies are just about the weirdest looking variety of goldfish on the planet! These fish have large, water-filled “bubbles” that bulge out underneath their eyes. The bubbles get larger as the fish matures, eventually obscuring their vision. 

Most Bubble Eyes don’t have a dorsal fin, and that, combined with their poor eyesight, makes it extremely difficult for the fish to swim and feed, making these one of the most challenging varieties of fancy goldfish to keep. Also, the fishes’ eye bubbles are very delicate and prone to injury. 

17  Celestial Eye Goldfish

  • Color: Red, orange, calico, black
  • Patterns: Single-colored, calico
  • Size: 4 to 6 inches
  • Minimum tank size: 20 gallons
  • Care level: Extremely difficult
A Celestial Eye goldfish with very large eyes

By far the most difficult fancy goldfish variety to keep is the Celestial Eye. These fish have a round body, double tail, and no dorsal fin. However, the Celestial Eye goldfish has upturned telescopic eyes that gaze toward the top of their aquarium, and that makes them extremely sensitive to light.

These fish are not easy to keep healthy as they are highly sensitive to water quality, too.

18  Wakin Goldfish

  • Color: Red, orange, calico, black
  • Patterns: Single-colored, bi-colored
  • Size: 10 to 12 inches
  • Minimum tank size: 50 gallons
  • Care level: Easy to moderate
An orange and white Wakin goldfish on a blue background

The Wakin fancy goldfish is thought to be a hybrid of a Comet or Common goldfish and a Fantail. The Wakin’s body is long and streamlined, and the fish has an erect dorsal fin that extends right down the back. The fish has a beautiful double tail, just a little shorter than that of a Fantail.

This rare breed of fancy goldfish is very easy to care for and can do well in a very large aquarium, although they are probably better suited to life in a pond.

19  Watonai Goldfish

  • Color: Red, orange, calico, black
  • Patterns: Single-colored, bi-colored
  • Size: 10 to 12 inches
  • Minimum tank size: 50 gallons
  • Care level: Easy to moderate
A calico Watonai goldfish viewed from above

The Watonai fancy goldfish is another hybrid that’s very similar to the Wakin, although it has a longer double tail. Like the Wakin, you don’t often find these fish in fish stores, but you can buy them online and from some pond fish specialists.

20  Jikin Goldfish

  • Color: Red and white. White body with deep crimson on lips, gill covers, tail, and fins
  • Patterns: Bi-colored
  • Size: 10 to 12 inches
  • Minimum tank size: 30 gallons
  • Care level: Easy to moderate
A red and white Jikin goldfish

The Jikin or Peacock goldfish is a rare Japanese variety of fancy goldfish that has a very specific coloration. These fish have long bodies that are similar to the Common goldfish and gorgeous widespread tails that show their best when viewed from above.

Although they are undeniably beautiful fish, the Jikin is specifically bred for its color pattern. These fish are always bi-colored with a white body and deep red on their gill covers, lips, fins, and tail. 

Fancy Goldfish Types: Final Thoughts

Fancy goldfish make wonderful pets! Goldfish are not as demanding as marine fish or many tropical species, and they live much longer too, sometimes for 20 years or even more.

Most of the popular varieties of fancy goldfish are inexpensive and are readily available in pet stores. The rarer breeds can often be found online through specialist dealers and breeders at a proportionately higher price point.

Although fancy goldfish are relatively easy to look after, they do have specific care requirements that must be met if your fancies are to thrive.

2 thoughts on “Fancy goldfish types: 20 varieties of fancy goldfish”

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