The fantail goldfish originated in the early 1400s, during the Ming Dynasty of China. Fantail goldfish are the ancestor from which all modern fancy types of goldfish descended.
The fantail goldfish has a rounded, egg-like body and is characterized by its split tail fin. While any goldfish with a split tail is considered a “fantail”, fantail goldfish have their own show standards and are regarded as a separate breed. If their tails are unusually long then they can also be called “ribbontails”.
Fantails come in a variety of colors, most commonly red, orange, and yellow. Rarer colors such as calico, white, or black have been bred before.
Fantail goldfish temperament and care
Fantails are probably the hardiest variety of fancy goldfish and are therefore a great option for the novice goldfish keeper. Fantails can survive in the same conditions as the comet and common goldfish and thus make excellent additions to ponds. They are a mellow breed of goldfish and do the best with ones similar to them although can be housed with other hardy goldfish breeds. Watch out for their tail though, some fish like to nibble the flowing tail and this can cause a problem. They are not very fast swimmers and can’t easily escape a tail nipper.
Although not as fast as their slim-bodied cousins, such as the comet and the shubunkin, Fantails are fairly good swimmers and can co-exist with other faster varieties of goldfish. However, care should still be taken to ensure they get a fair share of the food in a community aquarium or pond.
Breeding fantail goldfish
Fantails are among the easiest of the fancy goldfish varieties to breed and will usually spawn readily given adequate conditions. Simulating spring time with the water temperature will cause the spawning to occur. When the time is right, the male will circle the female and if she is impressed with the courting then spawning will occur. Up to 10,000 eggs can be laid at one time and the adults will eat the eggs so removing them into their own tank is necessary.
Adults can be fed on pellets, daphnia and bloodworms during the conditioning period prior to spawning and the fry can be fed on brine shrimp, daphnia and pellets.
When breeding fantails professionally, the fry are first culled at four weeks old for twin tails. A second cull is carried out at eight weeks for body and tail shape. A third cull is carried out at twelve weeks again for body and tail shape. And a final cull is carried out during the sixteenth and twentieth weeks for color.
Choosing fantail goldfish
When choosing fantail goldfish for purchase, it is important to note that the body, which is tear drop or egg shaped, has a depth of at least 3/5 of its length. A shorter body length compared to the depth is always preferred in fantails.
The fins of a fantail are similar to that of a common goldfish. They should be short (not more than ½ of the body length), rounded and stiff.
All fins except the dorsal fin should be paired. The fantail’s dorsal fins tend to be larger, similar to that of the Ryukin goldfish. The tail fin should be fully divided, forked in profile with the lower lobes shorter than the upper lobes.
Fantails should also ideally be free of any eye sacs, nasal bouquets or head growths.