Pompom Goldfish: All about the pompom goldfish

Pom-Pom goldfish are an instantly recognizable goldfish variety, having two large, brightly colored bulbs protruding on the front of the fish’s face either side of its nose.

These fish can add a touch of the exotic to any coldwater fish tank, although we don’t recommend them to beginners. Pom-Pom goldfish are hard to come by and can be expensive to buy. These fish are quite delicate, too, and are best suited to an advanced aquarist with experience in keeping Fancies.

In this guide, you can learn how to care for and breed the unusual Pom-Pom goldfish, so keep reading to find out more!

Origins Of The Pom-Pom Goldfish

All goldfish varieties have the same scientific name, Carassius auratus. These fish are related to a common species of wild Prussian carp that were originally bred as food fish in China way back in the 1700s.

Purely by chance, a genetic quirk produced a few brightly colored carp. These “golden fish” were kept by the fish keepers as pets and displayed in ornamental ponds. Over the next couple of centuries, early hobbyists bred the fish to create more and more varieties and shapes. By the 19th century, goldfish, as they became known, were being traded throughout Asia, Europe, and the US, and there are now thought to be around 200 different types of goldfish.

Basically, every goldfish is artificially created. So, you’ll never see a Pom-Pom goldfish living in the wild environment unless the fish has outgrown its aquarium and been released by its owner.

What is a Pom-Pom Goldfish?

Pom-Pom goldfish are a variety of Fancy goldfish.

These fish have a similar body shape to Lionchu goldfish. Some Pom-Poms have a split caudal fin, whereas others have no dorsal at all. The variety that has a dorsal fin is also known as the Hana Fusa or White Pom-Pom Oranda, while those that lack a dorsal fin are called “Velvet Ball” in China.

However, the physical characteristic that really makes these fish stand out from the crowd is the two bulbous nasal outgrowths that adorn the fish’s face. In some cases, the pom-poms, which are overgrowths of the fish’s nasal septum, hang down so far that they can be sucked right into the fish’s mouth.

Pom-Poms are not a new goldfish breed and are first mentioned in Chinese breeders’ records dating back to 1898. The fish were traded from Shanghai to the UK in 1936. Over the years, the Pom-Pom’s popularity waned, and they are now quite hard to find.

Pom-Pom goldfish are a coldwater species that should be kept in an aquarium rather than an outdoor garden pond. 

Pom-Pom Goldfish Lifespan

Pom-Pom goldfish usually live for between ten and 15 years. However, in some exceptional cases, the fish can survive for up to 20 years.

What Size Are Pom-Pom Goldfish?

Pom-Pom goldfish can grow to around 4 to 6 inches long.

It’s worth noting that the fish you see for sale in your local fish store are juveniles just a few months old. Goldfish grow very quickly, and that tiny inch-long baby you fell in love with will rapidly grow to fill a small tank! So, you need to start with a big aquarium or be prepared to upsize as your pets grow.

Colors And Patterns

Pom-Pom goldfish come in a range of beautiful patterns and colors, including:

  • Orange
  • White
  • Black
  • Silver
  • Red
  • Yellow
  • Chocolate

You can also find bi-color and tri-color specimens.

Pom-Pom goldfish have nacreous or metallic scales.

Price And Availability

If you can find Pom-Pom goldfish for sale, you can expect to pay upward of $20, depending on the color, pattern, and variety of the fish. 

Are Pom-Pom Goldfish Suitable For Beginners?

Although you might be tempted to add these gorgeous fish to your collection, we recommend that only aquarists with experience take on Pom-Pom goldfish.

Firstly, you’ll need a large tank to accommodate these fish. Life in a traditional goldfish bowl is not suitable for Pom-Poms and other varieties of goldfish; there’s simply not enough swimming space or oxygen.

The Pom-Pom’s fleshy nasal outgrowths are highly vulnerable to injury and infection, making it tricky to keep these fish healthy.

Goldfish, in general, are pretty high-maintenance fish. Although they’re fairly hardy, goldfish do not have a stomach. Whatever the fish eats moves straight through the fish’s digestive tract where all the nutrients are taken up. The waste products that are left pass out of the goldfish into the tank. Goldfish are swimming eating machines, munching on algae and plant matter, and scavenging in the substrate for scraps. Consequently, these swimming garbage disposal units leave a lot of waste behind them.

That waste will rapidly pollute your fish tank if you don’t spend time cleaning it up. You’ll also require a highly efficient filter system to cope with all that organic matter.

Pom-Pom Goldfish Care Guide

In this section of our guide, you can learn how to care for these exotic-looking goldfish.

Tank Size

As previously mentioned, Pom-Pom goldfish can grow to measure up to 6 inches in length. It’s not true that goldfish stop growing to fit the size of their tank or pond. So, if you put your fish in a tiny nano tank, your pet will continue to grow, often suffering from developmental problems and stunted growth.

For that reason, you must buy the largest tank you have space for. In the case of Pom-Pom goldfish, they should have at least a 20-gallon tank. For each additional fish, you need to allow a further 10 gallons of water.

A rectangular tank is the best shape for Fancies. Tall tanks make swimming to the surface difficult for these clumsy creatures. Also, a tall tank doesn’t offer enough surface area for efficient gaseous exchange, potentially leaving these oxygen-hungry fish short of breathable, dissolved oxygen in the water.

How Many Fish Can You Keep?

Pom-Pom goldfish are peaceful creatures that enjoy the company of their own kind and other Fancy goldfish. That said, you mustn’t overcrowd your fish. Overcrowding causes stress, which in turn, leads to outbreaks of disease and stunted growth.

As a general rule, you should allow 1 inch of fish per 1 gallon of water in your fish tank. Don’t worry that your baby Pom-Poms look lost in a big tank; they will very rapidly grow to fill it!

Water Parameters

Pom-Pom goldfish are coldwater fish, preferring a water temperature of between 65o and 72o Fahrenheit. The water pH should be in the range of 6.0 to 8.0, with the water hardness between 5 and 19 dGH.

Ammonia and nitrite levels must be stable at zero, and nitrates should be 20ppm, or ideally lower than that. 


Pom-Pom goldfish produce lots of waste, so you need a powerful filtration system to cope.

The filter pump must circulate the water throughout the aquarium at least four times every hour. The filter should contain both mechanical and biological media to keep the water safe and healthy for your fish.

Unfortunately, Pom-Pom goldfish are dreadful swimmers, especially those without a dorsal fin. That can cause problems for the fish, as they find it virtually impossible to swim in a strong flow. Your filter system, therefore, needs to have an adjustable outflow valve, or you’ll have to use decorations and plants to buffer the current.

Tank Maintenance

For your goldfish to remain healthy and thriving, you must keep your tank well maintained.

Weekly aquarium maintenance entails:

  • Carrying out partial water changes of around 30% to remove nitrates from the water

  • Using an aquarium vacuum cleaner to remove solid organic waste from around plant bases, under decorations, and beneath internal filter boxes

  • Trimming dead and broken stems and leaves from living plants

  • Using an algae scraper to remove excess colonies of algae from your viewing panes

The fish will happily graze on some species of green algae between feeds, so we recommend that you leave a small patch of algae in a discreet spot.

On a monthly basis, you should rinse the filter media in tank water to remove sludge and keep the filter working efficiently. Periodically, the filter media will require replacement as per the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Tank Decoration

Decorating and aquascaping a fish tank for Pom-Pom goldfish is easy! Basically, you can use whatever scheme takes your fancy. However, there are a few things to bear in mind when designing your aquarium setup.

Safety First!

Pom-Pom goldfish are rather prone to injuries to their fleshy head growths. Often, once the overgrowths become very large, the fish have difficulty seeing where they’re going. So, avoid putting any sharp or rough objects in the tank that could damage your fish. We recommend that you put your ornaments and plants around the perimeter of the swimming space in your aquarium.

Since goldfish like to scavenge through the substrate, we suggest that you use smooth gravel. Items of decor, including driftwood, glass pebbles, smooth stones, and flat rocks, look good and are safe to use in a Pom-Pom goldfish habitat.


Live plants can be an excellent addition to any fish tank. The plants remove CO2 and nitrates from the water while giving off oxygen, which is beneficial for the fish.

Unfortunately, goldfish of all species are renowned diggers, and your plants might be uprooted by your foraging fish. Goldfish also like to nibble on plant leaves, so we recommend that you choose tough species of plants, such as Marimo Moss Balls, Java Fern, and Anubias.


Tasteful lighting in your aquarium gives you a wonderful view of your Pom-Pom goldfish and is essential for the health of your plants.

Plants require between eight and ten hours of light every day for photosynthesis. Your fish also need a clear night/day light pattern. When the lights come on in the morning, the fish understand that it’s time to become active again and feed. When darkness falls at night, the fish rest. Without that clear routine, your fish can become stressed, which often results in a compromised immune system and health problems.

You can operate the lights manually or buy a lighting unit that features a built-in timer. Alternatively, a cheap plug-in timer that you’ll get from a DIY store works just as well.

Nutrition and Feeding

Pom-Pom goldfish are omnivores, eating a diet of algae, plants, and meaty protein. In the tank environment, you can feed your goldfish a basic diet of Fancy goldfish pellets and flakes, fresh veggies, and frozen meaty foods.

All round-bodied goldfish are prone to digestive problems, including constipation and bloat. If you give your fish too much dry food, impaction can occur in the fish’s digestive tract. That blockage pushes on the fish’s swim bladder, making it difficult for the fish to swim on an even keel. Fish with swim bladder problems often get stuck at the surface or on the substrate, swim upside down or on one side.

Swim bladder problems are usually solved by fasting the fish for a couple of days and then offering them meaty protein, live food, or fresh veggies. You can prevent the problem by including fresh veg or frozen meaty foods in the fishes’ daily diet.

How Much To Feed?

You should feed your Pom-Pom goldfish up to three small meals each day. Offer the fish what they will clear in a few minutes to avoid overfeeding.

What Are Good Tank Mates For Pom-Pom Goldfish?

The best tank mates for Pom-Poms are their own kind and other species of Fancy goldfish. Large shrimp and snails can also be a nice addition to a goldfish tank. 

Avoid slim-bodied, fast-swimming goldfish that can bump into the slower Pom-Poms, especially at mealtimes. When choosing shrimp, go for large varieties that aren’t viewed as a food source by the goldfish. 

Health and Diseases

Most goldfish species are pretty hardy. However, Pom-Poms can be vulnerable to some health problems, largely because of their unusual conformation.

Nasal Outgrowth Damage

The fleshy nasal outgrowths that are the Pom-Pom goldfish’s trademark are vulnerable to damage caused by collisions with abrasive objects or tank mates.

The strange growths can also be susceptible to bacterial infections.

White Spot Disease

White Spot Disease is also called Ich or Ick.

The parasite that causes Ich is often present in healthy aquariums, only attacking fish that are already stressed or weakened by disease. Fish with White Spot Disease rub against the gravel, plants, and solid surfaces within the tank. You’ll also see a rash of tiny salt-like grains spreading over the fish’s body, gills, and fins.

Fortunately, this disease can be treated with an over-the-counter drug that you’ll get in most pet stores.

Bacterial Infections

Bacteria attack fish that are injured or weak. There are many species of bacteria, and each presents in a different way. However, common signs of bacterial infection include:

  • Inflamed, red areas on the skin
  • Ulcers
  • Lethargy
  • Not eating
  • Lost scales
  • Breathing problems
  • Ripped fins

You can treat most simple bacterial infections with a proprietary medication that you can buy in pet stores or from your veterinary clinic.


Flukes are various species of external parasites that attack freshwater fish, including:

  • Anchor worms
  • Fish lice
  • Skin flukes

Flukes enter the aquarium on new fish, in amongst plant leaves, or with live food. Keep flukes out of your tank by quarantining any newcomers for at least a fortnight before introducing them to your main aquarium.

Breeding Pom-Pom Goldfish

You can breed Pom-Pom goldfish relatively easily in your home aquarium.

For a successful breeding program, you’ll need a mixture of one male fish to two females. That’s easier said than done since both sexes look very similar when juveniles. However, if you have a group of up to eight individuals, you have a good chance of getting a few Pom-Poms of each sex.

When males are in breeding condition, they develop white tubercles or prickles on their heads and gill covers. Females generally become rounder when they are carrying eggs. 

Spawning Conditions

Pom-Pom goldfish are egg layers, typically spawning when the weather gets warmer.

Set up a dedicated breeding tank of at least 20 gallons. Include some spawning mops, lots of thick planting, and a few flat stones where the Pom-Poms can lay their eggs.

Breeders find that increasing the temperature in the tank by around 3o daily until the water is between 68o and 74o Fahrenheit can trigger spawning. You’ll need to keep the water pristine, changing 20% of the water every day until the fish start breeding.

Bring your fish into prime breeding condition by giving them a protein-rich diet, including brine shrimp, bloodworms, tubifex, and similar.


In a breeding ritual that can last several hours, the male Pom-Pom pursues the female, rubbing against her body to stimulate her to release up to 10,000 eggs. The eggs are deposited and the male fish fertilize them. 

Pom-Pom goldfish are terrible parents! As soon as the eggs have been deposited and fertilized, you must remove the adult fish to stop them from eating the eggs. The eggs hatch after about a week, releasing free-swimming fry. Feed the fry on commercially prepared fry food until they are large enough to eat micro worms, baby brine shrimp, and crushed Fancy goldfish flake food.

The fish don’t show their adult colors for several months, being brown or black as camouflage. When your baby Pom-Poms are around an inch long, they can join their parents in your main aquarium.

Final Thoughts

Pom-Pom goldfish make an unusual, distinctive addition to any goldfish tank. However, we don’t recommend these fish for beginners to the hobby, as they are expensive to buy and can be tricky to keep healthy.

You’ll need at least a 20-gallon aquarium that’s fitted with a powerful filtration system for Pom-Pom goldfish to thrive. Keep these peaceful fish in a community of their own kind and other slow-swimming Fancies, and keep the tank free from sharp objects that could injure the fish. 

Do you keep Pom-Pom goldfish? Did you breed them successfully? Tell us in the comments box below!

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