Veiltail Goldfish; Care Guide, Lifespan, and More

The Veiltail goldfish is one of the most beautiful goldfish variants. These fish are pretty hard to come by, and they are not easy to care for, being somewhat delicate. Veiltails are challenging to breed in the home tank, but they will sometimes spawn if given the right conditions. 

So, these are not the best choice of goldfish for a complete beginner. However, if you fancy taking on some of these stunning creatures, you’re in the right place for advice!

Read this comprehensive guide to learn how to care for the gorgeous and rare Veiltail goldfish successfully.

Origins Of The Veiltail Goldfish

Recent research suggests that all modern goldfish are thought to originate from a species of Central Asian wild carp, commonly called the Silver Prussian carp or Gibel carp. These fish were first described in 1782 by Bloch.

In the wild, Carassius gibelio lives in slow-moving water bodies, such as lakes, ponds, rivers, and ditches, feeding on insect larvae, small crustaceans, general detritus, algae, and plant matter.

The goldfish we know today, Carassius auratus auratus, was developed way back in the 1500s in China as ornamental pond fish. Later the fish were traded with Japan before arriving in Europe in the 1600s and the US in the 1800s. Most of the round-bodied fancy goldfish that are so popular in the hobby were developed in Asia by enthusiastic breeders. Today, there are around 125 varieties of fancy fantail goldfish.

What is a Veiltail Goldfish?

Veiltail goldfish are one of over 200 different goldfish varieties, and they are one of the rarest and most beautiful.

Veiltail goldfish first appeared in Philadelphia toward the end of the 1800s, having been developed from the double-tailed, slim-bodied Japanese Wakin goldfish. In the early 1900s, the fish were known as the Philadelphia Veiltail Goldfish, or the Feather-dressed Long-Finned Man-you in parts of Asia.

Veiltails look quite similar to the common Fantail goldfish, although the variety has extremely long, delicate fins, hence the Veiltail’s common name. The double tail (caudal) fin and anal fins are clearly split, and the dorsal fin is carried erect. However, unlike the Fantail, the Veiltail’s dorsal fin can grow to over 21/4 inches tall. As well as a very tall dorsal fin, the Veiltail has extravagantly extended pelvic and pectoral fins.

The Veiltail is an impressive fish that adds a touch of something special to any aquarium, but these fish are not the easiest to keep. Although like all goldfish, the Veiltail is a coldwater species, they are somewhat delicate. And, since Veiltails are expensive fish, we don’t recommend them for a complete beginner.

Thanks to the fish’s round shape, their swim bladder is extremely distorted and prone to becoming chilled, and Veiltails are clumsy swimmers. Also, the species’ extravagant finnage is vulnerable to injury, sometimes resulting in bacterial and fungal infections.

Veiltail Goldfish Lifespan

Veiltail goldfish can enjoy a long, happy life if given the correct conditions in a well-maintained tank or garden pond and fed a varied, balanced, high-quality diet.

On average, a Veiltail fancy goldfish can live for between 10 and 15 years, although some specimens have been recorded as surviving for up to 20 years.

What Size Are Veiltail Goldfish?

Veiltail goldfish generally grow to reach around 6 to 7 inches in length, with some 3 to 4 inches of that being accounted for by the fish’s luxuriant tail.

Colors And Patterns

The Veiltail goldfish can be found in a wide range of colors and patterns, including:

  • Red
  • Variegated colors
  • Calico
  • Orange

Generally, the fish’s scales are metallic or nacreous (speckled), although you might sometimes find a very unusual matte or whitish version.

Price And Availability

Veiltail goldfish are not usually seen in local fish stores, but you can sometimes find them for sale through specialist breeders online. 

As you might expect, these rare fish are more expensive than the commoner species of fancy goldfish, often fetching a price of around $30 or even more, depending on the fish’s color and size.

Is The Veiltail Goldfish Suitable For Beginners?

These are truly beautiful goldfish that make a spectacular addition to any coldwater tank. However, the Veiltail is not the best choice for a beginner.

As previously mentioned, Veiltails are quite delicate and vulnerable to injury. Also, all Fancy goldfish tend to be prone to digestive disorders, too, thanks to their egg-shaped bodies. 

Additionally, goldfish do not have a stomach. The fish takes the nutrients it needs from the food as it moves through the fish’s intestinal tract. That effectively makes the fish a swimming food processor that eliminates huge quantities of waste matter as it swims along. So, you need a highly efficient mechanical and biological filter system to handle that amount of waste and keep the water clean and healthy for the fish. Regular water changes and tank cleaning are essential to remove nitrates from the water that would otherwise poison your fish.

Veiltail Goldfish Care Guide

In this section of our guide, you will find out how to care for these gorgeous, rare goldfish.

Tank Size

Veiltails are quite large fish, often reaching 6 inches or more in length. The fish grow rapidly during their first two years of life, and that tiny inch-long juvenile specimen you purchased will soon outgrow a small tank.

Ideally, the minimum size of a tank for one of these fish is 10 gallons. However, if you want to avoid having to upsize your pet’s home after a few years, we recommend that you start off with a larger tank of around 20 to 30 gallons. Goldfish use a lot of oxygen, so a rectangular tank is the best choice, as that shape offers more surface area for gaseous exchange than a tall tank. 

Veiltails are not good swimmers! For that reason, a very deep tank should be avoided, as the fish will struggle to reach the surface to feed. Stress lowers the fish’s immune system, leading to diseases and goldfish that don’t thrive. 

Never keep a goldfish in a bowl! Bowls are usually too small for these large, dirty fish and they don’t offer a large enough surface area.

How Many Goldfish Can You Keep?

Like all goldfish varieties, Veiltails thrive when kept in the company of other fancy goldfish. However, these fish do like plenty of space to swim. If your aquarium or pond is overcrowded, the goldfish will be stressed, which can cause health problems and stunted growth.

Ideally, you need to allow 1 gallon of water per 1 inch of fish in your fish tank.

Water Parameters

Veiltail goldfish need cool water between 65o and 72o Fahrenheit. The water pH should be between 6.0 to 8.0, with the water hardness in the range of 5 to 19 dGH.

The levels of ammonia and nitrite should be zero, and nitrates should be 20ppm, ideally less. 

Check the water parameters every week using an accurate digital aquarium thermometer and water testing kit.


Veiltail goldfish are very dirty fish that generate vast amounts of waste. So, you need an efficient filter unit in your tank or pond that can move the water through the container at least four times each hour. Although a chemical filter is optional, you do need a system that contains both mechanical and biological filter media to remove harmful toxins and solid waste particles from the water.

Since Veiltails are terrible swimmers, the current in the tank must be slow so that the fish aren’t buffeted around in the flow. Choose a system that has an adjustable outflow valve or use ornaments or plants to deflect the flow. 

Tank Maintenance

To keep your Veiltail goldfish healthy and thriving, you need to keep your aquarium clean and well-maintained.

Every week, you need to vacuum the substrate to remove uneaten food, organic matter, and detritus from problem hotspots, such as underneath decorations, beneath internal filters, and around plant bases. You can carry out a partial water change of at least 30% to remove nitrates from the water as part of that process.

If you have living plants in your setup, you will need to trim off any dead leaves and remove algae from the viewing panes and ornaments by gently applying an algae scraper. That said, goldfish do enjoy grazing on algae between feeds, so you can leave a few small patches for the fish to deal with.

Tank Decoration

Goldfish are artificial creations that don’t exist in nature. So, you can use whatever aquascape and décor scheme you want to in your aquarium. However, there are a few essential things to remember when decorating your tank for Veiltails.

Safety First!

Veiltail goldfish have amazing, luxuriant finnage that looks stunning but can be a safety hazard! Make sure that you don’t put anything in your tank that could catch the fins and cause injury.

With that in mind, although smooth rocks, pebbles, and pieces of driftwood look good in a goldfish tank, we recommend that you keep clear of angular ornaments and twisted roots that could present a hazard to the Veiltails. Goldfish enjoy rooting around in the substrate for food, so use large, smooth gravel to cover the bottom of your tank.


Every fish tank can benefit from the inclusion of living plants. Plants oxygenate the water and remove nitrates that they use as fertilizers. 

However, goldfish are not averse to nibbling on tender shoots, and their constant foraging in the substrate can uproot your plants. Luckily, there are a few species of hardy plants that can be included relatively safely in a goldfish tank, such as Java Fern, Anubias, and Marimo Moss Balls.


Fish don’t need light to survive. That said, lighting that replicates the day/night cycle tells the fish when it’s time to feed and sleep. That’s essential for the fishes’ wellbeing and can help to keep stress at bay. And a good lighting system means that you get to enjoy your gorgeous fish to the best effect!

If you can’t be there to adjust the lighting manually, you might want to consider investing in an aquarium lighting unit that has an inbuilt automatic timer. Alternatively, you could use a simple timer plug that you can buy relatively cheaply from good DIY or hardware stores.

Nutrition and Feeding

All goldfish species are omnivores that will eat just about anything they are offered. 

A good basic diet for your Veiltails should include a portion of high-quality pellet and fish flakes, as well as plenty of meaty protein. Frozen bloodworms, brine shrimp, and similar foods work well, and your fish will also enjoy some blanched veggies, such as zucchini and lettuce, as an occasional treat.

All round-bodied goldfish varieties are prone to digestive health issues, including constipation and bloating. 

You can help to prevent that by ensuring that the fishes’ diet contains plenty of frozen or fresh meaty protein. A fish with constipation will be unable to swim properly, sometimes listing to one side or floating up to the surface, unable to swim down again. Constipation is usually caused by an accumulation of dried foods in the fish’s gut, and meaty foods and fresh vegetables help to keep things moving.

How Much To Feed My Veiltail Goldfish?

Veiltail goldfish should have two or three small meals each day. Feed your fish what they will eat in a couple of minutes and no more to prevent overfeeding.

What About Live Food?

Although wild carp and goldfish kept in ponds eat insects, insect larvae, small crustaceans, and invertebrates that they find in their environment, we don’t recommend that you introduce live food into your tank.

Live food often brings unwanted hitchhikers with it in the form of parasites and bacteria that could harm or even kill your fish. So, unless you have a reputable supplier or a home brine shrimp hatchery, stick to feeding your fish frozen foods instead. 

What Are Good Tank Mates For Veiltail Goldfish?

All goldfish species are very peaceful, social creatures that thrive when kept in groups. Fancy goldfish are best kept with other fancies. Slim-bodied varieties of goldfish are best avoided since they are much more agile and faster swimmers than the clumsy Veiltails. That can leave the slower Veiltails short of food, and the bumping and barging that often happens when the two varieties are mixed can be very stressful for the fish.

Other fish species to avoid as tank mates for fancy goldfish include fin nippers and very tiny fish that the goldfish might regard as lunch. Similarly, small shrimp should be avoided. However, larger varieties of shrimp and snails that won’t eat your plants can add variety to your goldfish tank.

Health and Diseases

Unfortunately, although goldfish are generally pretty hardy, Veiltails are one of the most delicate varieties of goldfish.

Fin Injuries

As we mentioned earlier in this guide, Veiltail goldfish are prone to fin injuries. Sharp or rough objects can damage the fishes’ fins and tail in their environment or through collisions with other, faster fish.

White Spot Disease

White Spot Disease is also called Ich or Ick.

Ich is caused by a parasite that lives in most fish tanks, only causing a problem when the fish are weakened by stress or some other disease. Fish affected by White Spot Disease flick or “flash” against solid surfaces in the aquarium in an attempt to dislodge the irritating skin parasites. As the parasite’s lifecycle progresses, a sprinkling of tiny white dots like grains of salt emerges on the fish’s tail, fins, gill covers, and body.

Ich isn’t generally fatal, as long as you treat it promptly with an appropriate over-the-counter medication that you can buy in your local fish store.

Bacterial Infections

Bacterial infections come in different forms and generally attack weak or injured fish. Depending on the species of bacteria responsible, symptoms can vary but often include:

  • Red patches on the skin
  • Ulcers
  • Inactivity
  • Ripped fins and tail
  • Missing scales
  • Not eating
  • Labored breathing

You can generally treat most bacterial infections with a proprietary medication that you’ll find in a fish store or online.


Fluke is the generic name that’s applied to any of the many external parasites that attack goldfish and other freshwater fish species, including:

  • Anchor worms
  • Fish lice
  • Skin flukes

Flukes typically get into your fish tank on new fish or plants. Live food can also harbor flukes, which is the main reason we don’t recommend using it for your goldfish.

To keep flukes out of your setup, always quarantine any new livestock or plants for a couple of weeks before adding them to your main aquarium.

Breeding Veiltail Goldfish

Veiltail goldfish are egg-layers, and they will breed in the home tank or pond if given the right conditions. However, this variety of goldfish is notoriously difficult to breed, and especially to breed true to type. To have the best chance of a successful spawning, you need to have a ratio of one female Veiltail to two males.

Female Veiltails are usually rounder bodied than males, and the male fish develop tubercles or white prickles on their head and gill covers when in prime breeding condition. However, the two sexes look very similar as juveniles, so finding the right mix of boys and girls can be a challenge in itself!

Spawning Conditions

To have any chance of your fish spawning, you need to make sure that they are well-fed and in excellent health. Set up a heavily planted spawning tank of at least 20 gallons, and decorate it with a few spawning mops or large, flat stones where the fish can deposit their eggs.

Like their distant relatives, the carp, Veiltail goldfish spawn when the water gets warmer in the springtime. Mimic natural spawning conditions by gradually increasing the water temperature by 3o each day until the temperature is 68o to 74o Fahrenheit. 

The water needs to be pristine, so you’ll need to carry out 20% water changes every day until the fish begin to spawn. Spawning is hard work for the Veiltails, so be sure to feed them a high-quality, high-protein diet that includes plenty of bloodworms, brine shrimp, and the like. 


Female Veiltails usually lay around 10,000 eggs over the course of a few hours. The male fish fertilizes the eggs once the female deposits them, at which time you must remove both parents to prevent them from eating the eggs.

After around seven days, the eggs should hatch. The fry is free-swimming straight away, and you can feed the babies on fry food until they are large enough to take finely crushed fish flakes and baby brine shrimp.

Veiltails don’t develop their spectacular fins and bright colors for quite a few months and look much like every other variety of Fancy goldfish until they reach adulthood. Once the juvenile fish are roughly an inch or so long, you can put them in your main aquarium with the adult Veiltails.

Final Thoughts

Veiltail goldfish are a rare and beautiful variety of this popular coldwater fish species. However, these are not the easiest fish to care for, and they are much more challenging to breed than other goldfish varieties.

You’ll need to provide a large tank of at least 10 gallons, ideally larger, with a highly efficient filtration system. Keep these fish in a group of conspecifics or similar Fancy goldfish varieties, and ensure that your aquarium is free from sharp or rough objects that could damage the Veiltail’s fins.

Do you keep Veiltail goldfish? Are your fish kept in an aquarium or a pond? Tell us in the comments box below!

1 thought on “Veiltail Goldfish; Care Guide, Lifespan, and More”

  1. Goldie is my inherited 7ish year old fancy veiltail living his life in a 55 gallon with some Bikini Bottom decor and PLENTY of swimming space. Glad to know ive been doing it mostly right, I just found out hes a fancy goldfish and because of awesome posts like this i know soooo much more now. Like i have no questions after reading this and thats awesome and very appreciated. Thank you!!


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