Goldfish varieties: what are they?


Not all goldfish are gold! And there are so many varieties that it’s hard to know exactly how many. They are the result of careful breeding and selection that began over 1000 years ago in China. In the West, we have only really known about goldfish since the 17th century. Breeding has gradually developed there, which has helped to further increase the number of varieties. This article gives you some benchmarks to help you locate yourself more easily in the rich and varied world of goldfish.

What are the elements that characterize a variety of goldfish?

These are of course anatomical features that distinguish the varieties of goldfish. It could be :

  • tail: single or double
  • scales: silver or not, pearl or not …
  • color: uniform or stained …
  • the shape of the head
  • eye shape
  • body shape
  • the presence of fins: caudal, dorsal, pectoral, pelvic.

There is a traditional Chinese classification of goldfish into 4 groups: “Ce”, “Wen”, “Dragon Eye”, “Egg”. But it is not taken up in the West.

When you want to acquire a goldfish, you are therefore spoiled for choice. But there is an important criterion to know: the more a variety deviates from the natural physiognomy of the goldfish, the more care it requires. It is necessary not to overestimate its capacities to take care of an aquarium, for the well-being of the fish on the one hand, and to avoid disappointments and unnecessary expenses on the other hand. They are living beings in their own right, with specific needs: their maintenance is a gradual learning process that deepens over time.

Another point of importance: whatever variety of goldfish you choose, do not neglect the capacity from the aquarium. The 50 liters are a minimum for a single individual. Pet store advisers are not specialists: many novice aquarists have been advised against a capacity of 20 liters.

Completeness being impossible, we present here 7 amazing varieties of goldfish.

1- The lion heads

The lion’s head goldfish is one of the goldfish without a dorsal fin, such as Ranchus, Lionchus, Bubbles… As a result, it swims quite slowly. We must therefore be careful not to associate it with faster fish, especially for issues of unequal access to food.

Its body is ovoid and it owes its name to the shape of its head, adorned with a protuberance at the level of the forehead and the gill operculum. Robust, it can be chosen to start an aquarium.

2- The Orandas

The Orandas are immediately recognizable by the protuberance placed at the top of its head which, with its blisters, evokes the raspberry. In older people, this swelling can develop on the eyes, obscuring the vision of the fish. Unlike Lion Heads, Orandas have a dorsal fin.

They can reach 30 cm in length. They are also robust fish, suitable for beginners.

3- Telescopes

The main characteristic of Telescopes are their eyes globular with variable shapes: conical, round … which are of little use to them because these fish have ultimately poor eyesight. It is therefore advisable to strip the aquarium of any unnecessary decoration, especially if it is sharp or sharp. But do not worry about the food for them: possessing a good smell like all fish, they use it more to locate their food.
Their body is, like the eyes, all round. Their color is very variable: red, orange, yellow, white, black (the most famous version being the Black Moor), association of two or three colors. Their appearance can be mat, shiny or pearly. This variety dates from the 16th century. Despite everything, it is a rather fragile fish to be reserved for experienced aquarists.

4- The Shubunkins

These are fish created by Yoshigoro Akiyama by crossing Telescope fish and common goldfish. They are similar in shape to common goldfish, with a veiled tail in addition. They have colorful spots, sometimes metallic reflections. They measure on average 25 cm, the female being generally larger than the male. There are 3 variations: London Shubunkins, Bristol Shubunkins and American Shubunkins. These are the most common in pet stores and that’s good because they are easy to maintain and suitable for the novice aquarist.

5- The Ryukins

This variety is one of the oldest. It has a very beautiful fringed tail which makes it a sought-after ornamental fish. These fish are quite robust, thus combining elegance and resistance: ideal for a novice aquarist.

6- Comets

These fish are so called because they are the fastest of the goldfish. Their speed is due to a well-developed caudal fin, the length of which can be equivalent to that of the body of the fish. As a result, this fish can reach a size of 40 cm. It can be yellow, orange, red, or white, with the most popular version being the one that combines red and white patterns.

7- Pom Poms

In the Pom Pom, it is the nostrils that are developed to the point of forming a bunch of small balls at the front of the head. Evoking the bouquet of flowers, the Japanese call it Hanafusa, “cluster of flowers”, the name Pom Pom referring to the pompoms waved by American cheerleaders. The Chinese variant does not have a dorsal fin, unlike the Japanese variant.

They belong to the large family of Queues-de-Voiles, that is to say that their tail is double, long, drooping, evoking the shape of a boat sail. It is continuous, unlike fish with a fringed tail.

Pom Poms are best paired with slow moving fish. Indeed, their nasal protuberances interfere with their vision. It is also necessary to limit aggressive decorations.