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5 Different Types of Goldfish

A beautiful goldfish on black isolated background.

With more than 200 goldfish to choose from, aquarium owners are spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing the perfect goldfish for your tank. Many goldfish are also cross-breed fish with an eclectic mix of features.

If you’re considering getting your own goldfish, you can distinguish between the different types of fish by looking at their body shape, patterns, and color of the fish. Tail differences are also important as they say a lot about the movement of the fish.

While all goldfish eventually die and go to “potty” heaven, you want to make sure that you find a goldfish that makes having a pet heavenly for you and preferably a Nemo with a long life span.

Fish are relaxing pets to have and care for but relax some more by learning about the different types of goldfish that you can choose from.


1. Japanese Ryukin Goldfish

A Japanese Ryukin goldfish in an aquarium.

This type of goldfish comes from the Ryukyu and as the name suggests, is quite the popular fish in Japan. These fish are known for having a hump at the back of their heads.

The beauty of this hardy fish can be found by merely looking at the color or colors of the fish. You can get a single-colored Ryukin fish or a multi-colored fish, each kind showcasing exotic colors such as deep red, red, blue, white, calico, and more.

Type of aquarium needed for this fish: These fish are meant for outdoor goldfish ponds but they can also thrive in a fish aquarium.

A 20-gallon tank should be the minimum tank size that you keep this fish in. It’s never advisable to keep the Japanese Ryukin in a fish bowl. Like with most goldfish, the bigger the tank space and the more the water level, the better.

How to care for it: These fish tend to be easy to care for provided that you keep the temperature of the water between 65 degrees Fahrenheit and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. You need to maintain a clean tank to ensure that the fish don’t contract unwanted diseases.

Keep these fish away from other aggressive fish and high-feeder fish. It’s also a good suggestion to have an exclusive tank of Ryukin fish, however, they do get along with other fish.

What to feed it/ how often: Being a Japanese fish, the Ryukin’s dietary requirements are fresh food including Japanese seaweed and zucchini. Frozen and alive food is also great to feed these Japanese goldfish.

High-quality pellets are also available for these fish.  The fish eat as much as you feed them. However, overfeeding will lead to digestive problems down the road. 

Lifespan: The life span of these fish vary and most live up to 10-12 years. They adapt easily to living in an aquarium with other fish and some Ryukin fish live longer than 15 years. With proper care, you can increase the lifespan of the Ryukin fish in your tank.

Pros and cons: The Ryukin fish can adapt nicely to being in a tank with other fish. However, some Ryukin fish like to stand on their heads and you’ll do well to avoid purchasing this type of fish. Also, these fish do tend to contract diseases easily so proper care is important. 

Interesting tidbits on this fish

  • These fish have a habit of nipping at plant roots so you may want to include some plants in your tank. The more expensive the plant types, the better.

2. Wakin Goldfish

A Wakin goldfish in an aquarium.

Another Japanese breed of fish is the Wakin goldfish.  The way the fish looks is quite similar to the Comet goldfish type and it is all too easy to get the two types of goldfish confused. 

The only difference between the Wakin and Comet fish is the Wakin fish’s caudal tin fin is a double tail fin that is shorter than normal. These fish are typically over 30cm long.

Type of aquarium needed for this fish: When kept in ponds, these fish grow to be about eighteen inches long. This type of fish tends to thrive in ponds. They can live in an aquarium but require more care when being placed in such an environment.

How to care for it: If you choose to place these fish in a pond, they’ll become so easy to care for. You do still need a great filtration system irrespective of whether you keep the fish in a tank or a pond. Filters are important as they also assist to maintain oxygen and ammonia levels.

What to feed it/ how often: These fish will latch onto a feeding routine quite easily and will pop up to the water surface during feeding time awaiting food.

Hand feeding is the best option for these fish who may learn to trust you if you feed them by hand. You can feed them fish flakes, however, Wakin fish are omnivorous and tend to enjoy meals of peas, broccoli, lettuce, blueberries, ants, and worms.   

Lifespan: The average lifespan of this type of fish is 10 to 15 years, however, with proper care, these fish can live even longer.  TIn fact, the Wakin fish can live up to 20 years.

Pros and cons:  No two Wakin fish are the same, each and every Wakin fish looks unique. The fish are not friendly to all fish types including Moors, Telescopes, and Bubble eyes.

Interesting tidbits on this fish:

  • The Wakin fish are vibrant fish and their striking pop of color is what sets them apart from other fish.
  • The rapid movement of the fish as they race and jaunt above the water is another reason why the Wakin fish are such interesting creatures to observe and have in an aquarium.
  • This fish is often kept by horse farmers to maintain clean water.

3. Comet Goldfish

A Comet goldfish in an aquarium.

With the roots of the fish being Washington, D.C. in the U.S., the Comet goldfish are freshwater fish. The unique mannerisms of the fish and its exquisite beauty are what prompt goldfish owners to want to own these fish.

You do need to have a lot of knowledge about this fish before you own one as they are not as easy to care for as other fish. For instance, while the Comet goldfish looks much like other goldfish, its got a fork-like tail that’s different from goldfish with shorter and stiffer tails.

Type of aquarium needed for this fish: The fish adapts to most tanks, however, the minimum tank size should be 40 or 50 gallons. Larger tank sizes are even better. The best tank size for these fish is 75 gallons. You need to add more gallons of water if you are adding additional Comet fish to the tank. 

How to care for it: To make sure that your Comet fish has a longer lifespan, make sure the fish live in optimal water conditions and have a large environment. Cooler water environments are recommended for the Comet fish.

What to feed it/ how often: Good quality dried food is best recommended for this fish type.  The fish ideally need to be fed 2 to 3 times per day.  However, you can also switch up the diet of your fish by including frozen food such as small insects and larvae.  

Lifespan: It is believed that these fish can live up to 5 to 12 years, which makes them long-term pets. 

Pros and cons: These fish often dart across the tank making them all the more peaceful to watch, and they are generally not harmful to other fish types. They are voracious eaters, however, so while they can be in the same tank as other fish types, their eating habits are something to consider too.

Interesting tidbits on this fish:

  • Bloat is a big issue with this fish and overfeeding can often lead to a dirty tank so bloating your fish by giving the fish too much food is never an ideal option.

4. Shubunkin Goldfish

A Shubunkin goldfish in an aquarium.

The Shubunkin fish comes in two varieties: the London Shubunkin and the Bristol Shubunkin. It is a fancier goldfish type with a caudal tail fin. The Bristol Shubunkin has a more rounder caudal tail fin which sets it apart from the London Shubunkin variety. 

Type of aquarium needed for this fish: The fish can live in smaller tanks or aquariums, however, they are best suited to larger tank and aquarium sizes. Ideally, the 75-gallon tank is best for this type of goldfish. The larger tank generally does lead to happier fish.

How to care for it: For this particular fish, having a good filtration system is important. The fish tend to produce far too much waste and the floating waste leads to increased ammonia levels in the tank if it is not filtered out. 

What to feed it/ how often: Truth be told these fish will eat almost anything that you drop in the water for them but it is best to feed them with high-quality dried food. Frozen food like bloodworms is also a great option from time to time. These fish tend to have such large appetites and they are easy to overfeed.   

Lifespan: The average lifespan of this type of fish is 10 to 15 years, however, with proper care, these fish can live even longer.  

Pros and cons:  One of the reasons why this fish catches attention is due to its lively personality. As such, you cannot pair the Shubunkin fish with fish such as the slow-moving bubble eye or celestial goldfish because the Shubunkin is so fast moving that it’ll eat all the food causing the slow-moving fish to starve.

Interesting tidbits on this fish: These fish are termed “social fish.” They are constantly exploring the tank or trying to dig up food at the bottom of the tank. They do prefer to stay in groups so consider this if the Shubunkin fish is on your list of fish to buy.

5. Fancy Fantail Goldfish

A Fancy Fantail goldfish in an aquarium.

This type of fish is bred mainly for show but it has fast become a favorite pet option for pet owners. This fish type originates from Asia, China, and Japan. Some fantail fish even develop telescope-like eyes. These fish are available in a variety of colors such as silver, bronze, and red.

Type of aquarium needed for this fish: A 20 to 30-gallon tank is a reasonable tank size to have for these fish. These fish are dirty fish that produce tons of waste and this needs to be a consideration when selecting a tank size. Generally, more water is better to assist with the waste problem. 

How to care for it: A great filtration system is key when you have the fantail fish in your tank. It is also important to use an aquarium vacuum to suck up waste in the water weekly. 

What to feed it/ how often: This type of fish is also omnivorous and eats a range of meat proteins, algae, and plant matter.  Thus, it’s important to give these fish a variety of nutrients during a feed. When choosing fish pellets choose pellets and flakes meant for this type of fish species.

Feed these fish twice or thrice daily giving the fish only enough as they generally eat within 2 minutes. Live food is an option too but you must be extremely careful when you go down this route.

Lifespan: The average lifespan of this fish is 15 years, however many are found living up to 20 years, so it’ll be around for a very long time.

Pros and cons:  What makes this fish so intriguing is its beauty. That’s why it requires a lot more care and maintenance to keep it happy and pretty.

Interesting tidbits on this fish:

  • Living plants are nice to have in the tank when you own this type of fish. Plants will also help to keep the tank of these dirty fish clean.

What To Consider When Choosing Goldfish?

A group of goldfish inside an aquarium.

When searching for new goldfish, you need to see if the fish in the tank looks healthy. This is an important consideration because if the fish is not healthy, it will not thrive even if your tank meets all the needed tank requirements. 

Also, consider if you can get your goldfish home safely once you make the purchase.  You can check the fish by:

  • Checking for abnormal behavior
  • Looking to see if the fish has any disease 
  • Looking at the entire tank of fish

Are Goldfish Better Off in a Tank or Pond?

Aquarium-bred goldfish tend to thrive more in both a pond or fish tank. These types of fish are better off being cared for by a human, though, and will most likely not make it in the “wild” otherwise.

What Are the Best Types of Goldfish To Own?
A beautiful orange goldfish inside an aquarium.

All goldfish are different. Some fish are slow-maligning whilst others are quite athletic. Therefore, it is best to choose the type of fish that you would prefer to watch.

Fast-moving fish, however, should not be kept in the same tank as slower-moving fish. While there is no best type of goldfish it is best to buy a goldfish with a longer life span.

Is It Better To Buy Fish Online or In-Store?

Either option is fine provided that you know the breed of fish that you are after. It is, however, more satisfying to see the fish for yourself. It puts your mind more at ease knowing that you are buying a healthy and happy fish.

However, you can find your Nemo online too from an authentic and reliable website.