kids encyclopedia robot

List of goldfish varieties facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Assorted goldfish
Assorted goldfish

This is a list of goldfish varieties and their characteristics. Currently, there are about 200 breeds of goldfish recognized in China.

Selective breeding over centuries has produced several color variations, some of them far removed from the "golden" color of the original fish. There are also different body shapes, fin, and eye configurations. Some extreme versions of the goldfish live only in aquariums—they are much less hardy than varieties closer to the "wild" original. However, some variations are hardier, such as the Shubunkin. The vast majority of goldfish breeds today originated from China. Some of the main varieties are:

Single-tailed varieties

Single tailed varieties have a single caudal fin and anal fin. They have long, streamlined bodies and are faster swimming than shorter egg-shaped goldfishes. They all come from common goldfish, but rare egg-shaped varieties like nymph goldfish are developed from egg-shaped goldfish. They have no telescopic eyes, celestial eyes, nor bubble eyes. They have no headgrowths like orandas, lionheads, and ranchus, narial bouquets like pompoms, or curled gills like curled-gill.


  • Common goldfish - It is the most common type of goldfish, hence the name. All varieties of goldfish are developed from this variety. It is the direct descendant of the prussian carps. It is also known as a feeder fish or feeder goldfish. Common goldfish come in a variety of colors including red, orange, yellow, white, black, and calico goldfish. The most common variation is a shiny-orange, while second most-common variation being a mix of white and red. Black is uncommon, while yellow and pure white is rare.

Common goldfish.JPG

  • Comet goldfish - This is the most common goldfish variety in the United States. It is similar to the common goldfish, except for having long, deeply-forked tail. It is developed in the United States and developed from the common goldfish stock.


  • Shubunkin - are a hardy, single-tailed fancy goldfish with nacreous scales and a pattern known as calico.

Clear shubunkin.jpg

    • London Shubunkins - It has a stout body and also short, rounded finnage that is similar to the common goldfish.
    • American Shubunkins - It has a slimmer body shape than the London Shubunkin with deeply forked, pointed tail fins, and longer finnage all around.
    • Bristol Shubunkins - It is a slim-bodied goldfish with well-developed finnage possessing a tail that is large, moderately forked, and rounded at the end. It has a large heart-shaped tail.

Egg-shaped bodied

  • Nymph goldfish - It is similar to fantail except they have single caudal fin and anal fin. A rare type of fish mutated from the fantails or can be mutated in the ryukins and other fancy goldfish. The standard is fantail. All single-tailed mutated fancy goldfish are considered a nymph goldfish. It is closely related to the tamasaba. It is developed from the fantail.

Double-tailed varieties

Double-tailed or "fancy" goldfish. Fancy, in goldfish, meaning they have double caudal fins and anal fins. They are the most popular and the most expensive types of goldfish. There are two types of fancy goldfish:

Streamlined bodied

  • Wakin goldfish - It is similar to the common goldfish except it has double caudal fins and anal fins. All fancy goldfish are developed from this variety.
  • Jikin goldfish - It is similar to the wakin goldfish except that its double caudal fins and anal fins splay outwards. It is developed from the wakin goldfish.

Egg-shaped bodied

Egg-shaped goldfish is the most popular type of goldfish, they have two types:

Dorsal-finned varieties

OrangeWhite Ryukin
Orange-white Ryukin goldfish
  • Fantail goldfish - It is the western form of the ryukin and possesses an egg-shaped body, a high dorsal fin, double caudal and anal fins, and no shoulder hump.

Fan tailed goldfish.jpg

  • Ryukin goldfish - It has a short, deep body with a characteristic shoulder hump. It is similar to the fantail goldfish, except with a shoulder hump. Its name is derived from Ryukyu islands, which they have been bred. Since they have a larger hump, you need an aquarium that is taller than most fancy goldfishes require.

Goldfish Ryukin.jpg

  • Pearlscale goldfish - It is spherical-bodied goldfish with finnage similar to the fantail goldfish. It has a shorter and rounder body compared to other goldfish. Due to the sphere-shaped body, they are very susceptible to constipation. You'll need to soak the flakes or pellets first under water for a few minutes in order to remove the air from the food before feeding it to the pearlscales. They have whitish pearl-like raised scales which they look attractive to many people. When their scales fall off, they will grow only into regular scales. They should not be kept in an aquarium with rough objects that can cause their scales to fall off.

Goldfish Pearl Scale.jpg

  • Telescope goldfish - It is similar to fantails except that is has protruding eyes. It has a zoomed thus limited vision and should not be kept in an aquarium with rough objects that can harm or even can cause blindness to their protruding eyes. Usually, black telescopes are referred to black moors and many peoples differentiate them to telescope goldfish; black moors have a velvety black or black matte body and broader, longer and more deeply forked tails, while telescopes do not come in black. Some people say that the black moor is a separate variety of goldfish but this is wrong. In addition, black moors are not called black moors, instead, they are called black telescopes because black moors are only different in color.

DragonEye (bottom).jpg

  • Oranda goldfish - It is characterized by a prominent raspberry-like hood (also known as wen or head growth) that encases the whole head except for the eyes and mouth. It is similar to the fantail goldfish except it has a head growth. Orandas should not be kept in an aquarium with rough objects that can harm their head growths which can cause infection.


  • Curled-gill goldfish - It is any goldfish type with curled-gills or their gills are turned outwards. It is an uncommon variety of fancy goldfish that has been developed by specialist enthusiasts. It owes its name from the out-turned appearance of its gill covers.

Curled gill goldfish.jpg

  • Veiltail goldfish - It has long not only its tail but all of its fins, are similar to a veil. It is prone to fin nipping because many fishes are attracted to the long-flowing fins and are also slow-moving because of the way its fins are.

Welon (ryba).JPG

  • Tosakin goldfish - It is the only fancy goldfish type that has undivided double tail fins that curls their tails at the ends. It is a very distinctive breed of goldfish with a large tail fin that spreads out horizontally (like a fan) behind the fish. Though technically a divided tail, the two halves are attached at the center/middle forming a single fin.


Dorsal finless varieties

Goldfish Bubble Eye
Bubble eye goldfish
  • Eggfish goldfish - It is similar to the wakin except that it has no dorsal fin. It is developed from the fantail goldfish.


  • Pompom goldfish - It is similar to the eggfish except it has larger nasal septa. They are called "pompoms" resembling the cheerleader's pompom balls. It is developed from the eggfish goldfish. Though there are pompom goldfishes that having a dorsal fin.

Chocolate Oranda with Red pompoms 2.jpg

  • Lionhead goldfish - It is similar to the eggfish goldfish except that it has a head growth. It has a soft, spongy head growth and should not be kept in an aquarium with rough objects that can harm its head growth which may cause infection. It is developed from the eggfish goldfish.


  • Ranchu goldfish - Compared to lionheads, ranchus have a more downturned tail and tail fin. Although similar to lionheads, ranchus have more-arched backs and have much shorter tails that are tucked-in at a 45-degree angle.

Goldfish Ranchu 2.jpg

  • Celestial eye goldfish - This goldfish has double tails and a breed-defining pair of upturned, telescope eyes with pupils gazing skyward.

Celestial eye goldfish.jpg Many people call it "stargazers" or "sky-gazers" because their eyeballs are turned permanently upwards. Due to its upturned eyes, they are should not be kept in the aquarium that has rough objects that can harm or hurt their eyes or even can cause blindness. It is developed from the dorsal-less telescope eye goldfish.

  • Bubble eye goldfish - The small, fancy bubble eye has its eyes accompanied by two large fluid-filled sacs. The sacs are fragile and easily ruptured. When their bubble-like fluid-filled sacs or bladders are ruptured, they will grow back again but not immediately and can also lead to infection. The ruptured sac is not the same in size as the other one and it would become asymmetrical. Due to its fluid-filled sacs, they should not be kept in the aquarium that has rough objects that can rupture their sacs which may cause infection. It is developed from the eggfish goldfish.

Bubble Eye goldfish.jpg

Pond goldfish

Water lillies and goldfish at Biltmore
Water lilies and goldfish at Biltmore
Yuyuan Garden
Pond goldfish at the Yuyuan Garden

Most goldfish varieties are capable of living in outdoor ponds. Goldfish that are not capable of living in ponds include telescope, celestial eye and bubble eye, because of their fragile eyes.

Goldfish Tail Types

Single tail types

  • Wild - It is the standard single tail of any goldfish. It is like a fantail but it is doubled.
  • Comet-tailed - It is much longer and more deeply forked than common-tailed. It is like a ribbontail but it is doubled.
  • Heart-shaped-tailed - It is a single heart-shaped tail.

Double tail types

  • Fantailed - This is the standard tail type of fancy goldfish. Is a tail of common goldfish that is doubled.
  • Veiltailed - It is claimed standard for telescopes and orandas but is incorrect. It is much longer two times than fantail.
  • Ribbontailed - It is a longer tail and longer fork than fantail. Is a tail of comet goldfish that is doubled.

Other tail identification

  • Broadtailed - Is any finnage type of fancy goldfish that has a broad finnage.
  • Butterflytailed - Is any finnage type of fancy goldfish that has a butterfly finnage or their tails is flattened horizontally.

Sometimes a fancy goldfish have an angled tail peduncle which its type may also be included.

Colors of goldfish

There are three main color pigments of goldfish but some are just a reflection that reflects a color other than these three color pigments.

  • Erythrophores - has a red pigment which resulting in red goldfish.
  • Xanthophores - has a yellow pigment which resulting in yellow goldfish.
  • Melanophores - has a black pigment which resulting in black goldfish.

And this is the color combinations and appearance of the three main color pigments above.

  • Red - in red goldfish, many erythrophores are present while xanthophores and melanophores are absent. Brightly colored red goldfish are often higher priced than orange ones.
  • Orange - in orange goldfish, a balanced number (not exactly the same number but nearly) of erythrophores and xanthophores are present while melanophores are absent. This is the standard color of goldfish.
  • Yellow - in yellow goldfish, many xanthophores are present while erythrophores and melanophores are absent.
  • Black - in black goldfish, many melanophores are present while erythrophores and xanthophores absent.
  • Gray - in gray goldfish, the top of the goldfish has some melanophores but the number of melanophores decreases as it goes down.
  • White - in white goldfish, white goldfish has no pigments are present, all are absent.
  • Brown - in brown goldfish, all three pigments are present and in balance.
  • "Blue" - in "blue" goldfish, melanophores are located deep within the skin while erythrophores and xanthophores are absent.
kids search engine
List of goldfish varieties Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.