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Fancy Goldfish

Fancy goldfish are a distant relative of the goldfish. They have been selected to exhibit some extreme physical features. They have been so inbred they lack the vigor of their distant relatives and will not tolerate an icy winter pond.

Body traits that can be viewed from above have therefore long been prized. Fancy goldfish come in many different body shapes and colours. They each have some particular physical trait that has been developed until finally the fish have the trait in a very accentuated form.

They can suffer from a loss of circulation in colder temperatures, resulting in the fin tissue dying and becoming infected; even varieties with more conservative finnage will not over winter well. Some fancy goldfish are suitable for goldfish ponds, but many more are best kept in indoor aquariums.

Fantails are the most suited to goldfish ponds, but you may need to bring small fantails indoors when the temperature drops or you may have a sick goldfish to take care of.

More exotic than fantails are the varieties of fancy goldfish that originate from the Far East. Fish such as Black Moors with their protruding eyes, and pearlscales wtih their knobbly, golf ball like appearance, are not ideally suited to ponds.

Fancy Goldfish Facts

Goldfish varieties are the most popular and common as pond fish. They are the easiest to keep when you think of fish care; they grow to 16 inches and can often live for 12 years. They are usually the first fish added to a pond. Their bright colors are only one reason for their popularity. Gold fish come in many shapes and sizes, plain or fancy.

Many goldfish are carp types that have been bred for centuries to meet certain beauty standards. Goldfish care will be minimal as they are extremely hardy and will survive a wide range of temperatures and types of water. There are many strains of goldfish available today. The most common is the gold or red variety, often with black or white patches.

Long-finned varieties of the common goldfish are also available. The fast, streamlined, long-tailed goldfish, or comet, is generally red. Its tail is extremely long, giving the fish its name. The comet is always active and prefers a reasonably large swimming area. Look out for the elegant red-and-white sarasa comet.

For a little variety, shubunkins are an excellent choice. They are a multicolored fish, with colors ranging from blue and white to black, red, and yellow. Shubunkins are often speckled and have a variety of scale formations.

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These squat, short-bodied fish are slow swimmers that prefer being kept with fish of a similar size and speed. Usually fancy goldfish will grow no bigger than 6 inches in a pond, depending on the variety. The may be kept outdoors in summer, but you must keep them in an indoor aquarium throughout the winter. They prefer the temperature above 50° F. They do not tolerate rapid changes in temperature.

Their shape prevents them from active swimming and they may miss out at feeding time when faster, more aggressive fish are present. Although fancy goldfish spawn like goldfish, they are less likely to do so in a goldfish pond. Crossing fancy goldfish can create very interesting offspring.


Some types of the fancy goldfish are: Bubble eyes, Pompon, and Celestials. These fancy goldfish are in the extreme, where breeders have selected for extreme variations in head and eye developments.

Fancy Goldfish are more exotic than fantails. Fancy Goldfish originate from the Far East. Fish stocking such as black moors with their protruding eyes, and pearl scales with their knobby, golf-ball-like appearance, are not ideally suited to the garden pond. The Black moor is similar in shape to an orandas, black moor have bulbous eyes that project from its head.

The lion head, and oranda are two more variations. The lion head has a development on its head that looks like a lion’s mane. It has twin tails but lacks dorsal fins. The oranda when viewed from above, their double tails look like butterflies. They can adopt a variety of colors, including calico, which resembles a shubunkin.

Black Moor

black moor goldfish for sale

The black moor is a fish that has slightly telescoped eyes. The fish ranges in color from bronze to deep black. They also have a nice double tail. The body is less compact than other forms of fancy goldfish.

The black moor is a telescope-eyed variety of fancy goldfish that has a characteristic pair of protruding eyes. It is also referred to as popeye, telescope, kuro demekin in Japan and dragon-eye in China.

Black moors (Carassius auratus) have deep bodies and long, flowing finnage, along with characteristic protruding eyes. They are veiltailed and possess metallic scales with a velvet-like appearance.

Young moors resemble bronze fantails. Their black coloration and eye protrusion develop with age.

Blue Ridge has a good supply of Black Moors through the summer. They are about 2.5 inches and black as coal. Larger sizes will be available occasionally.

To purchase Black Moor goldfish click here for the Fish for Ponds page.

Pearlscale Goldfish

pearlscale goldfish for sale

The Pearlscale or chinshurin in Japanese, is a spherical-bodied fancy goldfish with finnage similar to the fantail.

The characteristic feature of the pearlscale is its thick, domed scales with pearl-like appearance. Its body is round and short. The finnage may be long or short.

Pearlscale Goldfish is prone to to swimbladder disorders which affect the ability to maintain normal position in the water. This is due to the many generations of selective breeding.

Pearlscales can reach up to 8 inches long and grow up as large as oranges.

Ryukin Goldfish

ryukin goldfish for sale

The Ryukin is a short deep-bodied fancy goldfish with a characteristic hump in the shoulder region.

The ryukin is a rigorous and attractive variety of goldfish. It may be long-finned or short-finned with either a triple or quadruple tail. The dorsal fin is high while the caudal fin is often twice as long as the body. The caudal fin may also have three or four lobes.

Ryukins come in deep-red, red-and-white, white, iron and calico coloration.

They are a fine fish that can reach up to 8 inches (21 centimeters) in length.


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The oranda goldfish has a compact body, but it has a fleshy growth on its head that makes it look like it is wearing a cap. The cap can grow to be quite large and is bumpy and soft.

The hood or headgrowth (also known as wen in Chinese) encases the whole head except for the eyes and mouth.

The red-cap oranda is one of the most popular colors for this type of fancy goldfish, having a bright red "cap" on a pure white fish. The rounder the red spot, the better: A red-headed fish is a symbol of good luck in Japan because it resembles a scared crane with a red spot on the head. Orndas come in several colors.

The spot on the head is usually a different color or darker than the body of the goldfish.

The headgrowth of young fry may take one to two years to develop. The oranda can reach 8 to 12 inches (20 to 31 centimeters) in length.

Orandas are available in a variety of colors, most often orange, red, red-and-white, red-and-black, black, blue, chocolate, bronze, white or silver, black-and-white (panda-colored), red-black-and-white (tricolor), and calico colors.

Celestial Eye Fancy Goldfish

Celestial Eye Goldfish

Celestial eye goldfish or Choten gan is a double-tailed breed of fancy goldfish that has a breed-defining pair of telescope eyes which are turned upwards, pupils gazing skyward. When the fry hatch, the eyes of young Celestials are normal but gradually protrude sideways, as in the Telescope eye goldfish, and then turn upwards within a period of six months. The celestial was bred so that it is always looking up. They were bred to gaze upon the emperor of China when he looked down at them.

Celestials first appeared as a direct mutation of the Telescope fancy goldfish in the 18th century. Competing traditions lay claim as to exactly where this happened first, Korea or China.

The first documentation that Celestials existed appears on a Chinese scroll of 1772, where a fancy goldfish lacking a dorsal fin and possessing protuberant upturned eyes is depicted. Celestials did not arrive in Japan until 1903 when thirty specimens arrived from China and became the foundation stock for Japanese breeders.

Japan quickly became the leading producer of Celestials for export. This remained so until the outbreak of World War II.

Celestials arrived in the United States from Japan in the first decade of the twentieth century and were included in the first edition of William T. Innes's GOLDFISH VARIETIES AND TROPICAL AQUARIUM FISHES in 1917. American fanciers successfully bred the fish and, in turn, exported foundation stock to Great Britain, where there is a small but devoted band of breeders propagating the fish to this day. After World War II, and ever since, the vast majority of Celestials exported from Asia are of Chinese origin. A Celestial goldfish is depicted on a postage stamp issued in 1960 by the People's Republic of China.


Golden and green tench are a commonly available pond fish. They are instantly identifiable by their extremely slimy skin, which is covered in a thick layer of protective mucus. They prefer quieter waters, with less flow than many other species. They do well in small garden ponds.

Tench are extremely adaptable to most backyard ponds conditions and grow quickly. Green tench can reach 18in in length. These excellent scavengers generally feed from the bottom of the small garden ponds and are often not seen for weeks at a time, while they pick up insects and other food deep down in the water.

Golden Rudd

Another popular coarse fish, the golden rudd, is silvery in color and has a metallic appearance. Its fins are usually orange and the skin has a slightly rough appearance. Golden rudd may grow to more than 15in long. Rudds are best kept in small shoals and will adapt to most backyard ponds. They scavenge at most levels in the water, as well as readily taking dried foods. In common with golden orfe, rudd prefers well-oxygenated water and frequently spawns in larger ponds.


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Pompoms or pompon or hana fusa are a type of fancy goldfish that have bundles of loose fleshy outgrowths between the nostrils, on each side of the head. The pompom has a similar body shape and finnage to the lionhead but instead of supporting a headgrowth it has nasal outgrowths.

The extent of the nasal outgrowths, which are enlargements of the nasal septum, vary in pompom goldfish. In some, the outgrowths hang down past the mouth. These skin outgrowths around the nostrils of pompoms are developed through selective breeding.

Pompoms may have either metallic or nacreous scalation, and can occur with or without a dorsal fin. It will be best if these fishes are engaged with the same variety or other dorsal fin less fishes.

The Chinese submit this variety as the "Velvet ball". There are records for the existence of this fancy goldfish being seen as far back as 1898. The first importation of these fish into the United Kingdom was in 1936 when the original fish were exported from Shanghai and others were displayed at an aquarium in Paris. It was quite popular in the early days of the fancy goldfish, but now is very rarely seen for sale. This Definition of the Pompom Fancy Goldfish comes From Wikipedia.

Grass Carp

Grass carp will eat algae, they will also break up and eat many pond plants. For this reason, Grass Carp are best kept in larger ponds with little plant growth. Grass Carp make good companions for Koi carp in unplanted ponds. As they can reach a maximum size of 36 in, grass carp are not suited to small, heavily planted garden ponds. Grass carp are extremely hardy and are good for pond algae control.

To Learn About the Grass Carp Click Here

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Choosing the right size and species of pond wildlife largely depends on the size of your water garden and the quality of the filter system. Some fish require well oxygenated water, and large swimming places, while others are at ease in small ponds with little water flow.

The addition of fish to your pond also helps to control the mosquitoes and they fertilize your plants. Remember, when fish stocking most fish prefer shade, and floating plants and stone ledges provide cool hiding places for fish.

Golden Orfe

Golden Orfe are extremely active and prefer well-oxygenated ponds with a good flow of water. Golden Orfe are relatively hardy but susceptible to lack of oxygen, especially in hot weather. Orfe are not recommended for small ponds. They do best with pond fountains or backyard waterfalls to provide good gaseous exchange. Although they are called golden orfe, these fish range in color from yellow through to deep orange. Orfe will grow quickly in well-filtered ponds and reach a size of 60 cm (24in) or more. They are a nervous fish, it is best not to keep with Koi.

Buying Fancy Goldfish

Finding good quality fancy goldfish for fish stocking can be an aggravation. Your success on buying goldfish will largely depend on the popularity of the hobby in your area.

The Koi Pond website sells Koi, we have a nice selection of Koi, Butterfly Koi and even goldfish. Click here to see our Koi Fish for Sale.

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"I enjoyed and appreciated this course. I realize now that my pond and my priorities are not what a Koi owner needs to be for them to thrive. I will instead opt for goldfish this spring in my new pond. It is not deep enough (3') for Koi to "thrive". This course made me think more responsibly about the fish I will choose and I am now excited and better informed to have a pond (900 gallons) that will contain healthy, "thriving" and compatible goldfish.

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Lion Head

koi fish picture

The lionhead has a development on its head that looks like a lions mane. It has twin tails but lacks dorsal fins.

The tremendous hood or headgrowth and fat cheeks of lionheads give them a facial appearance similar to canine puppies. The "wen" (Chinese term for headgrowth) fully covers the head, cheeks and gill plates of the fish.

Breeding standards require that the lionhead’s anal fins are paired, the double tail fin should not droop, and its upper edges should be held away from the body.

Lionheads can grow up to 6 inches (15 cm) in length, including finnage, and may have metallic, nacreous or matte scales. They come in a variety of coloration.

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