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HomeFreshwater FishButterfly Goldfish: Size, Lifespan, Care & Tank Mates

Butterfly Goldfish: Size, Lifespan, Care & Tank Mates

Have you ever found yourself captivated by the mesmerizing beauty of aquatic life, wondering which species could add charm and vibrancy to your tank? Considering the enchanting telescope Butterfly Goldfish but unsure about their care, compatibility, or cost?

Dive into our comprehensive guide and discover everything you need to know about Butterfly Goldfish. Let the allure of the Butterfly Goldfish sweep you into a world of elegant fins, rich colors, and serene tank dynamics.

General introduction of Butterfly Goldfish

The Butterfly Goldfish originated in China and was introduced to Japan in the early 1980s, where the species underwent further development to enhance its patterns and colors. This particular type of goldfish is a variation of the popular telescope goldfish, known for its protruding round eyes. What sets the butterfly goldfish apart from other fancy goldfish is its distinct butterfly-shaped tail, which fans out to resemble a butterfly when viewed from above.

Butterfly Goldfish General
Butterfly Goldfish General

While many of the expensive varieties are imported from Asia, they are subsequently bred by US breeders and made available to the general public. These goldfish possess captivating bodies that easily captivate goldfish judges, and numerous varieties have received accolades at goldfish shows.

Compared to other fancy goldfish, they require slightly more attention to maintain and are prone to swim bladder issues. Nevertheless, they make excellent pets for individuals who can provide suitable housing and nutrition for them.

Appearance & Varieties

This fish flaunts an egg-shaped form and possesses a compact, short body. The head’s breadth is noticeably wider than the rest of the body, bestowing upon it a unique and charming silhouette. When given the right care, especially in spacious waters, they can attain a size ranging from 6 to 8 inches.

A Butterfly Goldfish generally enjoys a life span of 8 to 10 years. However, with meticulous care, butterfly goldfish to live up to 12 years.

The crowning glory of the Butterfly Goldfish is undoubtedly its tail, which resembles the gentle, spread wings of a butterfly. Goldfish butterfly tail designs are particularly captivating. Perfectly proportioned to its body, neither too petite nor too grand, this tail enhances the fish’s overall elegance. Moreover, the body boasts an impressive depth with the tail set horizontally.

Appearance & Varieties
Appearance & Varieties

It’s easy to be enamored by the dorsal fins, which stand tall and reminiscent of the hump found on the Ryukin Goldfish. Additionally, their body shape mirrors the Ryukin’s, suggesting a blend with the Telescope Goldfish lineage in its creation.

Butterfly Goldfish offer a delightful palette of colors and patterns, including vivid reds, pristine whites, playful pandas, and striking combinations of orange and black. Among them, the butterfly fancy goldfish variants are particularly stunning.

How to Take Care of Butterfly Goldfish

Butterfly Goldfish are a true delight to observe, and with the right care, they will flourish and show off their graceful beauty.

Tank size

Butterfly Goldfish are not suited for bowls or vases. Instead, they require ample space to move around. Initially, a standard rectangular tank of at least 20 gallons is suitable. However, it’s important to understand that tall tanks can be problematic.

If the tank has more height than length, the Butterfly Goldfish may struggle to get the oxygen they need from the surface, given their preference to stay closer to the bottom. As they grow, adults fare best in larger spaces like kiddie pools turned goldfish homes, ponds, or basins. For fully-grown Butterfly Goldfish, a tank of at least 40 gallons is recommended.

Tank setup
Tank setup

Water Parameters

While Butterfly Goldfish can adapt to various temperatures, they thrive best in warmer waters. Aim to maintain a temperature range of 62°F to 77°F (17°C to 25°C). Additionally, a pH level between 6.0 to 8.0 ensures their well-being.


All goldfish, including the Butterfly Goldfish variety, enjoy rummaging through a substrate. Fine gravel or aquarium sand not only caters to their foraging tendencies but also prevents potential choking hazards. The substrate pieces should be small enough to fit in their mouths and be expelled easily.


It is recommended to include live plants in the aquarium of butterfly goldfish. These plants serve as a beneficial source of fibrous snacks, aiding in digestion. Additionally, the presence of live plants offers hiding spots for the goldfish, contributing to their overall comfort in their environment.



Bright white LED lights might not be the Butterfly Goldfish’s best friend. They are more inclined towards warm-toned lights, with hues of orange, blue, or green. If you can, opt for lights with a timer that can simulate a dusk-to-dawn setting.


Butterfly Goldfish are not the tidiest swimmers around. Due to their tendency to produce significant waste, a robust filtration system is non-negotiable. This will help manage the increased bioload of the tank. Complementing the filter, an aeration system will ensure the water remains oxygen-rich. Regular water changes should be an integral part of their care routine.

Behavior & Temperament

These fish are not ones to just sit around. Their active personalities are evident as they explore every nook and cranny of their tank. The way they swim, with purpose and elegance, adds dynamism to the environment they inhabit.

Butterfly Tail Goldfish are quintessentially social beings. They revel in the company of other fish, making them great additions to community tanks. With them around, your aquarium is not just filled with water and plants but with interactions, friendships, and a lively fish society.

Behavior & Temperament of Butterfly Goldfish
Behavior & Temperament of Butterfly Goldfish

Their inquisitive nature is hard to miss. If there’s something new in their vicinity, be it a new tank decoration or even their caretaker standing outside the tank, these goldfish are quick to investigate. It’s a delightful manifestation of their friendly disposition and their keen interest in the world outside their watery domain.

Tank Mates

When selecting tankmates for Butterfly Tail Goldfish, it is crucial to consider their size and behavior. Butterfly Tail Goldfish are generally peaceful and thrive when kept with other temperate species. Below is a list of suitable tankmates for Butterfly Tail Goldfish:

  • Other varieties of Goldfish, such as Comet Goldfish or Shubunkin Goldfish.
  • Plecostomus or other catfish that feed on algae.
  • Peaceful bottom-dwelling species like Corydoras.
  • Small schooling fish like Tetras, Danios, and other non-aggressive species.
Tank Mates
Tank Mates

It is important to avoid housing Butterfly Tail Goldfish with aggressive or territorial species, like Cichlids, as this can result in stress and conflicts.


Breeding Butterfly Tail Goldfish can be a fulfilling endeavor for experienced fishkeepers. These fish reproduce by laying eggs and can be bred in either a dedicated breeding tank or a densely planted community tank. To ensure successful breeding, it is important to maintain optimal water conditions, provide proper nutrition, and create a suitable environment.

The water temperature in the breeding tank should be maintained between 60°F and 72°F, with a pH level ranging from 7.0 to 7.5, and a hardness level between 10 and 20 dGH. These specific conditions are conducive to breeding and support the development of eggs and fry.


To promote breeding and maintain the overall health of the adult and fry fish, it is crucial to offer a varied diet. This can include high-quality commercial goldfish pellets, live or frozen foods, and fresh vegetables.

When setting up the breeding environment, it is beneficial to provide ample hiding spots such as caves, PVC pipes, or clay pots. These hiding places help reduce stress and encourage breeding behaviors. Additionally, incorporating live plants into the breeding tank serves multiple purposes. They provide oxygen for the eggs and fry and offer secure hiding places for the adult fish.

How Much Do Butterfly Goldfish Cost?

Unlike the more commonly found goldfish, Butterfly Goldfish are not mass-produced for general pet stores. Their unique appearance and specific breeding requirements make them more exclusive. You’ll often find the best specimens through dedicated goldfish breeders.

Depending on the intricacy of the patterns and the vividness of the colorations, prices can vary. Regular patterns and hues for Butterfly Goldfish typically range from $20 to $80.

If you’re procuring a Butterfly Goldfish from a distant breeder or supplier, you need to factor in shipping charges. These can range from $25 to $60, depending on the distance and mode of shipment.

Are Butterfly Goldfish Suitable for Your Aquarium?

If you are willing to maintain a large tank equipped with a filter and an aeration system, butterfly goldfish make an excellent choice for stocking. They bring vibrant colors and add personality to both household tanks and ponds, providing a captivating view from various angles.

Butterfly goldfish can be introduced to established tanks that already house fancy goldfish. They are compatible with many goldfish species and enjoy the company of their counterparts.

Butterfly Goldfish Suitable for Your Aquarium
Butterfly Goldfish Suitable for Your Aquarium


In wrapping up, the Butterfly Goldfish stands out as a captivating blend of elegance and vibrancy in the world of aquatic pets. Their unique charm and beauty, coupled with their sociable nature, make them a prized addition to any aquarium or pond. With the right care and environment, these finned wonders will flourish, bringing joy and tranquility to your space.

At DryWash Aquarium, our passion is helping fish enthusiasts like you thrive in the hobby. Dive deeper into our collection of blogs to discover more insights and expert tips on a variety of aquatic species. We’re here to guide you every splash of the way!

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Mark Senske
Mark Senske
Mark Senske is a highly regarded expert in freshwater and marine aquascaping, specializing in creating captivating and visually striking aquariums. With his extensive knowledge and experience, he excels in designing and maintaining beautiful aquatic environments that showcase the natural beauty of fish and plants.


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