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

Fantail Goldfish: Size, Lifespan, Care & Tank Mates

Fantail Goldfish are highly sought after freshwater fish for their beautiful appearance, making them an ideal choice for both novice and experienced aquarists. With their graceful, graceful fins, they are truly a sight to behold.

Although Fantail goldfish are generally low-maintenance, there are some aspects of their care that can be a bit complicated. In this article, Drywash Aquarium guides as well as provides you with all the necessary information on how to care for Fantail goldfish, including suitable tank mates, suitable tank size, average lifespan, requirements about diet,…

General Introduction

Renowned for their graceful fins and majestic appearance, the Fantail goldfish holds a prominent position among the most popular species in the pet trade. Particularly suitable for beginners, these fish are known for their resilience and can thrive under the right conditions.

Unlike their wild counterparts, Fantail goldfish are not found in natural habitats. They represent one of the simplest forms of fancy goldfish, resulting from selective breeding techniques that have been refined over hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Although they share a common lineage with carp, Fantail Goldfish possess their own distinctive characteristics.

Widely available in pet stores worldwide, these fish can enhance the beauty of your aquarium. However, it is important to provide them with well-maintained environments to ensure their optimal well-being and flourishing.

Origin of Fantail Goldfish

Let’s delve into the historical origins of goldfish and explore their fascinating journey through time. Goldfish, belonging to the carp family, have long held a prominent position as one of the most coveted aquarium fish. They trace their lineage back to the Carassius gibelio species, which also includes the wild Prussian carp.

Origin of Fantail Goldfish
Origin of Fantail Goldfish

Although native to East Asia, goldfish have achieved global distribution and are now commonly found in Western countries. Their transformation from wild ancestors to the domesticated goldfish we know today is the result of centuries of selective breeding, which initially took place in Ancient China around 1,000 years ago. From China, they gradually spread to Japan, Europe, and later to America.

Talented Asian breeders painstakingly refined and bred the fancy goldfish varieties we admire today, accentuating their mesmerizing colors and exquisite forms. Among these goldfish variations, the fantail goldfish (Carassius auratus auratus) shares the same historical background. While their origins can be traced back to China and Japan, fantail goldfish can now be found in nearly every corner of the world!

Size of Fantail Goldfish

Fantail goldfish typically have an average size ranging from 6 to 8 inches in length, measured from the nose to the tip of the tail fin. It’s worth noting that a significant portion of this measurement is attributed to their expansive fins. In contrast, the bodies of Fantail goldfish are usually smaller and can easily fit in the palm of your hand.

Size of Fantail Goldfish
Size of Fantail Goldfish

When purchasing a Fantail Goldfish, it is advisable to choose a reputable seller who practices ethical and responsible breeding. Doing so increases the likelihood of your fish growing towards the larger end of the aforementioned size range.

Lifespan of Fantail Goldfish

The average lifespan of a Fantail Goldfish generally falls within the range of five to ten years. However, if you aspire for your Fantail goldfish to reach the higher end of this spectrum, it is crucial to provide them with excellent care and maintenance.

Appearance of Fantail Goldfish

Fantail goldfish possess several distinctive physical traits that contribute to their popularity among enthusiasts. The first notable feature is their egg-shaped body, which sets them apart from the streamlined, torpedo-shaped bodies of standard goldfish.

With a bulbous appearance, their body shape limits space for internal organs, making them susceptible to certain diseases (which will be discussed later).

Another defining characteristic is their double tail fins. Unlike the simple forked shape of other goldfish, the caudal fin of Fantail goldfish splits into four lobes, resembling a triangular shape when viewed from above and a flowing fan when observed from the sides.

Appearance of Fantail Goldfish
Appearance of Fantail Goldfish

In addition to the double anal fin, Fantail goldfish possess a singular dorsal fin that is tall and arched, extending down to the base of the tail.

Their scales can exhibit a metallic or nacreous appearance, and Fantail goldfish come in a wide array of colors. While orange, yellow, and red are the most common, you can also find variations in pure white, black, metallic blue, and calico patterns.

Fantail Goldfish Care

Caring for Fantail goldfish is generally straightforward, making them suitable for beginners and providing an enjoyable experience for fish enthusiasts. However, it’s important to note that they have specific care requirements that need to be understood and met. Unlike tropical fish, Fantail goldfish cannot thrive in typical warm water conditions. They require cooler environments that prioritize their well-being.

To ensure the happiness and health of your Fantail goldfish, here is some valuable information to guide you.

Fantail Goldfish Care
Fantail Goldfish Care

Tank Size

Starting with the basics, the size of the aquarium plays a pivotal role in the comfort and health of the Fantail Goldfish. Though they grow to a decent size, their swimming prowess is moderate, so they don’t demand vast spaces.

A tank size of 10 to 20 gallons per fish is advisable. However, if circumstances permit, upgrading to 30 gallons per fish can offer them an even more luxurious environment.

Tank setup

Once you’ve decided on the tank size, the next step is to create an environment reminiscent of nature. Ensure that the water remains relatively cool and that there’s ample surface area for sufficient oxygenation. Aim to replicate the ambiance of placid rivers or tranquil mountain streams.

It’s crucial to have a robust filtration system to keep the water clean, reducing fish waste and contaminants. While considering the aesthetics of your aquarium, ensure it’s not too congested.

Installing appropriate aquarium lighting will let you admire your Fantail Goldfish, especially during darker hours. And remember, even though Fantail Goldfish aren’t known jumpers, it’s always a good practice to have a tank cover to prevent any unexpected leaps and to limit water evaporation.

Tank setup
Tank setup

Water Parameters

As a result of being a “designer” fish, Fantail goldfish do not naturally occur in the wild. Therefore, there is no specific baseline for tank conditions derived from their natural habitat, unlike many popular tropical fish species.

However, we can draw inspiration from the goldfish’s closest relatives, such as the crucian and Prussian carp, which provide valuable insights. These fish inhabit slow-moving lakes and rivers, often found in higher altitude regions like mountain rivers and tributaries. Consequently, their natural waters tend to be cooler and have a more neutral pH balance.

To maintain suitable tank conditions for Fantail goldfish, it is recommended to consider the following parameters:

  • Water temperature: 65°F to 80°F (around 73 to 74 degrees is ideal
  • pH levels: 6.0 to 8.0 (aim for neutrality)
  • Water hardness: 4 to 20 dKH

To monitor and maintain these parameters consistently, it is advisable to utilize an aquarium test kit. This tool allows you to regularly assess the water conditions and take necessary measures to prevent any harmful fluctuations that may affect the well-being of your Fantail goldfish.

Disease Potential

Like all aquatic creatures, Fantail Goldfish are susceptible to various health issues. Watch out for common problems like ich, bacterial infections, and fungal issues.

One disease that Fantails are particularly prone to is swim bladder disease, often caused by constipation due to their unique anatomy. This ailment affects buoyancy, causing the fish to float upside down or swim erratically.

Regular monitoring and quick action can mitigate many of these issues. Over-the-counter treatments are available for most diseases, but preventative measures, especially regarding diet, are always preferable.

Another ailment to be cautious about is fin rot, which can damage their beautiful double fins. Early detection and treatment with antibiotics can often address this issue.

Disease Potential
Disease Potential

Food & Diet

Fantail Goldfish aren’t overly fussy about food, as they are omnivorous by nature. Yet, due to their predisposition to digestive problems, care in feeding is essential.

Choose high-quality foods that are easily digestible. While dry flakes or pellets are options, live or frozen foods like brine shrimp, daphnia, and bloodworms are more nutritionally dense. When thinking of plant-based treats, fiber-rich foods like lettuce, blanched peas, and zucchini are excellent choices.

Behavior & Temperament

Aggression is not a concern when it comes to Fantail Goldfish. These fish are naturally peaceful and calm in temperament.

Throughout the day, Fantail Goldfish will swim around the aquarium, engaging in their own activities. They may gracefully navigate through aquatic plants, forage for food in the substrate, or interact with other fish in the tank.

Fantail goldfish tend to be sociable creatures. While they do not typically form shoals, you may observe them grouping together and exploring the aquarium in a coordinated manner.

Behavior & Temperament
Behavior & Temperament

Tank Mates

Selecting suitable tank mates for Fantail goldfish can be a challenging task. While Fantails themselves are not aggressive, their slower swimming abilities make them vulnerable to bullying and fin nipping. To minimize stress for your Fantail, it is advisable to choose calm and peaceful tank mates.

Avoid introducing aggressive or semi-aggressive fish into the same tank, as well as fast swimmers or species known for fin nipping, which can cause damage to the Fantail’s beautiful flowing fins.

Tank Mates
Tank Mates

Here is a list of compatible tank mates that can coexist harmoniously with Fantail goldfish:

  • Ryukin Goldfish
  • Celestial Eye Goldfish
  • Bubble Eye Goldfish
  • Cory Catfish
  • Rosy Barbs
  • Zebra Danios
  • White Cloud Mountain Minnows
  • Angelfish
  • Molly Fish
  • Dwarf Gouramis
  • Kuhli Loaches
  • Neon Tetras
  • Otocinclus
  • Cherry Shrimp
  • Amano Shrimp
  • Ghost Shrimp


If the conditions are ideal, Fantail goldfish can successfully breed in captivity. To facilitate breeding, it is important to maintain a clean environment and consider using a specialized breeding tank.

To simulate the onset of spring, which triggers spawning in many species, gradually raise the water temperature. Increase it by 3°F per day, ensuring it does not exceed 75°F.

When the fish are ready to mate, the male will begin circling the female. If the female is receptive to the courtship, she will spawn with him.

This can result in the production of up to 10,000 eggs, which will be scattered on various surfaces within the tank. Since the parents may consume the eggs, it is recommended to transfer them to a separate tank.

After a few days, the eggs will hatch, giving rise to numerous tiny fry. It is important to provide them with small-sized foods that can fit in their mouths. Infusoria, which is rich in protein, is a suitable choice as it supports their growth. Combining crushed dried foods with fresh foods is an effective approach to promote their development.

Should You Get a Fantail Goldfish for Your Aquarium?

Unlike most freshwater aquariums, Fantail goldfish require a cold-water setup. This specific requirement significantly limits the choice of potential tank mates.

However, if you desire a community tank, there are still numerous fish species available for selection.

Fantail goldfish can be suitable for beginners as long as proper research is conducted and the aquarium is appropriately designed. Once set up correctly, your main responsibility will be maintaining cleanliness.

These fish possess captivating beauty and can serve as a wonderful transition from more commonly kept species.

If Fantail Goldfish do not match your preferences, there are other fancy goldfish varieties to consider, such as the popular black moor goldfish.

Should i buy a Fantail Goldfish
Should i buy a Fantail Goldfish


Fantail goldfish care can be managed by anyone as long as they are familiar with the fish’s basic needs and maintain consistency. With proper care, these fish can thrive!

Please let Drywash Aquarium know if you have any additional questions or if there is anything else you would like to learn about Fantail Goldfish. We are here to help you!

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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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