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

Shubunkin Goldfish: Size, Lifespan, Care & Tank Mates

Shubunkin Goldfish are highly popular and fascinating fish that have captivated aquarists worldwide. Their captivating colors, lively personalities, and low ease of care! However, despite their popularity, there is a considerable amount of misinformation circulating online regarding the care of this species. In this guide, we aim to dispel any misconceptions and provide a comprehensive overview of Shubunkin Goldfish care.

Drywash Aquarium will cover essential topics such as their size, lifespan, diet, tank requirements, breeding, and more. By the end of this guide, you will be well-equipped to provide optimal care for Shubunkin Goldfish and enjoy a rewarding ownership experience.

General introduction

Shubunkin Goldfish, also known as Calico or Speckled Goldfish, are highly admired additions to both indoor tanks and outdoor ponds due to their stunning appearance. Their vibrant coloration and gracefully flowing fins make them a captivating sight. These fish are the result of selective breeding, originating from the Prussian Carp.

Although the exact history remains somewhat unclear, it is believed that Shubunkins were first developed in Japan around 1900. Nowadays, Shubunkin Goldfish can be found in fish stores worldwide, offering enthusiasts the opportunity to introduce a splash of vibrant color to their aquariums.

General introduction Shubunkin Goldfish
General introduction Shubunkin Goldfish

Size of Shubunkin Goldfish

Shubunkins goldfish are a fascinating study in adaptability. Like their goldfish kin, their growth is influenced significantly by their environment. When swimming in the confines of a regular aquarium, they usually attain a respectable size of five to six inches.

But here’s where it gets interesting. Given the sprawling expanse of a pond, they can flourish, potentially reaching a size between 12 to 14 inches. And for those who might think that’s the limit, some Shubunkins have even stretched to an astonishing 18 inches!

Lifespan of Shubunkin Goldfish

Bearing proper care and the right habitat, the Shubunkin Goldfish, known for their shubunkin goldfish lifespan, can accompany you for a significant part of your life, typically living between 10 to 15 years.

And in the realm of well-tended ponds, these aquatic wonders can outlive even those expectations, with some reaching the venerable age of over two decades.

As with all aquatic beings, their well-being is intertwined with their environment. The right habitat and nutrition can mean the difference between a short-lived pet and a long-time aquatic companion.

Appearance of Shubunkin Goldfish

The Shubunkin Goldfish is a canvas of vibrant colors and unique shapes, making it a prized possession for many aquarists. But did you know they come in different variations?

  • London Shubunkin Goldfish: The London variety is the most widely recognized among the Shubunkin family. With its streamlined, slender body and shorter tail, it carries a timeless appeal. The fins of London Shubunkins are typically rounded, offering a soft elegance to their appearance.
  • American Shubunkin Goldfish: A tad dramatic, the American Shubunkin boasts a longer, deeply forked tail, reminiscent of the Comet Goldfish. This tail, along with certain historical beliefs, leads many to opine that it’s the variant closest in appearance to the original Japanese Shubunkin.
  • Bristol Shubunkin Goldfish: Unmistakable in its beauty, the Bristol Shubunkin features a tail that mirrors the form of the letter “B.” This distinct look, combined with its rarity, makes it a sought-after gem, often fetching a higher market price.
Appearance of Shubunkin Goldfish
Appearance of Shubunkin Goldfish

Beyond their individual variations, all Shubunkins share certain unique characteristics. A short yet wide head and a smoothly tapering body are hallmark traits. The dorsal fin, often upright and proud, adds to its distinctive silhouette.

But it’s their color that truly makes them stand out. A dazzling spectrum of yellow, red, orange, white, grey, and the coveted blue paints them in a stunning calico pattern.

This palette, sprinkled with heavy spots, ensures that no two Shubunkins are ever truly identical. Each one is a unique masterpiece, waiting to be admired.

Shubunkin Goldfish Care

Owning a Shubunkin Goldfish offers many enjoyable experiences. These fish are known for their resilience and adaptability, making their care relatively straightforward. They can thrive in conditions that may be challenging for other fish, making them an ideal choice for beginners.

However, it is still essential to be dedicated to providing optimal conditions and care for your Shubunkin Goldfish. To assist you in this endeavor, here are some important care guidelines that you should be aware of.

Tank Size

There is a lot of conflicting information regarding the ideal tank size for Shubunkin Goldfish. While these fish can adapt to smaller habitats, they thrive best in larger tanks.

Some aquarists suggest a minimum tank size of 15-20 gallons, and they are technically correct as it can sustain a single Shubunkin. However, it is recommended to provide a larger tank if possible, such as a 75-gallon tank. This larger size offers ample swimming space for the fish, which is crucial for their health and overall well-being.

Tank Setup

Always remember that a healthy tank size STARTS at 75 gallons (284 l). Shubunkins are swift and active swimmers, moving across all layers of water as they search for food.

If you wish to add more to their school, consider increasing the tank by an additional 10-15 gallons per fish. Due to their love for open spaces, many enthusiasts even prefer housing their Shubunkins in ponds. Just ensure it’s shielded to protect your vibrant companions from lurking predators.

Tank Setup Shubunkin Goldfish
Tank Setup Shubunkin Goldfish

Keeping the tank clean is crucial. Owing to their nature, Shubunkins produce a considerable amount of waste. Owing to their nature, Shubunkins produce a considerable amount of waste. To manage this, a reliable filter with biological media is paramount, irrespective of whether they are in an aquarium or a pond.

The filter’s outflow will typically offer the right amount of water movement, but if you feel it’s insufficient, supplementing with an air stone can enhance oxygen levels and promote circulation.

Water Parameters

Shubunkins prefer cooler, well-oxygenated waters with balanced pH levels. Although they can withstand temperatures just above freezing, for their optimal health, it’s best to maintain:

  • Water temperature: 65°F to 72°F
  • pH levels: 6.0 to 8.0
  • Water hardness: 5 to 19 dGH

Disease Potential

Despite their hearty constitution, Shubunkins goldfish can fall prey to various ailments. Ich, a contagious parasitic disease, is common among them, manifesting as white spots over their bodies.

In addition, they can be affected by skin flukes, fin rot, fungal infections, dropsy, and swim bladder disease. Regular check-ups and swift intervention can ensure their health remains uncompromised.

Food & Diet

Shubunkin Goldfish are not finicky eaters as they are omnivores and will consume a wide variety of food items.

A balanced diet consisting of high-quality dried foods, such as pellets and flakes, is recommended. You can choose your preferred brand of nutritious food for them.

In addition to dried foods, incorporating occasional live and frozen foods into their diet is beneficial. Treats like bloodworms, brine shrimp, Daphnia, and tubifex worms provide enrichment and contribute to their overall health.

It is important to note that Shubunkin Goldfish have large appetites, making it easy to overfeed them. Regardless of their eagerness to eat, it is advisable to offer only the amount of food they can consume within 2-4 minutes. While the specific quantity may vary depending on the size of the fish, following this general guideline helps prevent overfeeding (you can always make minor adjustments as needed).

Behavior & Temperament

Shubunkin Goldfish are sociable and thrive in the company of their own species. Their fondness for exploration is evident, as they’re regularly seen scouring every nook and cranny of their habitat.

Shubunkins goldfish have an innate knack for scavenging. They will zealously dig through substrate and hover around plants, picking off tiny food particles, algae, and detritus. Given their efficiency, some aquarists even decide against housing other bottom-feeders with Shubunkins to avoid competition for food.

Behavior & Temperament Of Shubunkin Goldfish
Behavior & Temperament Of Shubunkin Goldfish

Their agile maneuvers around obstacles, combined with sudden playful darts, make them stand out. Their active nature implies the need for spacious habitats where they can freely exhibit their natural swimming tendencies.

Personifying peace, Shubunkins seldom display any form of aggression. They gel well with fellow Shubunkins and other peaceful fish species. When in groups, they often exhibit schooling behavior, which can be a captivating sight.

Tank Mates

When selecting tank mates for Shubunkin Goldfish, it is important to avoid aggressive fish as Shubunkins have a peaceful temperament and cannot tolerate confrontations.

Similarly, slower fish species that require more time to eat may not be suitable tank mates for Shubunkins due to their active and energetic nature.

Finding compatible tank mates for Shubunkins can be challenging, primarily because they prefer cooler water temperatures. Therefore, it is necessary to choose species that can thrive in lower temperature conditions.

Tank Mates with Shubunkin Goldfish
Tank Mates with Shubunkin Goldfish

Here is a list of potential tank mates that are compatible with Shubunkin Goldfish:

  • Killifish
  • Cherry Barb
  • Most Tetras
  • Guppies
  • Chinese Blue Bitterling
  • Comet Goldfish
  • Northern Redbelly Dace
  • Fancy Goldfish
  • Koi
  • Amano Shrimp

Breeding

Shubunkins Goldfish are not demanding when it comes to breeding. In essence, if you replicate their natural, favorable conditions, they will breed spontaneously without much human intervention.

The breeding trigger for many goldfish species, including Shubunkins, is a change in water temperature. Initially, lower the water temperature to approximately 60°F.

Gradually increase it by 2-3°F daily until you hit around 72°F. This simulation of warming waters will signal the Shubunkins that it’s time to breed.

As breeding commences, males often chase females in a non-aggressive manner. This pursuit, coupled with intensifying and darkening of their colors, indicates impending spawning.

Shubunkin Goldfish breeding
Shubunkin Goldfish breeding

When the time comes, males gently nudge females against plants, prompting them to release eggs. Males immediately fertilize these eggs. A single spawning episode can yield an impressive 10,000 eggs!

After approximately a week, the eggs will hatch, introducing a new batch of fry. Initially, feed them minute food particles.

As they grow, introduce larger food items and having protein. Once they attain a size of about one inch, you can safely introduce them to the adult tank.

Should You Get a Shubunkin Goldfish for Your Aquarium?

Shubunkin goldfish are highly suitable for both novice and experienced aquarists, making them an excellent choice for any skill level. They can easily integrate into various community tanks and are also well-suited for outdoor ponds. Keeping these fish will provide an energetic and active addition to your aquatic environment.

Shubunkin Goldfish for Your Aquarium
Shubunkin Goldfish for Your Aquarium

Regardless of your expertise, there are numerous benefits to be gained from these vibrant and resilient fish. The primary consideration is maintaining stable water conditions, but otherwise, there are few concerns associated with their care.

Shubunkin Goldfish contribute significantly to the visual appeal of your tank and can serve as an alternative to koi when placed in spacious tanks or ponds. If you have a sufficiently large tank or pond, Shubunkin goldfish could be an ideal choice for you.

At DryWash Aquarium, we’re dedicated to helping you provide the best for your aquatic pets. Dive into our other blogs to explore more tips, tricks, and insights to elevate your aquarium experience. Happy fishkeeping!

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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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