Fantail Goldfish Care Guide: All You Need To Know!




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You’ve just got a beautiful little Fantail goldfish from the pet store, and you are so excited to have it in your tank. I had my first Fantail goldfish when I was a kid, and I completely understand how you feel right now!

From my experience, I can tell you that goldfish are extraordinary pets and peaceful fish that don’t need much care. However, you still need to know some things to keep your little fishy happy and healthy.

In this guide, I will share all the secrets of Fantail goldfish from my experience. I will tell you everything about their diet, tank mates, breeding, and more!

Fantail Goldfish-Summary

Fantail Goldfish Info
Scientific NameCarassius Auratus
OriginJapan and China (Asia)
ActivityModerately Active
Care LevelEasy
Lifespan10 to 15 Years
Tank LevelMedium
Minimum Tank Size20 Gallons
Temperature Range65°F to 75°F
KH (Water Hardness)4-20
pH Range6.5 to 7.5
Filtration/Water FlowModerate
Water TypeFreshwater
Difficulty to BreedModerate
OK, for Planted Tanks?With Caution

Origin & Habitat of Fantail Goldfish

Would you like to take a journey through history and learn about the origins of the goldfish? The goldfish is a member of the carp family and has lived in captivity for centuries. They are direct descendants of Carassius gibelio, including wild Prussian carp.

Although they originate from East Asia, now, they live all over the world. They are prevalent in western countries such as Japan, Europe, and America.

Fantails don’t dwell freely in the wild like their ancestors since they are a carefully bred group. However, they prefer an environment similar to that of their carp species. These fish love residing in cold, slow-moving ponds, lakes, and rivers full of live plants for them to eat.

Goldfish Fantail Appearance

At first sight, you might think that Fantail goldfish look like any other type of goldfish. However, at a second glance, you will see they have a distinct appearance.
Fantails have an egg-shaped body with two anal fins and caudal fins, each cutting lengthwise in half. When they swim, their split tail fins flutter like a fan! This gives them a fantastic appearance!
In addition, they come in a vast array of colors, including but not limited to orange, red, yellow, and black.
Further, they can have either nacreous or metallic scales on their body with eyes that are either normal or telescopic.

Fantail Goldfish Behavior

The Fantail goldfish is a very peaceful species, like a Buddhist monk! They move with such elegance and skill that they provide a sense of calm to your aquarium.

These species are active throughout the day and don’t like sitting in just one spot for an extended period. They enjoy swimming from place to place, playing games, and having fun overall!

Additionally, they are social creatures that enjoy interacting with each other, swimming in groups, and exploring their environment. If they are alone, they will become sad and sluggish, just like humans.

Fantail Goldfish Size

The Fantail goldfish can reach a maximum size of 6 to 8 inches. However, adult goldfish can grow up to 12 inches in exceptional circumstances.

Fantail Goldfish Lifespan

Under proper care and conditions, Fantail goldfish can live in captivity for 10 to 15 years. However, with even better care, you could potentially extend their lifespan to 20 years or more!

Fantail Gold Fish Tank Requirements

Water Requirements

Water Quality

Even though Fantail goldfish are robust fish, they are still quite sensitive to water quality. So, you need to be extra careful about the water you put in their tank. Standard filters help ensure no debris gets into the tank. 

To ensure your fish live in a healthy environment, you should do a water change of at least 25% once a week. This will help remove any toxins built up over time from the fish waste.

If you’re looking for an easier way to change the water, you may consider using a python cleaner.

Water Temperature

Like any other fish species, Fantail goldfish are cold-blooded creatures. This means they cannot regulate their body temperature and ultimately depend on the water around them.

Ideally, you should maintain the water temperature between 65°F and 72°F. Your fancy goldfish will start to experience stress any higher or lower than this.

If you live in an area with a cold climate, you can use an aquarium heater to ensure the water stays at a consistent temperature.

pH Level

Regarding the pH level, these goldfish species can be quite picky. They prefer slightly acidic water with a pH level between 6.5 to 7.5.

To ensure the water is at the ideal pH level, you can use a pH testing kit to test it regularly. If the pH level is too high or low, you can use a water conditioner to fix it.

Water Hardness

Water hardness is another water parameter that you need to pay attention to. Fantail goldfish prefer water on the softer side with a hardness level between 4 and 20 dKH.

Water Salinity

Ideally, you should avoid adding salt to the tank as it can harm your fish. However, if you must use it, this fancy goldfish variety can handle some saltiness if it isn’t more than 10% and has a gravity of 1.002 or lower.

Ammonia, Nitrite & Nitrate Levels

The levels of toxins such as ammonia and nitrite build up over time as your fish expel waste and uneaten food decays. If they get too high, it can be lethal to your fish.

Generally, you should keep the ammonia and nitrite levels at 0 ppm. The nitrate level should be below 40 ppm.

You can use an API Freshwater Master Test Kit to test the water for these toxins. In my opinion, this is the best water testing kit on the market as it’s accurate and easy to use.

Tank Setup

Tank Size

Although Fantail goldfish aren’t active swimmers, they do grow quite large. So, you need to provide them with plenty of space to swim around and explore.

Ideally, you should get a tank that’s at least 20 gallons for a single fish. However, I recommend using a 30-gallon tank if you are a beginner.

For every additional fish, you should add 10 gallons of extra space. For example, if you want to keep three Fantail goldfish, you should get a tank that’s at least 50 gallons.

Tank Maintenance

These goldfish species produce waste like you are keeping a small elephant in your tank! Therefore, you should do regular maintenance to keep the water clean and your fish healthy.

You should clean your tank at least once every two weeks. When cleaning, make sure to get rid of any remaining food and debris. Also, you should clean any extra algae off the glass.

To do a more thorough cleaning, you can vacuum the gravel and wipe down the inside of the tank.


Fantail goldfish need an excellent and efficient filtration system to thrive. Otherwise, you’ll be doing water changes too frequently, making aquarium upkeep seem like a chore!

For my aquarium, I use a HOB filter. However, other great options for these goldfish include canister, sponge, and sump/wet-dry filters.


By choosing the right decorations, you can make your fish tank look and feel like they have a miniature version of a lake, river, or mountain stream in its home.

For this purpose, you may use smooth aquarium driftwood, plastic decorations, and pebbles. Double-check that these decorations have no sharp edges that could injure your fish.


Aquarium substrate might seem like a minor detail. Still, it actually plays a significant role in recreating a natural environment for your fish.

For Fantail goldfish, I prefer a fine sandy substrate on the bottom that allows them to forage in their natural environment.

However, avoid using sharp stones or gravel since these guys may get scratches, blood, and bacterial infections.


Aside from adding aesthetic value to your tank, live plants also help regulate water quality and provide hiding spots for your fish.

These guys tend to dig, which might result in them uprooting live plants. Therefore, you have to be strategic about where you place the plants and what types to get.

In addition, column-feeding plants can be a great choice since you can place them on driftwood and aquarium rocks, which prevents the plant from uprooting issues.

Some suitable plants for Fantail goldfish include:

  • Java fern
  • Anubias
  • Java Moss
  • Amazon Sword
  • Crypts
  • Duckweed
  • Frogbit
  • Water Lettuce
  • Water hyacinth

Tank Lid

A tank lid is critical for slow evaporation and safety. Although Fantail goldfish aren’t particularly athletic, a tank lid provides peace of mind.

Not to mention, a lid also helps regulate the temperature in the tank and prevents debris from falling in.

Fantail Goldfish Compatibility

fantail goldfish

These goldfish buddies are peaceful creatures and seldom show any aggressive behavior. Therefore, it’s crucial that you carefully select their tank mates.

Unfriendly tank mates will bully them hard and prevent your fish from eating, which can lead to health problems down the road.

The table below shows a list of Fantail goldfish-friendly and unfriendly fish species:

Good Tank MatesBad Tank Mates
Rosy BarbsTiger Barbs
Zebra DaniosRed Tail Catfish
Giant DaniosCichlids
Dojo LoachArowana Fish
PlatysBetta Fish
Hog Nose Catfish
Mystery Snails
Amano Shrimp
Cherry Shrimp
Ghost Shrimp
Bubble Eyes or Telescope Eyes Goldfish
Ranchu Goldfish
Pearlscale Goldfish
Lionhead Goldfish
Hog Nose Catfish (Corydoras multiradiatus)
White Cloud Minnows
Black Moor Goldfish
Oranda Goldfish
Celestial Eye Goldfish

Fantail Goldfish Diet

Fantail goldfish are omnivorous, so their diet consists of plants and meat. These fish would eat small insects, crustaceans, and algae in the wild.

To recreate their natural diet, you should give them high-quality goldfish food that contains all the nutrients they need to stay healthy. Some suitable Fantail goldfish food options include:

  • Flake food and pellets
  • Frozen bloodworms
  • Daphnia
  • Brine shrimp
  • Lettuce
  • Zucchini
  • Blanched peas

To maintain a healthy diet, you should feed your Fantails 2-3 times per day with an amount that they can finish in one or two minutes.

Why Should I Limit Giving My Fantails’ Live Food?

Live foods are a favorite of Fantails, but you should proceed cautiously. Live foods can contain parasites and germs that could harm your fish if you’re not careful. They can also turn into lots of waste, especially leftovers.

If you don’t have the time or resources to set up a brine shrimp hatchery, I recommend using frozen food instead.

In addition, never collect live food from nature as this introduces potential toxins, bacteria, and parasites into your aquarium habitat.

Fantail Goldfish Gender Differences

There is no way to tell the difference between a male and female Fantail when they are young. You should wait until your Fantail is around 1 year old before attempting to sex them.

For males, white prickles called breeding tubercles would appear on their bodies. Females become noticeably fat as they store thousands of eggs internally. 

In terms of size, adult male Fantail goldfish usually reach a smaller overall length than females.

Another way to tell the gender is to check its vent, which is located just under the anal fins.

During breeding, female Fantail goldfish will have a round and projecting anal opening, whereas males’ vents will appear longer, ovular and concave.

Fantail Goldfish Breeding

Breeding Fantail goldfish is a piece of cake. These fish are egg layers that can produce more than a thousand eggs at once!

For successful breeding, you should prepare to create the ideal environment for your Fantails. These steps include:

  • Set up a separate breeding tank
  • Add fine-leaf plants or spawning mops at the bottom of the tank
  • Introduce a healthy pair to the tank
  • To encourage spawning, gradually lower the temperature to 60°F and then increase it by 3 degrees each day until it becomes between 68° to 74°F.

After the ideal conditions are met, the female Fantail will start to lay eggs which the male will then fertilize.

When they finish, you should remove the parents since they might eat their own eggs when hungry! Isn’t it a bit gloomy? That’s just how things are in nature!

Within 5 to 6 days, the eggs will hatch into fry. For the first few days after they hatch, baby fish will eat their egg sacs before swimming around.

Once your fish are free-swimming, you can start feeding them powdery fish food, infusoria, or soft brine shrimp.

Fantail Goldfish Health & Diseases

Healthy Fantail Goldfish Indications

You should know the difference between a healthy and an unhealthy Fantail goldfish. After all, you don’t want your fish to get sick!

Here are some signs that indicate that your Fantail is healthy:

  • Clear eyes
  • Bright colors
  • Smooth and shiny scales
  • Active and agile swimmer
  • Eats regularly
  • The fins will be sticking straight up

Sick Fantail Goldfish Symptoms

To the untrained eye, it might be hard to tell if a Fantail goldfish is sick. However, there are some common symptoms that you can look out for:

  • Cloudy eyes
  • Faded colors
  • White spots on the body or fins (ich)
  • Hanging around the bottom of the tank
  • Loss of appetite
  • Floating
  • Lethargy
  • Rotting fins

Common Fantail Goldfish Diseases

Here are some of the most common diseases that Fantail goldfish suffer from:

Protozoan Diseases

Ich (or White Spot) is the most prevalent parasitic illness affecting goldfish. This is caused by a water-borne parasite known as Ichthyophthirius multifiliis.

Two other parasites that usually infect fish are Chilodonella and Costia, which both cause appearance changes such as cloudy dots on your fish’s body.


Sometimes aquariums get external parasites called flukes. They usually come in with live food, new fish, or hidden in plants. These living organisms can attach to the fish’s body or gills, and you can even see them with your bare eyes!


Fungus is a widespread disease linked to low water quality and filthy tanks. If your Fantails have white, cottony areas on their heads, gills, or around their mouth, they’ve probably got fungus.

Bacterial Infections

Although bacteria in your fish tank is normal, these organisms can start to affect your fish if the water conditions are not good or the fish are already sick.

Bacterial infections symptoms are:

  • Ulcers
  • Red patches
  • Sores on a fish’s skin, gills, or fins

Swim Bladder Disease

Usually, egg-shaped goldfish can struggle with swim bladder issues. The swim bladder is the organ that keeps the fish moving forward on an even plane.

A fish with a swim bladder disorder will float to the surface, descend to the bottom, or swim vertically and appear unable to stand up.

How To Acclimate My New Fantail Goldfish to Their New Home?

This is the moment you’ve been waiting for! Now, here we are. Are the fish ready to plunge into their new habitat? Don’t be impatient and throw them into the tank just yet!

You still need to do a slow and steady acclimation to ensure that your Fantail goldfish don’t get sick or die from sudden changes in water parameters.

Follow these steps, and your Fantail will be swimming around their new home in no time:

  1. Start by turning off all the lights in the room so your fish can get used to the dark
  2. Next, take your Fantail goldfish out of their bag and float it in the tank for 15 minutes. This will help them get used to the temperature of the water
  3. After 15 minutes, add 1 cup of water from the tank to the bag. Repeat this step every 5 minutes for a total of 30 minutes
  4. Now, it’s time to release your fantail goldfish into its new home! Gently scoop them out of the bag and let them swim around their new tank
  5. Leave them in quarantine for a straight three weeks and observe
  6. After three weeks, your Fantail goldfish should be acclimated to its new home, and you can move it into the main tank

What Is the Price of a Fantail Goldfish?

Fantails are not very expensive, but their cost varies depending on where you buy them and the sort of coloration or pattern they have.

Usually, a Fantail goldfish costs between $5 and $40, depending on its breeding quality. A group of three should never cost more than $60, so they are a relatively affordable addition to your tank.

Professional breeders sell for higher prices due to their excellent genetic background and sometimes unique hues.


What Are the Different Hues of Fantail Goldfish?

Fantails come in different colors, including:

  • Orange
  • Blue
  • Silver
  • Black
  • Bronze
  • Red
  • Calico

Do Fantail Goldfish Need a Heater?

Fantail goldfish don’t need a heater in their tank. They can tolerate a wide range of water temperatures, from 65 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit.

How Often Should I Feed My Fantail Goldfish?

You should feed your Fantail goldfish twice a day, offering them only as much food as they can eat in two minutes.

What Is the Life Expectancy of Fantails?

Fantail goldfish can live for 10 to 15 years. However, they can live up to 20 years with proper care.

Last Words

It was a long read, but I hope you found it helpful. Fantail goldfish are a beautiful and unique addition to any aquarium.

With the proper care, they can thrive and live a long and healthy life. If you have any questions or tips of your own, please leave them in the comments below!

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