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Goldfish Care, Breeds and Goldfish Diseases

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Goldfish come in all kinds of shapes, sizes, colours and varieties imaginable. On the cuteness barometer they range from cute to super cute and are probably the most commonly owned type of fish in the world.

Although goldfish seem easy to care for and sturdy enough, for long term life they do require a good amount of care and attention.

Below is an in-dept account of most goldfish varieties and breeds and instructions on how to take optimum care of your fish.


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Common Goldfish

The most basic and sturdiest goldfish with a short and stumpy tail fin.

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Comet Goldfish

Can has different patterns of orange, red and white with either a short tail fin or fan tail.

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Fantail Goldfish

Fantail Goldfish can represent a broad range of goldfish with a long fan-like tail. Generally the goldfish is similar to a common goldfish but just has a long fantail.

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Shubunkin

Shubunkins are a type of goldfish with very tiny or very few scales, they are almost scaleless. Shubunkins generally have about 4 colours on their body, greyish-blue, white, orange and black but there is also another form of shubunkin which generally has a white appearance with black eyes and pink/red gills.

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Black Moor

Black Moors are a very pleasant and peaceful goldfish breed which are fully black with protruding eyes and a bulbous abdominal area.

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Panda Moor

Panda Moors are exactly the same as Black Moors, but they contain a white as well as black colourations.

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Oranda (Red Cap Oranda)

Orandas are a very friendly goldfish breed and are quite diverse in colour but all contain a bulbous 'brain-like' growth on the surface of their heads. 

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Ryukin

Rhyukins are a very extravagant and royal-like goldfish breed which can have many colourations. Rhyukins all have a pronounced hump or hunch on their backs, below the dorsal fin.

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Bubble Eye

Bubbles Eyes are one of the most lovable and cutest of the goldfish breeds, but are very delicate and need very good quality, high oxygenated and filtrated water. Make sure filter current is not on too high as they are weak swimmers.

Bubble Eyes have fluid filled sacks underneath both of their eyes plus they have no dorsal fin. They are normally orange in colour but can have other colours including white.

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Pearl Scale

Pearl Scales are also a very cute goldfish breed with an extremely bulbous and round body. They have projecting scales that jut out slightly and are generally orange and white in colour, but variations are possible with some being shubunkin-like.

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Lionhead

Lionheads always remind me of a very noble goldfish breed, with their slow paced and relaxed movements in the water. They have no dorsal fin at all and their colours vary from orange, orange and white to this red-cap variety shown in the picture.

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Pom Pom Goldfish

Pom pom Goldfish are a very similar goldfish breed to Rhyukins, but their backs generally are not as arched and they also have 'pom pom'-like growth at each side of their nostrils. Their colour can vary.

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Celestial Eye Goldfish

Celestial Eyes have to be one of the cutest and most loved of the goldfish breeds, with their innocent and delicate appearance and of course their bulbous cross eyes which appear to be staring upwards. They have no dorsal fin, just like lionhead goldfish and bubble eyes and vary in colour.

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Butterfly Tail Goldfish

Butterfly Tail Goldfish have a very similar body shape to Black Moors and Panda Moors but they have a distinct butterfly-like tail fin and their colour varies.

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Telescope Eye Goldfish

Telescope Eye Goldfish are another one of cute goldfish breeds with their protruding eyes and innocent appearance. They vary in colour and they body resembles that of the Rhyukin, without of course the arched back.


Aquarium/Water Care

  • Water Temperature - Goldfish are all coldwater fish and for optimum health they should be kept in non-heated water. Goldfish can go into a stake of shock if placed into tropical aquariums or if the temperature is too high.
  • Filter/Oxygenation - Aquarium water must be kept clean and clear at all times and must be well aerated/oxygenated. Using an aquarium filter that releases air bubbles will be killing two birds with one stone, but you can also introduce air bubbles and oxygen to the water via an ‘airstone and an air pump, or just an air pump on it’s own. Your filter can be cleaned once per week to remove detritus. It can be cleaned in some aquarium water removed from the aquarium to keep the filter’s bacteria/fungi in balance.

Note: Filter is not a necessity for all goldfish but greatly improves water quality and fish health, plus reduces need for water change.

  • Water Changing – The aquarium water does not need a total change that often, just about a 20% - 40% change once every second week. Tap water is completely fine for goldfish, but you can add a few drops of de- chlorination and de-heavy metal solutions into your tap water to remove these specific impurities. Always make sure water being introduced into your aquarium is at the same or very similar temperature to the remaining aquarium water. A good technique I use is to keep a small container of your aquarium water beside your sink and dip your fingers in that water while adjusting the tap water temperature to get it optimum.
  • Aquarium Water Level – Make sure to leave at least 2 inches of free air space on the surface of your aquarium water to allow oxygen to seep into your water. The more air space you leave the better. In aquariums with none or little airspace you generally see fish gasping for oxygen at the surface of the water.
  • Lighting and Aquarium Plants – Introducing some aquarium plants is great for removing excess nutrient salts and CO2 from the water, they also help oxygenate the water and are aesthetically pleasing. Aquarium Lighting significantly increases plant growth and therefore oxygen production. Elodea is an ideal, hardy, fast growing and attractive plant to have in your aquarium.


Feeding Goldfish

Feeding Goldfish is very simple and requires no hassle. Feed fish 2 to 3 times per day with enough food that can be consumed within 5 minutes in each feeding. If fish are being kept in a small fish bowl make sure to feed less as water can go bad very quickly (Fish bowls are not recommended).

Overfeeding will lead to bad water quality of a cloudy/milky colour and will lead in low oxygen content and possibly disease.

For a high protein treat you can feed your fish some live or frozen bloodworms which they will fight to devour.


Special Care for Fancy Goldfish

Caring for goldfish is generally an easy task for most normal goldfish, or example comets and shubunkins, but caring for fancy goldfish including Black Moore, Oranda and Ryunkin and especially Bubble Eye varieties more care will be needed.

  • Filtration and Oxygenation is basically a necessity when keeping Fancy Goldfish as they are much weaker than normal type goldfish and are more susceptible to disease and sickness and will get quite weak if adequate oxygen is not supplied.


Goldfish Diseases

Your Goldfish may develop one to a number of goldfish diseases throughout it’s life with the likelihood being very high. A number of aquarium water conditions can bring on these goldfish diseases and sometimes not just one at a time, one goldfish disease can accompany another goldfish disease at the same time or in a very close time space to each other.

Below is a list of goldfish diseases outlining the Symptoms, Causes and Treatments of these diseases.


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What is Ick?

Ick, Ich or Whitespot is a very common Goldfish disease, where the culprit is a ciliated parasite called Ichthyophthirius multifiliis. It’s a very contagious disease.

These parasites are encased within a white cyst for protection and while here they feed of the fishes flesh. Mature adult parasites are released from these cysts and can infect other fish in the aquarium.


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Symptoms of Ich

  • This goldfish disease causes Tiny White Spots to cover the fish’s body causing what we assume is an Ich as the fish purposely rubs against anything in the aquarium in a flicking fashion.


Causes of Ick

  • A sudden change in water temperature.
  • Introducing new fish or plants into the aquarium without being quarantined.
  • Stress in general, Ick can remain in a dormant state on the fish and reawaken while the fish is under stress for a given reason.
  • Bad water quality, lack of oxygen, lack of food etc… leading to stress and Ick.


Ick Treatment

  • Change your aquarium water and clean filter.
  • You can gradually add some salt to you aquarium over time, about 6-8 teaspoons per gallon of water, but 3-4 teaspoons can be used if you like in case of negative effect on goldfish.
  • Heating the aquarium water with aquarium heater for a few days to speed up the life cycle of the Ick cysts.
  • Many Ick medications can be found in pet stores and usually contain malachite green and formalin or even methylane blue.

List of Medicated Ick Treatments

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What is Fin Rot?

Fin rot is another common goldfish disease caused by a bacterial and/or fungal infection of the fins.


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Symptoms of Fin Rot

  • Fins or fin has a ragged appearance
  • Fins edges turn white
  • Redness at base of fins
  • Sections of fins have fallen off or are falling off


Causes of Fin Rot

  • Poor aquarium water quality
  • Stress
  • Infection post fin injury, injury from other fish due to nipping and biting (only keep compatible fish).
  • High pH and high levels of ammonia or nitrates in the water.


Fin Rot Treatment

  • Change your aquarium water and clean filter.
  • Much antibacterial medication can be found for this in a local pet store, such as Maracyn and Maracyn Plus.
  • Raising the water temperature can help speed up fin repair and this can be done alongside the use of the goldfish medication.
  • Addition of aquarium salt to the water also helps with fin rot.


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What is Swim Bladder Disease?

Swim bladder disease is a non-contagious disease that affects the goldfish’s gas-filled organ called the swim bladder, which has a prominent purpose for buoyancy maintenance. It is primarily a goldfish disease as it is very prominent in fancy goldfish such as black moores, orandas, ryukins and so on compared to other fish.


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Symptoms of Swim Bladder Disease

  • Buoyancy issues
  • Fish lies at the surface of the water on its side or upside down
  • Fish remains on bottom of aquarium
  • Fish tilts side to side in the water
  • Fish floats quickly to the surface of the water


Causes of Swim Bladder Disease

  • Constipation
  • Overfeeding
  • Birth defects or injury
  • Bacterial infection
  • Poor aquarium water quality
  • Stress


Swim Bladder Disease Treatment

  • If possibly constipated – Feed Peas as they can work well for swim bladder issues caused by constipation. It’s though that the peas simply destroy any blockage by inpaction.
  • Keep your fish on a diet for a few days, possibly 3 or 4 days.
  • Aspiration of the swim bladder by insertion on tiny needle.
  • Change your aquarium water and clean filter as a preventive method if possibly caused by bacteria.
  • Antibacterial medication can be found for this in a local pet store as swim bladder problems can be caused by bacterial infection.
  • Raising the water temperature.
  • Addition of aquarium salt to the water.


Swim Bladder Disease Reliever

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What is Cloudy Eye?

Cloudy eye is a common goldfish eye problem often caused by bacterial infections of the eye. It is a common goldfish illness.


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Symptoms of Cloudy Eye

  • Whitish appearance to your Goldfish’s eye, cloudy fish eye.
  • Fish’s eye(s) look like they have fish cataracts
  • A whitish film covering your goldfish’s eyes


Causes of Cloudy Eye

  • Poor water quality
  • Eye Damage
  • Bacterial Infection
  • Vitamin Deficiency
  • Due to spread of velvet disease


Cloudy Eye Treatment

  • Change your aquarium water and clean filter.
  • Addition of aquarium salt to the water.
  • Increase the aquarium temperature.
  • Much cloudy eye antibiotic fish medication can be found in pet stores, such as tetracycline, chloromycetin and so on.


Cloudy Eye Treatments - Aquarium Salt

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What is Velvet Disease?

Velvet disease or Slime Disease is a common goldfish disease caused by single celled dinoflagellate parasites. In the juvenile stage, these parasites enter the slime coating of the fish where they mature. They then move from goldfish to bottom of aquarium and form cysts which will harbour juvenile parasites. Velvet is highly contagious and can be a fatal goldfish disease. Caring for goldfish can be limited with this disease.


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Symptoms of Velvet Disease

  • A velvet coloured slime covering part or all of the goldfishes body
  • Fish is lethargic
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fins appear stuck together and clumped
  • Rapid breathing
  • Side to side movements


Causes of Velvet Disease

  • Poor water quality
  • Infection from new fish introduced into aquarium
  • Stress
  • Lack of proper nutrition


Velvet Disease Treatment

  • Change your aquarium water and clean filter.
  • Raise the water Temperature
  • Many medications are available from pet stores
  • Copper sulphate medications and Acriflavine are common treatments
  • Addition of aquarium salt to the aquarium


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What is Fish Tuberculosis?

Fish tuberculosis is caused by the Mycobacterium tuberculosis and is one of the very few goldfish illnesses that can be passed on to humans so it is extremely important to take precautions when caring for goldfish with this disease. Gloves must be worm and tank water must not be siphoned.


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Symptoms of Fish TB

  • Not eating, lack of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Colour loss
  • Sometimes goldfish will have a bent spine
  • Weight loss and hollow abdomen
  • Have swollen eyes


Causes of Fish TB

  •    The pathogenic bacterial Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB)


Fish Tuberculosis Treatment

  • Possibly the human anti-TB drug from the vet, but normally TB is not treatable in goldfish.
  • In the meantime keep water clean, stress low and supply enough food if fish will eat.
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What are Fish Ulcers?

Fish ulcers are breaks in the goldfish’s skin which extend through all the skin layers and fail to heal. Fish Ulcers are progressive and are made worse by opportunistic ulcer bacteria. These ulcer bacteria are what make the ulcer spread and fail to heal. Caring for goldfish with this goldfish illness is not easy and the ulcer bacteria can be difficult to eliminate.


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Symptoms of Ulcers

Symptoms of ulcers are quite easy to spot and may include:

  • A central area of tissue erosion, shallow or deep
  • White coloured necrotic tissue surrounding the ulcer
  • Red coloured Inflammation surrounding the ulcer extending to healthy tissue


Causes of Ulcers

  • Initial damage to fish’s skin by parasite, collision, high levels of chemicals etc… followed by infection by ulcer bacteria.
  • Bad water quality
  • Infestation by parasites
  • Pointed and sharp obstacles in the aquarium


Fish Ulcer Treatment

  • Topical ulcer antibiotic treatments available in pet stores. Topical treatments are the best.
  • Antibiotic injections
  • Medicated food
  • Thorough aquarium cleanse and water change
  • Removal of sharp or pointed obstacles from aquarium.


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What is Goldfish Fungus?

Fish fungus is a common goldfish disease and is usually a secondary infection to a primary injury or existing fish ulcer. Caring for goldfish with fish fungus can prove to be difficult as the fish fungus is resilient and fast growing.

Fish fungus is caused by the saprolegnia and achlya organisms and is usually associated with bad water quality.


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Symptoms of Fish Fungus

  • A white cotton wool like growth protruding from the fish’s body, probably from an existing wound or infection.
  •  Possible mucus around this fungus growth and possible reddish tint in the centre of the fish fungus.


Causes of Fish Fungus

  • Secondary infection to existing wound or infection
  • Bad water quality
  • Lack of nutrition
  • Stress
  • Rough handling
  • Very Low aquarium or pond temperatures


Fish Fungus Treatment

  • Keep water quality very high, clean filter and change water
  • Use one of many fish fungus treatments available at pet store, eg organic dyes, such as malachite green
  • Tea tree Oil
  • Addition of aquarium salt


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What are fish lice?

Fish lice also called Branchiura orcarp lice or fish lice are a type of fish parasite and belong to the crustacean family.

Fish lice have a flattened, oval a slightly transparent body with tiny visible compound eyes and a fish louse is armed with a spiny proboscis to suck bodily fluids and suckers. They can swim from fish to fish to feed and can reproduce very quickly and can weaken your fish quickly causing goldfish illness.