Goldfish Types

There are over 100 known goldfish types.

The Common Goldfish, the first variety to be developed.Common Goldfish
The Fantail Goldfish.Fantail Goldfish
The Black Moor Goldfish.Black Moor Goldfish
The Calico Telescopic Eyed Goldfish.Calico Moor Goldfish

We will be concentrating on the more common goldfish types available, as some varieties recognized in China or Japan are rarely seen outside their respective countries.

This page gives an overview of the 4 major physical attributes that distinguishes one goldfish variety from another.

The major physical attributes of goldfish are:

  1. Scale groups
  2. Fin variations
  3. Eye variations and
  4. Body shapes.

Within the major physical attributes, there can be several variations. An example of this is single caudal fins. They can be:

  • Short
  • Long
  • Pointed or
  • Rounded at the ends.

Some of these variations are a requirement for a particular variety. For instance a Comet goldfish should have a tail as long as the body with pointed ends.

Scale Groups

Metallic scales.  Goldfish with this scale type have a shiny metallic appearance, hence the description.  They can be a single color or have two.  Any black coloration found on a metallic goldfish will be because of injury or it has not yet finished changing color.  Black Moor goldfish are the exception to this rule.

The majority of goldfish sold are metallic scaled.

Nacreous (calico) scales.  These fish lack the shine of the metallic fish.  The scales are missing the top layer of pigment so are semi transparent.  Fish in this scale group usually have mottled coloring made up of several colors such as red, black, blue, white and every color in between.

Nacreous goldfish will often have a few scattered metallic scales or metallic gill plates.  These are not desirable on show quality fish.

Matt scales.  Fish with matt scales have fully transparent scales.  These fish display very little color or none at all and appear pink.

Fin Variations

There are really only two major caudal fin variations, single and twin.

Within these two types, caudal fins can be long, short, pointed or rounded at the ends, forked or have no fork at all, depending on the goldfish type.  The rest of the finnage generally follows the caudal fin form.

Single tailed varieties include the Common, Comet, Bristol and London shubunkins.

All other fancy varieties should have two caudal fins (and two anal fins on the better specimens).

Sometimes single tailed fancy goldfish are called nymphs, but they are only poor specimens that shouldn’t have made it passed the first cull.

The only other major fin variation is goldfish with a missing dorsal fin.  These varieties include the Celestial, Water Bubble Eye, Pompom and Lionhead.  These goldfish are some of the most highly developed.

Eye Variations

Goldfish have four eye variations:

  • Normal eyed
  • Telescopic-eyed as seen on Black or Red Moors
  • Upturned-eyes as seen on Celestials and
  • Water bubble eyes as seen on Water Bubble Eye goldfish.  The eye is actually normal, but a fluid filled sac grows from underneath the eyes pushing them upwards.

Body Shape Variations

There are three body shapes:

  • Long and slender similar to the wild fish.  (These goldfish types always have a single caudal fin)
  • Short and round.  (These goldfish should always have twin caudal fins and a dorsal)
  • Medium short with dorsal absent.  (These goldfish should always have twin caudal fins).

Goldfish Types

All goldfish varieties started with the Prussian carp which was selectively bred for color variations.  The Common Goldfish was the first goldfish variety developed.

For an overview of the most common goldfish varieties available, I have grouped them by their major physical characteristic, for example all single tailed goldfish are in the same group.

At the top of each list are the least developed goldfish, moving down to the most developed at the bottom.  Click on each link to be taken to a detailed page on the type.

Single Caudal Fin

Common

Comet

London Shubunkin

Bristol Shubunkin

Double Caudal Fins, Normal Eyed

Fantail

Veiltail

Oranda

Pearl scale

Telescopic Eyed

Black Moor

Red Moor (includes calico moors)

No Dorsal 

Pompom (Correct name Pompon)

Lionhead

Ranchu

Celestial

Water Bubble Eye

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