Veiltail goldfish care guide

Veiltail goldfish is one of artificially bred ornamental breeds of tank ‘goldfish’. The fish is famous for its elongated fins and a fluffy vailtail which is even longer if compared to other representatives of this kind. This is very undemanding fish that is perfect for beginner aquarists, though it has some restrictions in keeping. It digs tank bottom a lot, likes to eat and very often it overeats till death; likes cool water.

Habitat in the wild

Veiltail goldfish just like other goldfish kinds can’t be encountered in the wild. However, its ancestor a common carp is very spread in the nature. The fact that the veiltail goldfish was bred from this wild and strong fish makes fish such undemanding and enduring.

From historical records it is known that veiltail goldfish birthplace is Japan, Yokohama. Ryukin is considered to be the ancestor of all veiltail species. This goldfish breed still exists. Its distinctive feature is its original body shape: it is short, swollen with an indicative ‘hunch’ that starts from the fish head and ends near the front ray of its dorsal.

Selectionists have been choosing the best species from the offspring and hybridized only those with the longest fins.

Scientific NameCarassius auratus auratus
Common NamesVeiltail goldfish; veiltail fish
Range and habitatNo
Sizeup to 12 in (30 cm)
Lifespan10 years
Ease of keepingMedium
Minimum tank size100 liters (22 gallons)
Temperature20-23 °C
Water hardness5-20 dGH


The veiltail goldfish size is up to 20 cm. It has short oviform or globe-shaped body, which is typical for the fish from this family. The fish head contour segues into its back contour. Due to such body shape the fish isn’t quite a good swimmer, therefore very often it comes to eat later than its tank mates.

All the fins of the fish are very long, thin, almost transparent; the tail fin is double and incredibly long, very wide, bit thin and transparent. The upright dorsal fin equals 1/2 — 3/4 of the fish body height. Its coloring may vary, there is no uniform standard.

The veiltail goldfish lifespan is quite long, provided with good tank conditions it’s about 10 years or even more. The fish may grow up to 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 cm) long.

Difficulties in keeping

The veiltail goldfish isn’t demanding to tank water parameters and temperature. It likes both dwelling in a pond and in a common tank. It is important to remember that this fish prefers quite cool water and it makes veiltail not compatible with the majority of tropical fishes.

Care and keeping in a tank

Tank size

Though when you hear somebody talking about goldfish you imagine a small tank and one veiltail fish swimming in it – this isn’t the best way to keep this fish.

Veiltail goldfish grows up to 20 cm long and at that it isn’t just a large fish, it also produces a lot of food waste. To keep one fish you will need a tank of at least 100 liters (22 gallons) capacity, add 50 liters (11 gallons) of tank volume for each fish you add into the tank.

As for the tank bottom substrate its better to use sand or large pebbles. Veiltail goldfish dig the substrate all the time and quite often they swallow large substrate particles and die because of this.


Except this, you will also need a good external filter and regular water renew. All goldfish species adore digging tank bottom substrate, making the tank water muddy and even digging out tank plants.

Water parameters

Unlike tropical fishes goldfish prefers cool water. If will need a heater in the tank only if the temperature in your room gets lower than 0 °C. It is better not to put the tank in direct sunlight and don’t make tank water temperature higher than 22 °C. Goldfish can dwell in water with temperature lower than 55 °F (13 °C), so they are not afraid of cold.

As for the tank water parameters, they may vary, but the optimal ones are the following: 5 — 19° dGH, pH: 6.0 — 8.0, tank water temperature 20-23 °C.


Feeding has some peculiarities. The thing is that the fish eats till it has food in a tank. At that quite often the fish eats more than it actually can digest and then die. In general, the only problem when feeding veiltail goldfish is to calculate properly the amount of food to give.

It’s better to feed the veiltail goldfish twice a day and give it food portions that it can eat in one minute.

The best idea is to feed fish with special food made for goldfish species. Common food for fish is too nutritious for this omnivorous fish. Special food made as pellets doesn’t crumble in the water and it is easier for a veiltail goldfish to find it on a tank bottom as well as it is also easier to measure out this type of food.

If you don’t have a chance to feed the fish with special food, you can feed it with any other food – frozen, live, artificial – goldfish will eat whatever you give to it.

Tank mates

This is a peaceful fish that in general gets on well with other fish species. But the thing is that veiltail goldfish needs cool water and it is colder than other tropical fishes can stand. It is better to keep the fish together with related species – shubunkin, telescope.

But even with such tank mates you have to monitor if the fish gets enough food, because quite often it doesn’t due to its fast swimming tank mates. For example, veiltail and guppy dwelling in one tank isn’t a very good idea. If you want to keep veiltail goldfish in a community tank, avoid choosing small fishes and those that nip fins (tiger barb, black tetra, redeye tetra) as tank mates.

Gender differences: male vs female

Veiltail goldfish male that is ready to spawn has the following distinctive features: notched front pair of pectoral fins and small outgrows on its gill covers (of semolina grain size). The female fish ready to lay eggs has fat, full of eggs abdomen. If you look at the fish from above, you’ll see that its body is a bit curved due to the eggs she is carrying.