Veiltail Goldfish Care: Size, Keeping, and Common Questions

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.

The veiltail goldfish is a distinctive and elegant variety of goldfish known for its long, flowing double tail and graceful appearance. Its history can be traced back to ancient China, where goldfish breeding and cultivation first began over a thousand years ago.

The veiltail goldfish is believed to have originated through selective breeding from the more common types of goldfish. The process involved selecting specimens with longer tail fins and further refining their characteristics over generations. The result was a fish with a unique double tail that forms a delicate, flowing veil-like appearance.

While the exact timeline of the veiltail’s development is not well-documented, it gained significant popularity in the Western world during the late 1800s and early 1900s. This was a time when goldfish became increasingly popular as ornamental fish and were bred for various unique traits.

The Veiltail’s appeal lies in its graceful and flowing appearance, which gives it a certain elegance that sets it apart from other goldfish varieties. Its long, delicate tail fins can make swimming a bit more challenging for this variety compared to those with shorter tails. This trait also requires special care to ensure that the fins do not become damaged or hinder the fish’s movement.

Over the years, veiltail goldfish have been further refined through selective breeding to enhance their coloration, fin length, and overall appearance. Today, they come in a wide range of colors, including red, orange, white, black, and calico patterns. Selectionists have been choosing the best species from the offspring and hybridized only those with the longest fins.

Caring for veiltail goldfish requires attention to their specific needs due to their long fins, which are more susceptible to damage and injury. Providing a spacious tank with smooth surfaces, regular water maintenance, and a balanced diet is essential for their well-being.

In summary, the veiltail goldfish has a rich history rooted in ancient China and has been refined over centuries through selective breeding to create the distinctive and elegant fish we recognize today. Its popularity continues in the world of aquarium enthusiasts and hobbyists who appreciate its beauty and unique characteristics.

Body ShapeCompressed, oval body shape
Tail TypeDouble tail, long and flowing
FinnageLong, delicate fins with a veil-like appearance
ColorationWide variety of colors, including red, orange, white, black, and calico patterns
SizeCan grow up to 6-8 inches (15-20 cm) in length
Swimming AbilityTail structure may slightly hinder swimming, requiring a spacious tank with smooth surfaces
BehaviorPeaceful, social, and compatible with other goldfish; may exhibit slow and graceful movement
CareRequires clean, well-maintained water with appropriate filtration; delicate fins prone to damage
DietOmnivorous; should be fed a balanced diet of quality goldfish flakes, pellets, and occasional treats
Tank SizeLarger tank with a minimum of 20-30 gallons for a single Veiltail, more for multiple fish
TankmatesCompatible with other peaceful goldfish varieties; avoid aggressive or fin-nipping species



Veiltail goldfish have the potential to grow to a size that typically ranges from 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm) in length. However, it’s essential to note that the growth of a goldfish can be influenced by various factors, including genetics, diet, water quality, and the size of the tank they inhabit.


The lifespan of a veiltail goldfish can vary based on several factors, including the quality of care it receives, its environment, genetics, and overall health. On average, a well-cared-for veiltail goldfish can live anywhere from 5 to 10 years. Some individuals might even live longer under optimal conditions.

Proper care includes providing a spacious and adequately filtered tank, maintaining good water quality, feeding a balanced and nutritious diet, and monitoring the health of the fish. Regular veterinary check-ups, if possible, can also contribute to a longer and healthier life for your goldfish.

It’s important to note that goldfish can often outlive their expected lifespan if they receive exceptional care and the right conditions. Conversely, poor care, overcrowded tanks, and unhealthy conditions can lead to a shorter lifespan. Therefore, investing time and effort into creating a suitable environment for your veiltail goldfish can significantly impact its longevity.


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. Veiltail goldfish come in a wide variety of colors and color patterns, making them a popular and visually appealing choice among goldfish enthusiasts. Their coloring can range from solid, vibrant hues to striking combinations of multiple colors. Here are some common color variations and patterns you might find in veiltail goldfish:

  1. Red (Orange): This is one of the most classic and popular colors for veiltail goldfish. They can range from a bright, fiery red to a softer orange shade.
  2. Calico: Calico veiltails have a combination of red, orange, black, and white spots or blotches on their bodies, giving them a colorful and unique appearance.
  3. White: White veiltails are elegant and beautiful, with a pure white body color. They can be quite striking in a well-maintained aquarium.
  4. Black: Black veiltail have a deep, velvety black coloration throughout their bodies. The contrast between their black color and their flowing fins is quite appealing.
  5. Bi-color: Some veiltail goldfish may have a combination of two distinct colors, often with one color on the body and another color on the fins. For example, a white-bodied fish with red fins.
  6. Tri-color: Tri-color veiltail have three distinct colors, creating a visually appealing and intricate pattern.
  7. Chocolate: Chocolate-colored veiltails have a rich, dark brown coloration that sets them apart from the more common goldfish colors.
  8. Metallic: Metallic veiltails can exhibit a shimmering, metallic sheen that adds to their beauty. This effect is especially prominent under good lighting conditions.
  9. Blue: While less common, some veiltail goldfish can have a bluish tint, which can vary in intensity and hue.
  10. Yellow: Yellow veiltails, although rarer, have a golden yellow color that can be quite eye-catching.

It’s important to note that the specific coloring of a Veiltail goldfish can vary based on factors such as breeding, genetics, and environmental conditions. Providing a healthy and well-maintained aquarium environment with proper lighting can enhance the coloration of your veiltail goldfish.

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 a minimum tank size of 20 to 30 gallons (75 to 114 liters).

However, it’s essential to note that goldfish are social creatures and thrive better when kept with other goldfish companions. If you plan to keep more than one veiltail, you’ll need to increase the tank size accordingly to accommodate the additional fish.

A general rule of thumb for multiple goldfish is to provide 10 to 20 gallons (38 to 76 liters) of tank volume per fish. So, for two veiltail goldfish, you’d want a tank that’s at least 40 to 60 gallons (151 to 227 liters). If you plan to keep a small group of veiltails, you’ll need an even larger 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

Maintaining appropriate water parameters is crucial for the health and well-being of your Veiltail goldfish. Goldfish, including Veiltails, are hardy fish, but they can be sensitive to poor water quality. Here are the recommended water parameters for a Veiltail goldfish aquarium:

  1. Temperature: 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. They can handle cooler temperatures, but sudden temperature fluctuations should be avoided. Veiltail goldfish can tolerate a wide range of temperatures, but the ideal range is typically between 65-75°F (18-24°C).
  2. pH Level: The pH level should be in the range of 6.5 to 7.5, which is close to neutral. Goldfish are adaptable, but stable pH levels are essential to prevent stress.
  3. Ammonia and Nitrite: Both ammonia and nitrite levels should be at or near zero. These compounds are toxic to fish and can cause health issues. Regular water changes and proper filtration are essential to maintain low levels.
  4. Nitrate: Nitrate levels should be kept below 40 ppm (parts per million). Regular water changes are the primary way to control nitrate buildup.
  5. Hardness: Goldfish can adapt to a wide range of water hardness, but moderately hard water (6-12 dKH) is generally suitable for Veiltail goldfish.
  6. Adequate Filtration: A good filtration system is essential to keep the water clean and free from harmful compounds. Make sure your filter is appropriately sized for the tank.
  7. Avoid Overcrowding: Overcrowding can lead to stress, poor water quality, and stunted growth. Make sure your aquarium is not overpopulated.
  8. Regular Water Changes: Regular partial water changes (about 20-30% every 1-2 weeks) are essential to remove accumulated waste and maintain good water quality.
  9. Test Water: Regularly test the water parameters using reliable aquarium test kits to ensure that the conditions remain within the appropriate ranges.

Remember that maintaining stable water conditions is key. Frequent monitoring and attention to water quality will help keep your veiltail goldfish healthy and happy in their aquarium.


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

Determining the gender of viltail goldfish (and many other types of goldfish) can be challenging, especially when they’re young or not in breeding condition. However, there are a few subtle differences that can help you distinguish between male and female veiltail goldfish as they mature:

1. Body Shape: Males tend to be slimmer and more streamlined, while females often have a rounder, fuller body, especially when they’re carrying eggs.

2. Pectoral Fins: Males may develop slightly longer and more pointed pectoral fins (the fins located behind the gills) compared to females. This difference might become more noticeable as they mature.

3. Behavior: During the breeding season, males may exhibit more chasing and courting behavior, including chasing the females and displaying their fins in a showy manner.

4. Vent Placement: The vent is the opening between the anal fin and the anal opening (where waste is expelled). In mature males, the vent might appear slightly more concave, while in females, it’s often more rounded.

5. Breeding Tubercles: In the breeding season, males may develop small white or raised bumps, called tubercles, on their gill covers, pectoral fins, and sometimes the head. These are not present in females.

It’s essential to note that these differences might not be apparent in all veiltail goldfish, and the appearance can vary based on the individual fish and environmental factors. Additionally, some of these differences are more pronounced during the breeding season when the fish are in optimal condition for reproduction.

If you’re trying to determine the gender of your veiltail goldfish, it’s best to observe their behavior during the breeding season and look for the subtle physical differences mentioned above. Keep in mind that it might not always be easy to determine the gender, especially if the fish are young or not yet matured.