Do you like “fancy schmancy” goldfish?

And I don’t mean having refined tastes (a fancy goldfish will chow down the bloodworms just as eagerly as their long-bodied counterparts 😉 ).

No, fancies are different than that.

Want to know more?

Well, keep reading to find out!

Types of Fancy Goldfish

“Fancy” is a category many types of goldfish fall into.

Here’s a complete list of the most widely known types:

Characteristics: What Makes a Goldfish “Fancy?”

They are different from slim-bodied goldfish, which refers the breeds that are fast, competitive, long-bodied and single-tailed.

A lot of effort by breeders has gone into making these goldfish very exotic.

But they all have these things in common:

Egg Shaped Body

Rather than a long, narrow body, these fish are sometimes called egg-shaped because their bodies are quite a bit shorter and rounder.

The body has a shape similar to an egg when viewed from the side.

In fact:

The phoenix goldfish is also called the “egg fish” because without a dorsal fin, the fish REALLY looks like an egg!

Double Tail and Anal Fins

Instead of one tail fin, you can tell a goldfish is a fancy by viewing the fish from above and examining the caudal fins.

If the fish is a fancy, it will have two tails instead of one!

Some fancy fish do not have a fully split fin at the top, making the tail look triangular when viewed from above.

This is known to breeders as “tripod.”

Another way to identify your fish is by looking for paired anal fins (the shorter fins right underneath the base of the tail).

Slim-bodied goldfish only have one.


Not all goldfish that are technically classified as fancy have paired anal fins due to their genetics reverting back to the wild tendencies.


Another special feature of fancies is the size they grow to.

While slim-bodied goldfish can easily achieve 12+ inches in length…

… They average 6-8″ once full grown instead.

Sometimes smaller, sometimes even bigger.

Because they don’t get as large, many people find them easier to keep as pets indoors in more limited space.

Fancy Features


Not all of them really look all that fancy.

Some like the Fantail are pretty plain.

But in general, this group of fish have been more heavily hybridized

Most of them have a little something special going on.

It might be pompoms, telescopic eyes, long fins, a hump behind the head… there are dozens of crazy things (in a good way) these fish show off.

These things are rarely found on slim-bodied goldfish outside of Asia.

How to take Care of Fancies: Special Considerations

Feeding Requirements


Their organs inside their bodies are no smaller than those of slim-bodied goldfish…

… they are just packed in tighter.

That is why these fish are more prone to issues such as swim bladder disorder and fatty liver disease.

Which is why things like water quality and diet are very important.

In fact, I recommend all goldfish keepers stay away from dried out, low-quality constipating foods like flakes and most brands of pellets – feeding instead high-quality moist foods like gel food for the staple diet.

The better ingredients and moisture content make it much easier for them to process and really helps prevent organ issues.

Having tried a lot of different brands, I’ve found Repashy to be superior for mine.

It’s amazing the difference it can make to their overall health!

In addition to the basic diet, lots of fibrous green veggies such as spinach, lettuce and kale also help to keep the digestive tract clean from blockage.

Read more here about feeding fancies.

Temperature & Hardiness

Most fancy fish are more delicate when it comes to things such as temperature and overall hardiness.

While varieties such as the Common are often able to withstand more drastic temperatures and environments and bounce back easily, the same conditions can prove stressful or even fatal for fancy fish.

That’s why most of them shouldn’t be kept in ponds (at least not year-round).

Two reasons:

1. Because many are slow-swimmers, they can’t dodge predators as well.

2. Cold winters have been known to lead to swim bladder damage. If you live in a warmer climate, this would be better.


Two of the hardiest of the fancy goldies, the Fantail goldfish and the Black moor goldfish, tend to do better with pond life than the others.

Get this:

Studies have shown that fancy goldfish have fewer health issues when kept in water in the 75-80 degree F range.

An aquarium heater can be useful for maintaining this temperature if the room is cooler than this or if it tends to fluctuate.

Stocking Requirements

Even though these varieties are not as big as regular goldfish, they still produce waste that can quickly foul a small area.

So if you are considering a goldfish bowl as a home…


Bowls and tiny tanks are a leading cause of goldfish death and are horrible for a lot of reasons.

We recommend giving your fancy goldfish 10-20 gallons of space per fish.

That way it can grow to its full potential and be healthier, too!

Slow Swimming & Compatibility with Other Fish

Good or bad:

Mixing slim-bodied goldfish with fancies?

Some report theirs get along okay, but I would recommend that you not. 


Most fancies are slower swimmers. They aren’t as competitive, and can be pretty clumsy.

On the other hand…

Fish like the common or the comet are fast, agile – and ninjas when it comes to getting food. This means that it can be hard for a fish like a butterfly goldfish to get its fair share!

Another issue can be bullying. Longer fins can be tempting for those faster fish to nibble on.

Just because you can do something doesn’t mean it’s ideal for the fish, and it could set you up for problems down the road as some fish start getting huge while others don’t.

Now, this isn’t huge, but worth mentioning.

A tank with smaller slower, shorter-bodied fish AND long, big, fast-swimming fish just doesn’t look as harmonious (IMHO). 😉

Read more about choosing proper tank mates here.


I’m going to be brutally honest with you:

MOST fancy goldfish don’t live nearly as long as slim-bodied ones can (which have been known to exceed 40 years).

Their average lifespan is 5-7 years, with proper care.

There ARE exceptions, but this is what you’ll typically find.

Why so short?

Fancy tailed goldfish have been heavily modified through selective breeding. This makes them way more fragile and not as resilient due to their structural changes.

It’s the tradeoff for getting access to such exotic types.

Where to Buy Fancies for Sale

You can find them in pet stores, but some of the more rare breeds can be hard to find.

The most common ones you will find are Fantails and Black moors – if you get lucky, you might find a Ranchu or Oranda.

Sometimes local fish stores have selection, but if you can’t find what you want near you…

Check out our list of goldfish for sale.

What do You Think?

I hope you learned something interesting in this article today!

Now I want to hear your feedback.

Are you a die-hard fancy goldfish fan?

Or do you like all types?

Let me know when you drop your comment below. I always love hearing from you.