The Veiltail goldfish, one of the rarest and beautiful of the fancy goldfish family, is known for its long, trailing tail and fins.  Learn about this graceful type of goldfish.

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Veiltail Goldfish Overview

The Veiltail has a compact body shape like a fantail but somewhat rounder, with a deep belly and slightly arched back.  The body should be, ideally, as deep as it is long, and the fins flowing and graceful.  Large anal fins indicate that the fish should develop a beautiful tail as it matures.  The tail of this goldfish breed should be at least twice the length of the body, fully divided from tip to caudal peduncle with no distinct lobes.  It is square in shape and drapes elegantly behind the fish as it swims.  The dorsal fin of this variety is remarkably tall, like the sail of a boat – ideally as tall as the body is deep, with no folding to one side or another.  This high dorsal fin adds to the angelic presence of this beautiful fish.

Is My Fish a Veiltail Goldfish?

Many Fantail, Ryukin, and Oranda owners mistakenly believe that their goldfish is a Veiltail when they see the length of the tail increase with age.  These fish may boast superb finnage with proper tank room and time, even trailing their fins along the substrate as they swim.  However, true Veiltails are their own breed and do not belong to any other category.  A so-called veil tailed Fantail is nothing more than a Fantail with a genetically long tail.  A goldfish that has headgrowth, a humped back, or the typical body shape of a Fantail is probably not a Veiltail goldfish.

Breed History

Believed to have originated in Japan, this goldfish breed was first bred in the United States in Philadelphia during the late 1800s.  They became known as the Philadelphia Veiltail during the 1920s, and later they were also called the Broadtail, however, Broadtail actually has shorter, squared fins. The breed was near extinction in the United States until hard-working enthusiasts revived it, and continue to preserve the traits of the first strains.  The breed has been modified, with certain varieties including a dark, velvety telescope-eye from Europe and additional color varieties from China.


Image Credit: Jan Smith, Flickr


Special Veiltail Care

Caring for Veiltails means paying close attention to the fins, which are particularly susceptible to tears and nibblings from interested tankmates.  Keep the fins in good condition by ensuring proper water quality, feeding a well-balanced diet, and keeping only fish-safe decorations in the tank to prevent damage.  This will help you to aggressively protect against fin rot, which could permanently ruin the gorgeous fins of your Veiltail.


Veiltails can reach 6 to 8 inches in length and will need a tank size that can accommodate this.  A 10 gallon is possible, but a 20 gallon is ideal for one fancy goldfish.  When housing Veiltails, remember that the trailing tail of the veiltail is easily torn and will need decorations in the tank that are not the least bit sharp.  Injuries to the tail can lead to bacterial infections, so you will want to keep the water clean at all times by doing weekly water changes.  Because of their delicacy, it is not recommended to keep them in ponds.


Veiltails are known for being relatively docile and easy-going.  Their slow-moving tenancies make them one of the less energetic breeds, and many owners describe their fish as being sweet-natured and gentle.  They are not likely to bully other fish in the tank, so they do well in communities if the other fish are not aggressive either.

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Are Veiltail Goldfish Good Tank Mates?

The Veiltail goldfish is slow-moving, especially as the fins grow longer.  For this reason, more aggressive goldfish should not be housed with it to ensure it gets enough to eat and lives a peaceful life.  Compatible friends of a veiltail are fantails, butterfly tails, and other delicate breeds.  The more aggressive Ryukin goldfish and single tail goldfish such as the common and comet will likely out-compete them for food and may bully them for being slower than themselves.

What to Feed Your Veiltail Goldfish

Veiltails, because of their compact bodies, are susceptible to swim bladder disorder.  Feeding veggies in the diet can help their digestion and overall health.  They will do well on a diet of sinking pellets and foods that are fresh.  Prepared foods such as flakes are better as an alternative rather than a diet staple.

Featured Image: Bkrhodesva, Wikimedia Commons