Fantail Goldfish are a fancy variant of goldfish but their hardy natures and low maintenance care needs mean they are relatively easy to care for.
This makes them a great first step into fancy goldfish keeping for beginners and a very popular and commonly seen variety.
So let’s take a look at this hardy, beautiful and popular fish.
- History, Origins and Development
- Easy or Hard to Keep in a Home Aquarium?
- Special Care Considerations
- Feeding Fantail Goldfish
- Aquarium set-up
- Video: A Close Look at Fantail Goldfish Swimming
- Tank Mate Compatibility
The most striking characteristics of the Fantail are its double tail and ovular, egg-shaped body – quite different to the streamlined look of the Common and Comet Goldfish.
In China, where the Fantail was likely bred, it is commonly referred to as the “lettered fish” as it looks like the Chinese character “wen”.
The unique double tail is completely split in the best Fantail specimens and forked by at least 75%, giving it a triangular appearance when viewed from the rear.
The anal, pectoral and ventral fins are also paired while the large dorsal fin is carried erect. The dorsal fin will generally reach up to a half of the size of the depth of the body while the tail can reach between a quarter to a half of its length.
Although Fantails aren’t as common in the UK, according to Bristol Aquarists, they are readily available in the US both online and in stores for an inexpensive price. They are one of the more commonly seen of all goldfish types in the US.
Fantail Goldfish Colors and Variations
Although Fantail Goldfish come predominantly in red or calico shades, they are also available in orange, yellow, white, olive, yellow-brown and black.
There are three different types of scale pattern for Fantails – either a red-orange metallic, a speckled nacreous or a lighter matte. Regardless, the scales should always be regular and complete.
There is a Japanese version of the Fantail – the Ryukin Goldfish – which has a wider tail and more highly curved rear than the original Fantail.
How Big do Fantail Goldfish Get? – Average and Maximum Length
The average length of a Fantail Goldfish is 6 inches although they can grow to between 10 and 12 inches.
How Long do Fantail Goldfish Live? – Average and Maximum Lifespan
The average lifespan of a Fantail is anything between 10 and 15 years although, as is common across many Goldfish variants, there is nothing to stop them living for over 20 years if their environment is kept safe and well maintained.
History, Origins and Development
The American Goldfish Association theorize that the Fantail was a natural mutation bred in China and probably the first successfully bred double-tailed fish from which all modern fancy goldfish are descended.
The original Fantail was first seen during the Ming Dynasty in China, dating back to the 1400s.
Easy or Hard to Keep in a Home Aquarium?
Fantail Goldfish are easy to keep in a home aquarium and certainly suitable for the beginner fish keeper.
Their hardy nature and ease of care mean that they are the natural first progression into keeping fancy goldfish.
Fantails with metallic scales are reportedly the most durable variant.
Special Care Considerations
There are no special care considerations for Fantails when compared to caring for goldfish in general.
Feeding Fantail Goldfish
Fantail Goldfish are omnivorous and should eat a varied and balanced diet of fresh, frozen and flake produce.
Animal World recommend you should pair a quality flake food given a few times a day with occasional treats in the form of brine shrimp, Daphnia, tubifex worms or blood worms. Vegetable food should also form a small portion of their diet.
Freeze dried foods are preferable to live food as they will not be affected by any parasites or bacteria.
The key to happy and healthy Fantails is to start with a properly set up and equipped aquarium. A safe and hospitable environment is key to ensure your Fantails thrive and live long, happy lives.
Tank Size and Shape
The absolute bare minimum tank size for one Fantail is 10 gallons but we would recommend at least 20 gallons for the first fish, with an additional 10 gallons for every extra one you add.
Goldfish are known for producing a lot of waste so the more water in the tank, the more diluted the waste and the healthier your fish will be.
If possible, always buy tanks that are long, wide and shallow as they provide the maximum amount of surface area and therefore oxygen for your fish to survive. Tanks shaped like these also provide more room for swimming side by side.
If you are stuck with a round tank, make sure that you don’t full it right to the brim with water to maximise the amount of surface area.
A good filter in your tank will combat the excess waste created by goldfish and ensure that your Fantails thrive. A good filter will filter at least six times every hour the volume of water in the tank.
Gravel substrate isn’t a compulsory purchase but is beneficial in transforming your tank into a natural and welcoming environment for your Fantails.
Goldfish are natural foragers and the substrate will allow them to show these natural behaviors. Substrate is also a nice way to add character to your tank.
Again, lighting isn’t essential but it’s certainly valuable in improving your Fantails’ environment.
Goldfish benefit from a day to night cycle when it comes to regulating their bodies – although natural light can provide a little of this, artificial lighting in your aquarium will also bring out the rich colors of your Fantails while illuminating the tank.
Fantails are notable for being one of the hardiest goldfish variants and are very tolerant of low temperatures – even just a few degrees above freezing! You should be mindful of keeping temperature consistent, however, as swift drops can prove fatal for Fantails.
Optimum temperatures are between 65 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit – you may want to purchase a heater if you live in a colder climate.
Video: A Close Look at Fantail Goldfish Swimming
Check the video below to see these beautiful fish in action, swimming around in a 55-gallon tank.
Tank Mate Compatibility
Fantail Goldfish will thrive best when living in a community so you should keep them in a shoal of at least three. The most important thing is to ensure that the tank is large enough for the number of fish residing there – if not, size could be stunted and other health problems prompted.
As fancy goldfish, Fantails can be kept with similar variants like Black Moors and Orandas. They should be kept separate from very fancy goldfish though as Fantails will nip on them and even eat all of their food.
As far as other fish species go, Fantails will thrive as long as they don’t have aggressively territorial tank mates. The Chinese Blue bitterling and the Northern Redbelly Dace make good tank mates with Fantails.
Shrimps, crabs, and snails are safe to include in a Fantail Goldfish tank but the only frogs you should keep them with are African Dwarf Frogs, as they’re small, docile and fully aquatic. Fantails may eat and uproot aquatic plants so opt for artificial silk plants if you’re set on including them in your aquarium.
Happy fish keeping!