All Types of Goldfish and How to EASILY Tell Them Apart

Despite what the name suggests, goldfish sport a wide range of colors and aren’t just gold. They can be red, orange, white, yellow, black and brown or even calico.

They also come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and with some very different physical characteristics.

Goldfish types identification guide written beside a close up of a lionhead goldfish

In fact, there are now reported to be over 300 different unique varieties of goldfish recognized in China – Less than half that amount in the US, but still a very large number of goldfish types that exist.

With so many varieties it can be hard to identify which variety is which, or to know the type of goldfish you might want to take home and enjoy in your aquarium.

So to help, we’ve created the following ultimate guide to identifying different types of goldfish and packed all the information into a fun infographic you can find at the end of the article!

Defining features

To identify any given specimen there are only a certain number of defining features you need to look for and take note of, to learn what variety of goldfish you are looking at.

Let’s take a look at these features now.


Body Shape

Goldfish effectively fit into just two broad categories of body type, most commonly described as ‘egg-shaped’ or ‘Streamlined’.

The best way to show the difference is to show a comparison of both body types side-by-side:

An egg shaped and streamlined goldfish side by side on white bg

Fin and Tail Variations

One of the most dividing features of all goldfish to tell them apart is the number and shape of fins that they have.

Single or Double tail?

Putting aside different lengths and shapes, one of the main differences in tail between groups of goldfish – and how many hobby fish keepers determine their type – is whether they have a single or a double tail.

Double tailed goldfish are predominantly egg-shaped, and are also commonly termed ‘fancy goldfish’. However, this isn’t always the case as there are some breeds of streamlined, torpedo-shaped varieties that have a double tail as well.

You can see an example of the single and double tail types in the image below:

A double tail and single tail goldfish side by side

Dorsal fin?

The fin on the top (or back) of a fish is called the ‘dorsal fin’.

The size and shape can vary quite wildly between different varieties, but how the dorsal fin looks is more to do with how close a fish adheres to the breed standard rather than the actual breed we’re looking at.

For the purposes of classifying goldfish within this article, we will concern ourselves with whether they actually have a dorsal fin or not. Goldfish don’t necessarily have one and this is a major clue toward the variety you’re looking at.

An orange goldfish with dorsal fin next to black goldfish with no dorsal fin

Eye Type

Goldfish have been selectively bred to have many different eye types, some quite normal, others quite outlandish while at the same time very striking.

The different eye types fall into the 4 main categories of:

Normal – Not much to say here, they are just kind of – normal?!

Telescope Eye – Eyes mounted inside of a very pronounced ball-like protrusion, that make the eyes extend out from the head (like a telescope.)

Celestial (upturned) eye – These are similar to the telescope eye with the difference that the eye is turned and looking directly upwards.

Bubble eye – Not truly a feature of the eyes, a bubble eye is where a normal eye is in fact surrounded by a large, balloon-like fluid filled sack under the eyes of the goldfish.

4 images showing the different goldfish eye types in one graphic

Wen Growths

A wen – often described as a ‘wen hood’ – is a wart looking or raspberry like growth on parts of or the entire head of a goldfish that gives it a very distinctive look.

Many variations of this growth exist, covering anything from just the top of the head all the way through to complete facial and head covering.

The different types of wen shall be detailed later in the article, for now, an example of a complete wen hood can be seen below.

A red and white goldfish with large wen hood on blue background


Goldfish can sport a wide variety of either a single solid color, two-color patterning, or even ‘calico’ which is a combination of 3 or 4 colors in a striking pattern all at once.

Their colors can include any of the following, either as a solid single color or almost any mix of 2 or more: Red, orange, gold, black, white, gray, brown, blue, yellow and calico.

You can see the beautiful colors in the images throughout the rest of this page.

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Goldfish Types – Photos and Descriptions

Now that you’ve seen examples of the different physical characteristics that determine the variety of a goldfish, let’s put it all together and take a look at the most common types you will come across in fish stores and home aquariums across Europe and the USA.

This list is not exhaustive, there are so, so many more than we can detail in one short article, but the following list will cover more than 99% of the ones you’re likely to ever see.

For management and better presentation of the information, we’ve bundled the many different types of goldfish into the following 5 groups:

  • Streamlined with a single tail
  • Streamlined with a double tail
  • Egg-shaped with a dorsal fin
  • Egg-shaped without a dorsal fin
  • Miscellaneous but still often seen varieties

Within each of the groups are further divisions according to eye type, color and more.

So, that’s enough chatter, let’s get into the meat of the article!


Goldfish With a Streamlined Body and Single tail

The following goldfish types all have a streamlined body and are single tailed, but also have some very different physical characteristics as you’ll soon see:


Common goldfish isolated on white bg

Common goldfish are one of the hardiest of all varieties and therefore one of the easiest to keep. They can thrive in many different aquarium conditions and will eat almost anything you offer them.

This makes them very popular with and a great choice for beginner fish keepers.

Commons are close relatives to the wild carp they were derived from and the difference between them is pretty much just the color.

Most modern breeds of fancy goldfish were derived from the common variety by picking out and then selectively breeding for particular traits when they arose.

  • Defining features: None.
  • Description: A simple fish with no striking, standout features. The most common goldfish type of all – hence the name.
  • Body: Streamlined.
  • Tail: Single.
  • Dorsal fin: Yes.
  • Eye Type: Normal.
  • Wen hood: No.
  • Color: Solid or a mix of any: Orange, red, blue, black or brown


Side view of comet goldfish isolated on white background

Comet goldfish were (reportedly) the first ever breed to have been developed from the common goldfish, by an American, Hugo Mullert, late in the 19th century.

Comets are very close in appearance to the common and the two varieties are often confused with one another.

Comparing a comet to a common goldfish, you will find the body is slightly smaller and thinner, but the main, striking difference is the very long and flowing forked tail on a comet, sometimes growing up to the same length of the body.

The comet is a very active, playful fish needing lots of room to be able to stretch their fins and are normally only recommended for very large aquariums, or better still for ponds.

They are a very hardy fish and are suitable for beginners who should be able to care for them with ease.

  • Defining features: A flowing forked tail as long as their body.
  • Description: Similar to a common, though all fins are longer and finer.
  • Body: Streamlined.
  • Tail: Single – Long and forked.
  • Dorsal fin: Yes.
  • Eye Type: Normal.
  • Wen hood: No.
  • Color: Most commonly red or orange, with a white pattern on body, though silver and yellow is seen.


American Shubunkin Goldfish side view
Original image, used with permission: “Herman, the Shubunkin Goldfish” Copyright Pamela Smith, on Flickr

Shubunkin goldfish look very similar to commons and comets, with the tail and fins much closer to that of the common – except for ‘Bristol Shubunkin’ which have larger tails with rounded ends.

The defining characteristic of the shubunkin is their beautiful, mosaic calico coloring, consisting of red, orange, yellow, with spots of blue, black and brown, all on a white or blue background. Because blue is hard to come by and therefore rare, this color is highly prized.

The shubunkin was created by cross-breeding a calico telescope-eye with a common by a Japanese man named Yoshigoro Akiyama.

  • Defining features: Their calico coloring
  • Description: Essentially a comet with calico coloring. Most with the same, long forked comet tail, though ‘London shubunkin, have a shorter tail and ‘Bristol shubunkin’ a heart-shaped tail.
  • Body: Streamlined.
  • Tail: Single – Mostly long and forked.
  • Dorsal fin: Yes.
  • Eye Type: Normal.
  • Wen hood: No.
  • Color: Calico – A mosaic mix of reddish-orange, white, black and blue.

Goldfish With a Streamlined Body and Double Tail

The next grouping of different goldfish varieties all have a streamlined body but with a double tail, as opposed the single-tail seen in the previous group.


Side view of a wakin goldfish in aquarium
Original image © Juan Carlos Palau Díaz on Flickr.

Wakin goldfish are very similar in appearance to the common, with the very important difference that they have a split double tail.

Wakin are widely believed to have been the very first goldfish to have shipped from China to Japan and are the basis for many of the breeds and varieties developed there since.

They can be solid white, solid orange, white and orange or preferably – and these are the most expensive and most prized – a mix of white and red patterning.

  • Defining features: Red / white body in the most prized varieties.
  • Description: Very similar shape to the common goldfish.
  • Body: Streamlined.
  • Tail: Split double.
  • Dorsal fin: Yes.
  • Eye Type: Normal.
  • Wen hood: No.
  • Color: Red and white pattern unique to each individual.


Side view of Jikin Goldfish
Original image: ‘GFSA Convention 2000 Reserve Grand Champion – Jikin’, Courtesy of

Jikin goldfish are slim like a common, but have a unique tail and coloring as their defining features.

A jikins tail – also known as a peacock tail – has caudal fins that splay outwards at right angles to its body, split into 4 parts and looking like an ‘X’ when viewed from behind.

The color of a Jikin is also supposed to be solid white, with 6 points of red on the fish’s lips, fins, and tail.

This coloration is very difficult to breed for, making this variety rare and therefore expensive.

Mostly, to achieve the unique color artificially, the fish have scales removed when young. The scales do not grow back so what’s left after their removal is permanent.

  • Defining features: A Peacock Tail in 4 parts that splay outwards almost 180 degrees, shaped like an X when viewed from behind.
  • Description: Developed from Wakin, streamlined long body though fuller than a common with a double tail.
  • Body: Streamlined.
  • Tail: Split double, that looks like 4 parts, often called a ‘peacock tail’ and looks like an ‘X’ from behind.
  • Dorsal fin: Yes.
  • Eye Type: Normal.
  • Wen hood: No.
  • Color: Solid white with red found only on tail, fins, mouth, and gills.

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Fancy Goldfish Types with an Egg-Shaped Body and Dorsal Fin

The different varieties of goldfish we look at in this third group all have egg-shaped bodies, as opposed to the streamlined ‘torpedo’ body shape of the previous 2 groups.

Unlike streamlined goldfish, all egg-shaped types are supposed to have a double tail and if single is considered a ‘nymph’ and not correct to any breeding standard.

However, although all double-tailed, you can further define egg-shaped varieties into two distinct groups depending on whether they have a dorsal fin or not.

See below for the most common egg-shaped goldfish that also have a dorsal fin:

Fan Tail

Side view of a fantail goldfish on white background

The fantail goldfish is the first of the egg-shaped or fancy goldfish we will look at – and for a very good reason. It’s widely considered to be the first such double tailed fancy type that all others were developed from.

The fantail has a history spanning back over a millenia, is one of the first varieties recorded and essentially the western version of the Japanese Ryukin, although they do have discernible features to tell them apart and are considered different breeds.

It is a very hardy fish, considered a great starting point for the beginner goldfish keeper and well suited to medium / large home aquariums.

Although available in many colors, the most popular is the classic deep orange metallic scaled variety which is surely the one most people would recognize.

  • Defining features: None – The stereotypical double-tail / ‘fancy’ goldfish.
  • Description: Similar to a veil tail but with very long fins and long flowing tail that is barely – if at all – forked.
  • Body: Egg-shaped.
  • Tail: Double – Forked.
  • Dorsal fin: Yes – Large and upright.
  • Eye Type: Normal
  • Wen hood: No
  • Color: All solid colors, mixed or calico.

Veil Tail

Beautiful close up shot of a Veiltail Goldfish with an office view in the bg
[CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
The veiltail goldfish was created in late 19th century USA by crossing a telescope eye with a ryukin.

They have the ryukin body-shape, but do not sport the high dorsal hump, however they do have a standout feature all of their own.

Veiltail goldfish have a very long and flowing double tail without any forking, resulting in a flat edge at the end. So large is it – as well as the fins – that they often hang low off the body.

The tail can grow up to the same length as the body, and the dorsal fin can match the height of the body.

Because of their over-sized fins, they aren’t good swimmers and their fin are quite delicate. Therefore they must be kept with fish of similar type, kept away from anything that may nip their fins and must have no sharp or jagged ornaments in the tank.

  • Defining features: A large dorsal hump. Where their head joins their back, a clear hump is seen extending over their back.
  • Description: Similar to a fantail but with very long fins and long flowing tail that is barely – if at all – forked.
  • Body: Egg-shaped.
  • Tail: Double – very long and flowing.
  • Dorsal fin: Yes – Very large, often flowing not stiff.
  • Eye Type: Normal.
  • Wen hood: No.
  • Color: All colors, solid or mixed.

Telescope eye – Including Black Moor and Panda Moor

A telescope eye and black moor goldfish side by side

The stand-out physical feature of a telescope eye goldfish is – as the name suggests – their large, protruding eyes that appear somewhat set on stalks.

They are traditionally very similar to a fantail with the exception of the eyes, however, they are also available with long flowing fins like a veiltail and butterfly tail varieties have also been developed.

Because they don’t have great vision and the eyes can be easily damaged, they shouldn’t be kept with any fast swimming fish or those that would compete with them for food, and the aquarium must be kept free of any sharp objects that could damage their protruding eyes.

They come in many color different colors with some of the more striking having been given their own names such as the black moor and panda moor.

  • Defining features: Name defining ‘telescope eyes.’
  • Description: Just like a fantail, but with large, protruding, telescope eyes.
  • Body: Egg-shaped.
  • Tail: Double – Forked.
  • Dorsal fin: Yes.
  • Eye Type: Telescope.
  • Wen hood: No.
  • Color: Solid or mixed red / orange / white / Black – or Calico. Black Moor – Black with a silver belly. Panda Moor – Black and white patterning.


Side view of a red cap oranda

A very popular fish, oranda goldfish are an egg-shaped variety with an unmissable head growth looking like a raspberry, known as a ‘wen’.

They have quite long flowing fins and tail, with each of them paired except for the dorsal fin on top of the fish.

The most desirable tail shape isn’t forked but the vast majority of oranda tails are. Both are acceptable as long as they’re long and flowing.

Oranda can have solid matte color scales or metallic, can be red, red and white, black, brown or calico. However, the most popular color is a white body with a red wen hood, known as a ‘red cap oranda.’ (As seen in the image above.)

They look a little like a lionhead but can be differentiated by the fact a lionhead’s wen covers far more of the face, where the oranda is more like a cap just on top of the head. Also, the lionhead’s tail is short and small, the orandas long and flowing.

  • Defining features: A large, wart-like ‘wen hood’ on their head.
  • Description: Looks like a standard veiltail with a large wen hood on their head.
  • Body: Egg-shaped.
  • Tail: Double – long and flowing.
  • Dorsal fin: Yes.
  • Eye Type: Normal.
  • Wen hood: Yes.
  • Color: Mostly red / orange and white, though all colors do exist.

Butterfly Tail

Butterfly tail goldfish from above
By Syberspace (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
The butterfly tail goldfish is effectively a telescope eye but with a remarkably unique tail.

They have a symmetrical double tail, splayed horizontally outward at 180 degrees, unforked and split approximately half way from the tip toward the body.

The tail is quite long and flowing but shouldn’t be so long that it’s heavy and starts to droop, taking anything away from the butterfly look from above.

In more recent years the butterfly tail has started to appear in other varieties of fancy goldfish, but it’s with telescope eye that they are most well known and recognized.

  • Defining features: A tail shaped like a butterfly when viewed from above.
  • Description: A standard telescope eye, but with a tail like a butterfly viewed from above.
  • Body: Egg-shaped.
  • Tail: Double – large, shaped like a butterfly.
  • Dorsal fin: Yes.
  • Eye Type: Telescope.
  • Wen hood: No.
  • Color: All colors, solid or mixed.


Side view of ryukin goldfish on blue background

The ryukin goldfish is often described as the ‘Japanese fantail’ as they look so similar but with fantails being more popular in the US and Europe, and ryukin more popular in Japan.

However, although they are quite similar, when viewed side by side there are some very obvious differences.

A ryukin has a very high back, a very deep body and often a high and tall dorsal fin, making their bodies look as tall as they are long. They are a very deep bodied and rounded fish.

Where the back is so high and pronounced, it has the effect of making the head look pointed in comparison to other egg-shaped goldfish.

Another difference is a good ryukin has a longer and wider tail than a fantail, though not nearly as long as a veiltail.

They are a very hardy fish, very active, will eat almost anything, are available in many colors and so are an enjoyable and easy to keep fish, ideal for the beginner.

  • Defining features: A large dorsal hump. Where their head joins their back, a clear hump is seen extending over their back.
  • Description: Similar to a fantail but with a clearly defined dorsal hump on their back.
  • Body: Egg-shaped.
  • Tail: Double – Forked.
  • Dorsal fin: Yes.
  • Eye Type: Normal.
  • Wen hood: No.
  • Color: Red or red and white.


Side view of a tosakin Goldfish
By Michelle Jo (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons
Tosakin goldfish are unique among all varieties in that they are the only type to have an undivided double tail – it does not split down the middle like all other double tails.

A tosakin’s joined tail effectively creates the look of a single tail, splaying out horizontally and curling in toward the head at the ends.

With the exception of this very unique feature they are all but identical to a fantail in body shape and other finnage.

They are a rare breed of goldfish, hard to find outside of Japan but can be found in the US and Europe if you were to look hard enough.

  • Defining features: The only type to have a double but undivided (joined) tail.
  • Description: Similar body to a ryukin with the ‘dorsal hump’, but with undivided tail splayed sideways.
  • Body: Egg-shaped.
  • Tail: Double – Large, undivided curled.
  • Dorsal fin: Yes.
  • Eye Type: Normal.
  • Wen hood: No.
  • Color: Red or red and white.


Side view of Pearlscale Goldfish on white background

Being the source of its name, each individual scale on this goldfish has a raised, central dome that lightens – usually to white – at the tips, looking quite similar to pearls.

Pearlscale goldfish are the most rounded of the double-tailed, egg-shaped varieties, with very deep bodies being so round that they are often compared to a golf ball.

They are very active and alert fish, considered quite hardy but not as forgiving to the cold as most varieties so should be kept in temperate water.

There is a slight variation on the normal fish that develops a wen hood growth similar to an oranda on the top of the head, not the full face like a lionhead. These are known as the ‘crown pearlscale.’

  • Defining features: Extremely round bodies and raised white scales like pearls.
  • Description: Short, almost bloated looking rounded bodies, more so than any other goldfish. With name defining raised white scales like pearls.
  • Body: Egg-shaped – Very rounded.
  • Tail: Double.
  • Dorsal fin: Yes
  • Eye Type: Normal.
  • Wen hood: Mostly not, some lesser seen sub-types do.
  • Color: Mostly orange and white or calico though all colors do exist.

Fancy Goldfish Types with an Egg-Shaped Body and NO Dorsal Fin

The following types of goldfish all have an egg-shaped body, a double tail (as all egg-shaped types should) but unlike the previous group should have no dorsal fin.

In this section are some very wild and impressive eye types that make for some incredibly stunning looking fish!

Celestial Eye

Birds eye view of a few Celestial Eye Goldfish
Adpated from image By Michelle Jo [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Celestial eye goldfish, sometimes fittingly described as ‘stargazers’, have upturned eyes on the end of stalks placed at the top of their heads that are permanently fixed and staring directly upwards.

They are egg-shaped with no dorsal fin, slow moving with obviously limited eyesight, so they are best kept in separate tanks to other agile, active fish.

Because of their bizarre eye configuration they are considered quite fragile and so aren’t ideal for beginner goldfish keepers.

  • Defining features: Bulging, upturned eyes pointing upwards.
  • Description: One of the smallest types of goldfish, looking much like the ‘eggfish’, with upturned eyes and no dorsal fin.
  • Body: Egg-shaped.
  • Tail: Double.
  • Dorsal fin: No.
  • Eye Type: Upturned (Celestial)
  • Wen hood: No.
  • Color: Mostly orange or orange with silver belly. Other colors do exist.

Bubble Eye

Front and side views of a Bubble Eye Goldfish on white bg

The bubble eye goldfish is without doubt the most unusual and unmistakable of all.

They grow a large fluid filled sac around and under each eye making them one of the most fragile and hardest to keep varieties that exist.

These sacs also push their eyes to look upwards, not as much as a celestial and they aren’t fixed either like a celestial, but nonetheless it does impair their vision and make them even more fragile.

These sacs, that should be even in size with uniform color , are easy to puncture, leaving the fish highly susceptible to disease. They can grow back, but will never be even as they were before.

Because the sacs are so fragile, they should be kept in an aquarium with no sharp edged objects, usually with no gravel but if there is then absolutely it must be rounded.

If any goldfish is reserved for the expert fish keeper, then bubble eyes are the ones. Too much care and skill needs to be taken of them for a beginner to try keeping them.

  • Defining features: Unmistakable, very large fluid filled sacs under their eyes known as bubbles.
  • Description: Very large sacs under their eyes which are turned upward, otherwise identical to a celestial.
  • Body: Egg-shaped.
  • Tail: Double.
  • Dorsal fin: No.
  • Eye Type: Bubble Eyes – Upturned with large fluid filled sacs.
  • Wen hood: No.
  • Color: Mostly orange or orange with silver belly. Other colors do exist.


Side view of Lionhead Goldfish
By Lawrencekhoo (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
The Lionhead goldfish is the most popular dorsal-finless variety, easily recognized by the large wen hood that covers their entire head with the exception of their mouth, eyes and nose.

They are egg-shaped with a slightly curved back, and this rounded shape together with a lack of a dorsal fin makes them poor swimmers so they are best kept in tanks without fast swimming types who will out-compete them for food.

Some lionheads do not grow a wen covering their entire head and white ones with a wen hood are often mistaken for oranda, but they can easily be told apart by the lack of a dorsal fin whereas the oranda has one.

They are a sensitive fish, considered hard to keep and not for the beginner.

  • Defining features: No dorsal fin and wart-like wen hood covering their head.
  • Description: Like an ‘egg-fish’, no dorsal fin, but with the largest wen hood head growth of any other type.
  • Body: Egg-shaped.
  • Tail: Double – short and small.
  • Dorsal fin: No.
  • Eye Type: Normal.
  • Wen hood: Yes – the largest of any goldfish.
  • Color: Mostly red / orange, some with white patterning.


Shot of a Ranchu Goldfish on blue background

The ranchu goldfish is a very popular and highly prized goldfish in the originating country of Japan, where they are sometimes also described as the ‘buffalo head goldfish.’

At first glance ranchu look quite similar to the previously Lionhead, both being egg-shaped, sharing a very similar – though usually smaller – wen hood that covers much of the face and having no dorsal fin. But there are some important differences between the two.

Ranchu have a much higher and far greater curved arch to their backs, and their tail is much smaller and quite different to a lionhead.

A lionhead’s tail is close to that of a fantail, whereas the ranchu’s is smaller, spreads out sideways almost horizontal, and is far more down-turned compared to that of a lionhead.

Being egg-shaped and having no dorsal fin, they aren’t accomplished swimmers and with their wen hood are considered quite a fragile fish so aren’t recommended for beginners.

  • Defining features: A dorsal-less, highly arched back.
  • Description: Shaped like an egg-fish, very similar to a lionhead but with a stand-out, highly noticeable arched back.
  • Body: Egg-shaped.
  • Tail: Double – very short and small.
  • Dorsal fin: No.
  • Eye Type: Normal.
  • Wen hood: Yes.
  • Color: Mostly red / orange, with white patterning. Other colors do exist.

Pom Pom or Pompon

2 black Pompom Goldfish in an aquarium
Original image used with permission by Donald Chang on Flickr

Pompom goldfish are distinguished by 2 very prominent nasal growths, often called ‘nasal bouquets’, that sprout from each of their two nostrils that look like a cheerleaders pompoms.

Traditionally pompom are similar in body shape to the lionhead goldfish. However, in more recent times the pompom nasal growths have been bred into other egg-shaped varieties, either with or without a dorsal fin and in almost all possible colorations.

  • Defining features: 2 nasal growths that look like a pair of cheerleaders pom-poms.
  • Description: Like an ‘egg-fish’, usually no dorsal fin though they can in more recent times, with two nasal growths that look like pom-poms.
  • Body: Egg-shaped.
  • Tail: Double – Forked.
  • Dorsal fin: Ideally no, though many with dorsal fins do exist (as in the picture above.)
  • Eye Type: Normal.
  • Wen hood: No (but has nasal growths).
  • Color: All colors and patterns.

Miscellaneous Types of Goldfish Sometimes Seen


An orange and white Lionchu Goldfish on blue background

The lionchu goldfish is a cross between a lionhead and ranchu, hence the contracted name of the two.

The aim is to bring together the best characteristics of the two, with a highly arched back and deep body of the ranchu, with the biggest of wen hoods as seen on the lionhead.

A relatively new breed, they have only been officially recognized since 2006.

  • Defining features: Huge wen hood and a highly arched back.
  • Description: The ‘Lionhead-Ranchu’. Yes, a cross resulting in a large wen hooded goldfish like the lionhead, and a highly arched back like the ranchu.
  • Body: Egg-shaped.
  • Tail: Double – short and small.
  • Dorsal fin: No.
  • Eye Type: Normal.
  • Wen hood: Yes – very large.
  • Color: Mostly red / orange, with white patterning. Other colors do exist.



an Eggfish is somehwat murky aquarium water
By Michelle Jo (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons
Put simply, an egg-fish is an egg-shaped fancy goldfish without any other remarkable, stand out feature.

It has no long flowing or unusual looking fins or tail, no wen hood or eye growths, it is quite simply an egg-shaped fish – and hence the name.

Don’t let the apparent simplicity take away from their beauty though, they are still a very beautiful looking fish!

There are in fact two sub-category of egg-fish depending on their tail length. Short is the traditional egg-fish, whereas a longer tail makes it a ‘Phoenix egg-fish‘, so named after the long plumage of the mythical phoenix.

  • Defining features: No dorsal fin – otherwise ‘plain’.
  • Description: The egg-fish is like the pompom with no nasal growths, the celestial with normal eyes or the lionhead / ranchu with no wen hood. All the same shape, an egg-fishes defining feature is a lack of a feature.
  • Body: Egg-shaped.
  • Tail: Double.
  • Dorsal fin: No.
  • Eye Type: Normal.
  • Wen hood: No.
  • Color: Mostly red / orange, with white patterning. Other colors do exist.


Description: Literally, any goldfish that should be born with a double tail as per its type, but is born with a single due to a recessive gene.

Therefore, a nymph can look exactly like any fancy double tail variety, just with a single tail.

Unfortunately, perhaps due to most being culled at birth for being untrue to type, a photo of such a fish that I can use has proven impossible to find.

Infographic – A goldfish Type Identification Chart

You can use the following chart to identify any of the main types of goldfish discussed above, by using the process of elimination, answering simple questions as you go down the chart.
Type of Goldfish infographic charting all common goldfish types and how to identify them


With reportedly more than 300 types of goldfish identified in China, listing and describing them all would be a monumental task. And the average fish keeper will never see over 90% of them anyway.

In this guide, we have concentrated on the 23 types most common goldfish types seen in the USA and Europe, though even this relatively small list contains a few rare ones that most people won’t be lucky enough to encounter.

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about and viewing some wonderful photos of these beautiful fish. And we hope you find this guide useful as a reference for identifying different goldfish types when the need arises.

Happy fish keeping!

Wendy Kathryn

Hi, I'm Wendy, the owner and creator of this website, an experienced fish keeper and avid student of the art since 2010. My aim is to help beginners avoid the many possible mistakes when getting started in this wonderful hobby.

8 thoughts on “All Types of Goldfish and How to EASILY Tell Them Apart”

  1. Avatar
    Clive Whitehead

    Do you have anything on albino bettas? Would love to see an image…

    • Wendy

      Hi Clive,

      We couldn’t even find an image for our ‘betta types’ article, they’re so rare. Thing is, they go blind very young, and as such, it’s not a good trait to try and breed for, perpetuating genes that end up with a fish that suffers and ultimately dies young. So nearly all responsible breeders will avoid trying to breed such a fish, making them hard to come by.

  2. Avatar
    Caroyln Ward

    A great resource! Would I be able to use your infographic in my mailing list to my subscribers? I think they’d see great value in it. Please let me know at the supplied e-mail address. Thank you for your time.

    • Wendy Kathryn
      Wendy Kathryn

      Hi Carolyn,

      We can discuss this, sure. I shall send you an e-mail.

      P.S. E-mail removed from your comment to prevent possible spam flooding your inbox.)


  3. Avatar

    I’m so glad Google added you to my search!
    I have two Gold Fish my grandson won as a prize
    at a carnival about six years ago. They have
    Thrived and grown although not at the same
    rate. One is considerably bigger and both are
    precious. Just a couple of weeks ago I noticed
    that the smaller one has lost his eyesight in one
    eye. He is acting normal however, and doesn’t
    seem to be bothered by it. Is this something
    I should worry about? I have treated the way
    with medication thinking it might be an adult ailment that would go away but after the treatment
    the eye remained the same. It looks almost like
    a cataract. Any advice?

    • Wendy Kathryn
      Wendy Kathryn

      Hi Sofia,

      I’m afraid it’s impossible to say with any accuracy, because the health of a fish is just as complex as (for example) our health, and really does need an in person examination, from an expert, to be sure. If I guessed and gave you the wrong info, I would be doing you a disservice and it would be ethically wrong.

      The best you can do is just to follow all the right fish care advice for goldfish, do the best you can and things should be OK. Check out our goldfish care section for a complete A to Z on caring for goldfish.

  4. Avatar
    Dawn Elder

    I believe that my beloved little Stevie may be the single tail nymph that you don’t have a photo for. I’ve been searching for exactly “what” he was (he was in a tank full of “fancies”) and stumbled across your page. If you’d like a photo, I’d be glad to send one over. He’s a beautiful little egg, with a dorsal fin and only one long tail. Thank you for your helpful information!

    • Wendy Kathryn
      Wendy Kathryn

      Hi Dawn, sure send a pic I’ll attach it to your comment.

      I’m glad you like the article, thank you.

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