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Bubble Eye Goldfish

Water-Bubble Eye Goldfish

Family: CyprinidaeBubble Eye Goldfish, Water-Bubble Eye Goldfish, Carassius auratusCarassius auratus auratusPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy David Brough
Latest Reader Comment - See More
My Bubble Eye fish, Bub, is kind of odd. He hates being in our 10G tank, and prefers our fish bowl which is like 1G-1.5G. He is full of personality, and I'm pretty... (more)  Julie

The Bubble Eye Goldfish is a truly bizarre looking fish with big bubbles on the side of its head!

The most intriguing feature of the Bubble Eye Goldfish are its bubbles. The bubbles on the Water-Bubble Eye Goldfish begin to develop at an age of 6-9 months. By the time they are 2 years old, the bubbles are very large. These water-filled bubbles get so big in fact, that the fish has trouble seeing and can even have a hard time swimming because of them.

Although these are very intriguing looking fancy goldfish, their bubble sacs are easily broken. The sacs are notorious for getting caught in the water uptake valves of aquarium filters. It helps to have a foam cover over the valve to help prevent this. Most the time broken bubbles will grow back, but sometimes they may not grow back at all. And when they do grow back, they are a different shape and size and won't match their other bubble. Broken bubbles heal slowly and are subject to infection, so keep an eye on your fish and be ready to treat it if necessary.

Besides its infamous bubbles, the Bubble Eye Goldfish is one a most unique looking of the goldfish varieties. Along with the Lionhead Goldfish , the Bubble Eye Goldfish is a dorsal-less goldfish. The dorsal fin is the one seen on the top of a fish's back. There is a variety bred in China that has a dorsal fin, however this variety does not qualify for show by the the Goldfish Society of America (GFSA).

The Bubble Eye Goldfish is one of the more rounded or egg-shaped fancy gold fish, rather than having the long slender body seen in Common Goldfish or the Shubunkins. It has a double-tail and its body shape and size are very similar to the Celestial Eye Goldfish. Like the Celestial its eyes are upturned, though not as extreme as on the Celestial. Both these goldfish also have a little bit slimmer body than other round or egg-shaped goldfish. It is available in a variety of goldfish colors that include solids of red, blue, chocolate, and black; bi-colors of red/white and red/black; and also calicos.

The Bubble Eye Goldfish are widely available, but they are considered delicate and not recommended as a beginner fish, or for community aquariums. Its swimming ability is cumbersome because of its rounded body which is further diminished by the lack of a stabilizing dorsal fin. Many of the elongated goldfish varieties like the the Common Goldfish, Comet Goldfish, the Shubunkin, are not good companions for the Bubble Eye Goldfish because they are fast swimmers and too competitive during feeding time. Better tank mates would be the similarly handicapped but less hardy Lionhead Goldfish, Telescope Goldfish, and Celestial Eye Goldfish. It won't win any races, but if kept with other slow-moving varieties the Water-Bubble Eye Goldfish should get plenty to eat.

For more goldfish information, see:
Goldfish Care: Fancy Goldfish and Goldfish Diseases


Geographic Distribution
Carassius auratus auratus
Data provided by FishBase.org
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Actinopterygii
  • Order: Cypriniformes
  • Family: Cyprinidae
  • Genus: Carassius
  • Species: auratus auratus
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Bubble Eye Goldfish - Quick Aquarium Care
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Aquarium Hardiness: Difficult
  • Aquarist Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Diet Type: Omnivore
  • Minimum Tank Size: 10 gal (38 L)
  • Temperature: 65.0 to 72.0° F (18.3 to 22.2° C)
  • Range ph: 6.0-8.0
  • Hardness Range: 5 - 19 dGH
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Habitat: Distribution / Background

The goldfish of today are descendants of a wild carp fish, known as the Prussian Carp, Silver Prussian carp, or Gibel Carp Carassius gibelio (syn: Carassius auratus gibelio) which was described by Bloch in 1782. These wild carp originated in Asia; Central Asia (siberia). They inhabit the slow moving and stagnant waters of rivers, lakes, ponds, and ditches feeding on plants, detritus, small crustaceans, and insects. For many years it was believed that goldfish had originated from the Crucian Carp or Golden Carp Carassius auratus auratus described by Linnaeus in 1758, but more recent research is pointing toward the former.

Goldfish were originally developed in China, but by the 1500’s goldfish were traded to Japan, to Europe in the 1600's, and to America by the 1800's. The majority of the fancy goldfish were being developed by Oriental breeders. The results of this centuries long endeavor is the wonderful goldfish colors and forms we see today. Today domesticated goldfish are distributed world-wide.

The Bubble Eye Goldfish, also known as the Water-Bubble Eye Goldfish, was developed in China. It is one of the more than 125 captive bred fancy goldfish varieties.

  • Scientific Name: Carassius auratus auratus
  • Social Grouping: Groups - Can be kept singly or in groups.
  • IUCN Red List: NE - Not Evaluated or not listed - There are no wild populations of this captive bred variety.

Description

The Water-Bubble Eye Goldfish, also called the Bubble Eye Goldfish, is an egg-shaped variety of goldfish. It is double-tailed and its body shape and size are very similar to the Celestial Goldfish, being a bit slimmer body than other egg-shaped goldfish. Also like the Celestial its eyes are upturned, though not as extremely.

Fluid-filled sacks begin to develop as bubbles under its eyes at an age of 6-9 months and by the time they are 2 years old, the bubbles are very large. It is one of the dorsal less goldfish, though there is also a variety bred in China that has a dorsal fin.

  • Goldfish colors
    These goldfish are available in a variety of colors that include solids of red, blue, chocolate, and black; bi-colors of red/white and red/black; and also calicos.
  • Size - Weight
    Water-Bubble Eye Goldfish will generally reach about 5 inches (13 cm), though some hobbyist report their Bubble Eye's growing much larger.
  • Goldfish lifespan
    The average goldfish lifespan is 10 – 15 years, though living 20 years or more is not uncommon in well maintained goldfish aquariums and ponds.
  • Size of fish - inches: 5.0 inches (12.70 cm) - Although this fish is capable of larger sizes, it rarely exceeds five inches in the home aquarium.
  • Lifespan: 20 years

Fish Keeping Difficulty

Bubble Eye Goldfish are some of the more delicate species of goldfish. They are not recommended as a beginner fish, or for community aquariums. Unlike the flat-bodied types of goldfish, they have a lower tolerance for pollution. They will need good care and plenty of space. When it comes to feeding, they will not thrive well with fast competitive tank mates.

Be careful when netting these fish, as their eyes are easily damaged. Also be careful of filter intakes, if there is a strong water flow the bubble sacs of these fish can get sucked into it and burst. Adding some soft sponge filter media over the intake valve can help.

Many people will keep goldfish in small one or two gallon bowls with no heater or filtration. But for the best success in keeping the Bubble Eye Goldfish, provide them the same filtration, especially biological filtration, that other aquarium residents enjoy.

  • Aquarium Hardiness: Difficult - The Sacs below the eyes are very delicate. This fish has poor eyesight and is a poor swimmer.
  • Aquarist Experience Level: Intermediate - The aquarist should be well aquainted with Goldfish care and the specific requirements of the variation.

Foods and Feeding

Since they are omnivorous, the Bubble Eye Goldfish will generally eat all kinds of fresh, frozen, and flake foods. To keep a good balance give them a high quality flake food everyday. To care for your Bubble Eye Goldfish, feed brine shrimp (either live or frozen), blood worms, Daphnia, or tubifex worms as a treat. It is usually better to feed freeze-dried foods as opposed to live foods to avoid parasites and bacterial infections that could be present in live foods.

Due to the fluid filled sacs under their eyes they can have poor vision and a harder time seeing their food, so need extra time to feed.

  • Diet Type: Omnivore
  • Flake Food: Yes - This fish should optimally be fed sinking food as it seems very prone to air ingestion which can cause health issues for the fish.
  • Tablet Pellet: Yes
  • Live foods (fishes, shrimps, worms): Some of Diet
  • Vegetable Food: Some of Diet
  • Meaty Food: Some of Diet
  • Feeding Frequency: Several feedings per day - Other Goldfish without sight and swimming handicaps will out compete this fish at feeding time.

Aquarium Care

Regular weekly water changes of 1/4 to 1/3 is strongly recommended to keep these fish healthy. Snails can be added as they reduce the algae in the tank, helping to keep it clean.

  • Water Changes: Weekly

Aquarium Setup

Setting up an aquarium in a manner that will keep your fish happy and healthy is the first step to successfully fish keeping. Here are aquarium parameters to consider in choosing goldfish aquariums, filtration, lighting, and decor as well as temperature and water movement.

  • Minimum Tank Size / Length:
    The shape and size of the goldfish aquarium is important and depends upon the number of fish you are going to keep. Goldfish need a lot of oxygen and produce a lot of waste. Keep the tank size and shape in mind when you are buying your fish.
    • Tank Shape
      A large surface area of water will help minimize goldfish suffering from an oxygen shortage. Surface area is determined by the shape of the tank. For the same volume of water, an elongated tank offers more surface area (and oxygen) than a tall tank. In a goldfish bowl, filling the bowl to the middle offers more surface area than filling the bowl to the top. Always provide the maximum amount of surface area.
    • Tank size
      It's best to start with a 20 - 30 gallon tank for your first goldfish and then increase the size of the tank by 10 gallons for each additional goldfish. Providing a large amount of water per fish will help dilute the amount of waste and reduce the number of water changes needed
    • Formula: # of fish per gallon of water
      A general rule of thumb, but only for young fish, is 1 inch of fish (2.54 cm) per 1 gallon of water. This rule applies only to young fish and is not adequate as they grow. Larger gold fish consume much more oxygen than young fish so maintaining this formula for growing fish will stunt them, and can contribute to disease and even death.
    • Fish: size and growth
      To allow for growth, either buy fewer fish than the maximum number of fish (based on the formula above) or be prepared to get a larger tank. Larger gold fish consume much more oxygen than young fish so maintaining this formula for growing fish will stunt them, and can contribute to disease and even death
  • Aquarium Lighting
    Most aquariums come with a cover that includes lighting. A cover for the tank is desirable as it reduces evaporation and though they are not prone to jumping, on occasion some gold fish will jump out. Lighting is not essential for goldfish, but does make the aquarium a nice show piece and lighting will help if you have live plants.
  • Filtration
    Goldfish produce a lot of waste. Good filtration, especially biological filtration, is very helpful in maintaining the water quality of the aquarium. Filtration systems remove much of the detritus, excess foods and waste. This helps keep the tank clean and maintain the general health of the goldfish.
    The sacs of the Bubble Eye Goldfish are notorious for getting caught in the water uptake valves of aquarium filters. It helps to have a foam cover over the valve to help prevent this.
  • Substrate
    Provide a gravel substrate to help create a natural and comfortable environment for your fish. A medium sized gravel works best..
  • Aquarium Decor
    You could add some decor but keep in mind that its fluid filled eye sacs can be a problem, both easily damaged and giving these fish poor vision. Make sure that all ornamentation is smooth with no protruding points or sharp edges. Smooth rocks or driftwood, should be used sparingly if at all.
    Aquarium plants would be the best choice of aquarium decor for goldfish, but unfortunately these fish are diggers. Consequently live plants may be uprooted. Artificial plants make a good substitute and silk plants are safer than plastic ones.
  • Temperature: Goldfish are a cold water fish and will do best at temperatures between 65 - 72° F (18°- 22° C).
    Unlike the flat-bodied types of goldfish, Bubble Eye Goldfish cannot tolerate temperatures much below 60° F (16° C).
  • Water Hardness: 5 - 19° dGH
  • ph: 6.0 to 8.0
  • Water Movement:  Weak.
  • Water Region: These fish will swim in all areas of the aquarium.
  • Minimum Tank Size: 10 gal (38 L)
  • Substrate Type: Any
  • Lighting Needs: Moderate - normal lighting
  • Temperature: 65.0 to 72.0° F (18.3 to 22.2° C)
  • Range ph: 6.0-8.0
  • Hardness Range: 5 - 19 dGH
  • Brackish: Sometimes - Goldfish are freshwater fish, but they have some tolerance for slightly brackish water. Yet any salinity for C. auratus must be kept below 10%, a specific gravity of less than 1.002.
  • Water Movement: Weak - This fish will often injure itself on the filter intake, there are various methods to decrease the danger of this.
  • Water Region: All - This fish will usually favour the surface or the bottom of the aquarium.

Social Behaviors

Goldfish are very social animals and great community fish, and they are great scavengers as well. It is really not necessary to add other scavengers or other bottom feeders to the aquarium when you have goldfish.

When choosing tank mates for this fancy goldfish, keep in mind the physical traits of the Bubble Eye. Like the Telescope Goldfish and Celestial Goldfish, the Bubble Eye can be visually handicapped. Further its swimming ability is cumbersome because of its rounded body and the lack of a stabilizing dorsal fin, a trait that is also seen in the Lionhead Goldfish. While the Bubble Eye cannot readily compete for food with fast swimming types of goldfish, these similarly handicapped varieties can make good companions..

  • Venomous: No
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Compatible with:
    • Same species - conspecifics: Yes
    • Peaceful fish (): Safe
    • Slow Swimmers & Eaters (): Safe
    • Shrimps, Crabs, Snails: Safe - not aggressive
    • Plants: Threat - Goldfish will eat many kinds of aquatic plants, and their constant search for food can end up uprooting plants that they don't eat.

Sex: Sexual differences

During the breeding season the male has white prickles, called breeding tubercles, on its gill covers and head. Seen from above a female will have a fatter appearance when she is carrying eggs. It is impossible to sex Goldfish when they are young and not in breeding season, but generally the male is smaller and more slender than the female.

Breeding / Reproduction

Goldfish are egg layers that spawn readily in the right conditions. See Breeding Freshwater Fish - Goldfish for more information on breeding Goldfish.

  • Ease of Breeding: Moderate

Fish Diseases

Goldfish are subject to the same diseases as tropical fish. A couple of the more common problems are Ich, Swim Bladder Disease, and external parasites including flukes, lice and anchor worms. For more in-depth information about goldfish diseases and illnesses, see: Goldfish Care; Fancy Goldfish and Goldfish Diseases.

Availability

The Water-Bubble Eye Goldfish is readily available in fish stores and on-line, and is inexpensive.

References

Author: David Brough CFS
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Lastest Animal Stories on Bubble Eye Goldfish

Julie - 2014-03-28
My Bubble Eye fish, Bub, is kind of odd. He hates being in our 10G tank, and prefers our fish bowl which is like 1G-1.5G. He is full of personality, and I'm pretty sure he recognizes me when I come to feed him, or just sit and watch him. The thing is, I've read many times that they like to be towards the bottom/floor, which Bub does on occasion, but he's more fond of chilling at the top. He's healthy, and very playful, so I'm not sure if I should be concerned or not. He's been doing this pretty much since we got him, back in Dec. 2013. Any thoughts?

  • Julie - 2014-03-30
    Never mind... found him dead this morning. :/
Reply
Jeremy B. - 2006-06-20
I've loved bubble-eyed for such a long time, finally have the technique for these delicate little fishies down. Amazingly, i've found bubble-eyed fish to be highly social little beings and need other BUBBLE-EYED fish to interact with or they get depressed. The more you have in one tank, the happier they all are. I have a tank with 4 and they are the silliest and happiest looking ive ever had. Also, bigger fish just trouble them more because it's already hard enough for them to get food without bullies stealing it from them. They should be the biggest or same size as the biggest fish in the tank. Finally...the biggest problem, the doom of many bubble-eyed: the filter-intake! First of all, bubble-eyed are shy and like to hide in plants alot; hence, do not place hidden in some plants. Also, most importantly, cover it with a piece of NYLON (do not use tape, it may poison the water) nylon will not obstruct water flow and in case the bubble-eyed gets a cheek in the filter, it is soft enough and thick enough to relatively leave him unharmed, maybe a little bloodshot cheek. I am not an expert and this is only based on my experience, but i have had 6 bubble-eyed in my life and some lasted days, some months, some years and i just wanted to share my expierences and know how hard it is to take care of these delicate clowns!

Reply
niky - 2009-02-12
Sara and Lisa--it's best to either get a sponge filter OR put a small netting over the filter. Some people suggest nylons (like the ones women wear) but I've found that it won't let the icky things get sucked up. I just put a small mesh around the intake and rubber banded it on. I hope this works for you!

  • kyle - 2010-03-02
    What's a sponge filter?
Reply
Megan - 2007-05-31
I have a bubble eye and her name is little bub! shes so funny. I have had her for almost a year now. Shes a tough cookie and has survived longer than some of her past tank mates. Right now she is living with my Telescope eye Rick. Goldfish types like bubble eye and telsescope eye are the best types to be kept together because they both have poor vision due to their obstructions around there eyes. so they both will have an equal chance at finding their food and not be beaten to it by fish with "better" vision. So if you are thinking of getting a telescope or bubble eye fish, i would suggest keeping their list of potential tank mates selective. Your fish will be happier and healthier. Little bub and rick are the best of friends and do very well together, i am soon getting another bubble eye to add to the tank and hopefully they will all be good friends!

Reply
alexandra - 2004-08-26
My experience with Bubble-eyes is that the bubble does grow back after being deflated. Typically, it will turn black as a sign that it is healing.

Reply
Diana - 2006-04-04
I have had goldfish for a few months now - they are beautiful fish with real character. However I would not recommend these fish for beginners as their bubbles are so delicate. If you do decide to buy one of these fish, PLEASE make sure your filter intake is covered with nylon so they do not get their bubbles sucked in and deflated. Also, sharp decorations and rocks should not be present. If possible keep these fish only with other bubble-eyes or celestial goldfish as they have a hard time competing for food. Although it may be cute to see your fish swimming on it's back, this is a sign of poor water quality or incorrect diet so please make sure you do your homework before buying any fish. Bubble-eyes can live for up to 15 years (and over!) so please make sure you research and provide the best possible environment for your fish.

Reply

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