Animal-World > Aquarium Tropical Fish > Goldfish > Bubble Eye Goldfish

Bubble Eye Goldfish

Water-Bubble Eye Goldfish

Family: Cyprinidae Bubble Eye Goldfish, Water-Bubble Eye Goldfish, Carassius auratusCarassius auratus auratusPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy David Brough
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Can bubble fish live with out there bubbles, I have one but we just recently noticed that it's bubbles are gone  Amanda McMillen

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 this goldfish begin to develop at an age of 6-9 months, leading to the name Water-Bubble Eye. 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.

Infamous bubbles of the Bubble Eye Goldfish
Infamous bubbles of the Bubble Eye!

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, so no fin on the top of its back. There is a variety bred in China however, that does have a dorsal fin. But 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.

Though the Bubble Eye Goldfish are widely available, 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

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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
  • Size of fish - inches: 5.0 inches (12.70 cm)
  • Minimum Tank Size: 10 gal (38 L)
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Aquarium Hardiness: Moderately Difficult
  • Temperature: 65.0 to 72.0° F (18.3 to 22.2° C)
  • Aquarist Experience Level: Intermediate
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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.

Mature Bubble Eye Goldfish
Mature Bubble Eye Goldfish

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.

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. They will generally reach about 5 inches (13 cm), though some hobbyist report their Bubble Eye's growing much larger. 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: 15 years - The average goldfish lifespan is 10 – 15 years, but they have been known to live 20 years of more when well maintained.

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: Moderately 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 a goldfish aquarium in a manner that will keep your fish happy and healthy is the first step to success. The shape and size of the aquarium is important and depends upon the number of goldfish you are going to keep. These fish need a lot of oxygen and 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 in turn helps to keep the tank clean and maintain the general health of the goldfish. However 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.

  • Tank parameters to consider when choosing a goldfish aquarium:
    • Tank size
      Ten gallons is the absolute minimum required to house a Bubble Eye Goldfish. 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..
    • Tank Shape
      Always provide the maximum amount of surface area. 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 example an elongated tank offers more surface area (and oxygen) than a tall tank. In an oval or round shaped tank the middle offers more surface area than filling it to the top.
    • Number of fish
      For juveniles a general rule of thumb is 1 inch of fish (2.54 cm) per 1 gallon of water. But this rule only applies 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 proper growth, either buy fewer fish than the maximum number or be prepared to get a larger tank. To prevent stunted growth and other health problems, don't overstocking the aquarium.

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).

Provide a gravel substrate to help create a natural and comfortable environment for your fish. 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.

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 in general, but it can help the Bubble Eye as these fish have such poor eyesight. It does makes the aquarium a nice show piece and is needed if you have live plants.

Goldfish are freshwater fish, but they have some tolerance for slightly brackish water. The salinity level for C. auratus must be kept low, below 10% with a specific gravity of less than 1.002.

  • Minimum Tank Size: 10 gal (38 L) - Ten gallons is the absolute minimum required to house this fish. It has high oxygen requirements, produces a lot of waste. It will have very stunted growth if it is kept in a smaller aquarium.
  • Suitable for Nano Tank: Sometimes
  • Substrate Type: Any - A medium sized gravel works best.
  • Lighting Needs: Moderate - normal lighting - Strong lighting will help this fish make the best of what little eyesight it has.
  • Temperature: 65.0 to 72.0° F (18.3 to 22.2° C) - Unlike the flat-bodied types of goldfish, Bubble Eye Goldfish cannot tolerate temperatures much below 60° F (16° C).
  • Range ph: 6.0-8.0
  • Hardness Range: 5 - 19 dGH
  • Brackish: Sometimes - The salinity for C. auratus must be kept below 10%, a specific gravity of less than 1.002.
  • Water Movement: Weak - This fish needs a gentle water flow, its rounded body and lack of a lack of a stabilizing dorsal fin make its swimming ability cumbersome.
  • Water Region: All - This fish will usually favor 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.

Bubble Eye Goldfish in a group
Bubble Eye Goldfish do well in a group!

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, any of the similarly handicapped varieties can make good companions. They also do well with their own kind.

  • 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


Amanda McMillen - 2014-09-27
Can bubble fish live with out there bubbles, I have one but we just recently noticed that it's bubbles are gone

  • Clarice Brough - 2014-09-29
    Yes they can live without them, often they will grow back after they've been damaged, but they are never the same as they were at the start.
Reply
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. :/
  • Dave - 2014-09-13
    Fish at the surface can indicate lack of oxygen. Especially if they seem to be 'gasping'.
Reply
Anonymous - 2014-03-11
Hello I have a bubble eye gold fish and one of the bubbles has popped completely. Is this something I should be concerned about, and the other one is deflating what should I do?

  • Jasmine Brough Hinesley - 2014-03-13
    He may be okay, but their bubbles are prone to infection and you may want to put some medication in the water to reduce the chance of infection setting into the deflated bubble. How is he doing now? I hope he is still thriving. Also make sure to do regular water changes because these fish need clean water!
Reply
katie middleton - 2013-11-03
Hi there, wondering if someone could help me. I woke up this morning and one of my bubble eyed gold fish has popped both of her eyes and one of which was stuck in the filter. I don't know what to do to prevent this from happening again. I've also seen on the internet that you shouldn't put stones in the same tank as some may be sharp and pop the eyes, but on this website in some pictures there are stones...can I put stones in with my bubble eyed gold fish or will that make theire eyes pop? My bubble eyed gold fish looks like it is in pain with her popped eye...I feel like I need to do something to help, I am just not sure what.

  • Clarice Brough - 2013-11-07
    I'm so sorry to hear about your goldfish and it's popped bubble eye. This does happen, usually from a sharp object in the tank or from the fish getting sucked up into the filter. You can treat with Melafix, it will help soothe the wound.and is a good deterrent for any type of infection (especially bacterial) that may try to take hold. The bubble will heal, but will never look quite the same. Rocks are fine in the aquarium as long as they are smooth, same with any ornaments. Putting a piece of nylon netting or sponge over the filter intake can also help. All the best to your fish!
Reply