Veiltail Goldfish

Show Goldfish, Fancy Goldfish

Family: Cyprinidae Veiltail Goldfish, Show Goldfish, Fancy GoldfishCarassius auratus auratusPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy Bob
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Hello I have 2 young veiltails (about 6 cm) in a 18 L nano tank, it has an air pump and filtering by gravity (with activated carbon). Can I care for those fishes in... (more)  Jorge

The graceful Veiltail Goldfish is one of the most beautiful goldfish, wispy long flowing fins make it look like an Angel!

The Veiltail Goldfish is one of the most gorgeous of the goldfish varieties, but it is also one of the more rare. It is delicate and rather difficult to breed and even more difficult to breed true. Rather than having the long slender body of the Common Goldfish or the Shubunkins, the Veiltail Goldfish is one of the more rounded or egg-shaped fancy gold fish. They can have any of three scale types and so can be acquired in a solid red or orange, variegated colors, or calico.

These show goldfish were developed in Philadelphia in the late 1800's, derived from the Japanese Wakin, an elongated double-tailed goldfish. These became known as the Philadelphia Veiltail Goldfish in the early 1900's. Another name they are called by in Asia is the Feather-dressed Long Finned Man-yu.

Veiltail Goldfish are similar to the Fantail Goldfish but have a rounder body and extremely long delicate looking fins. Their double caudal (tail) fin and anal fins are well separated. Like the Fantail their dorsal fin is held erect, but on the Veiltail Goldfish it is quite long and can grow to over 2 1/4 inches (6 cm) long.

To have a Veiltail Goldfish is to have an aquarium graced with one of the most beautiful and impressive fish, but it is important to understand what this fish needs to keep it well. This goldfish has the ability to live at colder temperatures, but it is a rather delicate fish and is not recommended for beginners.

With their much rounder shape they have an extremely distorted swim bladder. Its swimming ability is cumbersome because of its rounded body, and its distorted swim bladder is subject to chill. The long delicate fins are also subject to injury and subsequent fungal and bacterial infections. These two characteristics lend to their being a rather delicate goldfish.

Many of the elongated goldfish varieties like the the Common Goldfish, Comet Goldfish, the Shubunkin, are not really good companions for the Veiltail because they are fast swimmers and too competitive during feeding time. Better tank mates would be the less hardy Celestial Eye Goldfish, Water-Bubble Eye Goldfish, Telescope Goldfish, and Lionhead Goldfish. It won't win any races, but if kept with other slow-moving varieties the Veiltail Goldfish should get plenty to eat and do well.

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

Geographic Distribution
Carassius auratus auratus
Data provided by
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Actinopterygii
  • Order: Cypriniformes
  • Family: Cyprinidae
  • Genus: Carassius
  • Species: auratus auratus
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Veiltail Goldfish - Quick Aquarium Care
  • Aquarist Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Size of fish - inches: 7.0 inches (17.78 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)
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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. 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. 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.

In the early 1500's these fish were exported first to Japan and then to Europe and were developed into the wonderful colors and forms of gold fish we see today. The Veiltail Goldfish was developed in Philadelphia in the late 1800's, derived from the Japanese Wakin, an elongated double-tailed goldfish. It is one of the more than 125 captive bred fancy gold fish varieties.

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


The Veiltail Goldfish is an egg-shaped variety of goldfish. This goldfish variety will generally reach about 6 - 7 inches (15 - 18 cm), though about 3 - 4 inches (7.5 - 10 cm) of that length is the tail. The average goldfish life span is 10 – 15 years, though living 20 years or more is not uncommon in well maintained goldfish aquariums and ponds.

The body is short and stubby, and the head is wide. Though it is similar to the Fantail Goldfish, its body is rounder making for an extremely distorted swim bladder. The Veiltail Goldfish can have any of three scale types: metallic, a solid reddish orange, nacreous which is speckled, and matt which is a whitish color. So these goldfish can be acquired in a solid red or orange, variegated colors, or calico.

The main features of this fish are its long delicate looking fins. Their double caudal (tail) fin and anal fins are well separated. Like the Fantail their dorsal fin is held erect, but on the Veiltail Goldfish it is quite long and can grow to over 2 1/4 inches. They can have any of three scale types

On good show goldfish the tail fin is completely split with the two lobes being much closer together on top than on the bottom, making it look triangular when viewed from the back. Good show specimens will have a double anal fin with complete separation as well. The tail fin on poor show specimens is not completely split along the top.

  • Size of fish - inches: 7.0 inches (17.78 cm) - On average it will be about 6 - 7 inches (15 - 18 cm) in length, but 3 - 4 inches (7.5 - 10 cm) of that is the tail.
  • 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

The Veiltail Goldfish are not considered a good beginner fish. Though they have the ability to live at colder temperatures, their distorted swim bladder is subject to chill. The delicate fins are also subject to injury and subsequent fungal and bacterial infections.

Many people will keep goldfish in an aquarium with no heater or filtration, but for the best success provide them the same filtration, especially biological filtration, that other aquarium residents enjoy. When it comes to feeding, they will not thrive well with fast competitive tank mates.

  • Aquarium Hardiness: Moderately Difficult - This fish is susceptible to infection of its delicate fins, is a poor swimmer, and is generally not very hardy.
  • Aquarist Experience Level: Intermediate

Foods and Feeding

Since they are omnivorous, the Veiltail 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 Veiltail 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.

  • Diet Type: Omnivore
  • Flake Food: Yes
  • 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

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 goldfish aquarium is important and depends upon the number of fish 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.

  • Tank parameters to consider when choosing a goldfish aquarium:
    • Tank size
      Ten gallons is the absolute minimum required to house a Veiltail 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. Prevent stunted growth and other health problems by not overstocking the aquarium.

Goldfish are a cold water fish and will do best at temperatures between 65 - 72° F (18°- 22° C). The Veiltail Goldfish can tolerate temperatures a few degrees above freezing, as long as the cooling drops only a few degrees a day. Keep in mind that their swim bladder is sensitive to being chilled and a quick temperature drop can kill them, so if you live in a very cold climate a heater is advisable.

Provide a gravel substrate to help create a natural and comfortable environment for your fish. You can add some decor, but 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, but does make the aquarium a nice show piece and lighting will help 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
  • Temperature: 65.0 to 72.0° F (18.3 to 22.2° C) - Goldfish can tolerate colder temperatures, but this is the optimum range for activity and longevity in Goldfish.
  • 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: Moderate
  • Water Region: All - These fish will swim in all areas of the aquarium.

Social Behaviors

Goldfish are very social animals and thrive in a community. Not only are they a great community fish but they are great scavengers as well. The Veiltail Goldfish, along with many other egg-shaped goldfish like the the Bubble Eye Goldfish, Telescope Goldfish, Celestial Goldfish, and Lionhead Goldfish are all slow swimmers. They cannot readily compete for food with other types of goldfish so should may not fare well if housed with them, but they will do well housed together.

Most fancy goldfish will thrive in both freshwater and tropical aquariums as long as there are no aggressive or territorial fish in the tank. Some good tank mates for fancy goldfish are the Chinese Blue Bitterling and the Northern Redbelly Dace. It is really not necessary to add other scavengers or other bottom feeders to the aquarium when you have goldfish.

  • Venomous: No
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Compatible with:
    • Same species - conspecifics: Yes
    • Peaceful fish (): Safe
    • Semi-Aggressive (): Threat
    • Aggressive (): Threat
    • Slow Swimmers & Eaters (): Monitor
    • 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

Although is it impossible to sex Goldfish when they are young and not in breeding season, the male is usually smaller and more slender that the female. In the breeding season the male has white prickles, called breeding tubercles, on its gill covers and head. Seen from above the female will have a fatter appearance as she is carrying eggs.

Breeding / Reproduction

Veiltail Goldfish are egg layers that spawn in the right conditions. However they are difficult to breed, and especially difficult to breed true to type. They need to be kept in cold water during the winter, and then gradually increase the temperature in about March to 50° F (10° C) to bring them into breeding condition. At this point clean their environment and give them good quality goldfish flake food along with frozen brine shrimp and bloodworms. Some breeders suggest you treat them for parasites. Then further increase the temperature gradually to 65° F (18° C). For best fertilization, have a ratio of one female to two males. See Breeding Freshwater Fish - Goldfish for more information on breeding Goldfish.

  • Ease of Breeding: Easy

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.


The Veiltail Goldfish are fairly rare and they are usually a bit more costly than most fancy types of goldfish.


Author: Clarice Brough CFS
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Lastest Animal Stories on Veiltail Goldfish

Jorge - 2013-01-21
Hello I have 2 young veiltails (about 6 cm) in a 18 L nano tank, it has an air pump and filtering by gravity (with activated carbon). Can I care for those fishes in that tank? Thanks!

  • Jasmine Brough Hinesley - 2013-01-22
    Two of these fish should be fine in an 18 Liter Nano Tank. The general rule is for every inch of fish you should have 1 gallon of water. These guys usually only get to be a little over 2 inches when full grown and so that tank should be just large enough to accomodate their full grown size. I wouldn't add anymore fish though.
  • JustMe - 2014-07-26
    Two fish of this type need at least 151L as they can grow 6 inches each and are huge waste producers.
Lori B - 2013-06-15
Our family runs a catfish paylake. Today the oddest thing happened. Someone caught a beautiful veiltail goldfish. It weight approx 1 to 1 1/2 lbs. It is white and orange. We have no clue how it got there unless someone may have tried to use it for catfish bait or someone may have had it and decided they didn't want it anymore and released it into our pond. We need to find it a good home. Does anyone have any idea how much this fish may be worth? We know nothing about it! Thanks for your time and any input will be greatly appreciated!

  • Clarice Brough - 2013-06-15
    What an interesting additon to your lake, but yeah, it probably was introduced. Goldfish are pretty adaptable in terms of temperature and water conditions, so can live in a wide range of environments. It will take someone with a large aquarium or a pond to house this fish, as they are dirty fish, putting a pretty heavy bio-load into a system. Still you can probably find someone to take it or buy it, or possibly a pet store.  Price is hard to say as these fish don't cost a lot. Usually they are small to medium in size  when sold, ranging from $3 - 10.
  • Anonymous - 2013-10-25
    Veiltail goldfish are very hard to come by. Most are sold at about 3' and range in price from $40 to $80 depending on specific type and the right buyer. If it happens to be an all white without the ryukin shape or telescope eyes please let me take it off your hands.
Jennie - 2012-04-06
Today I gentleman gave me his 10 year veil tail goldfish. It is the most stunning fish I have ever seen and I feel very privileged to have it. It takes pride of place in my family room to sit and admire.

  • Charlie Roche - 2012-04-06
    Hey congratulations - glad for you...........
cheyenne - 2011-07-07
I got my veiltailed goldy entirely by mistake! I was at petsmart looking for some more ryukins to put into my tank. I came across this little tiny baby that could not have been more than 3 months old that had ich. I felt so bad for the little guy, all alone in a tank full of older, bigger ruykins and telescopes. I asked if I could get him for $3 since he was little and had ich. They agreed at $3 and I took him home. With some molly buddies in a 55 gal. tank, it took about 5 days to get rid of the ich. It took another 6 months until I compared his fins with my ryukins fins and gasped, realizing that he was indeed a veiltailed goldfish with perfect fins and a very pronounced hump behind his head. He was probably the last baby of the older fish in the tank at petsmart. He is still alive and weighs a hefty 1 lb. He has produced many little hims that are as happy and healthy as he is:] He is only about 4 years old, with plenty of food and females, somtimes I wish I were him. . . with plenty of males of course.

  • Charlie Roche - 2011-07-07
    With that luck - will you come with me when I buy the next lottery ticket. Great.