The graceful Veiltail Goldfish is one of the most beautiful goldfish, with wispy long flowing fins that make it look like an angel!
The Veiltail Goldfish is one of the most gorgeous of the goldfish varieties, but it is also rather rare. The Veiltail is delicate, difficult to breed, and even more difficult to breed true. Instead of the long, slender body of the Common Goldfish or the Shubunkins, the Veiltail Goldfish has a more rounded or egg-shaped body. These fancy goldfish can have any of three scale types and can be acquired in a solid red or orange, variegated colors, or calico.
These show goldfish were developed in Philadelphia in the late 1800s but were derived from the Japanese Wakin, an elongated double-tailed goldfish. The current variety became known as the Philadelphia Veiltail Goldfish in the early 1900s. In Asia, they are also called 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 the Veiltail Goldfish’s dorsal fin is quite long and can grow to over 2 1/4 inches (6 cm).
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 not recommended for beginners.
Because of their very round shape, they have an extremely distorted swim bladder. The Veiltail’s swimming ability is encumbered by its rounded body, and its distorted swim bladder is subject to chill. Additionally, their long, delicate fins are also subject to injury and subsequent fungal and bacterial infections. These characteristics make the Veiltail a rather delicate goldfish.
Many of the elongated goldfish varieties like 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 tankmates 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
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Actinopterygii
- Order: Cypriniformes
- Family: Cyprinidae
- Genus: Carassius
- Species: auratus auratus
- 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)
- My Aquarium – Enter your aquarium to see if this fish is compatible!
Habitat: Distribution / Background
The goldfish of today are descendants of a species of wild carp 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 Carassius carassius described by Linnaeus in 1758. This fish has a wide range across the waters of the European continent, running west to east from England to Russia, north to Scandinavian countries in the Arctic Circle and as far south as the central France and the Black Sea. However, recent genetic research points to C. gibelio as a more likely ancestor.
Goldfish were originally developed in China. By the 1500s, goldfish were traded to Japan, arriving in Europe in the 1600s and America in the 1800s. The majority of the fancy goldfish were developed by Asian breeders. We can see the results of this centuries-long endeavor in the wonderful colors and shapes of goldfish today.
The Veiltail Goldfish was developed in Philadelphia in the late 1800s and was derived from the Japanese Wakin, an elongated, double-tailed goldfish. Today, domesticated goldfish are distributed world-wide, and the Veiltail is one of 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.
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, giving it an extremely distorted swim bladder. The Veiltail Goldfish can have any of three scale types: metallic, a solid reddish orange, nacreous or speckled, and matt (a whitish color). 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 the Veiltail’s dorsal is quite long and can grow to over 2 1/4 inches.
On good show Veiltails, 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 also have a double anal fin with complete separation. 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. Also, the delicate fins are 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, the Veiltail will not thrive with fast, competitive tankmates.
- Aquarium Hardiness: Moderately Difficult – This fish has delicate fins that are susceptible to infection, 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
These goldfish need a well-maintained tank to stay healthy. Minimum tank size is 10 gallons, so make sure water changes are frequent. Regular weekly water changes of 1/4 to 1/3 are 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 – Goldfish produce more waste than most other freshwater fish and benefit greatly from more frequent water changes.
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. A filtration system will remove much of the detritus, excess foods, and waste, which keeps the tank clean and maintains 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 minimizes the possibility that the goldfish will suffer 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. Oval or round tanks that are wide in the middle and narrower toward the top might be filled less than full to maximize the surface area.
- Number of fish
For juveniles a general rule of thumb is 1 inch of fish (2.54 cm) per 1 gallon of water. However, this rule only applies to young fish. Larger gold fish consume much more oxygen than young fish so maintaining this formula for growing fish will stunt them and could 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 overstock the aquarium.
- Tank size
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 goldfish will jump out. Lighting is not essential for goldfish, but does make the aquarium a nice showpiece and 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, and 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.
- Breeding Temperature: – Veiltail Goldfish will begin to spawn in the spring when water temperatures reach about 65° F (18° 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: Moderate
- Water Region: All – These fish will swim in all areas of the aquarium.
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 slow swimmers. They cannot readily compete for food with faster types of goldfish, so they may not fare well if housed with them, but they 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 tankmates 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
- Shrimps, Crabs, Snails: Safe – not aggressive
- Plants: Threat – Goldfish will eat many kinds of aquatic plants. In their constant search for food, they 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
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. For best fertilization, have a ratio of one female to two males. The only time Goldfish will spawn in the wild is when spring arrives. To spawn them in the aquarium, you will need to mimic the conditions found in nature.
Provide an aquarium that is at least 20 gallons and make sure the fish are healthy and disease free. Some breeders suggest you treat them for parasites. The tank will need a lush environment with solid surfaces for the spawning process and for the eggs to adhere to. Bushy, oxygenating plants, such as Anacharis, work well for this, though artificial plants or fibrous spawning mops can also be used.
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. Feeding lots of high protein foods during this time will help induce spawning. Feed small amounts three times a day, but don’t overfeed. Uneaten scraps will sink to the bottom and foul the water. Then further increase the temperature gradually to 65° F (18° C). Maintain the breeding tank with partial water changes of up to about 20% per day.
Before spawning, as the temperature increases, the male will chase the female around the aquarium in a non-aggressive way. This can go on for several days, and the fish will intensify in color. During the spawn, the fish will gyrate from side to side, and the male will push the female against the plants. This stimulates the female to drop tiny eggs which the male will then fertilize. The eggs will adhere by sticky threads to the plants or spawn mop. Spawning can last two or three hours and can produce up to 10,000 eggs.
At this point the parents will start to eat as many eggs as they can find. For this reason, it is best to remove the parents after spawning is complete. The fertilized eggs will hatch in 4 to 7 days, depending on the temperature. You can feed the newly hatched goldfish specialty fry foods until they become big enough to eat flake or brine shrimp, or you can offer the same food as you feed the parents as long as it is crushed very small. At first, the fry are a dark brown or black color in order to better hide and not be eaten by larger fish. They gain their adult color after several months and can be put in with larger fish once they reach about 1 inch long. See Breeding Freshwater Fish – Goldfish for more information on breeding Goldfish.
- Ease of Breeding: Moderate – This type of goldfish is a challenge to breed and difficult to breed true.
In properly maintained goldfish aquariums or ponds, goldfish illness is largely preventable. Even so, goldfish illnesses can occur, and if left untreated, may prove fatal. Goldfish are hardy, though, and if treated in a timely manner, most will make a full recovery.
When treating individuals, it is usually best to move the afflicted fish into a separate tank with no gravel or plants and do regular partial water changes. However, if the disease is apparent throughout the main tank, it may be best to do the treatments there. Whether treating in a hospital tank or your main tank, read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for any medication. Some medications can adversely affect the water quality by destroying beneficial bacteria. You may also need to remove the carbon from the filtration system, as carbon will absorb many medications, making the treatment ineffective.
Goldfish diseases are mostly the same as those that afflict other freshwater fish, and the symptoms and treatment of goldfish are also similar. The main types of fish diseases include bacterial infections, fungal infections, parasites, and protozoa. There are also other ailments caused by injury, poor nutrition, or bad water conditions.
One of the more common problems is Ich, which is a protozoan disease. Ich is easy to identify because your fish looks like it is sprinkled with salt. Though Ich is easily treated, like other protozoan diseases, it can be fatal if not caught quickly. Some other protozoan diseases are Costia, which causes a cloudiness of the skin, and Chilodonella, which will cause a blue-white cloudiness on the skin.
External parasites are fairly common, too, but pretty easy to treat and usually not fatal when treated. These include flukes, which are flatworms about 1 mm long with hooks around their mouths. They infest the gills or body of the fish. Another type of parasite is fish lice (Argulus), flattened, mite-like crustaceans about 5 mm long that attach themselves to the body of the goldfish. Lastly, anchor worms look like threads coming out of the fish.
Some bacterial infections include Dropsy, an infection in the kidneys that can be fatal if not treated quickly. Fish Tuberculosis is indicated by the fish becoming emaciated (having a hollow belly). For this illness, there is no absolute treatment, and it can be fatal. Tail/Fin Rot may also be bacterial, though the reduced tail or fins can be caused by a number of factors as well. There is also fungus, a fungal infection, and Black Spot or Black Ich, which is a parasitic infection.
Swim Bladder Disease is an ailment indicated by fish swimming in abnormal patterns and having difficulty maintaining their balance. This can be caused by a number of things: constipation, poor nutrition, a physical deformity, or a parasitic infection. Feeding frozen peas (defrosted) has been noted to help alleviate the symptoms and correct the problem in some cases.
Other miscellaneous ailments include Cloudy Eye, which can be caused by a variety of things ranging from poor nutrition, bad water quality, and rough handling. It can also be the result of other illnesses, such as bacterial infections. Constipation is indicated by a loss of appetite and swelling of the body, and the cause is almost always diet. Then there are wounds and ulcers. Wounds can become infected, creating ulcers. Wounds can develop either bacterial or fungal infections, or both, and must be treated. There are treatments for each of these diseases individually and treatments that handle both. For more in-depth information about goldfish diseases and illnesses, see Goldfish Care; Fancy Goldfish and Goldfish Diseases.
Veiltail Goldfish are fairly rare and usually cost a bit more than other fancy goldfish varieties.
- Animal-World References: Freshwater Fish and Plants
- David Alderton, Encyclopedia of Aquarium and Pond Fish , DK Publishing, Inc., 2005.
- Marshall E. Ostrow, Goldfish (Barron’s Complete Pet Owner’s Manuals), Barron’s Educational Series, Inc. 2003
- Geoff Rogers, Nick Fletcher, Focus on Freshwater Aquarium Fish, Firefly Books. 2004
- David Sands, Goldfish (Caring for Your Pet), Interpet Publishing, 1999