Fantail goldfish

Fantail goldfish

The Fantail is the most robust of all the twin-tailed goldfish. Indeed, despite its high dorsal fin and flamboyant caudal (tail) fin, the Fantail Goldfish has no problem swimming at at all, even in moderate currents.

As you watch these fish moving about your dealer’s tanks, you’ll soon appreciate how the Fantail Goldfish got its name. From behind, its tail really does look like a fan. The tail should be evenly divided and proudly held. The body of the Fantail should be short, almost egg-like, rather than elongated like the body of the Comet Goldfish. With good care, they typically grow to about six inches long.

Fantail goldfish come in a great many colours; a mottled mix of orange, white, black, silver and gold are most common in the shops. Pure metallic red Fantails are popular, too, as are the more blue-black calico variety.

Fantail Goldfish tips:

  • You want to choose bright and alert specimens. No drooping fins or tail.
  • Some shops sell Fantails with very long fins, but enthusiasts prefer a more balanced fish.
  • Fantails are the hardiest twin-tailed goldfish, and can live outside all year in ponds.
  • If over-wintering outdoors, ensure the pond has a deep area to provide protection from freezing conditions.
  • Fantail goldfish are sociable fish, so please keep them in shoals of at least three specimens.

Fantails can live for well over a decade in good conditions, so it makes sense to choose carefully before you buy your new pets.

Click here to learn more goldfish secrets!

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67 Responses to “Fantail goldfish”

  1. Hey, my first fancy goldfish was a fantail too. I’ve still got a soft spot for them, though I’m more a ranchu man nowadays. (I know. Weirdo!)

  2. One of my fantails started out all orange and then turned white except for the top of his head. He got too big (over 8 inches) for my 35 gal tank after a few years so now he has retired to the 1/4 acre pond. He lives with about 40 rainbow trout. Another one I had like him lived in a 10 gal tank for ten years.

  3. Hi.
    I have three beautiful Fantails in one of my many tanks and they are my pride and joy, it is so good to meet people who care about these fantastic creatures

  4. I think fantails are very pretty how do i tell if i have a male or female

  5. How big do fantails get?

  6. Somebody help!!!
    My fantail just decided to swim on its side. What can I do and prevent this from happening?

  7. @Jackie - The maximum size a fantail is likely to grow to is around 6″ (15cm) in optimum conditions. In a normal-sized aquarium it’ll probably grow to around 4″.

    Sexing is virtually impossible when the fish are young.

    When they’re fully mature, there are some things you can look for.

    In the breeding season male goldfish will develop white pimples on their gill covers and on their pectoral fins (called tubercles). They are hard to spot and look a little bit like disease if you’ve not seen them before.

    Female goldfish get a bit fuller, as they plump up with eggs.

    You can also look out for changes in behaviour, such as males chasing females to try to spawn with them.

    It’s not easy, but hope this helps! :)

  8. @Boxer - has it been swimming like that for a long time? It sounds like a swim bladder problem if so.

    You can read this guest post I wrote on AquaDaily for more information on weird floating in goldfish:

  9. Hi!
    Ihave two very pretty, orange goldfish… though one has white on it’s stomach. There names are Chesseball *the small one with white* and Sandra Lee. Sandra Lee is three And chesse is 2 months old. There my life and I love them.

    Owen I have a question,
    Sandra is really long and fatish skinyish. Is that proper? For Chesseball He’s the same but small and young. Is that also proper?

  10. We have 13 beautiful fantail goldfish in a pond - from 6-10″ long. Ten are orange/red, and 3 multi colored (white and red). We were told to thin them, but we don’t know how to sell some of them. They are beautiful and healthy, and will grow bigger if we have fewer.

  11. iv got 3 fantials in a 20 gallon tank iv got another 27 gallon tank iv had them about 1,3 yrs how do i now when ther mature ther about 5cm , then 7cm and the other is about 8cm.
    should i put it in the other tank iv got 4 other goldfish in ther?
    iv had if they spawn should i take them out after?
    how long before they hatch?

  12. Hi
    Can someone help! we are very worried about our new fancy fishies…Kalu and Moto!

    We bought them two days ago and they dont seem to be getting on in the tank that we have. Moto, The Red and White Fantail keeps chasing and trying to bite the black Ranchu!

    We are very concearned that they are not compatible, however, they look amazing together! Should we seperate them?

    Secondly, Moto keeps coming to the surface to blow bubbles and gasp for air! Is she ok? we have a medium size glass fish bowl (with 10 litres of water) and also have a plant in there that we bought along with the fish for oxygen. We are really worried that the fantail is going to attack the ranchu and we are going to wake up to find ranchu dead!


  13. hello everyone,ive had my fantail (which i named fanta)for about 1/2 a year.he/she is extremely healthy and is 4in long.then just before christmas i got a very big regular goldfish(named mango)who is about 6in long…i had two minnos also.but mango decided to eat one.the aquarium is 5 gallons with a few decorations with river rocks as the gravel.i am planning on getting a larger aquarium.Any suggestions?? now i have three questions->
    1)how do i sex them?
    2)is this a proper environment?
    3)and are all of these fish suitable with eachother?
    thanx for ure help.

  14. my fish are finally recognising me.wen i got home and went to feed them they swam to the top and were freaking out.(thinking that they were gonna eat.which they did)

  15. Quote Sonia:

    Can someone help! we are very worried about our new fancy fishies…Kalu and Moto!

    We bought them two days ago and they dont seem to be getting on in the tank that we have. Moto, The Red and White Fantail keeps chasing and trying to bite the black Ranchu!

    We are very concearned that they are not compatible, however, they look amazing together! Should we seperate them?

    Secondly, Moto keeps coming to the surface to blow bubbles and gasp for air! Is she ok? we have a medium size glass fish bowl (with 10 litres of water) and also have a plant in there that we bought along with the fish for oxygen. We are really worried that the fantail is going to attack the ranchu and we are going to wake up to find ranchu dead!

    End Quote

    I don’t know too much about how these fish get along together but gasping for air at the top of the tank (for extended periods of time) usually is because of too much ammonia in the tank…

    this plagues goldfish in smaller containers because these fish crate more waste than other fish of a similar size. For this reason most experienced aquarists reccomend at least 10 gallons for any goldfish container and some kind of oxygen (a $10 air pump with an airstone should suffice) and or filtration is a good idea.

    If you for some reason can’t get a larger container try changing the water often, remove chhlorine, and let water stand before putting fish in.

  16. how can i tell my fantail’s age?

  17. I have had goldfish for about 4 years without any problem but all of a sudden every thing a gone a mess. I had a white pond goldfish(not sure what kind) Snow flake for about 3 years and she just died about 6 months ago. I had had her from about 1/2 inch until 3 inches long. she had a little friend that my husband killed,so we got her another friend, Bubbles, Sadly to say we lost snow flake about a year after that.but the Bubbles was doing fine.these past 6 months she has lived alone and has done fine until about 2 months ago. she started to act very strange not eating, was not interseted in chasing my finger on the outside of the tank, kinda sad. so we got her a friend, Nemo, a fantail. for about a month they had no problems, Bubbles seemed to chirp back up and was herself. then Bubbles started to stop moving her fins and get red streakes around the mouth and scales. soon we lost her at about year and 1 1/2 and from 1 1/2 inches to 4inches. we were sad so we got another fantail,Fish to replays Bubbles for the kids. but Fish died only a week after. Now Nemo is starting to get the samething. I have looked this problem up and found that the amonia (cant spell) levels are high but if anyone has any helpful suggestions on tbhis matter please help us.

    thank you

  18. HELP !! I got 2 lovely fantails yesterday ( Orange & White and Black 7 Gold) Their names are Mario And Luigi but after about 2 hours of being in their new tank luigi started to act strange e.g lying on the bottom of the tank. I went to bed and when I woke up he was upside down and after observing him for ages he seems not to be able to control his body (he cant turn over or move where he wants) Now Mario is lying at the bottom but is movement is fine and he will move every so often toward the reef in the tank. Luigi got stuck under the bridge today too :( I have done some reasearch and it sounds like swim bladder desise i gave him a frozen pea but he is not better. He can turn round now but almost instanly floats rond and sinks and he cannot get to feed :O I set up my tank the day I got them, I added Tap water crystals to stop dirty water harming them, I kept them in the bag they came in and put them in the water for 15 mins before releasing them out the bag, I have a filter, Gravel and a plant (fake Plastic 1) Theyare lying at the bottom right corner of the tank now together and lugi is on his back but Mario canmove if he needs to. These is my first Fish and I’m really looking foward to caring for them. I HOPE THEY DON’T DIE
    If they do *tears* Do you recomend common Goldfish as I have had a bad experience ( Please note: The man in the pet shop helped me pick them and said they looknice and healthy how about them and I agreed as they has shiney scales and there fins and stuff where up right and the generly looked well darting about the tank. ) I got them home put them in the tank and they wre happy playing with their new filter ( the swan up to it and it pushed them down like a shout) they done this 2 times each then the swan around the plant a few times and finally swam happily about their new tank, I was delighted The man at the pet shop said not to feed them that day as he had already done it. I was really looking foward to a long happy relationship with the boys (the pet shop guy identified they were boys) Please tell me waht i have done wrong and give me some tips Contact me on or if you have MSN THANKS :) If you want i can film the fish put it on youtube and give you the link

  19. Hey its me again!
    and after 1/2 a year saving for a tank, I finally got one!
    its 40 gallons, gravel, decorations, plants, and 2 bio wheel filters/pumps =D My fish have grown, I still have the fantail fanta and the other regular goldfish Mango, and a few others that were wounded and I rescued. They all get along great and are very active!But sadly fantas tail was damaged because i caught two bluegills in with them and i guess my fish were on the menue, I removed them from my tank and fanta is healing now.
    but i noticed fanta and mango have been inhaling the gravel in the aquarium, but spitting it back out. Are they simply cleaning them or are they slowly piling up in their tummys?
    should I be concerned? Email me at->
    thank you!!

  20. I got 2 fantail goldfish today, they are small (only about 1 inch not including the tail.) I have a 10 gallon tank and ran the filter for 2 days before I got them, the water temperature is fine, all the levels are fine, the waterfall from the filter is supposed to put oxygen in the water. I floated the bag for 15 minutes before releasing them into the water trying to keep as little of the bag water as possible from entering the tank. Six hours later one was dead. :( I took him back to the pet store and some water. They tested the water and all the levels were fine! They gave me a new fish and he is pretty active. Only now the second fish is laying lazily on the bottom of the tank. The guy at the pet store assures me I did everything right. What’s going on??? Did they just give me sick fish? Or is there something I am missing??

  21. Hi
    I have 2 fan tail goldfish, i have had them for about 3 years. One of them is silver/orangy in colour but i have suddenly noticed that his(or her) tail is going orange - it this right? is it just him/her getting older?

    Anyone have any ideas?
    many thanks

  22. sorry i forgot to say his/her tail has always been silvery…

  23. Hi there. I bought my son a fantail about a year ago. Its seems like over night he/she tripled, if not more, in size??? How big is this thing gonna get. All I have is the 20 dollar walmart size tank its been in for a year…..

  24. @keri:: It will probably get to be about 5-8 in.

  25. @keri:: It will probably grow 5-8 in. you might want to get a bigger tank.

  26. my God, i thought you were going to chip in with some decisive insght in the end there, not leave it
    with ‘we leave it to you to decide’.

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  28. I actually surely need to think far more in that way and find out what i can do about that.

  29. I bought two baby female fan-tail, that are now a few years old They are very healthy! They have always been in a very big
    fish bowl. My secret is…I keep the water very clean! Add the water conditioner (for goldfish)and change a few cups of water apox. every 8hrs. Feed twice a day. The quiet water is perfect.
    I have aquariums all my life. The gold fish get thrashed around and die. They are my favorite. No more hastle with aquariums.
    Goldfish are rugged and do well in a cooler climate like N.Y. Don

  30. I just got two telescope eye goldfish. I’m feeding them goldfish pellets but they won’t eat. Is it that they can’t see the food? Or is it normal for new fish not to eat right away?

  31. Hi, this may come across as a stupid but can Fantail goldfish be aggressive? i started off my tank with 2 normal goldfish they were fine and about 2 weeks later i decided to buy a new fish and i bought a very beautiful fantail goldfish i then put them into the tank. they were fine for about a week and then all of a sudden my two original goldfish died? so i went to the pet store and they said it was probably my water but the fantail is still alive and well. soo i waited about 2 weeks and decided to buy a new goldfish i put the new one in and overnight the fish died? ive tried this another 2 times to the same result the new fish are always dying but the fantail is still alive and well..

  32. […] Fantail goldfish Mar 10, 2008 … We have 13 beautiful fantail goldfish in a pond – from 6-10″ long. Ten are orange/red, and 3 multi … […]

  33. I purchased 3 fantail goldfish yesturday. This morning I noticed that one (Fuzz) was bullying one of the other ones (Fifi). Fuzz ended up killing Fifi. I removed Fuzz from the tank so he wouldn’t go after the other fish. Would it be safe to reintroduce Fuzz to the tank?

  34. No Fantail fish gold fish are omnivorous! they will eat other fish if not careful!! i put my fantail in my tank with my butterfly koi and i love him! they like to chase each other and its so much fun to watch i have 42′ flat screen tv i haven’t turned on since i got him, hope he doesnt end up like the lady’s fish i read about that lie on there back and have no movement! My little sister named my fish Fruit Slice cause half his body is White and the Other half is a BRIGHT beautiful almost Neon orange(:

  35. I am doing a science fair project and I trained my fantail goldfish how to swim through a hoop and many other trick! It’s amazing how they learn with a little food and some patience. Can someone please tell me how I can breed my fantail goldfish?

  36. I have two new fantails - about 4 1/2in from nose to tail. I think I have accidently gotten a mail and a female - one has a rather flat body while the other has a fatter “tummy” which I read are descriptions of a male and female. Also the flat body that I assume is the male is always chasing the other one with his nose right in her back end (hope this is not too much info) Is this a sign that he’s a male, chasing her like this. I do NOT want babies as I only want the two I have (plus I have a Pleco). Also, just a question - is it normal for fantails to have shiny scales on their bodies? Does not look like Ick. Any info - much appreciated

  37. HI,
    I just bought a single orange fantailed goldfish and from what ive been reading i’ve was completely miss informed by the sales individual at the pet store. I live in a dorm and the sales man told me my fish would be fine in this small bowl at room tempature. What changes do I need to make to it’s living enviornment so that it is suitable for my poor fishy.
    Thank you!

  38. I had 2 fantail babies! They where born from one of my fishes when I got then from PJ’s Pet Express but it happened on Friday I got them on Sunday but then till Friday they where born!

  39. Every time I get goldfish they never eat. My dad said they usually test the things in there aquarium before the eat the meal.

  40. I only have two fantails, is that ok? A white one with black and orange spots is small and named “Rudolph.” The other one is orange with black spots and a white stripe, it is named “Stripe.” Are they boys, girls, or is one a boy and one a girl?? Please help. I would like to know. Thank you!

  41. So I have what I think is a male fan-tailed goldfish. He eats fine and is doing well. I have a few questions though:
    1) He was orange and white but the orange had disappeared in a matter of weeks and he is now completely white, should I be concerned about it, or is it just a thing that happens naturally?
    2) I used to have another fan-tailed gold fish, it was just as perky as the one I have now, but it suddenly died in a matter of months. Four months later, we decided to get some Black Mores because we have had them and fan-tails before and they have lasted for at least 3 years+ . But those also died in a matter of weeks of getting them. We have bought the different fish at different places. Now I only have one fish left from the 4 we bought. My question is, is the surviving fish just stronger than the others, or is it my tank, or is it the surviving fish bullying the other fish?

    I only have one fish now, and I want to get more. Should I think of getting more fish?

    Thanks, Joanna.

  42. Hi Joanna, how big is your tank? Do you put anti-chlorine and aquarium salts inside the tank? Aside from adding the two above, I also add Methyline Blue to prevent sickness everytime I change water. Also remember to store old water for changing tank. Don’t use the water straight from the tap. When u introduce new goldfish in your tank, better separate the new fish inside the tank by putting a net container inside the tank. Let the new and old fish familiar to each other at least one week before putting them together. You can occassionally put them together for few minutes only during the feeding time to let them get to know each other better. My two old oranda goldfish is almost 2 yrs by next year of March. And my new oranda goldfish will be one yr this Dec. 23. I did that procedure like what I mentioned above and they never fight. They are still in very healthy condition now.

  43. We have a fantail that my one year old recieved at a birthday party. We originally had a bowl but after a year we switched to a bigger aquarium. We take good care of her and my son is now 8.

  44. Hi i bought an Oranda fantail (Anastaca) about 4 months ago and added another Oranda lionhead, (ariel)(bigger than the fantail) in a week later from buying the first fish, over the last couple of weeks the Lionhead one keeps nudging and chasing the fantail fish, is the lionhead bullying the other fish?? The fantail’s tail isn’t looking like it should and not flowy -splitting (if you know what i mean), is it ok? I took advice from the shop i bought them from and was told to change my tank from a 14L to 28 L so they both have more room. But is still doing it.

    Please help i’m worried about my fantail fish.

  45. you should be worried its not a good sign

  46. my fantail is moaping around the tank his tail is splitting after 3years what is wrong ?

  47. I have two fantail goldfish and a new baby oranda along with one carp two tench and two comet goldfish.I have the fantails in a 25-35ish gallon tank and I was wondering if I would be ok to put my(tiny)oranda in with them along with a couple more.My fantails are very small though(about 2 inches)and they are fully grown I think.I bought one as a fully grown adult and the other I bought about 7 years ago as a tiny baby.She stopped growing about 4years ago and I was wondering why they are both so small.The one I bought as a baby lived with about 5 other fish in a very large tank so I was wondering if the amount of fish might have prevented her growth.

  48. i buy a new fish tank(first time and i know nothing about fishes)..i put gravel,a air pump,filter,plastic stones and plants……….i had 2 goldfish and 2 in black colour small in size and a tank of 1 foot(not sure)..but after 3 days black coloured died so i bring 2 red cap …but now they all are sick having fungus(white spots on tail)and lying on the bottom of tank in a corner.. i used many things to cure them like anti rid,salt,change water,warm the water with heater..but nothing is happening..i love them a lot and dont want to lose them plz tell me something..{my mail id on gmail is ajaysaini485

  49. my fishes are lying on the bottom of tank and are not floating and come up only to eat..actually it is first time i pet fishes i started few days ago with 4 fishes-2 goldfish and 2 similiar like gold fish but in blackcolour ..but after three days my black fishes died then i bought 2 redcap (small) but now they all are getting white spots and 1 goldfish even get black spots on body ..i think due to ammonia level..i tried many thinks like warm the water with heater,give anti rid,salt ,even change the water..but nothing happen i m worried about them and don’t want to lose them..tell me something what i should do..

  50. Hello, I have just gotten a fantail goldfish and it seems that ALL of its fins including the tail fin are gone because 3 of my goldfish nibbled the off (but there are some peices of the fins left on the fantail goldfish). The fantail goldfish can’t swim or float correctly. What should I do?!!!!

  51. Hello, my name is Charlotte. 5years ago my husband went to the Middle East I bought 15 little gold fish and put them in my pond to control bugs, there were no other fish in it when we bought the house because the pond was dry. Now 5 years later the pond has gotten very low and we took the fish out, they are overy 12in long and beautiful. I have now made a 600gallon pond with a liner. Two of them look very fat in the tummy area. When do they spawn and what will I need to have in the pond for them to hatch the eggs on? I am lost never had gold fish( or monster fish as my son and husband call them) my e-mail is if you can help me. Thank You

  52. Hey, I have two fantail goldfish and they wont stop sucking the air from the opening at the top of the bowl ,why are they doing this and is it dangeris for them to do that?

  53. It is not a good idea any sort of goldfish in a bowl and they are doing that because there is not enough oxygen in the bowl.

  54. I have 3 fancy goldfish, a fantail, a ranchu and a lion head. They are in a 75 gallon tank, with 2 aerators, 2 205 fluval filters.they are fed chopped lettuce, shrimp pellets, freeze dried meal worms, dandelions (in the summer), pond pellets, cichlid pellets, flake (very rarely gums up the filters), algea wafers, etc…I mix it up. the fantail is about 11 inches from tail to mouth, the ranchu is about 4 inches and the lion head about 6 inches. I change 1/3rd of their water every 2 weeks and also add one tablespoon of aquarium salt per 5 gallons. they are thriving.

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  57. Howdy! This post couldn’t be wrirten any better!
    Looking through this post reminds me of my previous roommate!

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  58. I keep 3 fantails and some golden White Cloud Mt minnows in a 40gal tub in the courtyard for the summer months. We leave for the 6 Colorado winter months and so far a friend has taken them to her house. If I move the tub to an inside basement location by a sliding door, (house temperature is set for 55) will they be content to “sleep” through the winter
    in this tub (air hose/stone in place)? We do have a koi pond where we winter the koi with no problem but it is not netted over and I have some concern about neighborhood cats and coons fishing in the shallows.

  59. I am confused as to what happened to my orange and white fantail goldfish I Miss Piggy. A couple of days ago I woke up and turned on the tank light and she was dead. She was pure white when the day before she looked like her normal orange and white self. Only symptom I can think of is she seemed to be laying in the bottom corner a little more than normally. Has anyone heard of a fishe turning ghostly white and dying overnight like that?

  60. My Fantail is not eating. But mostly lieying on the ground ocasionaly swiming around. His little friend Comet, passed away recently because her mouth was to small and couldn’t eat so she starved. We think it was mouth rot.But we don’t want Bubbles to die to. Is there a cure?

  61. Most of you have tapped into how much fun it is to have goldfish. I strongly recommend visiting and also watch her you tube videos by the same name. I learned so much from her.

  62. I just got 3 fish a black moor, cali fantail and gold fantail i have them in a 10 gal tank I wasnt told that i needed a bigger tank. Will they be ok for a year or so in this tank?

  63. I’ve had some devastating experiences with my fancy tailed goldfish. They started dying radically over the last 3 months. I’ve had them for at least 3 to 4 years. Either in the pond or an 75 gal aquarium. One day they would be swimming around healthy and full of energy. Then I would find one floating on the top. I clean the tank regularly and have good carbon/filter system. I cleaned the tank with a water vacuum with about 40 gals still in the tank. Refilled it with fresh water. I live in Arizona, so the water is hard but still runs through city resevoirs. The ones in the pond also started dying. I keep the temp at best abt 75 deg. Especially when it’s so hot here (3 digits) I have them shaded over the pond. 3ft deep and 6 ft long. Also have large pond filter. I do miss cleaning it sometimes, but the water is circulated and has water fall also. They weren’t sick. They just died. I read that also you can’t mix koi fish with gold fish. Is this true?

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  66. Hi! Can i keep my fantail goldfish in a pond during the winter? Temeratures here tend to be low, but i have 500 gallon pond, 35 inches deep. Thanks in advance

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