15 Best Smallest Goldfish Breeds

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Goldfish are a classic fish that any fishkeeper should consider adding to their tank. While there are many different types of goldfish, some breeds come in a smaller variety that’s more suitable for home aquariums.

This blog post will introduce you to the best small goldfish breeds and give you everything you need to know about keeping them healthy and happy.

Small Goldfish

So, if you’re thinking about getting a goldfish, be sure to read on!

15 Best Small Goldfish Breeds

So, what type of goldfish is the smallest? Here are 15 of the best small goldfish breeds that you can get for your aquarium today.

Goldfish Breed Typical Adult Size
Bubble Eye 3-4 inches
Veiltail 4-7 inches
Pompom 4-6 inches
Eggfish 4-7 inches
Celestial 5 inches
Butterfly 5-8 inches
Ranchu 5-8 inches
Imperial 5-9 inches
Telescope 5-8 inches
Lionhead 6 inches
Redcap Oranda 6-7 inches
Pearlscale 6-8 inches
Tosakin 6-8 inches
Jikin 7-9 inches
Izumo Nankin 7-9 inches

1. Bubble Eye Goldfish

Bubble Eye Goldfish
Source: @kingkoigoldfish
  • Typical adult size: 3-4 inches
  • Minimum tank size: 20 gallons
  • Number in one tank: 2-3 fish per 20 gallons
  • Suitable for pond living: No

The Bubble Eye goldfish is one of the unique small goldfish breeds that you will find.

As you can probably tell from its name, this fish has large, fluid-filled sacs beneath its eyes. These fluids are hypothesized to be stimulants for cell growth.

The eye sacs are delicate and can easily be ruptured if the fish is mishandled. Due to this, Bubble Eye goldfish should be kept in tanks with fine-grained substrates and no hard or sharp decorations that can accidentally pop their sacs.

Additionally, Bubble Eye goldfish have poor eyesight, which means they’re not very good at swimming or competing for food. Make sure their tankmates are peaceful or slow-swimming to prevent them from getting bullied.

2. Veiltail Goldfish

Veiltail Goldfish
Source: @shrimpworldnl
  • Typical adult size: 4-inch body, 3-inch fins
  • Minimum tank size: 20 gallons
  • Number in one tank: 1- 2 fish per 20 gallons
  • Suitable for pond living: No

The Veiltail Goldfish is one of the most popular small goldfish breeds due to its long and flowing fins.

This fish is a beautiful addition to any tank, but it’s important to remember that those fins come with a price.

Because they’re so long and delicate, Veiltail goldfish are very susceptible to fin rot and other infections. Make sure you have a good filtration system in place and do regular water changes to keep the tank clean.

Additionally, their long fins mean they’re not the best swimmers. They may have trouble competing for food, so it’s important to feed them small meals several times a day instead of one large feeding. Don’t keep them with fast-swimming and active tankmates, as they will quickly outcompete the Veiltail for food.

3. Pompom Goldfish

Pompom Goldfish
Source: @kingkoigoldfish
  • Typical adult size: 4-6 inches
  • Minimum tank size: 20 gallons
  • Number in one tank: 2-3 fish per 20 gallons
  • Suitable for pond living: No

The Pompom Goldfish is a small, round goldfish with fins that are shorter and less flowy than other breeds.

Their real name is actually Pompon, but they’re more commonly known as Pompoms because the bumps on their head, called nuchal humps, resemble the pom-poms on a cheerleader’s uniform.

Although they’re not as fragile as Bubble Eye goldfish, their bumps do make it harder to navigate around the tank. Make sure there are no sharp decorations or objects that they can bump into and injure themselves on.

One thing to keep in mind with Pompoms is that they’re very social creatures. They do best when kept in small groups, so you should have enough space for at least 2-3 fish.

4. Eggfish Goldfish

Eggfish Goldfish
Source: @aquarist_bucky
  • Typical adult size: 4-7 inches
  • Minimum tank size: 20 gallons
  • Number in one tank: 2-3 fish per 20 gallons
  • Suitable for pond living: No

The Eggfish Goldfish is a small goldfish breed with an oblong-shaped body that is similar to the shape of an egg.

Also known as Maruko in Japan, these goldfish were originally bred from Fantails. Their unique trait is that they don’t have a dorsal fin, so the top of their bodies is very smooth.

They’re relatively easy to care for, but they can’t swim as fast as other goldfish breeds because they don’t have a dorsal fin. This makes them more susceptible to being bullied by other fish, so keeping them with slow-swimming and peaceful tankmates is important.

These fish can come at exorbitant prices due to their rarity and good looks. Although the regular eggfish is already quite pricey at $20-$100, the rarer varieties can cost a lot more.

The most expensive variety is the blue Phoenix Eggfish or the Blue Egg Phoenix, which can retail for hundreds of dollars.

5. Celestial Goldfish

Celestial Goldfish
Source: @kimlong225
  • Typical adult size: 5 inches
  • Minimum tank size: 20 gallons
  • Number in one tank: 2-3 fish per 20 gallons
  • Suitable for pond living: No

The Celestial Goldfish, also known as the Celestial Eye Goldfish, is a small goldfish breed with long, flowing fins and eyes that point upward. Their name comes from the fact that their eyes look like they’re gazing toward the heavens.

These fish are very beautiful, but their unique eyes make them susceptible to infections and injuries. They’re very high-maintenance due to their delicate fins and eyes, so they’re not recommended for beginners.

Celestial Eyes tend to swim slowly since they have to turn their heads to see where they’re going, so make sure to keep them with peaceful tankmates that won’t bully them.

Additionally, they shouldn’t be kept in a tank with bright lighting because it will hurt their eyes.

6. Butterfly Goldfish

Butterfly Goldfish
Source: @kingkoigoldfish
  • Typical adult size: 5-8 inches
  • Minimum tank size: 30 gallons
  • Number in one tank: 3-5 fish per 30 gallons
  • Suitable for pond living: Yes

The Butterfly Goldfish is a small goldfish breed with elegant fins and a long, flowing tail. They’re one of the most popular goldfish breeds due to their beautiful appearance and calm personality.

Butterfly Goldfish are named that way due to the shape of their tails, as well as the markings on them, that resemble a butterfly’s wings. These markings can vary in intensity, with some fish having very light markings and others having dark, bold markings.

They’re very easy to care for and are suitable for beginners. They’re also one of the few small goldfish breeds that can live in a pond.

However, they’re not as tolerant of cold temperatures as other goldfish and are quite sensitive to diseases and infections, which means you shouldn’t keep them in outdoor ponds.

7. Ranchu Goldfish

Ranchu Goldfish
Source: @cipung_goldfish
  • Typical adult size: 5-8 inches
  • Minimum tank size: 30 gallons
  • Number in one tank: 3-4 fish per 30 gallons
  • Suitable for pond living: No

The Ranchu Goldfish is a small goldfish breed with a long, curved body and fins that flow gracefully behind them. In Japan, this goldfish variety is known as the “King of Goldfish” due to its regal appearance.

These fish are very popular in China and Japan but are not as well-known in the West. Since they’re heavily inbred, they can be very difficult to care for and are generally not recommended for beginners.

Ranchus need pristine water conditions and a lot of attention because they’re very sensitive to diseases and infections. They’re also very slow-swimming, so they need to be kept with peaceful tankmates that won’t outcompete them for food.

In terms of price, Ranchus are more expensive than the average goldfish but still not as expensive as the rarer eggfish varieties.

8. Imperial Goldfish

Imperial Goldfish
Source: @kingkoigoldfish
  • Typical adult size: 5-9 inches
  • Minimum tank size: 30 gallons
  • Number in one tank: 1-2 fish per 30 gallons
  • Suitable for pond living: No

The Imperial Goldfish is a new small goldfish breed that hasn’t been recognized yet as an official variety.

Although a consistent appearance hasn’t been achieved yet, the eventual goal is to arrive at a smaller variant that has metallic scales with matte edges.

These goldfish were initially created by breeding a specific strain of Veiltail Goldfish with the Bristol Shubunkin. The Goldfish Society of Great Britain is currently still working on developing and improving the breed.

9. Telescope Goldfish

Telescope Goldfish
Source: @fancygoldfishgirl
  • Typical adult size: 5-8 inches
  • Minimum tank size: 30 gallons
  • Number in one tank: 1-3 fish per 30 gallons
  • Suitable for pond living: No

The Telescope Goldfish, also known as the Demekin or Dragon Eye Goldfish, is a small goldfish breed that’s named after its distinctively large eyes, which are set far apart from each other on its head.

Because of this, their eyesight is quite poor, and they may have some trouble swimming properly.

Although they were originally bred in China, they’re now one of the most popular goldfish breeds in the West. They come in a wide variety of colors and patterns, the most distinct of which are the Black Moor, the Panda Moor, and the Red Panda Moor.

Telescope Goldfish are generally quite hardy and can tolerate a wide range of water conditions. However, they’re not recommended for beginners because they can be hard to care for due to their telescopic eyes.

10. Lionhead Goldfish

Lionhead Goldfish
Source: @vishcessquad
  • Typical adult size: 6 inches
  • Minimum tank size: 20 gallons
  • Number in one tank: 2-3 fish per 20 gallons
  • Suitable for pond living: No

The Lionhead Goldfish is a small goldfish breed that’s named after the raspberry-like growth on its head, also known as a “hood,” which resembles a lion’s mane. This growth is actually a tumor-like growth that can impede the fish’s vision.

These fish are quite popular among goldfish enthusiasts because of their unique appearance. They come in a variety of colors, the most popular of which are orange, red, white, and black.

Lionheads are generally quite hardy, but they’re not recommended for beginners because of their delicate hoods. If the hood becomes damaged, it can be difficult to repair.

Lionheads also can’t swim fast, so they need to be kept with tankmates that won’t outcompete them for food.

11. Redcap Oranda

Redcap Oranda
Source: @kingkoigoldfish
  • Typical adult size: 6-7 inches
  • Minimum tank size: 30 gallons
  • Number in one tank: 2-3 fish per 30 gallons
  • Suitable for pond: No

The Red Cap Oranda is the most popular type of oranda fancy goldfish. It’s characterized by the red fleshy growth on its head, called the “wen.”

The wen appears when the fish is three to four months old and continues to grow for up to two years after that. If the wen gets too big or too thick, aquarists may have to get it trimmed or removed.

Orandas are quite popular in Japan, where they’re known as Oranda Shishigashiri or Azuma Nishiki. Thanks to their popularity, you can find them in many pet stores.

They’re aptly nicknamed “flowers of the water” due to the appearance of their tail. They’re also commonly called tiger goldfish or just tigerheads for short.

Red Cap Orandas can live for a long time with proper care. They do best in an aquarium with plenty of plants and hiding places. These fish are not aggressive and can live peacefully with other tank mates.

12. Pearlscale Goldfish

Pearlscale Goldfish
Source: @yiqing8991
  • Typical adult size: 6-8 inches
  • Minimum tank size: 30 gallons
  • Number in one tank: 1-2 fish per 30 gallons
  • Suitable for pond living: Yes

The Pearscale Goldfish is one of the most striking goldfish breeds. It’s also called the golf ball goldfish do its round, protruding belly.

However, the Pearlscale gets its name from the small white spots that cover its body, which resemble pearls.

These fish are quite popular, but they’re not recommended for beginners because of their delicate health. They’re also one of the slowest-growing goldfish breeds.

Pearlscales are generally peaceful fish that do well with other tank mates. They can live in ponds, but they’re better suited for indoor ponds than outdoor ones.

That said, they can be bullied by more aggressive fish, so it’s important to choose their tankmates carefully.

13. Tosakin Goldfish

Tosakin Goldfish
Source: @officeparrot
  • Typical adult size: 6-8 inches
  • Minimum tank size: 20 gallons
  • Number in one tank: 1-2 fish per 20 gallons
  • Suitable for pond living: Yes

The Tosakin Goldfish is one of the most beautiful goldfish breeds that you can get on the market right now. They were originally bred from Ryukin Goldfish to be used as ornamental fish in Japanese gardens and ponds.

They’re characterized by their long, flowing fins and tails, which are quite unique since they’re the only goldfish breed whose twin tails are undivided.

They come in red, orange, yellow, black, and calico colors and are also referred to as twisty tail, curly tail, or peacock tail goldfish.

These fish are relatively hardy and can be kept in outdoor and indoor ponds, provided that the water is clean and well-oxygenated. They also do well with other tankmates, as long as they’re not outcompeted for food.

14. Jikin Goldfish

Jikin Goldfish
Source: @william.exotique
  • Typical adult size: 7-9 inches
  • Minimum tank size: 20 gallons
  • Number in one tank: 1-2 fish per 20 gallons
  • Suitable for pond living: Yes

The Jikin Goldfish is another beautifully-patterned goldfish breed that’s popular among goldfish enthusiasts.

Just like the Tosakin, they’re also a Ryukin variety that was developed in Japan. Other names for this breed include Rokurin, Sea Wolf, and Peacock.

Jikin Goldfish, like other Ryukins, have long, elegant fins and tails. They come in a variety of colors, but what really makes them stand out is the distinctive pattern on their bodies.

All Jikins have six red areas on their silvery white bodies: lips, dorsal fins, caudal fins, anal fins, pelvic fins, and pectoral fins.

Additionally, they also have a tail that looks like an X when seen from above or behind. They do well in both in both ponds and aquariums but can grow bigger when kept in the former.

15. Izumo Nankin

Izumo Nankin
Source: @mimimi_ranchu
  • Typical adult size: 7-9 inches
  • Minimum tank size: 30 gallons
  • Number in one tank: 1-2 fish per 30 gallons
  • Suitable for pond living: No

The Izumo Nankin is a small goldfish breed that’s quite elusive to find. They’re a Japanese variety that originated in the Izumo region of Shimane prefecture.

The breed is named after the area where they were developed and Nankin, which is another name for their coloration.

Izumo Nankins have a round silvery white body with orange or red splotches. When viewed from the top, their body appears to have a triangular shape.

Currently, Izumo Nankins are pretty hard to find outside Japan. However, if you ever come across one, they’re sure to make great additions to any goldfish collection.

What’s The Ideal Smallest Goldfish Tank Size?

Before you go out and buy yourself a goldfish breed from this list, there’s one more important thing we have to discuss: what is the smallest tank a goldfish can live in?

The quick answer to this is, “Bigger than you think.”

Goldfish that have been released into the wild can live for decades, reaching record lengths during that time. In captivity, however, many goldfish die after just a few years, typically due to poor quality of life.

Beginners to the hobby will often keep their goldfish in tanks as small as 1-5 gallons, stunting their growth. Not only is this inhumane, but it also decreases the lifespan of your goldfish, who typically don’t reach their full adult size until they’re about 4 years old.

Obviously, you don’t need a 100-gallon tank for a school of 5-inch fish, but even the smallest Goldfish breeds actually need more space than most people think.

A small goldfish tank size for a single tiny goldfish should be at least 20 gallons. If you plan on keeping more than one goldfish, you’ll need to increase the size of your tank accordingly.

A good rule to go by is 20 gallons for one 6-10 inch adult fish, plus 10 gallons for another fish of the same size. This means two adult goldfish that are 7 inches each should have a tank that is at least 30 gallons.

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FAQs

What’s the Small Goldfish Lifespan?

The lifespan of small goldfish can vary depending on the breed. Generally, small goldfish breeds have a shorter lifespan than larger ones. However, this doesn’t mean that small goldfish are less hardy. With proper care, small goldfish can live for a decade or more, as well.

What’s the Small Goldfish Price?

The price of small goldfish can also vary depending on the breed and where you buy them.

If you buy from pet stores, small goldfish cost anywhere from $5 to $20 each, with the more expensive breeds costing up to $50-$100. Rarer variants can cost hundreds of dollars, though, particularly at auctions.

What’s the Difference Between Small and Large Goldfish?

The main difference between small and large goldfish is their size.

Aside from that, small goldfish are primarily kept in aquariums or mini outdoor ponds, while larger goldfish are better suited for outdoor ponds. Smaller goldfish are also more delicate and have shorter lifespans, on average.

Conclusion

Now that you know a little bit more about small goldfish, it’s time to make a decision about which type is best for you. After all, goldfish make a beautiful addition to any tank.

So, what are you waiting for? Go out and get yourself a small goldfish today!

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