Shubunkin Goldfish Care Guide: Tips for a Happy, Healthy Pet

Meet the Shubunkin Goldfish, a stunning, hardy swimmer that can add a splash of color to your tank. With their alluring patterns and lively personalities, they have caught the eye of aquarists worldwide. Rest assured, these calico beauties are easy to care for, making them a great choice for both beginners and experienced fishkeepers.

In this care guide, we’ll walk you through the essentials to keep your Shubunkin Goldfish healthy and happy. From their ideal tank conditions to dietary requirements, we’ve got you covered.

Ready to dive in? Let’s explore the captivating world of Shubunkin Goldfish and discover the best ways to care for these aquatic gems. Trust us, your fish will thank you with their vivacious presence and joyful swimming.

Species Overview

Shubunkin Goldfish are a beautiful and popular variety of goldfish, known for their vibrant coloration and active nature. They make great additions to both indoor aquariums and outdoor ponds. As a Shubunkin Goldfish owner, you’ll enjoy watching them dart in and out of tank decor and swim playfully with their tankmates. They’re often called the “poor man’s koi” because they resemble koi fish but are much more affordable.

Shubunkin Goldfish are a hardy species, making them suitable for beginners and experienced aquarists alike. They’re cheerful, peaceful fish with a friendly demeanor, and can coexist with other non-aggressive fish species in a community tank. It’s essential to provide them with proper care, including an appropriate tank size, good water quality, a balanced diet, and regular tank maintenance.

Below is a table with essential information to help you care for your Shubunkin Goldfish:

Property Value
Scientific name Carassius auratus
Common names Shubunkin, Calico Goldfish
Distribution Originally from Asia
Size Up to 14 inches
Lifespan 10-15 years
Diet Omnivore, prefers pellets and flakes
Temperament Peaceful, social
Minimum tank size 20 gallons
Temperature 65-75°F
pH 6.8-7.5
Water hardness 5-19 dGH
Care level Easy
Filtration/Water Flow Moderate
Water type Freshwater
Breeding Egg Scattering
Breeding difficulty Moderate
Compatibility Community with other peaceful fish

Remember to monitor water parameters and perform regular tank maintenance to keep your Shubunkin Goldfish happy and healthy. Their distinct coloration, playful nature, and compatibility make them an ideal choice for many aquarists. So enjoy getting to know these charming, speckled friends!

Origins and Natural Habitat

Shubunkin Goldfish have a fascinating history that traces back to East Asia, where they are believed to have originated from wild carp. The development of these beautiful and captivating creatures we see today is credited to Yoshigoro Akiyama of Japan in the early 1900s.

During the 1890s, Shubunkin Goldfish were bred in Japan by crossing a Wakin Goldfish with a calico-colored Telescope. They quickly gained popularity for their vibrant color and unique patterns.

In their natural habitat, Shubunkin Goldfish thrive in slow-moving waters such as ponds and small lakes where they have ample space to grow and swim. As a Shubunkin Goldfish owner, it’s important to replicate their natural environment as much as possible to ensure their well-being and happiness.

When setting up a habitat for your Shubunkin Goldfish, keep the following factors in mind:

  • Tank Size: Adequate space is essential for your fish to swim and grow comfortably. Aim for a minimum tank size of 40 gallons.
  • Water Parameters: Ensure the water is clean and properly filtered, with a stable temperature of around 68-74°F (20-23°C).
  • Decoration and Hiding Spots: Provide your fish with a stimulating environment that includes decorations, hiding spots, and easy-to-maintain aquatic plants, such as Anubias or Java Fern.

Remember to follow a care guide and carry out regular tank maintenance to maintain a healthy environment for your Shubunkin Goldfish. With proper care, these captivating creatures can bring joy and beauty to your aquarium for years to come.

Physical Characteristics

Size and Shape

Shubunkin Goldfish typically have a slender body, resembling the shape of a torpedo. Their elongated bodies allow them to swim gracefully and quickly through the water. As for their size, adult Shubunkin Goldfish usually grow to around 9 to 12 inches in length. Keep in mind that their growth can be influenced by factors such as the size of your tank and the quality of their diet, so it’s essential to provide proper care to ensure they reach their full potential.

Color and Markings

Shubunkin Goldfish are known for their vibrant and unique color patterns. They often display a beautiful mix of colors such as blue, red, white, black, and gold on their bodies. The patches of color can vary widely, making each fish truly one-of-a-kind. This stunning appearance has earned them nicknames such as Calico Goldfish or Speckled Goldfish, which are often used to describe their colorful markings.

While their coloration is a significant aspect of their appearance, Shubunkin Goldfish also have flowing, elegant fins that add to their overall charm. When properly taken care of, their fins can grow long and offer a lovely accent to the fish’s already eye-catching presence.

Lifespan and Growth Rate

Shubunkin Goldfish have a fairly long lifespan, which is a key reason they are popular pets among fish enthusiasts. On average, they live for 10-15 years, but under optimal conditions, they can live up to 30 years. Of course, your Shubunkin’s exact lifespan will depend on factors like water quality, genetics, temperature, feeding habits, and overall diet.

Growth rate is another important aspect to consider when caring for your Shubunkin Goldfish. Generally, the growth rate will depend on the same factors that influence their lifespan. It is crucial to maintain proper water quality and a stable environment to maximize their growth potential.

When it comes to feeding your Shubunkin, here are some tips to ensure proper nutrition and growth:

  • Provide a balanced diet, including a mix of high-quality goldfish pellets or flakes, live or frozen foods (such as brine shrimp and bloodworms), and vegetables (like peas, lettuce, or spinach).
  • Avoid overfeeding, which can lead to poor water quality and health issues. Feed them small amounts several times a day, and adjust feeding amounts based on their growth rate and activity level.
  • Monitor the water temperature, which should be consistent at around 65-72°F (18-22°C). Sudden changes in water temperature can stress your fish and may affect their growth.

Remember that creating a nurturing environment and providing proper care will play a big role in ensuring your Shubunkin Goldfish has a healthy growth rate and long, happy life.

Diet and Feeding

Feeding your Shubunkin Goldfish a proper diet is essential for maintaining their health and vibrancy. A well-balanced diet should consist of high-quality pellets or flakes, as well as occasional treats such as live or frozen foods.

When selecting pellets or flakes, make sure they are specifically formulated for goldfish and contain a variety of essential nutrients. Feed your Shubunkin two to three times a day, only giving them the amount they can finish within a couple of minutes. Overfeeding can lead to poor water quality and health issues, so monitor their intake carefully and remove any uneaten food.

To keep your goldfish’s diet diverse and promote overall health, it’s important to occasionally offer live or frozen foods. Some great options include brine shrimp, Daphnia, and bloodworms. These not only serve as tasty treats but also help to boost your goldfish’s immune system.

Remember, consistency in feeding is key to maintaining a healthy and happy Shubunkin Goldfish. Be sure to maintain a balanced diet and avoid overfeeding to ensure their long-term well-being.

Behavior and Temperament

Shubunkin Goldfish are known for being cheerful and peaceful fish. As a fish keeper, you’ll appreciate their social nature and the lively atmosphere they bring to your aquarium. These fish are great for community tanks with other fast-swimming species due to their speed and friendly personality.

While you observe your Shubunkin Goldfish, you might notice them effortlessly gliding through the water and darting in and out of tank décor. They are swift swimmers, setting them apart from some other goldfish varieties. So, when arranging their tank, ensure that you provide enough space and hiding spots for them to play and explore.

Their highly social nature means that these fish will thrive in the company of their own kind. It’s ideal to keep them in a group to promote interaction and keep them comfortable in their environment. Just take care not to overcrowd the tank, as it can result in stress and health issues.

Lastly, remember that Shubunkin Goldfish are quick eaters, so when it’s feeding time, make sure every fish in the tank gets a fair share of the food. You could use sinking pellets or disperse flakes at multiple locations to achieve this.

In summary, when caring for your Shubunkin Goldfish, create an environment that caters to their vibrant and friendly temperament. Your effort will be rewarded with a lively, harmonious, and colorful underwater community.

Care and Tank Requirements

Tank Size

When it comes to keeping Shubunkin Goldfish, the size of the tank plays a crucial role in their health and well-being. For a single pair of fish, your tank should be at least 80 gallons (300 liters). For each additional fish, add another 10-20 gallons (38-76 liters) to accommodate their growth and prevent overcrowding.

Water Parameters (Temperature and pH)

Shubunkin Goldfish thrive in water with a temperature range of 65 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit. They can adapt to various pH levels, but it’s best to maintain a pH range of 6.0 to 8.0. It’s essential to check water parameters regularly and maintain stable conditions to keep your goldfish healthy and stress-free.

Tank Setup and Decorations

Creating a comfortable environment for your Shubunkin Goldfish will help them flourish. Be sure to provide:

  • A substrate of either sand or smooth gravel to recreate their natural habitat
  • Live plants that can tolerate lower temperatures and discourage algae growth, such as Java Fern or Anubias
  • Enough open space for your goldfish to swim and explore
  • Rocks, caves, or driftwood for hiding spots to give your fish a sense of security

Keep in mind that Shubunkin Goldfish can be messy and uproot plants, so opt for hardy vegetation when possible.

Filtration and Aeration

Good water quality is vital to the health of your Shubunkin Goldfish, so invest in a reliable filtration system with a powerful output suited for the size of your tank. The filter should provide:

  • Mechanical filtration to remove debris and particles from the water
  • Biological filtration to break down harmful waste, such as ammonia and nitrites
  • An adjustable flow rate to create water movement and distribute oxygen evenly throughout the tank

Consider adding an air pump or airstone to increase aeration and maintain optimal oxygen levels for your goldfish, ensuring happy and healthy fish.

Suitable Tank Mates

Shubunkin Goldfish are a gorgeous species with striking colors, and it’s crucial to find suitable tank mates to ensure their well-being. When selecting companions for your Shubunkin Goldfish, it’s essential to consider their needs and compatibility with other fish.

Some excellent tank mates for Shubunkin Goldfish include:

  • Comet Goldfish: These fast swimmers are a good match for Shubunkins, as they share similar size, water parameters, and dietary requirements.
  • Koi: Koi can coexist peacefully with Shubunkins, but remember, they can grow quite large, so make sure your tank or pond has ample space.
  • Orfe: Orfe are very social and active fish, making them suitable for sharing your Shubunkin Goldfish’s environment.
  • Sterlet: These bottom-dwelling fish get along well with Shubunkins and can be beneficial for cleaning up leftover food.
  • Carp: Carp can be suitable tank or pond mates for Shubunkin Goldfish as they are also temperate fish with similar water requirements.
  • Frogs: Aquatic frogs can live alongside Shubunkin Goldfish and provide a unique addition to the tank or pond.

However, certain species should be avoided as tank mates for Shubunkin Goldfish, such as aggressive or tropical fish. Their different requirements and behavior might cause stress or harm to your goldfish. Always research the specific requirements and behavior of potential tank mates before adding them to your Shubunkin Goldfish’s environment.

In conclusion, finding the right tank mates for your Shubunkin Goldfish is essential to ensure a thriving and stress-free environment. Make sure to research each species’ needs and compatibility before introducing them to the tank, and you’ll have a happy, healthy aquarium family. Remember, your ultimate goal is to create a friendly and harmonious aquatic environment for all your fish to enjoy.

Breeding Process

Breeding Shubunkin Goldfish can be a rewarding experience. Here’s a simple, step-by-step guide to help you through the process in a friendly manner.

Step 1: Prepare a separate breeding tank
To start, prepare a separate breeding tank for your Shubunkin Goldfish. The tank should be around 20 gallons in size and equipped with a sponge filter, heater, and some spawning mops or aquatic plants for the fish to lay their eggs on.

Step 2: Monitor water parameters
Maintain the water parameters in the breeding tank. Keep the temperature between 68-74°F, pH around 7-7.4, and ensure proper water quality. Regular water changes and monitoring are essential to provide the ideal conditions for breeding.

Step 3: Choose healthy breeding pair
Next, choose a healthy pair of Shubunkin Goldfish. Look for active, colorful fish with no signs of illness or deformities. The male will usually have a more slender body shape than the female, who will have a rounder belly when full of eggs.

Step 4: Condition the breeding pair
To increase the chances of successful breeding, condition your chosen pair with a protein-rich diet, like brine shrimp, bloodworms, and high-quality pellets. Feed them multiple times a day to help them build up the energy needed for spawning.

Step 5: Introduce the breeding pair to the tank
Once the pair is conditioned and the breeding tank is ready, introduce them to the tank. Keep an eye on their behavior, as the male will pursue the female around the tank. The breeding process should take place within a few days after the introduction.

Step 6: Check for eggs and remove parents
After spawning, you’ll notice small, sticky eggs attached to the spawning mops or aquatic plants. At this point, it’s essential to remove the breeding pair from the tank to prevent them from eating the eggs.

Step 7: Maintain the breeding tank
Continue monitoring the water parameters of the breeding tank and maintain proper water quality. The eggs should hatch after about 4-7 days, depending on the temperature and conditions.

Step 8: Feed the fry
Once the fry hatch, feed them with infusoria or commercially available liquid fry food for the first few days. As they grow, gradually introduce them to newly hatched brine shrimp and later crushed fish flakes or pellets.

Remember, breeding Shubunkin Goldfish requires patience and attention to detail. By following these steps, you’ll increase the chances of a successful breeding experience. Good luck and enjoy the process!

Common Diseases and Treatments

Caring for your Shubunkin Goldfish involves being aware of common diseases they can potentially suffer from. Here are a few examples and how you can treat and prevent them:

White Spot Disease (Ich): White spot disease is a common parasitic infection where small white spots appear on your fish’s body. To treat this, you can raise the water temperature to 86°F for a few days, and add a recommended medication from your local fish store.

Fin Rot: Fin rot is a bacterial infection that causes your goldfish’s fins to appear ragged and torn. It’s essential to catch this issue early to prevent severe damage. To treat fin rot, you should maintain a clean tank, perform regular water changes, and use a reputable fin rot medication from your local fish store.

External Parasites: Some common parasites that may infect your fish include flukes and anchor worms. They can cause irritation and damage to the fish’s body. Treat these by using a suitable medication, following the manufacturer’s instructions, and maintaining good water quality in your tank.

Bacterial Infections: These infections can manifest in various ways, such as ulcers and eye issues. It’s crucial to maintain your tank and perform regular water tests to prevent bacterial infections. If you suspect your Shubunkin Goldfish has a bacterial infection, consult a professional for advice and opt for suitable medication.

Fungal Infections: Fungi can grow on your fish’s body, causing patches of white or grayish fungus. To treat fungal infections, clean your tank, remove any dead plants or debris, and use a suitable antifungal medication.

Remember, prevention is always better than cure. To keep your Shubunkin Goldfish healthy, ensure you have a clean and well-maintained tank with suitable water parameters. Perform regular water tests and changes, and feed your goldfish a balanced diet. Monitoring your fish’s health and behavior can help detect any issues early and prevent more severe problems down the line.

Frequently Asked Questions

What tank size is best for Shubunkin Goldfish?

A minimum tank size of 40 gallons is recommended for one Shubunkin Goldfish. As they grow larger and more active, it’s essential to provide them with adequate space to swim freely. For each additional Shubunkin, you should add 10-20 gallons to your tank size.

What water temperature should be maintained?

Shubunkin Goldfish thrive in water temperatures between 65-75°F (18-24°C). It’s important to maintain a consistent temperature to keep your Shubunkin healthy. Consider investing in an aquarium heater and a thermometer to monitor the water temperature.

What is the average size of a fully grown Shubunkin?

A fully grown Shubunkin Goldfish can reach up to 12 inches in length, although the average size is around 9 inches. Remember, providing proper nutrition and maintaining good water quality will contribute to the growth and overall health of your fish.

What are the different types of Shubunkin Goldfish?

There are three primary varieties of Shubunkin Goldfish: the American or Bristol Shubunkin, the London Shubunkin, and the Japanese or Calico Shubunkin. They differ mainly in their body shape, fin shape, and color distribution, but all share the same general care requirements.

Can Shubunkin Goldfish coexist with other fish species?

Yes, Shubunkin Goldfish can coexist with other fish species, as long as they’re compatible in terms of temperament and water parameters. Compatible tank mates include other goldfish varieties and peaceful, cold-water fish like White Cloud Minnows and Zebra Danios. Just be cautious when mixing fish sizes and avoid aggressive species to minimize conflicts in your tank.


In caring for your Shubunkin Goldfish, remember to prioritize maintaining a clean and stable environment. With a spacious tank, proper filtration, and a healthy diet, your fish will showcase their vibrant colors and captivating patterns.

As a Shubunkin owner, enjoy the beauty and liveliness these mesmerizing creatures bring to your aquarium or pond. By following the appropriate care guidelines, you can help ensure a thriving and enriching experience for both you and your beloved Shubunkin Goldfish.