Ryukin Goldfish: Characteristics and Care

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Ryukin Goldfish are a unique and popular species of goldfish that are quite easy to care for.

They are also very active and entertaining to watch, making them a great choice for pet owners, especially beginners.

In this guide, I will provide you with all the information you need to know about Ryukin Goldfish care.

Species Summary

The Ryukin Goldfish is a popular fancy goldfish variety with a rich history in Asian culture.

Its scientific name is Carassius auratus.

While the exact origins of this fish are unknown, it is believed to have originated in China and was brought to Japan in the 1770s, where it became widely popular and even mentioned in early literary works.

Today, the Ryukin Goldfish is an iconic image of Asian heritage and is widely bred throughout the world due to its beauty and cold hardiness.

This fish is a type of fancy goldfish, similar to the Oranda and Fantail Goldfish, and belongs to the species Carassius auratus, which also includes the common goldfish.


Ryukin Goldfish are a beautiful and unique subset of Fancy Goldfish that are bred extensively in Asia to achieve their final look.

These fish have an egg-shaped body that is short and stubby, with a rounded belly.

On top of the body, Ryukins have a large dorsal hump that connects the head to the rest of the body.

This dorsal hump gives the head a somewhat pointed shape.

The tails of these fish are also unique.

They are double-finned, with four tail lobes that create a stunning appearance.

Ryukin Goldfish can be either short-finned or long-finned, with the long-finned varieties being more sought-after due to their flowing double caudal fins.

These varieties also take on a more vibrant hue.

Ryukin Goldfish are available in a wide variety of colors, including red, white, calico, and even chocolate-colored fish.

Tri-colored specimens are common as well, taking on hues of orange, white, and black.

Average Ryukin Goldfish Size

The average size of Ryukin Goldfish is 6 inches (15 cm), but they can reach up to 10 inches (25 cm) in a well-maintained tank or pond.


The average lifespan of Ryukin Goldfish is 10-15 years, but they can live up to 20 years or more when well-maintained.

Types of Ryukin Goldfish

There are several types of Ryukin Goldfish, including short-finned and long-finned varieties.

Some popular color patterns include red and white, calico, and tri-color.

The unique appearance of Ryukin Goldfish, with their egg-shaped body, large dorsal hump, and double-finned tails, make them a popular choice for ornamental coldwater fish enthusiasts.

A group of ryukin goldfish swimming together

Behavior & Temperament

Ryukin Goldfish are known for their active behavior and are more vigorous than other fancy goldfish.

They are a joy to watch, but their semi-aggressive nature can be a problem with other fish.

They tend to pick on weaker breeds or chase after fish that they could theoretically eat.

Therefore, it is important to carefully choose tank mates.

Overall, Ryukin Goldfish have a lively temperament and are a great addition to any aquarium.

Ryukin Goldfish Care

When it comes to caring for Ryukin Goldfish, it’s important to remember that they are hardy fish that adapt well to any aquarium that’s fully cycled and well-maintained.

However, there are some guidelines that you need to follow to ensure that these fish thrive.

Tank Size

The first thing to consider when caring for Ryukin Goldfish is the size of the tank.

While it might be reasonable to assume that these creatures would need massive tanks due to their comparatively large size, a single Ryukin Goldfish only needs a tank that can hold 10 gallons.

However, it’s always recommended to go bigger if possible.

A 20 to 30-gallon tank is far better for these goldfish, allowing you to keep a small group together while still giving the fish plenty of room to explore.

Water Parameters

Ryukin Goldfish are cold-water fish that thrive in temperatures that are a bit lower than normal.

It’s important to pick up a tank thermometer and use it frequently to ensure that the water temperature is between 64°F to 72°F.

The pH levels should be between 6.0 to 8.0, and the water hardness between 5 to 19 dGH.

Highly oxygenated water is essential as well, and an air stone can be used to keep the fish in good shape.

Red and orange ryukin goldfish on a dark background

What To Put In Their Tank

When it comes to decorating the aquarium, Ryukin Goldfish don’t need a natural environment to stay happy.

They do fine with artificial ornaments and outlandish styles.

Start with a medium-sized gravel substrate at the bottom of the tank, using whatever crazy color you want as long as the gravel is rounded and soft.

Add decorative hideouts and anything else you want to use to spice up the environment.

One of the best forms of decoration you can use is artificial plants.

Real live plants aren’t good for Ryukin Goldfish, as they have a knack for uprooting plants and ruining decorations.

It’s best to use soft silk plants instead, which will provide some shelter for the fish while preventing accidental injury.

When choosing decorations, it’s important to consider the delicate fins of these fish.

Something as simple as a sharp corner on a decorative house can cause injury, which could lead to infection.

Examine all of your decorations and make sure that they’re sturdy, rounded, and safe for your fish.

As for tank equipment, implement a heater if you live in a climate that needs it.

The same goes for an air pump and stone.

If you have a powerful filtration system, you may not need extra oxygenation.

Your filter should be powerful enough to cycle the tank efficiently, as these are messy fish that produce a lot of waste.

In addition to standard filtration, perform 25 percent water changes every week.

Common Possible Diseases

Ryukin Goldfish are susceptible to a range of ailments, including swim bladder disorders and dropsy.

The intestinal tract of this fish isn’t the most effective, and it has some dead zones where food gets stuck, leading to constipation.

If the issue isn’t addressed, the swim bladder will be affected, and the fish will have a difficult time swimming or even staying upright.

Fortunately, this problem can be treated naturally with peeled green peas, which act as a natural laxative for the fish.

Ryukin Goldfish can also experience standard freshwater fish diseases like Ich, fungal infections, and bacterial infections.

Most of these problems are directly caused by poor living conditions.

If one of your fish falls ill, quarantine them and turn to over-the-counter medications for treatment.

The best way to avoid disease altogether is to stay on top of your tank maintenance.

Can Ryukin Goldfish live in a pond?

Ryukin Goldfish can live in a garden pond, but there are a few things to keep in mind.

Here are some things to consider:

  • Water temperature: Fancy goldfish prefer a slightly warmer water temperature than slim-bodied fish, such as Comets and Shubunkins. If you live in a cold climate with very harsh winters, you may need to bring your Ryukin indoors during the winter months or invest in a pond heater to keep the water temperature stable.
  • Water quality: Ryukin Goldfish require clean, well-oxygenated water to thrive. If you plan to keep them in a pond, you’ll need to make sure the pond is properly filtered and aerated. You may also need to perform regular water changes to keep the water quality high.
  • Pond size: Ryukin Goldfish can grow to be quite large, so you’ll need to make sure your pond is big enough to accommodate them. As a general rule, you’ll need at least 20 gallons of water per fish.
  • Predators: If you plan to keep your Ryukin Goldfish in a garden pond, you’ll need to take steps to protect them from predators. This may include installing a net over the pond or adding plants and other hiding places where the fish can take refuge.

Overall, Ryukin Goldfish can live in a garden pond, but you’ll need to make sure the pond is properly set up and maintained to ensure their health and well-being.

Pure gold ryukin goldfish swimming in a small tank

Food & Diet

As an omnivorous species, Ryukin Goldfish can consume a wide range of foods.

However, it is important to provide them with a balanced diet to ensure they stay healthy.

High-quality dry flakes and pellets should be the primary food source for these fish.

Daily feedings of commercial food will ensure that they receive a balanced diet.

To supplement their diet, you can provide live or frozen foods periodically.

Ryukin Goldfish enjoy bloodworms, Daphnia, brine shrimp, and more.

It is important to avoid overfeeding these fish.

Overeating can agitate their sensitive intestinal systems.

In addition to providing a balanced diet, it is important to note that some foods can be particularly beneficial for Ryukin Goldfish.

For example, algae can be a great source of iron and protein for these fish.

Tank Mates

Ryukin Goldfish are social creatures that thrive in groups.

While they can be kept alone, they are more confident and outgoing when other Ryukin are present.

When it comes to choosing tank mates for Ryukin Goldfish, it is best to stick to other dual-fin fish.

Single-fin varieties tend to be faster and may trigger aggression in Ryukin.

When selecting tank mates, choose similarly-sized fish that are non-aggressive and can defend themselves.

Avoid weaker fish like Celestial Goldfish and Bubble Eyes.

Here are some suitable tank mates for Ryukin Goldfish:

  • Fantail
  • Black Moor
  • Ranchu
  • Lionhead
  • Oranda

By selecting compatible tank mates, you can create a peaceful and harmonious environment for your Ryukin Goldfish.

Gold and white Ryukin Goldfish


Breeding Ryukin Goldfish is a straightforward process that can yield thousands of baby fish.

To ensure a successful breeding process, it is best to breed these fish in groups.

Ryukin Goldfish are social creatures and do better when multiple males and females are left to spawn.

To start the breeding process, it is recommended to create a separate breeding tank that holds at least 20 gallons.

The tank should be equipped with fibrous plants with tons of leaves, such as Anacharis, or an artificial breeding mop.

Several weeks before breeding, males and females should be separated.

As spawning time gets closer, high-protein foods should be fed to the fish to get them in a good mood.

After introducing the fish to the breeding tank, they should be allowed to acclimate before slowly dropping the temperature to about 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Once the target temperature is reached, the water temperature should be gradually increased by about three degrees per day.

Live or frozen foods should be continued to be fed until the fish spawn.

When the female swells up with eggs, she will lay upwards of 10,000 eggs in the plants and spawning mop.

After breeding, it is essential to remove the adult Ryukin Goldfish immediately as they will start eating the eggs.

Eggs will hatch in four to seven days, and powdered fish fry food should be provided until they are big enough to accept baby brine shrimp.

Photo of author


Irma Bense is the founder of BetterFishkeeping.com. She has over 42 years of experience in keeping fish.She has kept both freshwater and saltwater fish through the years.She has extensive knowledge in breeding numerous species of fish from Show Guppies, Cory Catfish, German Blue Rams to Apistogrammas.You can learn more about Irma on the 'About' page.

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