Goldfish For Aquaponics


I have always been a big fan of goldfish, it’s probably because I started my first venture into the fish world by having goldfish as my pet. Unfortunately I had to give that up, at my later primary school days when we moved to another state due to my dad’s job posting.

Now, years later our path crossed again when I got involved in aquaponics. Goldfish make perfect aquaponics fish in that they are always willing to eat and produce a good amount of excretion, hence nitrate for the plants to thrive on. And they are a pretty hardy fish, depending on the species you choose which fits perfectly for the job.

Two Main Types Of Goldfish

You need to know there are essentially two types or groups of goldfish in existence. They are the single-tailed and the twin-tailed variety. The single-tailed variety have slim bodies and are faster swimmers and more aggressive in nature. The twin-tailed variety however, has egg-shaped body and are bred to look beautiful, but they are slower swimmers and less aerodynamically shaped compared to their single-tailed cousins.

The one thing you should always bear in mind is never to mix the single-tail and the twin-tailed species into one tank or the latter could suffer, big time. The twin-tail could never compete with the faster and more aggressive single-tail for food.

Below, I have listed out the goldfish varieties for the single and twin tails for your better understanding and appreciation:

Single-Tailed Goldfish Species

Common Goldfish

Common goldfish is one of the hardiest goldfish varieties out there and the main reason why they come as most recommended by for beginners. They have elongated, flat bodies, fast swimmers and live well alongside koi. They can grow over one foot long and have a life span of 10 to 15 years. You’ll be surprised to know that most fancy goldfish varieties were derived from this species.


The Comet goldfish was first developed in the United States, which explains its popularity in the country. They are the most agile of all the goldfish variety. They are very similar to the Common, but can be easily distinguished from their long tail. Comets have deep forked tails that could be as long as their body length. Fast swimmers, they normally come in orange, red, white, yellow and red and white colors. They have a lifespan of between 10 to 15 years and can grow up to 12 inches long given the right environment.


These are such beautiful fish that come in the most attractive multi-colored body. Shunbunkin is tough and hardy, as can be expected in the single-tailed variety and is also a good choice for newbies. They actually originate from Japan and can grow to more than 15 inches in the right environment. There’s also a blue colored species of Shunbunkin but they are rare and really valuable.

Doubled-Tailed Goldfish Species

Black Moor

Well, the Black Moor is essentially a black version of the Telescope Eye goldfish. They have egg shaped bodies like most twin-tailed varieties are. A hardy fish that is great for beginners. Black Moor can grow up to 8 inches to maturity and can live up to a whooping 15 years in a well maintained environment. They are available in mainly two specimens, the butterfly tail and the ribbon tail. Their protruded eyes do not help with their eyesight and are prone to injuries. So, you must take note not to keep pointy decorations in the aquarium to avoid possible mishaps.


Ranchu is a very popular and highly regarded fish in China as well as in Japan. They are often confused with the Lionhead since they look very similar. Nevertheless, you can differentiate the two from the Ranchus shorter tails and extremely arched backs. Ranchus do not have dorsal fins and may look a little imbalanced when they swim. Available in a variety of colours but the most common would be gold, red and white, black and even in “tea” colour as the Chinese calls it. They can live to 15 years of age and can reach to about 5 to 8 inches long.

Lionhead Goldfish

Lionheads are one of the most kept goldfish species thanks to their distinctive head feature, called “wen” that makes them look really cute cuddly. This too is a dorsal less goldfish variant. They come in orange, yellow, white (very rare) and even in mixed colour of red and white and even white and black. Lionheads can grow to 6 inches in length and 15 years old.


This is the most beautiful of the dorsal less goldfish in my opinion, as it incorporates the best features of the Lionhead and Ranchu in to one. Yes, this is the crossbreed variant of the two, hence, the name Lionchu. It originated from Thailand and made popular in Singapore among the goldfish enthusiasts. They are capable of growing up to 6 inches long and about 15 years of age. Lionchu is available in bi-colour, but are normally found in orange, yellow and red and white.

Bubble Eye

The bubble eye is caused by the two bubble like sacs (bladders) that sit below the eyes. These bubbles are one of the most exotic of the goldfish varieties. It requires a relatively more attention to care for and not recommended for beginners. Dorsal less, it has a smooth line from head to tail. They are fragile and could be fatal to the fish if ruptured. Mostly available in orange, they also come in white, red and calico. 6 to 7 inches makes the adult size of the fish.

Fantail Goldfish

Fantail is the Japanese Ryukin of the west. This is the most popular goldfish in the west and is really hardy species. They normally have a short egg-shaped body, a wide head and can live up to 15 years and 10 inches long. Fantails come highly recommended for beginners since they are tough buggers and can even be kept in outdoor ponds with no problems.

Telescope Eye

Their built is very similar to the Fantail with the difference of two very distinct looking eyes that shape like telescopes, hence the name. They come in the variants of broadtail, veiltail and the beautiful butterfly tail with colours that ranges from red, white, orange, calico, tri-colour and even chocolate. In a well maintained environment, it’s very common for this variant to grow to 6 inches and 15 years old.


This variant originates from the common Fantail and developed in the Ryuku islands. They have a deep wide body with a high dorsal fin and a sharp pointed head. Ryukin tends to be very active and eat almost anything you feed them. It’s common for them to reach the length of 8 inches and live up to 15 years of age.


You can easily recognize the pearscale by its pearl like scales and a big belly that shapes like a golf ball. A very alert fish that comes in short or long tail variant and are not very good swimmers who will normally lose out when competing for food. They are the hardy and fancy goldfish species that can grow up to 6 inches long. I strongly recommend this to newbies.

There you go, I have listed some of the more popular goldfish that you can consider for your aquaponics fish. Just remember not to mix the single-tail and the twin-tail variant and you should be on your way to a productive aquaponics experience.

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