The Bubble Eye Goldfish

Depending on one’s point of view, the bubble eye goldfish is either a freakish mutant, or one for the connoisseurs.  One thing everybody agrees on is that it is a very unusual goldfish.

Bubble eye goldfish are thought to originate in China a long, long time ago as the result of a mutation being bred into other forms of large-eyed goldfish.  One possible reason for such a mutation being encouraged is that in ancient China, goldfish were kept in jars (aquariums hadn’t been invented).  Therefore the only way to view the goldfish was from above.  This could also explain why, in common with other “fantail” goldfish, there is no dorsal fin, and a split tail fin.

Bubble eye goldfish are available in all the colours any other goldfish is available in: red, yellow, orange, brown, black, blue, white, silver or calico.  (For a full explanation of goldfish colouring see Goldfish Colouring Explained).

Naturally enough, all the major problems associated with bubble eye goldfish are because of the bubbles.

1. They can only see food that is above them.  There are a few ways to get round this problem.  Use slow-sinking food, clip fast-sinking food up the side of the tank, and always put food in the same location.  However, the best way to ensure bubble eye goldfish get proper nutrition is to train them to hand feed.

2. They are extremely poor swimmers.  Even relatively slow swimming goldfish varieties such as the black moor or oranda will beat a bubble eye to food every time.  They are so slow because the bubbles make the fish front-heavy, turning swimming into a real effort.  To make matters worse, the bubbles jiggle up and down, and left to right as the fish swims.  It’s like trying to keep one’s head still while walking with a large plastic bag full of water tied to each ear.  To top it all off, having no dorsal fin reduces stability even more.  As a result of all this, bubble eye goldfish will spend a lot of time resting on the bottom of the tank.  Older bubble eye goldfish will very often give up on swimming altogether, preferring to float around on the current provided by the pump.

3. The bubbles burst easily.  Sharp gravel, pointy plants, ornaments and filters/pumps all present a danger to the bubble eye goldfish’s bubbles.  Make sure there is nothing in the tank that can cause such an injury.  If a pump or filter intake is capable of snaring a bubble, it probably will.  Cover any such hazards with sponge.  If a bubble does get burst, it will likely grow back.  However, it will not be the same size and shape as the one on the other side.  There is also the risk of bacterial infection after a bursting incident.

4. Bad eyesight is widesread in bubble eye goldfish.  It isn’t great to start with, and will probably get worse.

As with all fancy goldfish, the bubble eye can be susceptible to swim bladder problems because of their more rounded body shape.

Overall, the bubble eye goldfish is a delicate fish that is definitely not for beginners.  However, they are happy when healthy and cared for, and although an aquarium will have to be stripped of many decorations that other goldfish can negotiate quite safely, bubble eye goldfish provide their own decoration in sparsely furnished tanks.

30 Responses to “The Bubble Eye Goldfish”

  1. richard Says:

    will they be able to eat goldfish flakes food like any other gold fish due to the bubbles on their cheeks.

  2. admin Says:

    Shouldn’t be a problem, but the flakes shouldn’t form the whole diet.

  3. bearclaw Says:

    We’ve followed most of the requisite conditions for keeping bubble eyes. We’ve had ours for about 3 years. He’s hand fed, there are no sharp objects in the acquarium, the 2 other goldfish are friendly and are equally bad swimmers., etc.

    We noticed one of his eyes is purple and very swollen (lots of fluid inside, perhaps a blood vessel rupture). his bubbles come and go in terms of being inflated.

    Is there anything we can do? or do we just keep an eye on it?

  4. AquaMom Says:

    To bearclaw:

    I don’t know what kind of tank you have your Bubble Eye in, but perhaps water pressure is the cause for the vessel rupture?

    Goldies prefer aquariums that are long rather than deep. If you have a tall aquarium, you’d probably do better to lower the water table to prevent their delicate insides (and bubbles) from being under constant pressure.

    Ideally, your fancy goldfish tank should have a water table as high as the tank is wide (deep). So an ideal aquarium for fancies would be something like this: 36L x 15d x 17h. Goldies do best in shallow ponds.

    Anyway, lowering your water table will allow the two inches for rigorous water agitation since Bubble Eyes – like other fancies – prefer their water temps in the upper 70’s (76-78 F) and at those temperatures you need extra surface agitation to maintain high levels of oxygen.

    A good sponge filter with power head will be necessary if you want good oxygenation of the water.

  5. Brandi Says:

    One of my bubble eyes bubbles is a dark red and really vainy and I cant figure out why. Does anyone know why that might be? It looks really bad but does not seem to affect it at all.

  6. jj Says:

    hi um my bubble eye goldfish has like this salty lookingstuff in its cheeks what is it some people said it is ick, but i dont think so

  7. Kyanna Says:

    Hi i am kyanna i have a bubble eyed gold fish hes about 2 or 3 months his gills are white and his talin is kinda yellow or silver hes not eating too mutch and he kinda lays down. I need to know what medicen to get i am worryed he is gonna die im not sure. please help.Thank you, Kyanna Cook

  8. Kyanna Says:

    Hi agen I am Kyanna I have a black bubble eyed gold fish he is about 2 or 3 months old, his gills are white and his tail is kinda silver and yellow and he lays down at the bottom of his tank.I am very afraid he is gonna die who ever knows about this please right below mine. Thank you agen my name is Kyanna.=-)

  9. Kyanna Says:

    the salty looking stuff Jj is,good for him/her it will help not to pop the cheeks or if it is green or yellow or like a blue.It is bad it means their cheeks can pop very very easily so like it says on part 3 keep sharp objects away from him/her .Also you havt to get a medicin for it ofcorce. also if you like see like if its a bubble eye not cheek if you see like a hole in its eye go right away to the pet stoor and ask for the Hole In Eye medicen. and with the bubble cheeks, if one of the cheeks pop he might die and might not but there is a medicin called bubble cheeks or ask if they have somthing for the poped cheek or cheeks. =-)

  10. Kyanna Says:

    look at the comment i put for the cheeks and eyes. Thank you

  11. clyde gonzales Says:

    bubble eye is very difficult to beed can u help me on how to breed bubble eye and to identefy thier sex? i realy need to know cuase this is the kind ok goldfish that i’d never been breed before….pls!

  12. alexis Says:

    ive had my bubble eye gold fish for 5 months now and hes been fine until now his bubbles are losing water and im worried there is something really wrong with him i just want to know if there is something i can do to help him get the water back in his bubbles or if thats just something that the fish go through.

  13. Chris Says:

    I have a gold/black Big bug eyed goldfish..We’ve had it for about 7 mouths now..Well I started looking at him today and noticed,that one of his eyes is a liitle bit bigger than the other,maybe 20% bigger..
    And the black center of his eye takes up half his eyeball now,and it also looks like I can see straght though it,like it’s just Hollow inside.Oh and there’s what seems to be a small looking air bubble at the top of the inside of the eyeball..

    Any idea’s on what it could be??

  14. Katie Says:

    ive had my bubble eye for about 6 months now. when i bought him he was gold, and then he slowly started to turn white. other than changing color, there is absolutely nothing wrong with him. anyone know why this could have happened??

  15. asia Says:

    i have a bubbled eye and he has black specks in his bubbles it makes me sad is there something wrong w/ him =[

  16. Rachel Says:

    To Katie, nothing is wrong with your bubble eye as mine have done the same thing. Goldfishes scales change color alot due to light, so thats normal

  17. Jada Says:

    My bubble eye fish only has one bubble eye is that bad

  18. Charly Says:

    Hi, my bubble eye glodfish has a cloudy eye/cheek – is this an infection/ what can I do for it?

  19. Kaitlin Says:

    Hi this is to everyone who is saying that their fish has this salty looking stuff on them. It is most likely a disease but can be cured using the correct medication. You should go to a pet store and ask for something to cure the Ick

  20. fishlover1003 Says:

    but with all the problems of the bublecheek i wont get one again its not fun watching a fish die :(((((.

  21. fishlover1003 Says:

    to Katie fish change coller all the time its a natural thing thay go through growing up…. unless its fully gron then worring <:(

  22. jessie Says:

    Hello! My bubble eyed goldfish, freddie, whoive had for about 6 months in a filtered tank I now turning black and his tail is shredded looking like he was caught in the filter, but it hasn’t happened before… even though he may be on his last leg do you have any idea why he’s turning black? Lack of oxygen? Very sad even his bubbles are turning black 🙁

  23. alex Says:

    hi jessie i have a bubble eye goldfish and he is black its natural for goldfish to turn different colors it just depends on the light in your tank

  24. mikoto Says:

    What kind of gravel (ceramic rocks, sand etc.) is suitable for bubble eye? cos I have ceramic rocks to support healthy bacteria growth but it’s making it hard for my bubble eye to eat the sunken food. so any suggestions?

  25. anjebel Says:

    My really cute BUBBLE CHEEK goldfishie is worrying me.
    I have noticed this white substance, which looks like itty bitty balls that are about the size of salt or white sand, freely Like sand or salt (in falling to the bottom of a cup of water) moving in its cheek.
    It started off at one and has slowly multiplied into about 10 bits.
    Last weekend MR fishy had what looked like red veining in his one cheek then in both by the next day with a red Blood spot on the opposit cheek from the one with the white stuff.
    Please Please PLEASE tell me is my fish ok, do I need medicin for him is he dieing will he die?

  26. anjebel Says:

    the viening has gone but the white sand or salt looking stuff is still in his left cheek again it is moving around in the cheek freely, my concern is the white stuff multiplying. please help.

  27. Dasheika Says:

    i have a gold fish that might be a bubble eyed fish but im not fish has theses bubbles or cloudy film over its eyes nd i dont know what this could be..Can someone please tell me how the bubbles would start out

  28. Aj Says:

    I’ve got a gold bubble eye goldfish whose got black in his eyes and parts of his body is going black, pets at home said it could change colour or is a disease, has anyone else got or had this problem if so please help

  29. jigger Says:

    my fishy got white stuff on his head and one eye is massive what should i do an how can i help him

  30. jigger Says:

    o yea its a black moore gold fish his name is shattoo lol pml

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