The Shubunkin Goldfish

The shubunkin has one of the most striking colour patterns of any goldfish variety.  There is a lot of variation but the base colour is blue, violet and/or pearl with patches and speckles of orange, gold, red, white, black, grey and/or brown.

Two shubunkin goldfish turning head on towards the camera

The shubunkin is a single-tailed fast swimming goldfish that is happy enough in either a pond or aquarium, and is an ideal companion for common goldfish and comets.  Like all goldfish, it thrives on a varied diet.

Another advantage of the shubunkin is its liking for bottom feeding.  This helps keep the goldfish tank clean as they will clean up any uneaten morsels that go un-noticed by common or comet goldfish.

They can live up to 10 years and grow to 30cm (12″) in length.

There are three types of shubunkin goldfish, easily distinguished by the tail fin.

London Shubunkin

This shubunkin is actually a variation of the common goldfish, the only difference being the colouring.  They have a compact body and a short tail fin with a shallow fork, exactly the same as the common goldfish.  This is the most common type in the UK.

American Shubunkin

Sometimes called the Japanese shubunkin, this type is shaped like the comet goldfish.  It has a more slender body with longer fins.  The tail fin is pointed with a deeper fork and can grow to the same length as the body.  This type is the most common in North America and are shown in the photograph above.

Bristol Shubunkin

This type was developed by the Bristol Aquarist Society and has a beautiful big heart-shaped tail with two rounded lobes. It’s body shape is more like the common goldfish, but it has longer fins.  The best place to see photos of it is the Bristol Aquarists Society Bristol shubunkin page.

Shubunkin goldfish are an ideal way to break the mould a little bit in a pond or aquarium that has uniformly coloured common and comet goldfish.  Although not to everybody’s taste (a lot of beginners think they are diseased), the different colours – especially blue and violet – can make an aquarium a vastly more interesting place.

4 Responses to “The Shubunkin Goldfish”

  1. hi Says:

    I have this fish

  2. Donavon Granger Says:

    I have two of these i bought from a local walmart. Ive had them for a couple of months now, ones about 6″ long and the other maybe 4 or 5. they are the first fish iv ever owned, and im obviously no professional but i think they are doing pretty well. The seem perfect for someone with nearly no expierence. They show no signs of disease or stess yet. They are very entertaining and active. im actualy starring at them right now. oohhh….pretty…..

  3. junaid Says:

    my shubunkin is getting red in blood specially before the the tail starts and the starting edge of upper fins
    could u plzz help me what to do?????

  4. michelle Says:

    my shebunkin has taken to sitting at the bottom of the tank on the gravel,he only comes up to feed,why is this?

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