Lionhead Goldfish (Carassius auratus auratus) Species Profile & Care Guide
Lionhead Goldfish is one of the more popular and well-known Goldfish varieties kept in the aquarium hobby. These Goldfish are a very sociable species and thrive within a community. These Goldfish are not only excellent community fish, but they are also super scavengers. Therefore, it is unnecessary to add other scavengers or other bottom feeders to the aquarium when you have Goldfish.
The Lionhead Goldfish is considered a rather delicate fish with a lower tolerance for pollution and requires plenty of space and reasonable care; therefore, they are not recommended for beginner aquarists.
When choosing tankmates, you should remember the physical traits of the Lionhead Goldfish. Like the Celestial Goldfish and the Telescope Goldfish, the Lionhead can be visually handicapped. Its swimming ability is burdened by its rounded body and lack of a stabilising dorsal fin. You can also see this trait in the Water-Bubble Eye Goldfish.
While the Lionhead Goldfish cannot easily compete for food with fast-swimming types of Goldfish, these similarly handicapped varieties can make great companions. Unfortunately, several elongated Goldfish varieties, such as the Comet Goldfish, Shubunkin and the Common Goldfish, do not make good companions for the Lionhead Goldfish because they are fast swimmers and too competitive during feeding time.
A majority of fishkeepers will retain Goldfish in an aquarium with no filtration or heaters. However, when keeping Goldfish, you should provide them with the same filtration, especially biological filtration, that other aquarium residents will enjoy.
Unlike Shubunkins and the Common Goldfish, which have long, slender bodies, the Lionhead is also one of the egg-shaped or more rounded fancy Goldfish. The unique raspberry or lion's mane appearance of the Chinese Lionhead Goldfish has given this species its common name, 'Lionhead' Goldfish. In addition, the amount of head growth varies for each individual. For some, the broadhead, except for its eyes, nostrils and mouth, can become completely covered with fleshy growth, which can sometimes hinder its vision. Other Lionhead Goldfish will develop hardly any head growth at all.
The Lionhead Goldfish have short and stubby bodies, and they possess a double anal fin and a double caudal fin. Though pretty rare, there is also a long-finned Lionhead variety. These Goldfish are available in various colours, including orange, red, blue, chocolate, and black. They can also be calico, bi-coloured in red and white or red and black, or tri-coloured in white, red and black. A red-capped variety has a white body and a bright redhead.
|Scientific Name||Carassius auratus auratus|
|Other Names||Chinese Lionhead Goldfish, Fancy Goldfish|
|Aquarium Level||All Levels|
|Difficulty||Intermediate - Advanced|
|Lifespan||10 - 15 years|
|Temperature||65 - 72 ℉ (18.3 - 22.2 ℃)|
|PH||6.0 - 8.0|
|GH||5 - 19|
Natural Habitat of the Lionhead Goldfish
Lionhead Goldfish originated from a species of wild Carp in Siberia in Central Asia. Then after centuries of breeding, the wild carp morphed into the domesticated example you see today.
These Goldfish inhabit slow-moving and sometimes stagnant waters in lakes, rivers, ponds, and ditches feeding on detritus, plants, insects and small crustaceans. Now, Lionhead Goldfish are commercially available worldwide and are just one of over one hundred captive-bred Goldfish varieties that live in today's aquariums.
Other Goldfish of interest
Lionhead Goldfish will ordinarily eat all kinds of live, frozen, and dried foods. However, to keep a good balance and make their colours more vibrant and their growth rate more significant, you should provide them with high-quality flake food every day. You can also feed them either live or frozen fare such as bloodworms, brine shrimp, daphnia or tubifex as a treat.
However, freeze-dried foods instead of live foods are generally better to avoid parasites and bacterial infections that may be present in live food. In addition, due to their fleshy head growth, these fish may have poor vision and a more challenging time seeing their food, so you will need to allow them extra time to feed.
Breeding the Lionhead Goldfish
The Lionhead Goldfish is an egg layer that will easily spawn if given the right conditions. You can breed them in groups as small as five individuals; however, they are very social fish and are likely to produce in larger groups as well. Unfortunately, the only time Goldfish will spawn in the wild is in the springtime. Therefore, to breed them in captivity, you will be required to mimic the conditions found in nature.
You should provide them with an aquarium of at least 75 litres and ensure your fish are healthy and disease-free. Some breeders recommend that you treat your fish for parasites and separate the males and females for a few weeks before breeding to help boost their interest in spawning. It would be best if you then introduced the fish into a breeding tank at the same time.
The breeding tank will need plenty of oxygenating plants and some decor with solid surfaces for the eggs to adhere to. Artificial plants or spawning mops can also be used.
To induce spawning, you should slowly drop the temperature to around 60 degrees Fahrenheit and then slowly warm at a rate of 3 degrees daily until they spawn. Feeding your fish with lots of high protein food such as earthworms, brine shrimp, or black worms will also induce spawning.
Before spawning occurs, as the temperature increases, the male will chase the female around the aquarium in a non-aggressive way. This display can go on for several days, and the fish will intensify in colour. During spawning, the fish will gyrate from side to side, and the male will push the female against the plants. This behaviour will excite the female into dropping tiny eggs, which the male will then fertilise. Sticky threads will attach the eggs to the plants or spawning mops. Spawning can last two to three hours, and it can produce up to 10,000 eggs. Unfortunately, the parents will start to eat as many eggs as they can find; therefore, you should remove the parents after spawning is complete.
The fertilised eggs will usually hatch within 4 to 7 days, depending on the temperature. You can then feed the newly hatched Goldfish speciality fry foods until they become big enough to eat baby brine shrimp or flakes; alternatively, you can offer the same food as you provide the parents as long as it is finely crushed.
Initially, the fry will be dark brown or black in colour; this will allow them to hide better and not be consumed by larger fish. Once the babies grow to around 2.5 cm, they gain their adult colour, at which point you may put them in with larger fish.