Maximum size : 13 cm

Lionhead Goldfish - Carassius auratus : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

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The Lionhead Goldfish (Carassius auratus) is a favourite amongst aquarium hobbyists and a well-known variety of Goldfish. These sociable species thrive within a community, and as super scavengers, they don't require additional scavengers or bottom feeders in their aquarium. While a visually stunning species, the Lionhead Goldfish requires a higher level of care and a lower tolerance for pollution than other Goldfish varieties, making them a less suitable option for beginner aquarists. Providing proper filtration, especially biological filtration, for these Goldfish is essential. 

When choosing tankmates, keep in mind the unique physical traits of the Lionhead Goldfish, which can hinder swimming ability and vision. Unlike other elongated Goldfish varieties, such as the Shubunkin and Common Goldfish, the Lionhead's rounded body and lack of dorsal fin make it unable to compete for food with faster-swimming fish. Instead, other visually handicapped Goldfish varieties make great companions.

The Lionhead Goldfish has a short and stubby body, double anal and double caudal fin, and is available in various colours, including rare varieties like the long-finned Lionhead and red-capped variety. The unique raspberry or lion's mane appearance of the Chinese Lionhead Goldfish has earned them their common name. Each individual's head growth varies, with some completely covered in fleshy growth, which can sometimes hinder vision. Others have hardly any head growth at all.

Lionhead Goldfish Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

It can be quite challenging to distinguish between male and female Lionhead Goldfish when they are juveniles or not in the breeding season. Nonetheless, during the breeding season, males typically display tubercles on their heads, and gill covers, while females exhibit fuller bodies when carrying eggs. Additionally, males are generally smaller and more slender than females.

Quick Facts

Scientific NameCarassius auratus
Year Described1758
Other NamesChinese Lionhead Goldfish, Fancy Goldfish
Max Size13 cm
Aquarium LevelAll Levels
DifficultyIntermediate - Advanced
Best kept asTrios
Diet & FeedingOmnivore
ReproductionEgg Depositor
LifespanUp to 10 Years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
pH 6.0 - 8.0
GH 5 - 19
Ideal Temperature
65 - 72
18 - 22

Natural Habitat

The story of the Lionhead Goldfish is steeped in history and intrigue. The fish originates in the icy waters of Siberia, where a wild Carp species was first discovered. Over time, the Carp underwent a spectacular transformation, resulting in the elegant and highly prized Lionhead Goldfish that we know today.

In the wild, these Goldfish can be found in slow-moving and sometimes stagnant waters such as ponds, lakes, rivers, and ditches. They feed on various foods, including detritus, plants, insects, and small crustaceans. Nowadays, Lionhead Goldfish are widely available and highly sought after by aquarium enthusiasts worldwide. They are just one of over one hundred exquisite Goldfish varieties that grace the tanks of modern aquarists, each one more beautiful and captivating than the last.


The Lionhead Goldfish is a fascinating species that is relatively easy to breed as long as you recreate the right environmental conditions. To initiate spawning, you'll need an aquarium of at least 75 litres, healthy and disease-free fish, and plenty of oxygenating plants and decor with solid surfaces for the eggs to adhere to. You can also use artificial plants or spawning mops. To induce spawning, slowly drop the temperature to around 60 degrees Fahrenheit and then slowly warm it at a rate of 3 degrees daily until spawning occurs. Feeding your fish high-protein food such as earthworms, brine shrimp, or black worms will also help induce spawning.

Once the male begins to chase the female in a non-aggressive way, the pair will begin to intensify in colour, and spawning will commence. First, the male will push the female against the plants, stimulating her to drop eggs. Then, the male fertilises them, and sticky threads attach the eggs to the plants or spawning mops. Spawning can produce up to 10,000 eggs lasting two to three hours. After spawning, the parents will start eating as many eggs as they can, so removing them from the tank is crucial.

The fertilised eggs will usually hatch within 4 to 7 days, depending on the temperature, and you can feed the newly hatched Goldfish speciality fry foods until they grow to about 2.5 cm. At this point, they will develop their adult colouration, and you can put them in with larger fish. Breeding Lionhead Goldfish can be done in groups as small as five individuals, but they are social fish and are likely to be produced in larger groups. To increase your chances of success, consider treating your fish for parasites, separating the males and females for a few weeks before breeding, and introducing them to the breeding tank simultaneously.

Diet & feeding

Lionhead Goldfish have a varied diet and can thrive on a mix of live, frozen, and dried foods. However, to ensure optimal health and development, it's crucial to maintain a well-balanced diet that includes high-quality flake food on a daily basis. In addition, treats like live or frozen foods such as bloodworm, brine shrimp, daphnia, or tubifex can also enhance the vibrancy of their colours and growth rate.

It's recommended to avoid feeding live foods to these fish and opt for freeze-dried foods instead to minimize the risk of parasitic and bacterial infections. In addition, given their head growth, Lionhead Goldfish may have impaired vision and need additional time to locate and consume their food. Thus, providing ample feeding time is essential for their nourishment and well-being.

Other Goldfish of interest