Max Size: 35cm

Shubunkin (Carassius auratus)

Shubunkin Goldfish are very hardy and are known to be extremely adaptable and can survive in most situations. These fish are also very sociable and prefer to shoal in larger groups. These Goldfish are also speedy swimmers; this means that shy or slow-moving fish will not make ideal tank mates.

This fish's attractive appearance means you can use them to brighten up any fish tank or pond.

The Shubunkin Goldfish has become popular in the aquarium hobby because of its colouration; Calico refers to a mottled or multicoloured animal.

Like most Goldfish, they prefer cold water which makes them excellent additions to outdoor ponds and indoor aquariums. However, if you are looking to get the most out of your fish, you need to make sure that they have enough room to grow, therefore, having a pond is the best option as it will give them space to grow.

The typical Shubunkin Goldfish has an elongated, flat body and looks like a calico-coloured Comet goldfish, with red, black, and white patches. They usually have some shiny scales amidst mostly non-shiny ones. However, there are many different varieties of colour and patterns. This includes black with a bit of white, entirely white matt with no metallic scales and pink gills, solid red colouration. Some of them even have unique shiny scales, a very bright white base with intense red and black pops, and no red and minimal black markings with a matt base and a sprinkling of metallic scales looking almost iridescent. Most of these fish have button eyes.

There are three different kinds of Shubunkin Goldfish. These are America, Bristol, and London Shubunkin. While they all have similar care specifications, there are some subtle differences in appearance.

The London Shubunkin Goldfish are the most popular. These fish typically have a short tail, a slender body and the fins are usually more rounded. The American Shubunkin Goldfish possesses a longer tail with a deep and dramatic fork. Finally, you have the Bristol Shubunkin; this fish has a much fuller tail that looks a lot like the letter "B." This is a distinct shape that you cannot miss. The Bristol Shubunkins are much rarer and often come with a higher price tag.


Quick Facts
Scientific NameCarassius auratus
Other NamesCalico, Speckled Goldfish, Midnight Shubunkins, Ghost Bristol Shubunkins, pinkies, Imperial Shubunkins, Sanke Gold Shubunkins, Sky Blue Shubunkins, Poor mans Koi
Aquarium LevelBottom - Middle
Best kept asGroups 6+
Lifespan10-15 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH6.0 - 8.0
GH5 - 19
65 - 72℉
18.3 - 22.2℃


In the home aquarium, the Shubunkin will readily accept most good quality dried foods such as granules, flakes and sinking pellets. These modern food products have been developed to provide all adequate nutrition to maintain your fish's health and dietary requirements.

Providing additional foodstuffs such as live, frozen, and freeze-dried meals such as bloodworm, daphnia, and tubifex once or twice a week will provide additional benefits to your fish's health and well-being but is not a must for this fish.

It should be noted that bloodworms should only be given as an occasional treat and should not be used as the staple diet as they are difficult for fish to digest and can potentially cause blockages.

This fish is an omnivore in the wild, meaning it will consume some vegetable matter. Although most modern fish foods take this into account and include them in their products, you can still supplement your fish's diet with blanched vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, and zucchini. Ensure you do not overfeed your fish and remove any leftovers the following day.

Sexual Dimorphism

It is impossible to differentiate male from female shubunkin goldfish when they are young or not in the breeding season. Still, generally, the male is smaller and slimmer than the female.

During the breeding season, the male will have white spines, called reproductive tubers, in their gill covers and head. A female will have a plumper body as she carries eggs in her belly.

Other Goldfish of interest

Black Moor Goldfish(Carassius auratus auratus)
Lionhead Goldfish(Carassius auratus auratus)
Telescope Goldfish(Carassius auratus auratus)
Date Added: 08/11/2020 - Updated: 17/11/2021 03:31:49