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℃

Photos of the Shubunkin


Natural Habitat

Shubunkin Goldfish are descendants of Wild Carp that live in East Asia and were first developed in Japan by Yoshigoro Akiyama in the 1900s. They inhabit heavily vegetated, murky water bodies; these include Slow-moving, rivers lakes, ditches and ponds where they feed on plant material, small crustaceans, detritus and insects.

What to feed the Shubunkin

Shubunkin Goldfish are not fussy and will eat pretty much anything you drop in the water.

A regular diet of high-quality dried foods is most beneficial. Nutritious flakes and pellets are more than adequate.

Occasional enriching and healthy treats of live and frozen foods such as brine shrimp, daphnia, tubifex and bloodworm are great additions to their diet as well.

It's worth pointing out that it can be easy to overfeed these fish due to their enormous appetites. They will seemingly scoff down food no matter how much you give them,

To keep this under control, only give them as much food as they can eat within 2-4 minutes. This will depend on the fish's size, but this general rule will prevent you from drastically overfeeding them.

How to sex the Shubunkin

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.

How to breed the Shubunkin

Shubunkin Goldfish breeding is relatively easy, and they will readily spawn if the water conditions are just right and you may see small fry start to appear without any intervention.

These Goldfish are egg layers that like to breed during the Spring. You can easily encourage spawning using environmental manipulation. Shubunkin Goldfish like to produce in groups of at least five individuals.

It would be beneficial if you set up a separate breeding tank this tank should contain fine-leaved plants; artificial plants will also work just fine. You can also use smooth rocks or spawning mops to give the eggs something to stick to.

Once this breeding tank is set up, add all of the fish into the tank at once. You should then, slowly reduce the temperature to the lower end of the range, then gradually start raising this temperature by a few degrees daily over a few days to the higher range. This process will stimulate the shift from the winter season to spring.

It would be better if you also Conditioned the fish with plenty of high protein foods such as bloodworm or brine shrimp making sure there is no food leftover as this will stay at the bottom of the tank making water conditions harsh on the fish.

Eventually, the fish should start to spawn. You will know when they are about to breed because their colour will intensify and the males will also begin to chase the females around and push them against the plants which cause the females to release her eggs which the males will then fertilise. These can take several hours, then once complete the females will lay thousands of eggs.

It is advisable to remove the adult fish after breeding has occurred and place them back in the standard tank; otherwise, they will consume the eggs if given a chance.

The eggs will usually hatch between four and seven days, and then the fry will start to emerge from their egg sack.

Initially, the fry will feed their egg sack, and once this has been consumed, you can then give them infusoria or powdered food until they are large enough to consume baby brine shrimp.

The tiny fry will appear to be black or brown for the first few months of their lives and then start developing their proper colours. Once they reach around 2.5 cm, you can then add them into the adult aquarium.

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