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Maximum size : 35 cm

Shubunkin - Carassius auratus : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

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The Shubunkin Goldfish is one of the hardiest and most adaptable fish species, capable of thriving in various environments. With their social nature, they prefer to swim in groups, making them a delightful addition to any fish tank or pond. However, these agile swimmers can reach impressive speeds, so they may not be the best companions for shy or slow-moving fish.

Moreover, these fish are known for their stunning appearance, making them an excellent choice for those looking to add a pop of colour to their aquatic habitat. The calico-coloured Shubunkin is particularly popular in the aquarium hobby due to its striking multicoloured appearance.

To keep your Shubunkin Goldfish happy and healthy, providing them with a suitable environment is essential. They prefer colder water, making outdoor ponds an ideal option. With enough space to grow, these fish can reach their full potential, showcasing their elongated, flat body and beautiful calico-coloured patches. However, there are many other colour and pattern variations to choose from, including black and white, solid red, and iridescent metallic scales.

There are three different types of Shubunkin Goldfish; the London Shubunkin, with its slender body and short tail, is the most popular, while the American Shubunkin boasts a dramatic forked tail. Lastly, the Bristol Shubunkin has a unique tail shape that resembles the letter "B," making it a rare and prized addition to any aquarium.

In conclusion, the Shubunkin Goldfish is an excellent choice for aquatic enthusiasts looking for a beautiful, hardy, and sociable fish species that can thrive in various environments. With their stunning appearance and unique characteristics, they're sure to bring joy and colour to any aquatic habitat.

Shubunkin Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

It is often difficult to distinguish between male and female Shubunkin Goldfish, particularly when they are young or not in breeding conditions.

However, as a general rule, males tend to be more petite and more slender in comparison to females.

In the breeding season, the identification process becomes more manageable as males develop small, white reproductive tubercles on their gill covers and head.

At the same time, females tend to exhibit a more rounded belly due to the presence of eggs.

Quick Facts

Scientific NameCarassius auratus
Year Described1900
Other NamesCalico, Speckled Goldfish, Midnight Shubunkins, Ghost Bristol Shubunkins, pinkies, Imperial Shubunkins, Sanke Gold Shubunkins, Sky Blue Shubunkins, Poor mans Koi
Max Size35 cm
Aquarium LevelBottom - Middle
Best kept asGroups 6+
LifespanUp to 15 Years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
PH6.0 - 8.0
GH5 - 19
65 - 72
18 - 22

Natural habitat

The origins of the Shubunkin Goldfish can be traced back to East Asia, where they are believed to have originated from wild carp. In the early 1900s, Yoshigoro Akiyama of Japan developed these fish into the beautiful and captivating creatures we see today.

In the wild, Shubunkin Goldfish can be found in various aquatic environments, such as slow-moving rivers, lakes, ponds, and ditches. They thrive in heavily vegetated and murky water bodies and feed on multiple food sources, including plant material, small crustaceans, insects, and detritus.

Their natural habitat has played a significant role in shaping their stunning appearance, which includes vibrant colours and distinct patterns that make them a popular choice for aquarium enthusiasts worldwide.

The shimmers of blue, orange, red, and gold that dance across their scales are mesmerizing and make them an excellent addition to any aquarium.

How to breed the Shubunkin

Breeding Shubunkin Goldfish is a straightforward process, and with the right conditions, you can easily encourage spawning without any intervention. These fish prefer to spawn during spring and prefer to breed in groups of at least five individuals.

To start breeding, it is advisable to set up a separate breeding tank with fine-leaved plants, smooth rocks, or spawning mops for the eggs to attach to. It would be best to add all the fish to the tank at once and slowly reduce the temperature to the lower end of the range. Then, gradually increase the temperature by a few degrees daily over a few days to simulate the shift from winter to spring.

It would help if you conditioned the fish with plenty of high-protein foods like bloodworm or brine shrimp, ensuring that there is no leftover food to prevent water conditions from deteriorating. Eventually, the fish will start to spawn, and the males will chase the females around and push them against the plants, causing the females to release their eggs, which the males will fertilize.

After several hours, the females will lay thousands of eggs. Once breeding is complete, removing the adult fish and returning them to the standard tank is advisable to prevent them from consuming the eggs.

The eggs will hatch between four and seven days, and the fry will start to emerge from their egg sack. Initially, the fry will feed on their egg sack and can be given infusoria or powdered food until they are large enough to consume baby brine shrimp.

The fry will initially appear black or brown for the first few months of their lives and will start developing their true colours once they reach around 2.5 cm. When they reach this size, you can add them to the adult aquarium.

Diet & feeding

It is essential to provide a balanced diet for Shubunkin Goldfish to maintain their optimal health and well-being. While these fish are not particularly selective, offering them high-quality dried foods as their staple diet is recommended. A balanced diet should include nutritious flakes and pellets enriched with essential vitamins and minerals.

However, it is also beneficial to supplement their diet with live and frozen foods such as brine shrimp, daphnia, tubifex and bloodworms. These foods offer variety and serve as a great source of protein.

It is important to keep in mind that overfeeding is a common problem when it comes to these fish. Therefore, despite their enormous appetite, only provide them with an amount of food that they can consume within 2-4 minutes. This rule applies to all sizes of fish and will prevent overfeeding and associated health problems.

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. Of course, this will depend on the fish's size, but this general rule will prevent you from drastically overfeeding them.


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