The veiltail has a modified deep-and-round ryukin-shaped body, though without the dorsal 'hump' characteristic of ryukins. The hallmark of the breed is its lengthy and graceful double tail which is square-edged and without any forking or indentation between the lobes.

It also has a high, prominent and well-developed dorsal fin. The anal fins are paired and are quite well-developed as well. The term 'veiltail' is commonly and erroneously applied to any goldfish displaying a long caudal, but true veiltails must have all the charactersitics described above. Veiltails are available in many colors and may have either metallic or nacreous scales. They can grow from 8 to 12 inches (20 to 31 centimeters). They are not good swimmers but can be kept with other fancy goldfish. Veiltails will not accept temperatures below 55 degrees Fahrenheit (12.7 degrees Celsius).

History and origins

The veiltail, a name coined by William T. Innes, originated in the United States in the 1890s when Franklin Barrett of Philadelphia bred a Japanese-bred ryukin to a telescope eye goldfish that exhibited a short, square-edged caudal. This resulted in a strain of fish soon to be known throughout the world as Philadelphia veiltails.


Apart from those bred and developed in the United States, there are now also Chinese and European strains. They can also occur with normal or telescope-eyes.

Special care

The long and trailing tail of the veiltail is delicate and can be easily damaged. Veiltails are also susceptible to low water temperatures. Telescope-eyed veiltails have difficulty competing for food with more active goldfish.
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Telescope eye

The telescope eye or demekin is a fancy goldfish characterized by its protruding eyes. It is also known as globe eye or dragon eye goldfish.


Except for its enlarged projecting eyes, the demekin is similar to the ryukin. It has a deep body and long flowing fins. Demekins are available in red, red-and-white, calico, black-and-white, chocolate, blue, lavender, chocolate-and-blue and black coloration. They may either have metallic or nacreous scales. Telescope eyes can grow quite large.


Black demekins are also referred to as moors such as the black moor and the panda moor.

Special care

Due to the telescope eye's poor vision, it should not be mixed with more active goldfish varieties, and should be housed in an aquarium without sharp or pointed objects.

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Shubunkins a hardy, single-tailed fancy goldfish with nacreous scales, and a pattern known as calico. The shubunkins are of Japanese origin.


The shubunkin, nicknamed "Poor Mans Koi", are similar to the common goldfish and comet goldfish in appearance. They are first bred from mutations in telescope eye goldfish (Demekins) back in 1900 in Japan. They have streamlined bodies with well-developed and even fins. However, the shubunkins are calico goldfish; they possess nacreous scales (a mix of metallic and transparent scales that are pearly in appearance).

The overlapping patches of red, white, blue, grey and black (along with dark speckles) normally extend to the finnage of shubunkins. Blue is the most prized colour in shubunkins. Calicos originally denoted three colours varieties of goldfish that do not include blue. The best blues are produced from line breeding of good blue specimens of shubunkins. Sometimes good blues may be obtained by breeding bronze (metallic) with pink (matt) goldfish, but a grey slate colour may result instead.

It may take several months for the nacreous coloration to develop on a young fry (baby fish). Shubunkins are excellent pond fish because they reach a length of 9 to 16 inches (22.86 to 40.6 centimeters) at adulthood. A shubunkin goldfish is considered an adult at 2 to 3 years of age.

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The ryukin is a short deep-bodied fancy goldfish with a characteristic hump in the shoulder region.


The ryukin is a hardy and attractive variety of goldfish with a pointed head and has a pronounced hump on the back behind the head. It may be long-finned or short-finned with either a triple or quadruple tail. The dorsal fin is high while the caudal fin is often twice as long as the body. The caudal fin may also have three or four lobes.

Ryukins come in deep-red, red-and-white, white, iron and calico coloration.

The ryukin is a fine aquarium fish that can reach up to 8 inches (21 centimeters) in length.

History and origins

The ryukin has been so named because it was said to have arrived in Japan through the Ryukyu Islands which lies between Taiwan and Japan. There were historical references that the existence of ryukins dates back to 1833, but it is said to have arrived in Japan in the 1770s. Early Japanese literature refers to the ryukin as the onaga (longtail) or the nagasaki goldfish.

In English texts, they are also referred to as the Japanese ribbontail, the fringetail, the fantail or the veiltail.


  • Yamagata kingyo (yamagata goldfish) or sabao (mackerel tail) or tamasaba - a hardy single-tailed variety of the ryukin that has been developed in the Yamagata Prefecture of Northern Japan.
  • Tetsu onaga (iron-colored longtail) - a rare iron-colored variety of the ryukin.
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The pearlscale or chinshurin in Japanese, is a spherical-bodied fancy goldfish with finnage similar to the fantail.


The characteristic feature of the pearlscale is its thick, domed scales with pearl-like appearance. Its body is round and similar to a golf ball. The finnage may be long or short. Pearlscales can reach up to 8 inches long and grow up as large as oranges. However, pearlscale fancy goldfish are prone to swimbladder disorders which affect the ability to maintain normal position in the water. This is attributed to the selective breeding process of fancy goldfish to achieve particular body forms, such as that of the pearlscale's. Selective breeding gradually resulted to the alteration of the appearance of the swimbladder.

The pearlscale standard is as follows:

  • Depth of body to be greater than 2/3rds of body length
  • Scales to be domed
  • Dorsal fin to be single, all other fins to be paired.
  • Caudal fin to be divided and forked and held above the horizontal.
  • Extremities of fins to have a slightly rounded appearance.
  • Minimum length of body to be 5.5 cm (2¼ inches).

The fish should be bright and alert and displaying well developed domed scales all over the body area. The body should be short and rounded (not elongated). The caudal fin should be held high without signs of drooping and well divided. Quality fish will have high colour intensity extending into the fins.


Pearlscales come in every color variety.

The colour may be metallic (self-coloured or variegated in a pleasing pattern and similar on each side) or calico. Metallic colours should appear as burnished metal, extending into the fins. Calico fish should have a blue background with patches of violet, red, orange, yellow and brown, spotted with black.


Pearlscales are found without headgrowth, with Oranda-like headgrowth or with two large bubble domes. The bubble-domed Pearlscales are known as high-head pearlscale, crown pearlscale or Hama nishiki.

Special requirements

Pearlscales are egg shaped with internal organs crowding the creature's compact body, therefore overfeeding should be avoided. Pearlscales are very sensitive to cold water and should not be exposed to temperature readings below 55°F (13°C). If you get a pearlsale also be careful as they are quite prone to pH changes and should be kept out of long periods exposed to a high acidity or alkalinity.

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