The Jikin Goldfish, or Butterfly-Tail Goldfish, is a beautiful fish that can easily add elegance and whimsy to an aquarium. Although they’re rarer than other goldfish, they’re relatively easy to care for and have mild temperaments that allow them to be good community fish.
Jikin Goldfish are quite rare and aren’t found in everyday pet stores. So, you usually have to do your research to locate a reputable breeder. However, most breeders are in Japan, so even if you find one, it may be a bit more of a challenge to get one into your tank.
A healthy Jikin Goldfish has a long lifespan, and some have been known to live for 20 years. So, caring for one is going to be an investment. Here’s all you need to know about this fanciful fish.
Quick Facts About Jikin Goldfish
Mild, non-territorial, hardy
Red and white
Minimum Tank Size:
Jikin Goldfish Overview
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It is widely believed that Jikin Goldfish appeared in the early 1600s. Its origins are rooted in the Owari region of Japan, and Suonokami Amano is the breeder credited for developing this breed. Over the years, this fish became the local goldfish of the Nagoya region.
The Jikin Goldfish has a proud history. The first fish of this breed were selectively bred from the Wakin Goldfish. Today, they’re recognized as two distinct breeds, and Jikin Goldfish have stricter standards for their appearance. They’re much rarer than Wakin Goldfish because it is difficult to breed fish that fit the strict standards of the Jikin Goldfish.
Breeding Jikin Goldfish is a meticulous process. For example, only about 25% of offspring have the signature x-shaped tail, and many breeders will remove scales so that the fish develop the signature pattern of the Jikin Goldfish.
As a result, Jikin Goldfish became registered as a protected species in 1958. This move made them more difficult to acquire, so the average fish enthusiast will have a difficult time obtaining a Jikin Goldfish. However, they continue to be prized and admired by aquarists and enthusiasts all over the world.
How Much Do Jikin Goldfish Cost?
Since raising true Jikin Goldfish takes a lot of time and investment, they’re usually much more expensive than other goldfish. You can usually find them priced between $75-$125.
While healthy, most of the fish in this price range won’t follow the exact color pattern set for Jikin Goldfish. They most likely won’t have completely pure white bodies and will have colored scales scattered throughout. A Jikin Goldfish that fits the exact standards for the breed can end up costing several hundreds of dollars.
Typical Behavior & Temperament
For the most part, Jikin Goldfish are quite docile and make good community fish. However, they’re omnivores and can end up eating fish that are significantly smaller than them.
They also aren’t known to be aggressive, but they can start harassing or attacking other fish if they live in abnormal or insufficient habitats, such as an overcrowded aquarium.
Appearance & Varieties
fish has a strict set of appearance standards. The desired appearance for Jikin Goldfish will be the Rokurin pattern, also known as “Twelve Points of Red.” This pattern means that the fish has a white body and red fins, lips, and gill covers.
Most fish, even those from a noteworthy lineage, will not naturally have a pure Rokurin pattern. Therefore, breeders will often manicure the appearance of the fish by either removing scales before they become pigmented or with an application of plum vinegar.
Along with a signature coloration, Jikin Goldfish are also known for their special tail. They have four fins on their tails that form the shape of an X when you view them from the back.
How to Take Care of Jikin Goldfish
Even though the Jikin Goldfish tends to be pretty easy to care for, it’s important to be well-informed so that they can thrive and live with the best quality of life. Here’s what you need to know about Jikin Goldfish care.
Habitat, Tank Conditions & Setup
Jikin Goldfish prefer water temperatures that range between 72-78ºF. They can live in both aquariums and ponds, but they’ll prefer outdoor settings where they can receive plenty of natural sunlight.
Jikin Goldfish have long bodies, so they’ll appreciate large spaces. If you keep a Jikin Goldfish in a tank, the tank should be at least 30 gallons. If you have a lot of other fish, a 50-gallon tank would help prevent competitive behavior.Water Quality & Conditions
Jikin Goldfish do well in waters with pH levels between 6.5 to 7.5. They also need a lot of aeration and a strong filter because they tend to consume a lot of oxygen and produce a lot of waste.
Jikin Goldfish can do well with some algae in their habitat and can nibble on it, but a clean tank works best for them.
Jikin Goldfish aren’t too picky about their substrate and can do well with all kinds, such as gravel, sand, and pebbles. Most goldfish enjoy foraging, so if you want to use gravel or pebbles, make sure that they’re an appropriate size to prevent choking.
Since Jikin Goldfish prefer ponds, they’ll appreciate aquatic plants in their habitats. In addition to beautifying a tank or pond, plants provide significant benefits. They help reduce algae, aerate the water, and can help lower water temperatures. Here are some examples of beneficial aquatic plants:
One of the reasons why ponds are more preferable for Jikins is because they thrive in natural sunlight. This type of lighting brightens up their scales and provides a more vibrant and deep coloration.
In general, goldfish require a lot of oxygen and also produce a lot of waste. So, Jikin Goldfish will benefit from an air pump and a strong filtration system. Adding aquatic plants will also help immensely with keeping a tank clean so that you don’t have to clean it as frequently.
Are Jikin Goldfish Good Tank Mates?
In general, Jikin Goldfish are good tank mates. They usually mind their own business and don’t get into any scuffles. Since they’re pretty mellow, they should be paired with other non-aggressive fish. Some fish that can live harmoniously with Jikin Goldfish are the following:
There are also some fish that you should avoid putting into a tank with Jikin Goldfish. Any fish with a predatory nature can end up attacking a Jikin Goldfish. Since Jikin Goldfish are omnivores, they can end up eating significantly smaller fish or baby fish. However, this is mostly unintentional as they may end up eating fish eggs while foraging.
What to Feed Your Jikin Goldfish
Jikin Goldfish are omnivores and aren’t known to be picky. You can purchase specialized goldfish feed that will include all the specific nutrients that Jikin Goldfish need.
It’s important to carefully monitor how much food you feed Jikin Goldfish. Overeating is a common cause of death, so it’s vital to prevent overfeeding.
Keeping Your Jikin Goldfish Healthy
Fortunately, Jikin Goldfish are relatively hardy and do quite well on their own. If your feeding schedule and habitat conditions are adequate, they don’t really require any extra care. Once they’re established in a tank, they can live happily for many years.
However, goldfish can be susceptible to some diseases. They can develop polycystic kidney disease, neurofibromas, and buoyancy disorders. If you notice any abnormalities in your fish’s appearance or behavior, contact an aquatic veterinarian right away.
Parasitic infestations can easily spread throughout an aquarium, so it’s absolutely essential to properly quarantine any new fish before introducing them to the rest of the tank.
Since Jikin Goldfish are highly prized, it’s difficult to find a breeder that sells true Jikin Goldfish. Most breeders are in Japan and may not sell to international fish keepers.
Therefore, if you find a breeder selling Jikin Goldfish, make sure that their goldfish are actually Jikin Goldfish and not a similar-looking fish. Look for a fish with a long body and four fins on their tail. Since Jikin Goldfish have been around for centuries, a reputable breeder can usually procure their fish’s pedigrees.
Are Jikin Goldfish Suitable For Your Aquarium?
Jikin Goldfish are suitable for most large freshwater aquariums. They’re hardy survivors and get along with most other fish. They’re quite forgiving and not too finicky about their water and environment.
The only issue is that they’re quite rare. So, even though Jikin Goldfish have easy care needs, it’s very challenging to find them. Since it takes a lot of work to raise them, it’s unlikely for breeders to sell their fish to beginner fish keepers. However, you still might be able to find healthy Jikin Goldfish that don’t have a show-quality appearance.
If you’re lucky enough to obtain a Jikin Goldfish, you’ll find that they’ll make a wonderful addition to your aquarium. They’re truly a fancy goldfish and will be a delight for many years to come.
Featured Image Credit: Yatokin, Wikimedia Commons