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Ryukin Goldfish

Nicole Cosgrove

The Ryukin Goldfish (Carassius auratus) is among one of many varieties of fancy goldfish. They have become very popular over the last couple of decades since owning goldfish as an ordinary pet has become more of a trend.

Coming to own one of these fish is not challenging since they have become common in pet stores across North America and Europe. By the time you finish with this article, you will be ready to bring home one of these gorgeous fish with confidence that you know just how to keep them happy and healthy.

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Quick Facts about Ryukin Goldfish

Species Name: Carassius auratus
Family: Cyprinidae
Care Level: Easy
Temperature: 65-75°F
Temperament: Docile
Color Form: Red, white, calico, tri-color, chocolate
Lifespan: 10-15 years
Size: 6-10 inches
Diet: Omnivorous
Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallons
Tank Set-Up: Freshwater aquariums or ponds
Compatibility: Pairs best with other dual-fin fish species

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Ryukin Goldfish Overview

The unique coloring of the Ryukin Goldfish is the primary reason for their popularity. They are also known as the Calico Goldfish since they are commonly orange and white with mottled black spots covering their entire bodies. In Asia, where breeders initially developed them, the goldfish has been popular since the 1700s.

Ryukins have a characteristic hump that forms in their shoulder region as they grow to maturity. They typically stay around 6 inches long but can grow longer if they live in a well-maintained and larger tank or an outdoor pond. These fish can live for up to 20 years with the proper care, although their average lifespan is between 10 and 15 years.

Ryukin Goldfish is a species of fish developed to be purely ornamental. They make excellent, low-maintenance pets for both well-managed aquariums and ponds.

Black and Orange Ryukin Goldfish
Image Credit: Pavaphon Supanantananont, Shutterstock

How Much Do Ryukin Goldfish Cost?

Ryukin Goldfish are commonly sold in most pet stores both locally and nationwide across North America, throughout Europe, the UK, and Asia. They have become quite popular, so it is not a challenge to find them.

Since Ryukins are a fancy goldfish variety, they cost more than Common Goldfish. If you purchase a Ryukin from a pet store, they will commonly be between $8 to $15 each. Buying them from a specific Ryukin or fancy goldfish breeder can cost you upwards of $50 a fish.

Typical Behavior & Temperament

The Ryukin Goldfish is one of the larger breeds of fantail goldfish. They have broad bodies and often develop a hump along their shoulder area. All of this extra mass slows them down and tends to be a driver in developing their calm demeanor.

Ryukins are not aggressive feeders and tend not to starve out the other fish they live with, even different species. They are slow, calm, and overall quite agreeable.

Ryukin Goldfish in aquarium
Image Credit: seaonweb, Shutterstock

Appearance & Varieties

The Ryukin Goldfish is one of the fancy goldfish breeds — a subset of goldfish with specific physical characteristics that visually set them apart. The fantail species make up a large chunk of this subset.

Ryukins are egg-shaped, with a body that is short and squat with a rounded belly. On top, they have a large dorsal hump connecting their head to the rest of their body, giving them a unique appearance.

The most common color for the Ryukin is orange, although they are also commonly red and white. The most expensive and generally sought after are the calico versions. They have both red and white colors across their bodies and fins with black splotches over the top.

There are short-finned and long-finned varieties of these fish, with the long-finned being in higher demand. Their flowing caudal fins make them look even more beautiful combined with their vibrant hues of color.

How to Take Care of Ryukin Goldfish

With a name like “fancy goldfish,” Ryukins might sound high-maintenance. However, they are one of the easier fancy goldfish species to care for comparatively. They are generally quite hardy and adapt well to a variety of environments.

Ryukin Goldfish in fish tank
Image Credit: Ek Ing, Shutterstock

Tank/Aquarium Size

Providing your fish with the appropriate size of enclosure is essential to their ongoing health and longevity. Suppose you have only a single Ryukin. In that case, you only need a tank that can hold up to 10 gallons as a minimum.

Do note that a tank size between 20 and 30 gallons is much better for your goldfish’s ongoing health, especially since they are very social fish. This range will also allow you to adopt several more later if you wish.

Water Temperature & pH

Just as humans tend to have comfort preferences regarding their surrounding climate, fish do as well.

The Ryukin Goldfish is not a tropical species of fish, as some people might believe. They are a cold-water species and thrive in temperatures that are lower than average. Buying a tank thermometer is handy when adopting one or more of these fish.

The Ryukin Goldfish will be happiest when their water temperature ranges between 64°F to 72°F or 17.8°C to 22°C. Keep the pH of the water neutral, resting between 6.0 to 8.0, typical for most goldfish. Finally, the hardness of their water should be between 5 to 19 degrees of general hardness (dGH).

Ryukin Goldfish
Image Credit: Ammit Jack, Shutterstock

Substrate

Although water is the most critical part of any fish’s environment, there are other general requirements to keep them healthy.

The Ryukin is a bit flashy and ornamental. If you want, you can mimic this in their aquarium’s design since they do not need a natural environment to remain content but will be happy with any outlandish style you choose.

At the bottom of their tank, start with a medium-sized gravel substrate of any color. The gravel should be rounded and soft since this fish will commonly rest on the bottom. From there, you can add your choice of decorative hideouts or ornamental decorations.

The only thing you need to be careful of is that none of the ornaments have sharp corners since these fish have somewhat delicate fins that can get torn on jagged corners.

Plants

It is best not to use live plants when decorating and equipping your Ryukins tank. They are happily omnivorous and will snack on live plants if left to their own devices. Ryukins also have a remarkable capacity for uprooting live plants.

Instead, if plants are a part of your master plan for the aquarium, use soft silk plants that you can anchor into the substrate.

a Ryukin Goldfish in aquarium
Image Credit: dien, Shutterstock

Lighting

Lighting is not an essential feature for any goldfish aquarium. Some aquariums will come with a lid that includes lighting, which can help limit evaporation over time. Since you shouldn’t use plants in the tank of a Ryukin, then it isn’t a necessary addition to your tank.

Filtration

The filter you use should be powerful enough to get through the entire tank efficiently. These goldfish are messy and produce plenty of waste. It is best to use a powerful, standard filtration system for the tank’s size. On top of that, we recommend conducting a 25% water change each week to keep it clean.

Are Ryukin Goldfish Good Tank Mates?

Ryukin Goldfish are very social fish that are happiest when they live in groups. They can also be kept as a single fish but will tend to be outgoing and active when other fish live with them.

Ryukins perform the best living with other Ryukins, but they are also happy enough with other dual-fin fish species. Most single-fin varieties are faster and aggressive feeders. Ryukins tend to get aggressive in return.

Do not pair them with weaker fish, like Bubble Eye Goldfish, since if the Ryukin does start something, they could kill them.

Good choices for tank mates include:
  • Lionhead
  • Oranda
  • Fantail
  • Black Moor
  • Panda Moor
  • Ranchu

What to Feed Your Ryukin Goldfish

Ryukin Goldfish are not very picky. They are omnivores and are happy with almost anything you decide to feed them.

Feed Ryukins daily with commercial food such as quality dry flakes and pellets. Commercial diets ensure that they receive a balanced diet. You can also supplement that with some live food or choice frozen foods.

Ryukins enjoy:
  • Daphnia
  • Bloodworms
  • Brine shrimp

These fish seem perpetually hungry and will happily overeat, so be careful to regiment their diet. Don’t allow them to fill up, or it could irritate their digestive system.

Keeping Your Ryukin Goldfish Healthy

Keeping a clean tank and a consistent and balanced diet is one of the best ways to keep your Ryukins healthy. Due to their unique size and large shape, Ryukins are susceptible to a wide range of health issues.

Some of these include swim bladder disorders. Another common problem is dropsy. They don’t have very effective intestinal tracts, and food can get stuck in dead zones, leading to constipation.

If your fish starts to turn white or even black, they probably suffer from a disruptive bacterial or fungal disease.

Calico Ryukin Goldfish
Image Credit: Arunee Rodloy, Shutterstock

Breeding

If you want to breed your Ryukin Goldfish, take confidence that they are an easy species to breed in the right conditions.

Breed these fish in groups of the same species, putting multiple males and females together.

Start by creating a separate breeding tank. It should hold at least 20 gallons of water. Unlike their typical tank, this one should have fibrous plants with many leaves, like the Anacharis. It will act as a breeding ground for them.

Two to four weeks before breeding, separate the males from the females and feed them a diet of high-protein live or frozen foods. Continue this throughout the breeding process. When the time to breed is nigh, introduce them again and let them acclimate to their new environment. Then, drop the temperature gradually to 60° F.

Once you have reached the target temp, slowly increase the water temperature by 3° each day to get their biological processes firing.

The females should eventually swell with eggs, capable of laying upwards of 10,000 at a time. She will ultimately do so in the plants. Immediately afterward, you need to remove all adults since they will eat the eggs after breeding.

Ryukin Goldfish eggs hatch within a week. Feed your little hatchlings powdered fish fry food. When they grow large enough, switch to baby brine shrimp.

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Are Ryukin Goldfish Suitable For Your Aquarium?

Are you looking for a fancy goldfish to bring that extra flair to your freshwater aquarium? Look no further than the Ryukin Goldfish. If you are just starting to develop your aquarium environment, you can begin with the Ryukin as a low-maintenance beginner fish. If you already have goldfish, take the introduction process slowly and ensure that the fish are among the compatible breeds, or similar, that we have listed above.


Featured Image: dien, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.