Butterfly Fancy Goldfish – Lifespan, Care Guide And More

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Do you fancy something a little different in your goldfish tank? How about something colorful and fun like the butterfly fancy goldfish? Sporting long fins and a flat body shape, these fish are sure to turn heads in your aquarium!

In this care guide, we will go over everything you need to know about keeping butterfly fancy goldfish healthy and happy. We’ll discuss their lifespan, diet, tank size, water parameters, etc. We’ll also discuss what sets them apart from other fancy goldfish varieties. You’ll be an expert on all things butterfly fancy goldfish by the end of this article!

Butterfly Fancy Goldfish Overview

Scientific Name

Carassius auratus

Common Name (species)

Butterfly goldfish, butterfly Telescope goldfish




Tang Dynasty, China

Life Span

8-12 years




6-8 inches (15-20 cm)


2.2 ounces (62 grams)

Color Form

Orange, black, yellow, white



Care Level



Calm and Social



Tank Level

Bottom Dweller

Minimum Tank Size

30 gallons

Temperature Range

65 degrees Fahrenheit (18.3 degrees Celsius)

Water Hardness

5 and 19 dGH

Water Type



Species-Only Tank

OK for Planted Tanks?

Yes, with hardy plants

What is a Butterfly Fancy Goldfish?

The butterfly fancy goldfish is a beautiful and unique goldfish variety perfect for any aquarium. They are easy to care for and make a great addition to any freshwater tank. These peaceful fish are also known as butterfly goldfish, butterfly Telescope goldfish, or just plain fancy goldfish.


Butterfly Fancy Goldfish
Image Source: www.instagram.com

These fish are native to China and were first bred during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD). They were initially developed for use in ponds and lakes, but they have since become popular aquarium fish. Because of their long fins, butterfly fancy goldfish are not well-suited for life in the wild. In their natural habitat, they would be easy prey for predators.

The butterfly fancy goldfish is a popular choice among goldfish enthusiasts because of its unique appearance. They are also considered one of the more hardy goldfish breeds and are good for beginners.

Physical Appearance

As their name suggests, butterfly fancy goldfish have long tail fins that resemble a butterfly’s wings. They also have a flat body shape, typical of slim-bodied goldfish. Butterfly fancy goldfish come in various colors, including orange, black, yellow, and white.

This goldfish species typically grow to be 6-8 inches (15-20 cm) in length and 2.2 ounces (62 grams). Though you may purchase these fish for around $50, prized butterfly goldfish specimen cans fetch hundreds or even thousands of dollars!

Regardless of their price tag, butterfly fancy goldfish make a beautiful addition to any aquarium. These fish make an excellent choice for goldfish collectors looking for a unique fish to add to their collection.



The lifespan of a butterfly fancy goldfish is typically 8-10 years, but they have been known to live up to 12 years in captivity. Like most exotic goldfish, these fish have a shorter lifespan than their common goldfish cousins.

The lifespan of your fancy fantail goldfish will depend on several factors, including diet, water quality, and tank size. By providing your fish with the best possible care, you can help them to live a long and happy life.

Care Guide

As mentioned, butterfly fancy goldfish are easy to care for and make an excellent choice for beginners. In this section, we will go over everything you need to know about keeping your butterfly fancy goldfish healthy and happy.

Choose An Appropriately-Sized Tank

When choosing a tank for your butterfly fancy goldfish, your goal should give your fish plenty of space. You should allocate at least 30 gallons per fish, so for every additional goldfish you add to your tank, you will need to increase the size of your tank by 30 gallons.

It’s also important to choose a goldfish aquarium with plenty of open space for swimming. Butterfly tail goldfish are not particularly active fish, but they still need room to move around. A long, rectangular tank is a good choice for these fish, as it will give them plenty of space to swim.

Use A Filter

Close-up betta filter baffle
Image Source : Green Jean

As with all goldfish, a strong filter goes a long way in maintaining water quality. Goldfish are notoriously messy eaters and produce copious amounts of waste, so having a good filtration system is essential for keeping your tank clean. Many seasoned fishkeepers consider this part and parcel of standard quality goldfish care – without a filter, your goldfish simply will not thrive.

There are a variety of filters on the market, but we recommend choosing a canister filter for your butterfly fancy goldfish tank. Canister filters are powerful and efficient, and they do an excellent job of keeping your water clean. You can also opt for a power filter, but be sure to choose one rated for an aquarium of your size.

A filter may do a lot of the heavy lifting to maintain goldfish water quality. Still, regular water changes should remain an integral part of your tank maintenance routine. Perform a partial water change of 20-25% once a week to keep your water clean and fresh.

Add Some Live Plants

While live plants are not essential for keeping goldfish, they can provide your fish with a more natural environment. Live plants also help keep your water clean by absorbing excess nutrients and providing shelter for your fish. In addition, the base of plants can help to anchor your gravel and prevent it from being stirred up by your filter.

Many goldfish species enjoy nibbling on aquatic plants, so be sure to choose goldfish-friendly plants. Good plant choices for fancy-figure goldfish tanks include Java ferns, anubias, and hornwort. These plants are hardy and can withstand a fair amount of abuse from curious goldfish. If you’re looking for something a bit more delicate, consider adding some floating plants to your tank.

hands of aquarist planting water plant echinodorus in new aquarium

Butterfly fancy goldfish may be some of the most gorgeous fish around, but your tank’s aesthetic appeal will still benefit from natural, organic beauty of live plants. 

Choose The Right Substrate

When choosing a substrate for butterfly goldfish, there are a few things you’ll need to keep in mind. First, you’ll want to choose a smooth substrate and won’t scratch your fish’s delicate skin. The butterfly tail goldfish is known for its wide tail spread, making it susceptible to damage from sharp or abrasive substrates.

Second, you’ll want to choose a substrate that won’t upset the delicate pH balance of your goldfish tank. Goldfish are sensitive to changes in pH, and even a small change can cause serious problems for your fish. For this reason, we recommend choosing a neutral substrate such as gravel or sand.

Finally, you’ll want to ensure that your substrate is safe for goldfish to consume. Many goldfish are known for their tendency to nibble on substrates, and ingesting the wrong kind of substrate can cause digestive problems or even death. If you’re not sure whether a particular substrate is safe for goldfish, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and choose something else.

Decorate Your Tank

Now that you’ve chosen the perfect substrate and added some live plants to your tank, it’s time to start decorating! When it comes to goldfish tanks, the sky’s the limit when it comes to decoration. You can choose from a wide variety of artificial plants, rocks, and other decorations to create a one-of-a-kind look for your tank.

Just be sure to avoid decorations made from toxic materials or pose a choking hazard to your goldfish. In addition, be sure to avoid decorations with sharp edges that could damage your fish’s delicate fins.

When choosing a background for your tank, you have a few different options. You can choose from a wide variety of commercially-available backgrounds, or you can create your custom background using acrylic paint or contact paper.

If you decide to paint your background, use non-toxic paint that won’t harm your fish if it comes into contact with the water. You’ll also want to make sure that the paint is completely dry before adding your goldfish.

Butterfly Fancy Goldfish Feeding Guide

Now that we’ve covered the basics of setting up a butterfly fancy goldfish tank, it’s time to talk about feeding your fish. As with all goldfish, diet keeps your butterfly fancy goldfish healthy and happy. Here are a few tips to help you choose the best food for your fish.

Use High-Quality Fish Flakes As A Staple Diet

Goldfish are omnivorous, meaning they will eat both plants and animals. In the wild, goldfish consume various foods, including algae, crustaceans, and insects. However, in captivity, goldfish are usually fed a diet of pellets or fish flakes.

Fish Food

While many goldfish foods are available on the market, we recommend using high-quality fish flakes as the staple diet for your butterfly fancy goldfish. Fish flakes are specially formulated to provide all the nutrients and minerals that fancy goldfish types need to stay healthy and thrive. In addition, fish flakes are highly digestible and won’t cause problems for your fish’s digestive system.

One potential issue goldfish owners might run into is determining which brand or type of fish food best provides their fancy goldfish’s high-quality diet. To help make your decision easier, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite fish flakes for goldfish!

You can also seek recommendations from your local fish and pet stores. These stores typically have a wide variety of goldfish food options available and can help you choose the best food for your fish.

Offer Live, Frozen, Or Freeze-Dried Foods As Treats

In addition to a high-quality diet of fish flakes, you should also offer live, frozen, or freeze-dried foods as occasional treats. These foods are a great way to give your goldfish a high-quality, varied diet that will help keep them healthy and happy.

Frozen bloodworm for feeding aquarium fish and crabs.

Though the bulk of your fish’s nutritional needs should be met by their staple diet, offering live, frozen, or freeze-dried foods as treats will help ensure that your goldfish are getting all the nutrients they need in a complete diet.

Some great live, frozen, or freeze-dried foods for butterfly fancy goldfish include baby brine shrimp, daphnia, bloodworms, insect larvae, and tubifex worms. You can usually find these foods at your local fish stores or online. When feeding live foods to your goldfish, it’s important to only offer a small amount to avoid overfeeding.

In addition, be sure to only offer live, frozen, or freeze-dried foods as occasional treats. These foods should not make up the bulk of your fish’s diet as they can cause digestive issues if eaten in large quantities. Remember – their basic diet should consist primarily of high-quality fish flakes.

Choose Life Stage-Appropriate Food

This may seem confusing at first, but it’s pretty simple. When choosing food for your butterfly fancy goldfish, you’ll want to make sure that you choose a life stage-appropriate option. In other words, you’ll want to make sure that the food you’re feeding your fish is appropriate for their current stage of life.

For example, juvenile butterfly goldfish require a high protein diet to help them grow and develop properly. On the other hand, adult butterfly goldfish require a diet lower in protein and higher in carbohydrates to maintain their health and energy levels. Female fish that are pregnant or carrying eggs also have different dietary needs than non-reproducing fish.

Many goldfish food manufacturers offer foods specially formulated for different life stages to make things a bit easier. A distinction is often made between foods for juvenile fish, adult fish, and breeding fish. These foods are an excellent option for goldfish owners as they provide the nutrients and minerals your fish need at their specific stage of life.

Introduce A Small Amount of Plant Matter

Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that goldfish are omnivorous fish that require animal and plant matter. Goldfish graze on aquatic plants and algae to fulfill their nutritional needs in the wild. In captivity, goldfish owners often overlook the importance of plant matter in their fish’s diet.

While the bulk of your goldfish’s diet should still consist of high-quality fish foods, you should also regularly offer a small amount of plant matter. This can be in the form of blanched vegetables such as spinach, zucchini, or lettuce. Offering a small amount of plant matter to your goldfish will help ensure that they get all the nutrients they need for good health.

Another reason to offer plant matter to your goldfish is that it improves the digestive health of your fish. Butterfly fancy goldfish are known for being delicate fish with sensitive digestive systems. By regularly offering a small amount of plant matter, you can help keep your goldfish’s digestive system healthy and functioning properly. The last thing you want is to have a constipated fish on your hands! 

Remember Not To Overfeed!

Girl feeding goldfish

Last but not least, it’s important to remember not to overfeed your butterfly fancy goldfish. As a general rule of thumb, you should only offer your fish as much food as they can consume in two minutes. Any more than that and you’re risking overfeeding and polluting your tank water. 

Overfeeding is one of the most common problems among goldfish owners, so it’s important to be mindful of how much food you’re giving your fish. An excellent way to avoid overfeeding is to measure the appropriate amount of food before feeding time. Remember to only feed fish during feeding times and remove any uneaten food from the tank afterward.

By following these simple tips, you can ensure that your butterfly fancy goldfish are getting the nutrients they need for good health. A healthy diet is essential for all goldfish, but it’s especially important for delicate fish like butterfly fancy goldfish. With a little bit of effort, you can help your fish live a long and healthy life. 

Where To Buy A Butterfly Fancy Goldfish

Having read all of the above, we hope you’re now interested in purchasing your own butterfly fancy goldfish! The next step is to find reputable goldfish breeders who can provide you with a healthy and well-cared-for-fish.

There are many places that sell goldfish, but not all of them are created equal. Some breeders only deal in show-quality butterfly goldfish, while others are content meeting the more general pet goldfish standard.

Girl With Sales Assistant Choosing Goldfish In Pet Store

If you’re buying from the former, you can expect to pay a pretty penny for your fish. The latter, on the other hand, will be much more affordable.

When choosing a breeder, it’s important to do your research and get a high-quality bred goldfish. A good breeder will provide you with information about the goldfish family, the different types of goldfish, and the care required for each type. They should also be able to answer any questions you have about goldfish care.

Choosing a breeder is an important decision, so take your time and choose wisely. A little bit of research can save you a lot of headaches (and money) down the road!

Breeding Butterfly Fancy Goldfish

If you’re interested in breeding your own butterfly fancy goldfish, you should know a few things. First, it’s important to have a female and a male fish. You can tell the difference between the two by looking at their fins; males will have longer fins than females. Second, you’ll need to set up a breeding tank. This tank should be at least 10 gallons and have a sponge filter.

It’s also important to provide plenty of hiding places in the breeding tank for your fish. Breeding tanks should have plenty of plants, rocks, and other objects that your fish can use for cover.

This is important because when it comes time to spawn, the female goldfish will lay her eggs in a hidden area. The male goldfish will then fertilize the eggs.

After the eggs are laid, they will hatch in about two days. The fry (baby fish) will be free-swimming after five to seven days. At this point, you can start feeding them baby brine shrimp or crushed flake food. 

Tankmates For Butterfly Fancy Goldfish

Butterfly fancy goldfish are best kept with other peaceful fish that won’t bother them. Good tankmates for butterfly fancy goldfish include:

  • Plecos
  • Catfish
  • Tetras
  • Danios
  • Other fancy goldfish

It’s important to avoid keeping butterfly fancy goldfish with aggressive fish like cichlids or bettas. These aggressive fish may bully or even kill your delicate butterfly goldfish.

When choosing tankmates for your butterfly fancy goldfish, it’s also important to consider the size of the fish. Butterfly goldfish can grow to be quite large, so it’s best to avoid keeping them with smaller fish that could be easily swallowed.

The Takeaway

Butterfly fancy goldfish are a beautiful and unique type of goldfish that make a great addition to any fish tank. While they’re not the easiest fish to care for, they’re certainly worth the effort. With a little bit of knowledge and careful planning, you can be successful in keeping butterfly fancy goldfish healthy and happy.

Do you have any experience keeping butterfly fancy goldfish? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below! And if you know someone who’s thinking about keeping goldfish, be sure to share this article with them. Thanks for reading!

Wanda is a second-generation aquarist from the sunny tropics of Malaysia. She has been helping her father with his freshwater tanks since she was a toddler, and has fallen in love with the hobby ever since. A perpetual nomad, Wanda does her best to integrate fish-keeping with her lifestyle, and has taken care of fish in three different continents. She loves how it provides a nice break from the hustle and bustle of life.

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