How to Identify and Care for Shubunkin Fish

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Also called calico goldfish, shubunkin goldfish are one of the hardiest and most popular of all goldfish. They are native to Japan, and their name "shubunkin" is a Japanese term that directly translates as "red brocade," which is reminiscent of their distinctive, variegated coloration. These fish are nicknamed "Poor Man's Koi," and are well-suited for first-time aquarists. Read on to learn how to identify and care for shubunkin goldfish.

Things You'll Need

  • 36-gallon fish tank or larger Shubunkin goldfish Powerful filter Aquarium heater Tropical fish food Aquarium decorations

How to Identify Shubunkin Gold Fish

  • Note the distinctive "calico" coloration of the shubunkin goldfish, which is a combination of different shades of reds, oranges and browns with black speckles.

  • Keep in mind that the male shubunkin goldfish develops white tubercles on its gill plates as well as the front edge of its pectoral fins. The female shubunkin has a deeper-colored body than the male, as well as a larger vent located just before her anal fin.

  • Look out for a forked, pointed tail fin that can grow about as long as the fish's body.

How to Care for Your Shubunkin Goldfish

  • Purchase a 36-gallon or larger fish tank for your shubunkin goldfish. Ensure that you select a fish tank that allows a ratio of 10 gallons of water for every goldfish you will have. In fact, the bigger the fish tank you can get, the better, because the larger capacity helps maintain the water quality for longer periods.

  • Fill the fish tank with room temperature water. Install the filter and heater in your fish tank. Adjust your heater to maintain water temperatures at 42 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Add your gravel to the fish tank, as well as any other aquarium decorations as desired. Provide some live or fake plants, allowing plenty of open space for swimming. Let the water sit uncovered for 24 hours before you release your shubunkin goldfish into the fish tank.

  • Be sure to do a regular 25%-30% water change each week to maintain water quality. Maintain tank water conditions at a pH range of 6.5-8.5.

  • Add your gravel to the fish tank, as well as any other aquarium decorations as desired. Provide some live or fake plants, allowing plenty of open space for swimming.

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  • Photo Credit Author - FreudianSlap, image used under the GNU Free Documentation License.
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