Freshwater Fish

Goldfish Fantail or tail of milano: Guide of care in the aquarium

The fantail goldfish is a popular and beautiful freshwater fish that is ideal for beginners and experienced owners alike. Their long flowing fins are a sight to see!

But even though these fish require very little maintenance, there are some aspects of their care that can be a bit tricky.

This guide will teach you everything you need to know about caring for Fantail goldfish. We cover tankmates, size, lifespan, diet, and much more!

Species Summary

Known for their elegant fins and majestic appearance, the fantail goldfish is one of the most popular species in the pet trade. A good choice for beginners, these fish are quite hardy and can do well in the right conditions.

These freshwater fish are not found in the wild and are the simplest type of fancy goldfish. Like other fancies, these fish are the product of selective breeding techniques hundreds, if not thousands, of years ago. Their closest living relative is the carp, but Fantails are very distinct in their own right!

Easily available at most pet stores around the world, these fish can add a ton of beauty to your tank. However, they require well-maintained environments to truly thrive.


Fantail goldfish have several prominent physical traits that contribute to their popularity. The first thing you will notice is the egg-shaped body. They do not have the slender, torpedo-shaped body of a standard goldfish.

Their bodies are quite bulbous, resulting in a somewhat bloated appearance. Believe it or not, the unique body shape actually limits the space for your organs. As a result, they are prone to a couple of diseases (more on that later).

>Another defining feature is the double tail fins. Instead of a simple forked shape, the caudal fin is divided into four lobes. From above, create a triangle shape. But from the sides, it looks like a flowing fan.

Fantail goldfish also have a double anal fin. However, the dorsal fin is unique. It is tall and arched, extending to the base of the tail.

The scales of the fantail goldfish can be metallic or pearly. Plus, they come in a wide range of colors. Orange, yellow and red are the most common. However, you can also find pure white, black, metallic blue and percale!

Author’s Note: As the most basic type of fancy goldfish, don’t expect to see extreme traits beyond what we’ve outlined above. Some fish can develop telescopic eyes after six months of age, but sellers will usually rename them once the eyes begin to develop.

Average Size of Fantail Goldfish

The average size of the Fantail goldfish is between six and eight inches long. This measurement is from the nose to the tip of the tail fin.

A large part of that size measurement actually comes from their expansive fins. The bodies of a fantail goldfish are usually smaller and can fit nicely in the palm of your hand.

Buying your Fantail from a reputable seller who practices ethical and smart breeding will usually result in your fish growing on the larger side of that size range.

Life expectancy

The typical lifespan of the Fantail goldfish is between five and ten years. If you want your Fantail to hit the higher end of this range, you’ll need to provide top-notch care.

Author’s Note: This species is quite hardy, but it is prone to some health problems that could shorten its lifespan. While there is an element of luck involved, most health problems can be avoided with proper care and good tank maintenance.

Fantail Goldfish Care

Caring for fantail goldfish is fairly simple and something most beginners can handle without a problem. If you are thinking of getting one of these fish, you have a lot of fun ahead of you!

That said, they do have different care requirements that you’ll need to be aware of. Like other types of goldfish, these critters will not survive in typical tropical fish water conditions! They require cooler environments built around their safety.

Here is some information you can use to keep your Fantail goldfish happy and healthy.

tank size

Let’s start with the size of your aquarium.

Fantail goldfish can grow to be reasonably large, but they are not strong swimmers. Therefore, they do not need a large tank to stay healthy.

We recommend providing a tank size of 10 to 20 gallons per fish. If you can go up to 30 gallons per fish, that’s even better!

Author’s Note: Fantails are also a good fish to consider for outdoor ponds. Many homeowners keep them in backyard ponds that are 180 gallons or larger.

water parameters

As a «designer» fish, Fantails do not occur naturally in the wild. This means that we do not have a baseline to model tank conditions after many popular tropical species.

With that said, we do have some information on the goldfish’s closest cousin, the wild carp. Most aquarists will look to crucian and Prussian carp for inspiration.

These fish live in slow-moving lakes and rivers. They come from higher altitudes, such as mountain rivers and tributaries. As a result, the waters are often cooler and have a more neutral pH balance.

  • Water temperature: 65°F to 80°F (around 73 to 74 degrees is ideal)
  • pH levels: 6.0 to 8.0 (aim for neutral)
  • Water hardness: 4 to 20 dKH

To maintain these parameters and keep your tank consistent, you will need to obtain an aquarium testing kit. This will allow you to check the status of the water and avoid unwanted changes that could harm your Fantail goldfish.

What to put in your tank

A natural and serene tank environment is best for Fantail goldfish. You must model your tank after a tranquil mountain stream!

Start with a layer of a soft sand substrate. Fantail goldfish venture to all corners of their environment, and even like to dig from time to time. Large pebbles or bits of gravel could scratch them, so stick with sand to be safe.

Next, you can add rocks, driftwood, and plastic decorations. Keep things simple! These fish need some decorative elements to shelter in case they want to hide.

Also, make sure there are no sharp edges. These fish are very delicate!

Author’s Note: Be sure to provide enough open space for swimming. Don’t overload the habitat.

Add a couple of floating and anchored plants. These goldfish particularly enjoy things like hornwort. However, anubias and Java fern also work very well.

For equipment, a standard filter and lighting platform is a must. Fantails can produce a lot of debris, and this is especially true if you have a group of them. Because of this, make sure your filtration system can handle the tank’s bioload efficiently (here are some great ones to consider)

Additional features like air stones and bombs are always welcome. They are not necessary. But they can further enrich the environment by infusing oxygen into the water.

potential diseases

Fantail goldfish are not immune to health problems. They can suffer from the same diseases as many other freshwater fish.

Always be on the lookout for ich, bacterial infections, and fungal problems.

>Fantails are at high risk for swim bladder disease. Usually constipation is the culprit. Their compacted organs can make it difficult for fish to process food. The condition will affect their buoyancy, causing them to turn upside down or have trouble swimming.

There are several over-the-counter treatments for swim bladder disease. However, it’s easiest to avoid it altogether by monitoring your fish’s food intake (more on that in a bit).

Another common health problem is fin rot. This bacterial disease can kill those beautiful double fins. Generally, fin rot is easy to treat with antibiotics and quarantine.

Author’s Note: Check tank conditions regularly to decrease the chance of these diseases affecting your Fantail goldfish. Making sure ammonia and nitrate levels are undetectable is very important to prevent stress-related health problems.

Also, change at least 25 percent of the water volume each week.

Food and Diet

Fantail goldfish are not picky eaters when it comes to food. They are opportunistic omnivores that will consume almost anything they can get their hands on.

All of this being said, feeding a fantail goldfish is more complicated than one would think. Due to your propensity to develop digestive problems, you should adjust your diet accordingly.

Stick to high-quality foods packed with nutrition. Everything should be easy to digest to avoid swim bladder disease and indigestion.

You can provide dry flakes or granules, but we recommend that you limit yourself to live or frozen foods. Foods like brine shrimp, daphnia, and bloodworms offer the most bang for your buck in terms of nutrition. You can feed your fish less without having to worry about deficiencies.

For plant-based foods, try high-fiber snacks like lettuce, blanched peas, and zucchini.

Author’s Note: Feed your fish two small meals a day. Only provide enough food that they can eat in two minutes. They will still look hungry, but two small meals will be more than enough to keep them healthy!

behavior and temperament

Aggression is not a problem at all with the Fantail Goldfish! These fish are naturally quite peaceful and gentle.

Throughout the day, your fantail will swim around the tank minding its own business. They can make their way through plants, burrow for food in the substrate, or interact with others.

Fantails are quite social fish. They don’t huddle together, but you may see them group together and explore the tank together.

tank mates

Choosing Fantail goldfish tankmates can be very tricky. They are not aggressive in any way, but they can become the target of bullies very quickly.

This is because Fantails are not good swimmers. They cannot escape noisy species or fin claws. To avoid stressing your Fantail out too much, keep it with calm and peaceful tankmates.

Stay away from any aggressive or even semi-aggressive fish. Also, avoid fast swimmers or fin-biting species that could damage those beautiful flowing fins.

Here are some good tank mates that can co-exist with Fantail goldfish:

  • Ryukins
  • Heavenly Eye Goldfish
  • Goldfish with bubble eyes
  • cory catfish
  • pink quills
  • zebra danios
  • White Cloud Mountain Minnows
  • Angelfish
  • molly fish
  • dwarf gouramis
  • Kuhli loaches
  • neon tetras
  • Otocinclus
  • cherry shrimp
  • Amanos Shrimp
  • Ghost Shrimp


Breeding fantail goldfish is very simple. Like other goldfish, they are prolific breeders that can lay thousands of eggs at a time.

They require pristine conditions to begin spawning, so setting up a separate breeding tank is a good idea.

Create the same living conditions as the main tank. But include several fine-leaved plants or spawning mops for the eggs to attach to. It’s also a good idea to start at a lower temperature.

You can breed Fantail goldfish in groups or close-knit pairs. Whatever the case, add your fish and slowly raise the temperature about three degrees a day. Do not exceed 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Eventually the fish will begin to spawn. The male will circle the female to start the process. The females will spread the eggs throughout the tank. If she added a lot of plants and mops, those eggs should stay safe.

Regardless, it’s important to remove the parents once the spawning process is complete. These fish do not exhibit parental instincts and will eat the eggs if given the chance.

The eggs will hatch in about five to six days. After a few more days of eating their egg sac, the fry will begin to swim freely. At that time, you can provide some powdered food, newly hatched brine shrimp, and infusoria. High-protein foods are best, as they can help these young fish grow quickly.


Caring for fantail goldfish is something anyone can handle. As long as you are familiar with their basic requirements and are consistent, these fish should thrive!

Let us know if there is anything else you would like to learn about these fish. We are here to help!

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