Lionhead Goldfish

The Lionhead goldfish are among the most popular fancy goldfish varieties. They are highly popular mainly because of their bright colors and the mane-like growths around their neck.

This breed is one of the oldest of the dorsal-less goldfish varieties and actually originated in China around the 1600s.

The Lionhead goldfish was further refined into the Ranchu Goldfish variety in the mid-1800s, after being exported to Japan.

The Japanese produced this variety with more rounded back profiles, modified tails and diminished size of the headgrowth.

The Lionhead goldfish are easily recognized by their well developed head growth(wen).

Their distinctive raspberry or lion’s mane appearance of these fish have led to their commonly used name today. However, read some more information about this goldfish variety below.

Lionhead Goldfish Characteristics

The Lionhead goldfish is an egg-shaped variety of goldfish. They have relatively short and stubby body. They have a double anal fin and a double caudal fin and have no dorsal fin.

The most distinctive feature of these fish is their head. The head except for the eyes, mouth and nostrils can become completely covered with fleshy growth. They may have metallic, nacreous or matte scales.

Generally they are available in black-and-white, black-and-red, natural, chocolate, orange, red, blue, red-and-white and white coloration.

Average body length of the mature Lionhead goldfish is around 5 inches, but they can grow up to 6 inches. Photo and info from Wikipedia.

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Like most other goldfish varieties, the Lionhead goldfish are omnivorous scavengers. And they generally eat almost anything.

They can survive on fish flakes alone. But for optimal health they need variety in their diets.

You can feed your fish with fish brine shrimp, small pieces of cooked meat such as chicken, and pieces of fruit and vegetables regularly.

Avoiding snack foods and lettuces is good, because these foods offer little nutritional value.

They generally have poor vision and a herder time seeing their food, due to their fleshy head growth. So they need extra time to feed.


The Lionhead goldfish spawn readily in the right conditions. Differences between males and females are less obvious outside the breeding season because of the short round body shape.

The females often will have a slimmer body shape than the male (giving the impression she is male).

These fish can bred in groups as small as five individuals, although they are very social fish and likely to breed in larger groups as well.

They only spawn in the wild when spring arrives. Generally a mature fish can produce up to 10,000 eggs per spawning.


The Lionhead goldfish are very popular ornamental fish. They are good as pets.

Special Notes

The Lionhead goldfish are friendly and social fish. They are one of the oldest goldfish type and are very cute. So they are one of the very favorite species amongst the aquarists.

They require moderate care and maintenance. They are long lived fish species with an average lifespan of 10-15 years. But they can also live longer.

The Lionhead goldfish are sometimes sensitive to low water temperatures. They should not be kept with faster moving fish such as Common goldfish, Comets and Shubunkins due to their slow nature.

The recommended tank size for this fish is 20 gallons with double filteration, if kept in aquarium.

Tank mates will be good for these fish, as they are social fish. However, review full breed profile of the Lionhead goldfish in the table below.

NameLionhead Goldfish
Other NamesNone
Breed PurposeOrnamental, pet
Special NotesVery beautiful, distinctive look, require moderate care, very social fish and generally thrive in community, friendly and social, one of the oldest variety of goldfish, very cute, very popular amongst the aquarists, long lived fish species, 10-15 years of average lifespan but can live longer, sometimes sensitive to low water temperatures, can be kept with other goldfish varieties, raised for ornamental purpose
SizeAround 5 inches
Breeding MethodArtificial and natural
Climate ToleranceAlmost all climates
Body ColorCommon colors are black-and-white, black-and-red, natural, chocolate, orange, red, blue, red-and-white and white

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