June 3

Sarah Robertson

Calico Goldfish Care, Lifespan, Breeding & More

Goldfish are one of the most popular pets in the world and have been kept for centuries. They come in many different shapes, sizes, and colors. One of the most popular goldfish varieties is the calico goldfish.

Calico goldfish are a type of fancy goldfish that are characterized by their tri-color pattern. They come mainly in white, red, yellow, and black coloration. They are a popular choice among goldfish hobbyists because of their unique colors and patterns.

When it comes to calico goldfish care, they are not much different than other goldfish varieties. They are hardy fish that can tolerate a wide range of water conditions. However, they do best in clean, well-oxygenated water.

Calico Goldfish Appearance

The calico goldfish is distinguished by its typical tri-color pattern. These fish generally have white, red, yellow, and black splotches all over their bodies, ranging in size and intensity; it's also possible to find a calico with lighter streaks of grey and even blue.

The Calico has a long, flat body. The head is wide but short, and the body tapers smoothly from its back to its tail fin, which should be forked. Its fins should stand fully erect with the edges of the dorsal fins slightly concave.

Calico Goldfish Origin

Goldfish (Carassius auratus) are descended from several species of wild carp that formerly abounded in the sluggish waterways of Central Asia. China traded variants of these wild carps beginning in the 1400s, eventually resulting in the many shapes and sizes of goldfish seen today.

Calico goldfish do not occur naturally in the wild, and if one does, then it is most likely a mutation from a released-aquarium fish.

Calico Goldfish Size

So, how big do calico goldfish get? Calico goldfish typically grow to be about 6-8 inches (15-20 cm) long. However, they can grow up to 12 inches (30 cm) in length. It has been observed that calico goldfish grow faster and reach a larger size when kept in an outdoor pond.

Calico Goldfish Lifespan

The lifespan of a calico goldfish is typically 10-15 years, but they can sometimes live up to 20 years with proper care. There are some factors that can affect their lifespans, such as water quality, diet, and overall health.

Calico Goldfish Behaviour

Calico Goldfish Behaviour 

Calico goldfish are peaceful fish that can get along with most other goldfish varieties. They are not known to be aggressive and will not bother other tankmates.

They are active fish that enjoy swimming around and exploring their environment. They do best in tanks that are at least 20 gallons in size.

Calico Goldfish Tank Setup

There are many factors to consider when setting up a tank for calico goldfish. The size of the tank, water conditions, and type of filtration are all important factors to consider.

If you are keeping a small group of this species of fish then a minimum tank of 20 gallons (75 L) is recommended. If you are keeping a larger group or want to add other fish to the tank then a larger tank will be required.

Filters are also important in a goldfish tank as they help to keep the water clean and free of ammonia and nitrites. Goldfish produce a lot of waste so a good filter is essential. Other equipment that can be added to the tank includes a heater, thermostat, and aquarium light.

Calico goldfish are not picky when it comes to water conditions. They can tolerate a wide range of temperatures and pH levels. However, they do best in water that is slightly alkaline with a pH of 7.0-8.0. The ideal water temperature for calico goldfish is 65-72 degrees Fahrenheit (18-22 degrees Celsius).

The water in the tank should be well-oxygenated and have a moderate flow. A powerhead or air stone can be used to create more movement in the water if needed.

Calico Goldfish Tank Decor

When it comes to tank decor, calico goldfish are not picky. They can live in a wide range of aquarium setups. Some hobbyists prefer to keep their tanks simple with just gravel and plants.

Others like to add rocks, driftwood, and other decorations. It is really up to the individual hobbyist and what they prefer. However, it is important to make sure that any decorations added to the tank are safe for goldfish and will not tear their delicate fins.

Plants can be used in a calico goldfish tank, but they should be hardy varieties that can tolerate the Goldfish's digging. Some good plant choices include Java Fern, Anubias, and hornwort. You can either use live plants or fake plants in the tank. Even silk plants can be used as long as they are safe for goldfish.

Goldfish are diggers and will uproot plants if given the chance. It is a good idea to plant your plants in pots or use aquarium-safe glue to attach them to rocks or driftwood. This will help to keep them in place and prevent them from being uprooted.

Gravel is the most common substrate used in goldfish tanks. It comes in a wide range of colors and can be used to create a variety of different looks. Goldfish love to dig in gravel so it is important to choose a size that is not too small. Small gravel can easily be ingested by goldfish and cause digestive problems.

Calico Goldfish Tankmates

Calico goldfish can be kept with other goldfish or peaceful freshwater fish. They are not aggressive and get along well with most other tankmates. However, it is important to avoid keeping them with fish that are too small or fin nippers as they may harass the goldfish.

Some good tankmate choices for calico goldfish include other goldfish varieties, danios, Tetras, and plecos.


Calico goldfish are not picky eaters and will accept a variety of food. They can be fed both live and frozen foods, as well as pellets and flakes. It is important to feed them a variety of food to ensure they are getting all the nutrients they need.

Live foods such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, and daphnia are a good choice for calico goldfish. They are also known to accept frozen foods such as bloodworms, Mysis shrimp, and krill. If you can't find these then frozen live foods are also a good option.

Pellets and flakes can also be used to supplement the diet. There are many different brands and types of pellets and flakes available on the market. It is important to choose a good quality food that is high in protein and low in fillers.

Some goldfish hobbyists like to grow their own live foods. This can be done with a simple setup such as a fish tank and an air stone. Live plants can also be added to the setup to provide shelter and hiding places for live food.

Vegetables such as zucchini, lettuce, and peas can also be given to calico goldfish. They should be blanched or steamed before being fed to the fish.

Feeding Tips

When it comes to feeding calico goldfish, there are a few things to keep in mind.

It is important to feed them small meals several times a day rather than one large meal. This will help prevent them from getting bloated and sick. A good rule of thumb is to feed them as much as they can eat in 2-3 minutes.

Goldfish are known to be messy eaters so it is important to remove any uneaten food from the tank to prevent it from decaying and polluting the water.



Calico goldfish are not difficult to breed and will often spawn in a community tank. However, if you want to increase the chances of spawning then it is best to set up a separate breeding tank. So, how do you breed a calico goldfish? The following steps can be used to set up a breeding tank:

  • Selecting the breeding pairs
    It is best to select a group of 3-4 pairs of goldfish to increase the chances of getting a successful spawn. While calico goldfish can be bred with other goldfish varieties, it is best to avoid crossing different species. Select the fishes that are the healthiest and have the best coloration. They should be at least 1 year old and should be of the same size and age
  • Conditioning the breeding pairs
    The next step is to condition the breeding pairs. This involves feeding them a high-quality diet and making sure they are in good health. The conditioning process usually takes 4-6 weeks.
    During this time, it is important to perform regular water changes and keep the tank clean. This will help to reduce the stress on the fish and increase the chances of spawning.
  • Setting up the breeding tank
    Choose a tank that is at least 20 gallons in size. Fill the tank with water that is slightly acidic and has a temperature of 68-74 degrees Fahrenheit. Add some live plants or silk plants to the tank for the fry to hide in. Set up a sponge filter or an air-powered filter in the tank. This will help to keep the water clean and provide oxygen for the fry. Place a piece of spawning mop or netting in the tank for the female to lay her eggs on.
  • Spawning
    Once the tank is set up, you can start introducing your fish. Start with the males and add them to the tank first. After a few minutes, you can add the females to the tank. The spawning process usually takes place at night and can last for several hours.
    The female will lay her eggs on the spawning mop or netting. Once she is done, she will be chased away by the male. The male will then fertilize the eggs.
    After spawning is complete, it is important to remove the breeding fish from the tank. This is because they may eat the eggs or fry.
  • Caring for the fry
    The eggs will hatch in 1-3 days and the fry will be free-swimming a few days after that. During this time, it is important to keep the tank clean and provide plenty of food for the fry. Baby brine shrimp and daphnia are good foods for the fry.
    As they grow, you can start feeding them crushed flake food or pellets.
    When choosing a food for your fry, it is important to select a high-quality product. This will help to ensure that your fry grows up to be healthy and strong.
    Once the fry is about 4 weeks old, you can start to slowly introduce them to your main tank.

Diseases and Cure

Like all goldfish, calico goldfish are susceptible to a number of diseases. The most common diseases include:

  • Ich: This is a parasite that causes white spots on the fish. It is important to treat ich as soon as possible as it can be fatal to goldfish.
  • Dropsy: This is a disease that causes the fish to swell up. It is often caused by poor water quality or bacterial infection.
  • Columnaris: This is a bacterial disease that affects the skin and fins of the fish. It is often fatal if not treated immediately.
  • Swim bladder disease: This is a disease that affects the swim bladder of the fish. It can be caused by genetic defects, injury, or poor water quality.
  • Fin rot: This is a bacterial disease that affects the fins of the fish. It is often caused by poor water quality or injury.


Whenever you notice any unusual symptoms in your fish, it is important to take them to the vet as soon as possible. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Gasping for air
  • Floating upside down
  • Sitting at the bottom of the tank
  • Clamped fins
  • White spots on the skin
  • Red streaks on the fins or body
  • Swelling
  • inflammation
  • Bumps on the skin
  • Loss of balance
  • Inability to swim properly


If you think your fish has a disease, it is important to take action immediately. The first step is to identify the disease and then treat it accordingly. There are a number of different treatments available for goldfish diseases. The following are some of the most common:

  • Quarantine: This involves isolating the sick fish in a separate tank. This will help to prevent the disease from spreading to other fish.
  • Water changes: This is one of the most important things you can do to prevent diseases in goldfish. Regular water changes will help to keep the water clean and free of toxins.
  • Proper diet: A healthy diet is important for the overall health of your fish. A diet that is rich in vitamins and minerals will help to boost the immune system and prevent diseases.
  • Not overcrowding the tank: Overcrowding can stress fish out and make them more susceptible to diseases. It is important to provide each fish with enough space to swim and hide.
  • Adding Aquarium salt: This is a common treatment for a variety of goldfish diseases. Aquarium salt can be added to the tank to help reduce stress and promote healing.
  • Maintaining Clean water: This is one of the most important things you can do to prevent diseases in goldfish. Regular water changes will help to keep the water clean and free of toxins.
Do Calico Goldfish Change Color


Do Calico Goldfish Change Color?

Goldfish actually change color throughout their lives! Goldfish are generally drab brown, grey, or even black when they are born. This is to assist them in remaining unnoticed and uneaten while they're still tiny. They develop distinctive hues and patterns as they mature.

Can Calico Goldfish Live With Other Fish?

Yes, they can! Calico goldfish are peaceful by nature and get along well with other fish. However, it is important to keep them with fish that are of a similar size, as they may be bullied by larger fish.

What Do Calico Goldfish Eat?

Calico goldfish are omnivorous, which means they will eat both plant and animal matter. They can be fed a variety of foods, including pellets, flakes, freeze-dried foods, live foods, and vegetables.

How Often Should I Feed My Calico Goldfish?

Goldfish should be fed once or twice a day. It is important not to overfeed them, as this can lead to health problems. A good rule of thumb is to feed them only as much as they can consume in 2-3 minutes.

Do Calico Goldfish Need a Filter?

Yes, they do! All goldfish need a filter in their tank. This is because goldfish produce a lot of waste, and a filter helps to keep the water clean and free of ammonia and nitrites.

How Fast Do Calico Goldfish Grow?

Your goldfish should reach roughly 2 inches in length after six months. It will grow to be over 3 inches tall by the end of its first year as long as it receives adequate nutrition.

Can a Calico Goldfish Bite You?

Calico Goldfish teeth aren't sharp, and they can't bite humans. They're actually very flat - somewhat like human molars - and are used to crush and grind food.

Do Goldfish Turn Into Carp?

No, goldfish and carp are two different species of fish. However, they are closely related, and goldfish are actually a type of carp. Carp have originally domesticated in China over 2,000 years ago and were later introduced to Europe.

Is It Ok to Release Goldfish Into a Lake?

No, it is not OK to release goldfish into a lake. This is because goldfish are not native to North America, and they can cause problems for native fish populations. Goldfish are also known to carry diseases that can be harmful to humans and other animals.

They grow very quickly and can outcompete native fish for food and space. If you want to release a goldfish into the wild, it is best to contact your local wildlife agency to find an appropriate location.

Can Common Goldfish Be Calico?

No, common goldfish cannot be calico. Calico is a pattern, not a color. All goldfish have the potential to develop calico patterns, but it is most often seen in fancy goldfish varieties.

How to Tell if a Calico Goldfish Is Male or Female? 

Male goldfish have fluffier fins and tails than females, and their bodies are often smaller. Male goldfish have a somewhat lower and thinner body in comparison to females. Females will have a larger, rounder physique with a softer abdomen.

What Does a Calico Goldfish Laying Eggs Look Like? 

Calico Goldfish eggs appear like tiny spherical "bubbles" rather than oval-shaped “balls." They're clear or pale yellow in color, with a dim black spot in the center of each egg.


Calico goldfish are beautiful fish that make a great addition to any freshwater tank. They are relatively easy to care for and can be kept in a variety of different aquarium setups. They are not demanding when it comes to water parameters and can tolerate a wide range of conditions.

However, it is important to provide them with a well-filtered and oxygenated environment. Calico goldfish are peaceful by nature and do well with other fish. They are omnivorous and will accept a variety of different foods. With proper care, calico goldfish can live for 10-15 years in captivity.

If you're looking for a beautiful and peaceful addition to your freshwater tank, then calico goldfish are a great option!

Sarah Robertson

I am a passionate blogger who also happens to be a fish keeping enthusiast. Writing about my hobby is something that I absolutely love to do, and it's no secret that my chosen topic is always centered around fish keeping.

Sarah Robertson

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