June 1

Sarah Robertson

How to Properly Care for Lionhead Goldfish?

The Lionhead Goldfish is a beautiful and easy-to-maintain fish that's ideal for any aquarium. It has an unusual appearance and is unique in its own way. Lionhead Goldfish reach a length of around eight to ten inches with raised scales and a fantail that distinguishes them from other goldfish. While they may be herbivores with minimal maintenance requirements, they do require a lot of filtrations in the tank since they produce a large amount of bioload. 

Lionhead Goldfish care is easy and only requires a bit of knowledge about their basic needs. In terms of diet, they are not fussy eaters and will accept most commercially available goldfish food pellets. It is important to supplement their diet with live or frozen foods such as brine shrimp, daphnia, or bloodworms. These foods will help them maintain their health and boost their immune system.

Let's take a closer look at some of the breed's distinguishing characteristics and how they might be utilized in your aquarium.


The lionhead was developed in China to symbolize the mythical Chinese lion-dog. They were brought to Japan from China during the 17th and 18th centuries. The Japanese Lionheads had a more rounded back profile, modified tails, and smaller head growth.

In the wild, lionhead goldfish were never seen; they were specifically "designed" and "bred" for their unusual but awkward appearances. Today, lionhead goldfish are commercially available all around the world, and they are one of more than a hundred captive-bred goldfish kinds seen in aquariums today.

Quick Facts About Lionhead Goldfish

  • Species Name : Lionhead Goldfish
  • Family : Asian Carp
  • Care Level : Moderate
  • Breed Purpose : Ornamental, pet
  • Temperature : 65-75ºF
  • Lionhead Goldfish size : 5- 10 inches
  • Temperament : Peaceful
  • Color Form : Varies but mostly red and orange
  • Lionhead Goldfish Lifespan : 15 years
  • Diet : Omnivore
  • Rarity : Common
  • Minimum Tank Size : 20 gallons
  • Tank Set-Up : 6.5-7.5 pH and 4-20 KH with no sharp or abrasive objects
  • Compatibility : Other peaceful fish
  • Breeding Method : Artificial and natural
  • Climate Tolerance : Almost all climates
  • Body Color : Common colors are black-and-white, black-and-red, natural, chocolate, orange, red, blue, red-and-white, and white
  • Availability : Worldwide
Lionhead Goldfish Overview

Lionhead Goldfish Overview

The Lionhead Goldfish is the most common variety of goldfish without a dorsal fin. This common goldfish is one of the most well-known types, and you'll find them in aquariums all around the world.

They're actually Asian carp, and they can even live in very brackish water. They get along well with other community fish that aren't aggressive. Pencilfish, mollies, and other small tetras are among them.

The Lionhead goldfish is a beautiful fish that has become popular quickly because of its graceful movements and overall beauty. They aren't known to be aggressive even during the mating season.

Lionhead Goldfish Behavior & Temperament

The lionhead goldfish is a community fish that is known to be quite docile. They'll get along swimmingly with any other peaceful community fish, so you can probably add them to your existing aquarium with whatever fish are peacefully coexisting there.

However, they can also be maintained alone in a tank as the only fish and don't require a group. They don't need the company of other fish to be healthy and happy. They are sluggish and many individuals consider them as lazy. They're really slow and unstable swimmers, so they don't move around much. It is due to its lack of a dorsal fin. Its extra anal and caudal fins aid it in finding food while swimming.

Lionhead goldfish should not be kept with fast swimmers, as they will be bullied at feeding time due to their slow swimming. If given the opportunity, lionhead goldfish will overeat and must be watched during feeding times. They should be fed twice a day.

If a lionhead goldfish swims into a sharp object in the tank, it can damage itself. If the plants do not root in the tank, the fish has an inclination to uproot live plants.

Lionhead Goldfish Appearance

The lionhead fish has a round, egg-shaped body and no stabilizing dorsal fin, resulting in an entirely different appearance from a regular goldfish. These are known as fancy goldfish and were bred to have the “hood” on their head.

The hood is called a wen that grows over the face of the fish. As a result of this, the fish's vision may be hampered, and it can't see properly while swimming. However, the wen isn't smooth. It has a rough texture and resembles a raspberry in appearance. The growth could also block the fish's gills, causing breathing difficulties.

This fish is often confused with an Oranda Goldfish. These fish do resemble one other, but the lack of a dorsal fin on Lionhead Goldfish distinguishes them from Orandas. However, they have egg-shaped bodies that are mistaken for each other frequently, although Lionheads are rounder than Orandas.


You’ll find Lionhead Goldfish in a wide variety of colors. The most common coloration is a mix of red, orange, and white, but they can also be found in blue, black, calico, and combinations of these colors.

Lionhead Goldfish Care 

The Lionhead Goldfish is a hardy fish and can live in a wide range of water conditions. Here is how to properly care for your Lionhead Goldfish:

Habitat, Tank Conditions & Lionhead Goldfish Tank Setup

The Lionhead Goldfish don't require any special tank arrangements, and they're quite easy to care for. You should, nevertheless, guarantee that your aquarium has the correct temperature range to keep your Lionhead healthy.

Tank Size

They can grow up to 10 inches long but are typically around 8 inches long. The tank size recommended for a Lionhead is 20 gallons, and it must also be equipped with double filtration. For each additional fish, the tank size must be increased by 10 gallons. If you're keeping multiple fish, the aquarium size must be at least 50 gallons.

Keeping a lot of water for each fish in the tank will help to dilute the waste produced by the fish, resulting in fewer water changes.

For juvenile fish, 1 gallon of water is required for every 1-inch fish size, but as they mature, the demand for each fish rises. To avoid stunted development, do not overstock the fish tank and match the number of fish to the size of your aquarium.

These fish are slow swimmers that favor their own area, so a horizontal aquarium is preferable to a vertical or columnar one. The surface area of the pond is greater, which allows them to swim around slowly and easily. A bigger surface area will guarantee that they have enough oxygen.

Because of its poor eyesight, a Lionhead goldfish has an easier time traveling across wider areas than taller ones. It is not recommended that a round or oval aquarium be used since it would be filled less than completely to maximize surface area.

Required Water Parameters

Required Water Parameters

In order for your lionhead goldfish to survive for a long time and thrive, it is critical that the water parameters be constant and precise.

They're difficult to maintain because of their fragility, but aquarists that can meet the conditions below will consider it well worth the effort.

  • Temperature: They're not tropical fish, and they aren't cold-water species. They prefer temperatures of 65 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • pH Range: Although goldfish are renowned for their hardiness, this particular strain, like many others, is unable to tolerate a wide pH range. To survive, lionhead goldfish require a pH of 6.0 - 8.0.
  • dGH Range: The hardness of this goldfish's water may range from 5 to 19 dGH, with no adverse effects.

Ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates must all be kept at 0 ppm as much as feasible. Even low levels of 2 ppm can have fatal consequences for lionheads. Regular water testing is advised so that any necessary changes may be recognized and addressed promptly.

The water requirements in this article may appear to be stringent, but they are actually quite easy to meet with constant maintenance and care.


Lionheads are delicate fish. Their wens are vulnerable to infection and damage, so any sharp or gritty items should be avoided. Many aquarists prefer to keep the bottom of their tanks bare. However, if you're going to use a substrate, smooth stones or sand are the greatest options.


You may keep a few plants in the tank with a Lionhead Goldfish. They might consume them or upend them, but the plants should not be harmful. However, avoid using most other decorations, such as driftwood and rocks. These rough surfaces might harm your Lionhead's delicate body.

Necessary Supplies for Goldfish Tanks

Water quality is very important in goldfish keeping, and frequent and significant water changes will be required. Lionhead Goldfishes are extremely delicate to water quality, so regular and large water changes will be necessary. Despite their high maintenance needs, they only require minimal equipment for their tanks:

  • Heating: When using a heater, make sure it has an adequate capacity. A small wattage one will suffice since these fish aren't from tropical climates.
  • Filtration: The Lionhead goldfish are picky about their water quality and require clear water. So a strong filtration system is required.
  • Aeration: For maximum filtration, circulation, and oxygenation, consider adding extra aeration gadgets such as bubblers.
  • Lighting: These goldfish thrive in both low-light and bright light scenarios.

Lionhead goldfish are not fussy about the water's flow, and high currents can actually harm them because of their difficulties in swimming.

A low to moderate current in the tank, on the other hand, is essential for keeping food and waste from accumulating.

Water Cleaning Cycle 

Because lionheads are messy eaters who produce a lot of waste, their environment necessitates regular water changes. Water changes of approximately one-quarter to one-third of the water volume are required every week to keep these fish healthy. Snails can contribute to the health of your fish tank by removing algae and bacteria. So adding snails to your goldfish tank is recommended.

Lionhead Goldfish - Diet and Feeding Schedule 

Lionhead goldfish are fragile in terms of health, but they have a hearty and ravenous appetite.

Omnivores are voracious feeders that will eat pretty much anything throughout the day and in any quantity, although they should only be fed twice a day at the most. A good rule of thumb is to feed them only as much as they can consume in two minutes.

To avoid overfeeding, remove any uneaten food after the feeding session. Excess food will only decompose and pollute the water.

A varied diet of live, frozen, and freeze-dried foods is ideal to ensure that your fish gets all the nutrients they need. Live foods are an excellent source of protein and essential lipids. So including live foods in their diet is highly recommended.

Here are some of the foods they would love to snack on:

  • Daphnia
  • Brine shrimp
  • Vegetables
  • Goldfish-specific pellets
  • Bloodworms
  • Tubifex Worms
  • Plant matter
  • Quality flakes

In addition, freeze-dried and frozen foods are excellent alternatives. They can be found at your local pet shop. When feeding freeze-dried or frozen foods, make sure to soak them in water first to rehydrate them and make them easier for your fish to digest.

As for vegetables, you can feed them blanched or cooked vegetables like zucchini, peas, carrots, and lettuce. You can also give them raw vegetables like cucumber slices and spinach leaves.

Foods that are high in fat should be used only as a supplement and should never make up more than half of their diet. There should be a good balance of meaty foods, flakes/pellets, vegetables, and plant material in their diet.

To ensure that your Lionhead goldfish gets the nutrients they need, it is best to feed them a variety of foods. This will also help to keep them from getting bored with their food. Lionhead goldfish have poor eyesight and may require more care during feeding times as a result of their blindness and impaired swimming.

You may have to offer them their own food, spend more time with them during feedings, or even use a tool like tongs or a syringe to make sure they get enough to eat.

Lionhead Goldfish - Health

Lionhead Goldfish - Health

The Lionhead Goldfish is not a hardy fish species. They're sensitive to a variety of issues, and their facial growth concerns add to the problem. The Lionhead Goldfish is a delicate fish that is vulnerable to illnesses, and they are very fragile. Because poor water quality or unclean tank conditions can be fatal to a Lionhead Goldfish, you'll need to maintain your aquarium in tip-top form at all times.

Many types of bacteria can infect freshwater fish, causing many illnesses. Fish tuberculosis, fin rot, and dropsy are bacterial infections that may affect these fish. All of these can quickly kill your fish if not treated. You'll discover that Lionheads are vulnerable to cotton wool fungus, which may destroy your fish's vision completely.

Fungal infections can also attack your fish, and the most common type is columnaris. It will cause lesions on your fish and often leads to death. Just like bacterial infections, fungal infections are one of the main reasons why Lionheads have a short lifespan.

Not only can infections be a concern, but so can parasites and protozoa like flatworms, anchor worms, fish lice, Ich, Chilodenella, and Costia.

Lionhead Goldfish Diseases

Lionhead goldfish are a delicate breed, so aquarium keepers should always be on the lookout for any signs of illness.

Many fish diseases and deaths are caused by poor water quality, unclean tanks, and injuries. The illnesses listed below are common in lionheads:

  • Bacterial infections: Some of the most common bacterial infections that affect lionheads include fish tuberculosis, fin rot, and dropsy. These diseases can quickly become fatal if not treated quickly and effectively.
  • Fungal infections: External cotton wool fungus and internal ichthyosporidium can have long-term health consequences.
  • Parasites: External parasites include trematodes (flukes, flatworms), fish lice, and anchor worms.
  • Protozoa: The three most frequent types of protozoan diseases that goldfish succumb to are Ich, Costia, and Chilodenella.

Another disease that goldfish frequently suffer from is Swim Bladder Disease, which causes faulty swimming habits and balance problems. Feeding defrosted frozen peas has been suggested as a treatment for certain symptoms, but it does not always work.

Constipation and bloating are two frequent health problems linked with an unbalanced or incorrect diet. If your lionhead is affected by this, reconsider your current diet and consider external sources of food, such as plants in the tank.


Individual sick lionheads should be placed in a separate tank with no gravel or plants and the water in the tank must be changed on a regular basis. They might all be treated in the primary tank if the illness appears to affect all of the fish in the aquarium.

Do not self-medicate and follow the product's directions for any medicine. Certain medicines may harm the water's beneficial organisms and cause it to become unusable. Before beginning the therapy, the carbon in the filtration system must be removed since it can absorb many drugs.

Lionhead Goldfish Breeding & Reproduction

A Lionhead Goldfish lays a colony of 10,000 eggs. They can be kept in small groups of five or fewer fish, but they are also known to thrive in large groups. To entice mating, you must simulate natural circumstances.

The water temperature should be between 68 and 74 degrees Fahrenheit, and the lighting should be dimmed. The female will lay her eggs on a leaf or in a clump of plants, and the male will fertilize them.

You'll need fish that are in good health and free of ailments or health issues. You may also want to get them checked for parasites. Finally, you should split males and females to increase interest in spawning; after that, introduce them to the breeding tank at the same time.

To get them to start reproducing, you must gradually lower the tank temperature until it reaches 60 degrees Fahrenheit. When spawning begins, the water must be gradually warmed by a few degrees each day until it reaches 68 to 74 degrees.

Don't be concerned if the males start chasing the females around the tank. It's non-violent and might go on for several days as the fish's hues intensify. Soon, they’ll mate. The parents will begin eating the eggs shortly afterward, so you'll want to separate them as soon as possible. In approximately a week, the eggs will hatch.

Lionhead Goldfish Fry

The newly hatched lionhead goldfish can be fed special fry foods for up to two weeks after which they should be given flake or brine shrimp. The fry's black or deep brown color protects them from being consumed by bigger fish. They mature to their adult color in a few months, and they can be combined with bigger fish once the juvenile's size is 1 inch.

When caring for your fry, keep in mind that they're very delicate. Their spines and fins are not fully developed, so you'll want to take care when handling them. A separate tank is best for raising the fry since they're very susceptible to diseases. The tank should have plenty of plants or other hiding places. The water must also be clean and well-filtered.

One of the biggest challenges when raising fry is getting them to eat. They might not be interested in eating commercial foods, so you'll want to try live or frozen foods. You can also offer them brine shrimp or daphnia. As they grow bigger, they'll start to eat flakes or pellets.

It's important to remove any uneaten food since it can quickly lead to pollution and disease. You should also perform regular water changes to keep the fry healthy. Lastly, don't overcrowd the tank since it will only lead to more problems.

Lionhead Goldfish Tankmates

Lionhead Goldfish Tankmates

Lionhead goldfish are unable to compete for food due to their difficulties with swimming. Goldfish that can swim quickly, therefore including the common, comet, and shubunkin types, are not suitable tank companions.

Make sure to keep them away from aggressive fish and fin-nippers since their huge bulk and nature render them ineffective in battle.

Because wounds and ripped tails can cause infection and other health issues, you should keep it in mind when caring for this fish. Nonetheless, aquarists should not be discouraged from creating mixed-species aquariums. There are still several wonderful tank mates for lionhead goldfish, including:

  • Slow-swimming goldfish include the bubble eye, celestial goldfish, and telescope (black moor) goldfish.
  • Rosy barbs, minnows, and danios can all be schooled; however, the first may be aggressive but generally, all are peaceful.
  • snails, shrimp, and freshwater crabs ( goldfish may harass and/or consume smaller shrimp species) are non-fish inhabitants. Do not keep tiny shrimp species as they might be eaten.
  • Catfish, loaches, and banded corydoras are all examples of bottom feeders that can significantly enhance the bioload. But they are compatible with Lionhead goldfish.
  • The community aquarium can also house multiple lionhead goldfish.

When unsure, it's usually best to maintain a lionhead goldfish alone or among its own species. In these situations, your aquarium may lack variety, but it will be made up for by the beautiful and natural activity of lionheads.


How Much Do Lionhead Goldfish Cost? 

The cost of Lionhead Goldfish varies considerably depending on where you buy it. Lionhead Goldfish are also considerably more expensive than ordinary goldfish. A regular goldfish can cost anything from a few cents to a few dollars, depending on the size. Lionhead Goldfish are far more expensive than regular goldfish.

A Lionhead Goldfish costs between $15 and $30. This does not include the cost of a tank or any further equipment; just the goldfish.

Are Lionhead Goldfish Good Tank Mates?

Goldfish are very active, energetic pets that require a lot of attention. They're non-aggressive and mild-tempered, making them suitable companions for other non-aggressive fish.

However, Lionhead Goldfish do not do well when housed with fast-moving fish that might compete for food. Remember, Lionheads are poor swimmers. They just can't keep up and will not be able to feed.

This indicates they won't do well sharing a tank with many other common, comet, or shubunkin goldfish. Because they're sluggish and huge, these fish can't defend themselves, so avoid mixing them with fish that nip fins or display aggression. Lionheads are more susceptible to infection than other breeds if they are injured.

If you want to keep these fish together, they should be kept in a school of other slow swimmers. Goldfish are not only fantastic fish to buy, but they're also wonderful pets. The following fish make excellent companions: White Bubble Eye Goldfish, Black Moor, Celestial Goldfish, Minnows, and danios. Bottom feeders like loaches are also viable options. Non-aquatic animals, such as snails and shrimps, are typically good choices as well.

What to Feed Your Lionhead Goldfish? 

Lionheads are omnivores, so they'll consume a wide range of foods. These fish, on the other hand, are known for their insatiable hunger, therefore twice-daily feeding is recommended. Otherwise, your fish will most likely overeat, which can be harmful to its health.

Some of these fish will consume protein from live animals. These "meats" should make up no more than half of your fish's diet. Brine shrimp, Bloodworms, Tubifex worms and Daphnia are all great choices. It is essential to supplement your fish's diet with plant matter.

Vegetables such as peas, lettuce, and zucchini should be blanched or cooked until soft to make them easier to digest. You can also purchase flake foods and pellets that are designed specifically for goldfish. These usually contain a good mix of plant and animal proteins.

When feeding your fish, it is essential to remember that goldfish have small stomachs. Because of this, they should be given small meals several times a day rather than one large meal. This will help prevent health problems such as swim bladder disease. They can't compete for food, and if they don't get enough to eat because of other fish sharing the tank, they may need additional feeding assistance to ensure they receive their fair share.

Are Lionhead Goldfish Suitable for Your Aquarium

Are Lionhead Goldfish Suitable for Your Aquarium?

The Lionhead Goldfish is without a doubt one-of-a-kind, fascinating, and in its own way appealing fish. Are they suitable for your aquarium? It depends on what you have in your aquarium already. A Lionhead Goldfish isn't recommended if you have a lot of fast-moving fish or any aggressive tankmates.

A Lionhead, on the other hand, may blend right in among a colony of peaceful fish. Just make sure there are no rough or abrasive decorations in the tank that might cause harm. They are susceptible to a variety of challenges and can be readily damaged on most substances. Set them in a group with other sluggish swimmers that don't compete for food and they should be fine.

Do Lionhead Goldfish Like Live Foods?

Lionhead Goldfish are not only fond of live foods but will require it as a staple part of their diet. But live food is frequently filled with bacteria and parasites that can be highly dangerous to your fish and, in extreme cases, kill them. So, if you don't have access to a home brine shrimp hatchery, we suggest feeding your Lionheads frozen meaty foods instead.

How Much to Feed Chinese Lionhead Goldfish?

Goldfish should be fed two or three little meals throughout the day. Only give your Lionhead goldfish what they can consume in a few minutes to prevent overfeeding.

Are Lionhead Goldfish Rare?

This egg-shaped fish is the ancestor of the Lionhead and all other dorsal-less fish. Egg-fish is not well-known in the United States. Lionhead goldfish are also considered rare here. In China, on the other hand, they are commonly found in pet stores and are not considered rare.

Egg-fish have been bred for over 1,000 years in China and have been used as a food source. It is only within the last century that they have become popular as pets. Although Lionhead goldfish can be found in several Asian countries, it is very rare in the US and would be expensive.

What Size Tank Does a Lionhead Goldfish Need? 

Lionhead goldfish should be kept in a tank that is at least 20 gallons. They grow to be about 6 to 10 inches long and need plenty of room to swim. A larger tank is always better for them and will provide them with a more stable environment.

How Long Do Lionhead Goldfish Live?

Lionhead goldfish have a lifespan of 10 to 15 years. However, with proper care, they can live up to 20 years.

What Is the Difference Between Lionhead and Oranda Goldfish? 

The Oranda has a dorsal fin, but the lionhead does not. The backline of the lionhead and Oranda is straighter. The lionhead is a type of goldfish with a hood cover, straight back, and no dorsal fin.

What Is the Difference Between Ranchu and Lionhead Goldfish

Lionhead and Ranchu goldfish are both beautiful varieties of fancy goldfish, but they are similar in appearance. So similar, in fact, they are often confused for each other. Both are curious, playful, and social goldfish.

Here are some of the major differences between Ranchu and Lionhead goldfish:


  • Average length : 10-12 inches, up to 16 inches

  • Average Lifespan : 10 – 15 years

  • Color patterns : Solid, bi-color, tri-color, calico

  • Care level : Easy

  • Diet : Pellets, flakes, gel food; frozen or fresh foods like blood worms, spirulina, brine shrimp, and daphnia, as well as a wide variety of fruits and vegetables

  • Water parameters : 65-72˚F, pH 7.0-8.4

  • Temperament : Peaceful, playful

Lionhead Goldfish

  • Average length (adult) : 5-10 inches

  • Average Lifespan : 5-15 years

  • Colors and patterns : Solid, bi-color, tri-color, calico

  • Care level : Easy

  • Diet : Pellets, flakes, gel food, frozen or fresh foods like blood worms, spirulina, brine shrimp, daphnia, as well as a wide variety of fruits and vegetables

  • Water parameters : 65-72˚F, pH 7.0-8.4

  • Temperament : Peaceful, curious

Can Lionhead Goldfish Live in Ponds?

A pond is never complete without some brightly colored fish that you may watch quietly on a warm summer evening. Because of this, goldfish are one of the most popular pond fish. However, not all Lionhead goldfish are suitable for ponds, and not all ponds are suitable for them.

How Long Does It Take for a Lionhead Goldfish to Grow? 

Lionheads can grow to over ten inches in length, although the more usual size is closer to five inches. It may develop up to one inch each year. If you have a Lionhead goldfish, you can expect it to grow an inch every 365 days.

Closing Thoughts

In general, the lionhead goldfish is not a good choice for beginners. Despite the fact that some may be drawn to them, novice care requirements, delicate health, and unique physical features place this fish far outside the grasp of novices.

However, these characteristics do not make them unlovable - instead, they elevate the lionhead goldfish to a valued member of any collection. The lionhead goldfish's distinctive hue, distinct features, and noble history have helped it gain a reputation and popularity in the market.

If you're looking for a fish that's a little more unique and want to add one to your collection, the Lionhead Goldfish is a great choice! Just be sure to do your research and be prepared to care for them properly.

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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