11, Nov 2021
Shubunkin Goldfish

The Shubunkin is one of the most attractive in color goldfish. The individual belongs to the carp family. The coloration of this fish, consisting of multicolored specks scattered chaotically along the body under the transparent mosaic scales, is unique.

Due to the unpretentiousness of the conditions, shubunkins are suitable for breeding and beginners aquarists.

Fish size: up to 20 cm.
Temperature: 20-23 °C
Water pH: 6-8

Behavior: Peaceful
Habitat layer: Middle and near bottom
Packs: Solitary
Water type: Fresh
The difficulty of keeping: Easy

Shubunkin’s homeland

The fish was bred by Japanese breeders in 1892. Shubunkin is the fruit of crossing the single-tailed wakin, the common goldfish, and the telescope calico. The species received its official name in 1900. The beautiful fish live successfully both in home aquariums and in decorative, artificial ponds.

The species was introduced to Europe at the beginning of the last century. Very soon the shubunkin, which resembles a colorful comet, was with all aquarists. The main ancestor of all goldfish subtypes is Carassius gibelio (silver carp).

In Japanese pronunciation, the species name sounds like “shubunkin” (translated as “red brocade”). This species is the pride of Japan.

The standard color scheme of shubunkins includes red, black, yellow, whitish, and bluish spots with an overall snow-white coloration of the calf. But there are also rare specimens with a delicate blue color, which are the most valuable. Blue spots on the calf appear in the 2-3 years of the life of the fish.

Features of keeping

Shubunkin is not particularly fastidious to the conditions. The main rule for aquarists is to avoid the presence of nitrogen compounds in the aquatic environment.

Aquarium and decorations

Given the large size of fish, the volume of the container should be chosen on the basis of at least 100 liters per pair of individuals (preferably elongated at length for free-swimming).

For decoration, you can take any underwater decoration: large boulders, snags, underwater castles, and grottoes. Artificial plants (underwater and floating) would decorate the aquatic interior well.

When decorating the aquatic environment do not use decorations with sharp edges and jagged edges. Otherwise, shubunkins can damage their luxurious fin and tail decoration.

  • These fish can be kept as singles or in flocks of 3-6 individuals. Shubunkins like to dig in the bottom ground. Therefore, in this capacity, it is desirable to use rolled pebbles or sand of large fractions.
  • Be sure to provide the container with tight cover – the temperament shubunkin is active, and the fish can jump out of the water.
  • The fish need good aeration and filtration. The voracious shubunkins eat a lot of food, which quickly pollutes the aquatic environment. They also actively rake the bottom ground, picking up accumulated dirt.
  • Every week, the water in the aquarium is replaced with 15-20%. Lighting can be used in any way, but not too strong, so as not to provoke heavy growth of algae.

Aquatic plants

Live aquatic life is rarely used in aquariums with shubunkins. These fish are vegetarians and actively eat aquatic vegetation. The most resistant to the appetite of fish are powerful plants with a well-developed root system and stiff leaves:

  • Giant Wallisneria
  • Cricorina
  • Anubias

Feeding Rules

Shubunkins are unpretentious when it comes to feeding. They eat a lot and actively and are prone to obesity. Therefore, the fish once a week need to arrange a day off. And the amount of food taken at one feeding should not exceed 3% of body weight individuals.

Adult fish are fed twice a day – in the evening and in the morning. After 10-15 minutes of feeding all the food not eaten is removed. The ration is made of specialized dry additives designed for ornamental cold-water species (for example, the line TetraGoldfish):

  • Tetra Goldfish-Granules. The main feeder for all varieties of goldfish. Available in the form of floating granules/flakes. The composition is optimal for maintaining the health and longevity of shubunkins.
  • Tetra Goldfish-Pro. Innovative development in the series of premium food. It was created using a special technology, which allows saving all vitamin groups and nutrients. It is available in the form of multi-colored chips – the red trim consists of various highly nutritional elements, and the yellowish core contains krill (a substance for improving natural coloration and enhancing the development of muscle and bone systems).
  • Tetra Goldfish Gold-Japan. Granular food quickly softens in the aquatic environment and gradually descends to the bottom. This allows the fish to easily take it from the middle layer and find it in the gravel. It contains natural carotenoids which improve the coloration of fish. This supplement is also rich in natural plant proteins necessary for good digestion.

Each of the above supplements includes a special formula – BioActive. It is a carefully controlled vitamin complex, important for the overall health, well-being, and longevity of your goldfish.

Live food (Tubifex, Artemia, and bloodworms) should not be used. Such food is bad for the gastrointestinal tract of fish and quickly pollutes the aquatic environment.

How to breed shubunkins?

Breeding these fish is not particularly difficult. The only difficulty is in determining the sex of individuals. It is possible to distinguish the female from the male-only on the eve of spawning, about her rounded abdomen. The male at this time there are whitish tubercles near the gill slits and on the head. Further action on the breeding of fish will be as follows:

  • Preparation of the spawning grounds. For these purposes suitable aquarium of the capacity of 50 liters. The bottom of the spawning area is lined with a grid, in addition, you can place aquatic plants. Organize medium aeration and filtration.
  • The expectant parents (female and 2-3 males) are set aside in a spawning aquarium and provide enhanced nutrition with high protein content.
  • Stimulation for spawning is the lowering of the temperature to +11-15⁰ C, and then its gradual increase by 1,5-2⁰ C per day.
  • During the spawning season, males actively swim behind the female and “knock out” the eggs from her, which are immediately fertilized. At one time the female can bring up to 2,000-3,000 eggs.
  • After the parents are returned to the general aquarium (shubunkin has not developed parental instinct, and they can eat their own offspring).

After 5-6 days there is fry. At first, they feed on the yolk shell. Once the young begin to swim, live dust (infusoria) is introduced into the diet, then the Artemia nauplii.

Compatibility and suitable neighbors

It is best to keep shubunkins in a species aquarium, where only these luxurious fish live. But to them, you can also put other species, characterized by slowness and calmness. Such as:

  • Voiletails
  • Telescopes
  • Other varieties of goldfish

With active and predatory species (barbs, cichlids, tetragonopterus, ternetsii, etc.) it is better not to settle them. Otherwise, the luxurious tail and fin framing shubunkins can suffer.


Breeders bred several varieties of Shubunkin:

London Shubunkin

The main feature – short fins and tail, bright spotted color of the body, the fish grows to 20 cm. Many Asian breeders do not distinguish this species, attributing it to the usual goldfish

Bristol Shubunkin

Distinguished by a powerful tail with rounded ends. Was bred in Great Britain in 1921.

American/Japan Shubunkin

Grows up to 16 cm in length, the tail fin is bifurcated, characterized by a dark color consisting of black dots and spots. In Asian countries, this species is called the chintz subspecies of the comet goldfish

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