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Juvenile Shubunkin
Carassius auratus
Family Cyprinidae
Size Variable
Tank Level All
Temperament Peaceful, Schooling
Tail Type Single-tailed
Country of Origin Japan
This article is about the anatomy and history of the Comet Goldfish and has very little how-to information.
For an in depth tutorial, see our guide

Also known as "poor mans Koi", the Shubunkin is a breed of goldfish first developed in Japan in the 1900's.

Physical Description

The bodies of the Shubunkin varieties are slightly shorter than those of the Common Goldfish, but they are similarly rounded. Shubunkin coloration depends very much on strain and on scale formation: the popular strains tend to show blacks, reds, purples, blues, and browns beneath pearly matte scales. The strain shown at right is the Bristol Shubunkin, which features an extravagant caudal fin. Its pronounced rounded lobes are carried without drooping on a good specimen.

Another popular strain, the London Shubunkin, is the same shape as the Common Goldfish, but it is multi-colored and lacks the metallic scales. Its fins are not artificially developed.


The Shubunkin was first bred from mutations in Moor goldfish in the 1900's in Japan. They are commonly referred to as "poor mans Koi", due to the similar coloration and body shape.

In the aquarium

The Shubunkin behaves much like the Koi, in that it does better outdoors than in an aquarium. Shubunkin are very hardy, and will eat all the foods of typical goldfish.


Related Topics

Parent topics


Other related topics


  • Rogers,Geoff. Freshwater Aquarium Fish. 1 ed. Focus on. Buffalo, New York: Firefly Books
LTD., 2004.
  • Mills,Dick. Aquarium Fish. 1 ed. Eyewitness Handbooks. New York, New York: Dorling
Kindersley, Inc., 1993.
  • Bailey,Mary. Aquarium Fish & Fish Care. paperback ed. The Ultimate Encyclopedia of. New
York, New York: Hermes House, 1999.