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Bubble Eye Goldfish: Info, Care Guide, Photos & More!

Jeremy Pickrell Profile Picture

By Jeremy Pickrell

bubble eye goldfish staring straight into the camera, isolated on black

A goldfish with giant BUBBLES on its face? Meet the Bubble Eye! It’s one of those fish that you either love or hate. But one thing is for sure: this fish is very unusual.

Today we’re going to cover everything you’ve ever wanted to know about this exotic breed!

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Quick Facts about Bubble Eye Goldfish

Species Name: Carassius auratus auratus
Temperature: 75°–80° F
Lifespan: 30–40 years
Size: 5–6 inches on average
Hardiness: Not very hardy

Bubble Eye Goldfish Overview

The Bubble Eye is a fancy goldfish, with most falling under the category of dorsal-less breeds. Higher-quality ones have smooth backs with no odd spikes or lumps. However, the Chinese have developed a variety that does have a dorsal fin and a much longer tail (phoenix tail). These aren’t often seen in the Americas. As one of the more rare varieties, they definitely aren’t as easy to find as the Fantail or Black Moor at your local pet store. They come in all colors, from self-colored (solid) black, white, red, and yellow to red and white or even the harder-to-find Sarasa, red and black or calico patterns. The black ones remain coveted. Bubble eyes are one of the more petite fish, only reaching around 5 inches in length when fully grown.

This breed is definitely one of the most delicate of all the others. Pondlife is out of the question. Some people go as far as to think that they are too delicate to keep any other fish at all with in case they bump into each other, so they must live in permanent isolation…Bologna! They aren’t made of tissue paper. But they don’t do well with sharp objects.

Don’t Pop Your Bubble!

Bubble eye goldfish
Image Credit: Arunee Rodloy, Shutterstock

But the most unusual feature of the Bubble Eye is, beyond a doubt, what it was named after: its bubbles! Those two huge sacks of fluid bulge out from beneath its upward-gazing stare. After the fish reaches about 6–9 months old, they start to develop. And they continue to grow larger until the fish reaches about 2 years old, when the skin of the sacks becomes thinner. This is crazy! A Bubble Eye’s bubbles can actually explode if damaged (often by an oversized filter).

YIKES! Good thing for this fish that a sack can grow back if popped, but it probably won’t be as big as the other one. On a more scientific note: Researchers have discovered the fluid inside these sacks stimulates the growth of human cells. (I do not by any means advocate what they are doing.)

Bonus: some goldfish even have bubble sacks on their chins, giving them four total! This is considered more of an unintentional mutation. Other breeds of goldfish occasionally develop a bubble on their chin too, but they don’t seem to be as prone to it.

Questions of Ethics: Should Bubble Eyes be Banned?

It’s probably one of the most heavily hybridized goldfish. Ever. The highly unusual appearance of this fish has raised some serious questions in the minds of some: “Is this animal cruelty to breed fish that look so weird?” I think a lot of people picture them to be miserably laying at the bottom of the tank all the time, unable to move much.

But watch them in action, and you’ll learn how spunky they really are. Their activity level doesn’t seem to be any lower than other goldfish breeds. Many owners attest that they are used to their eye protrusions and don’t believe they experience any discomfort from them as they swim normally.

Granted, there are some Bubble Eyes, usually older ones, with eye sacks so large that they have difficulty swimming, and it does seem to impair their quality of life. All goldfish (even single-tailed goldfish) have been selectively bred to some extent. I personally think they are not overbred.

Take good care of them; they will live just as long as the other breeds. But I understand where others are coming from who see it differently.


How to Properly Take Care of Your Bubble Eye

Bubble Eyes are prone to injury and eye infection. An infected eye sack may become cloudy or discolored. This can lead to blindness if it progresses too far, which is why prevention is very important. The first step? Proper care. Because they are more fragile, they are not recommended as a beginner fish.

What is the Best Tank Size? Make sure the tank has no sharp objects that could pop the sacks and that the filter is not too strong, which could suck up the sack as the fish swims by (yikes!). Even artificial plants can be pokey, so try to go for silk plants or live ones without pointy protrusions. But be sure that the fish has enough room to grow to its full potential! That’s why each one needs 10–20 gallons of space to itself.

A bowl is probably the worst home you could put your fish in, so please don’t do that. Why? For starters, they don’t allow the fish to get enough oxygen because of the small surface area. And they also get dirty so fast that they make your fish get sick 🙁

bubble eye goldfish
Image Credit: Arunee Rodloy, Shutterstock

What is the Best Temperature for your Fish?

Bubble Eyes prefer a range between 70-80 degrees F. This ensures that their immune systems are not stressed by too much cold but not overheated either. They are sensitive to the temperature being too cold, so you may want to have a heater for the water.

If you're a new or experienced goldfish keeper who’s struggling to figure out the best temperature for your goldfish family, check out our best-selling book on Amazon, The Truth About Goldfish,  which covers everything about tank maintenance practices, maintaining optimum fish health, and more!

The Truth About Goldfish New Edition

This crucial aspect of the tank setup could be affecting your pet’s health more than you suspect.  which 

Are Oranda Goldfish Good Tank Mates?

Let’s be clear about something: You should only keep goldfish with other goldfish, no other kinds of fish. Not even algae eaters (especially not algae eaters)! They aren’t a good mix at all and can end up stressing and even hurting your goldfish. Because Bubble Eyes are not the strongest of swimmers; it’s a good idea not to keep them with the more competitive breeds of goldfish like the slim-bodied fish or fancies like the Ryukin or Fantail. Instead, other Bubble Eyes make the best companions. But clumsier Pearlscales and Ranchus might also work well for friends. And there’s more!

We’ve only scratched the surface when it comes to caring for your Bubble Eye goldfish. There just isn’t enough time to go into all the detail! But don’t worry; I wrote a complete care guide called “The Truth About Goldfish.” It contains ALL the information you will ever need to make sure your fish doesn’t just survive but THRIVES. I’m sure you want yours to reach its full potential, right? You can take a peek at it here.



What to Feed Your Bubble Eye Goldfish

Proper feeding plays a very important role in goldfish health. It’s very important to make sure they are able to do what they love to do best: forage! Make sure there are always lots of fresh veggies in the tank. Veggies also provide the fiber that keeps their digestive tract functioning properly.

In addition, they will need a high-quality staple diet. Live foods are always a great, healthy treat too 🙂 You can learn more about goldfish food in our feeding article.

Breeding Bubble Eye Goldfish

Breeding Bubble Eyes can be a challenge due to their eyes getting in the way. But they can still lay over 1,000 eggs at a time! Males will show breeding stars on their fins and gill plates during the breeding season. A period of cold weather followed by warmer water can help get them to spawn.

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Wrapping it All Up

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about this amazing fish. So, what do you think? Is the Bubble Eye YOUR favorite, or maybe you happen to own one? Feel free to leave your comment below. I’d love to hear from you 🙂

Featured Image Credit lessysebastian, Shutterstock

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