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Jikin Goldfish: Pictures, Size, Care, Tank Setup & More

Gregory Iacono

By Gregory Iacono

弥富金魚ジキン (Jikin Goldfish)

There are many species of goldfish, and most can easily be found in your local pet store or aquarium specialty shop. The Jikin Goldfish, however, is not one of those goldfish. They’re beautiful and get along well with most other fish, but they’re difficult, if not impossible, to find outside of Japan. Are they worth the effort to do so? Read the detailed information below to find out for yourself!

Size: 8–10 inches
Lifespan: 10–18 years
Similar Breeds: Cometa, Shubunkin, Comun
Suitable for: New or experienced aquarium owners
Temperament: Docile, amiable, low-key

One of the most noticeable features of the Jikin Goldfish is their four-lobed tail, which is unique in the goldfish world. When you look at a Jikin from behind, the tail looks like an “X.” Many refer to their unique tail shape as a “peacock tail, ” which sets them apart from all other goldfish species.

What’s also noticeable about the Jikin is that, unlike most goldfish species with different color patterns, it only has one: a silvery-white body with six red body parts. The red sections include the dorsal, ventral, caudal, pectoral, and anal fins and lips. Since they’re bred in captivity, you won’t find a Jikin Goldfish in the wild unless some uncaring person has released theirs because it got too big for their aquarium.


Jikin Goldfish Characteristics

Ease of Care

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What Is the Cost of a Jikin Goldfish?

There are two factors to consider if you want a beautiful Jikin Goldfish for your tank. The first is the price, which is much more expensive than your average goldfish, at $80 to $120. The second factor is finding Jikin Goldfish in the United States. There are very few, if any, fish breeders who are breeding Jikin Goldfish in the U.S.

In other words, unless you have them imported from Japan, which would be exorbitantly expensive, adopting a Jikin Goldfish for your aquarium will be almost impossible. It’s a shame, too, as they are quite lovely. However, if you live in Japan, getting a Jikin Goldfish should be easy.

What Is the Sociability of the Jikin Goldfish?

Like many species, the Jikin gets along well with other goldfish and most other fish. They’re docile, unaggressive, and have no issues with territoriality. As long as they have enough space and clean water kept at the correct temperature and pH level, you won’t have any problems with a Jikin Goldfish, at least with fighting or aggression.

Do These Fish Make Good Pets?👪

While they make wonderful pets because of their docile and non-aggressive nature, most aquarium experts recommend Jikin Goldfish for experienced aquarium enthusiasts. That may stem partly from their rarity or high cost. It might also have to do with the fact that breeding Jikin Goldfish is difficult, even if there is a long and established line from which they’re bred and the parent fish are well-marked.

Jikin are good swimmers, so they can easily vie for food in a tank even if they have several tank mates. They live up to 18 years if kept in a clean, well-cared-for tank or pond.

Does This Fish Make a Good Tank Mate?

Yes, the Jikin Goldfish does get along well with most other fish. One thing that you should note, though, is that if the opportunity arises, a Jikin Goldfish will eat small fish that fit in their mouths, including fry. Jikin are omnivorous fish, so this is normal and isn’t a sign of aggression.

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Care Guide & Tank Set Up

Water Quality, pH & Temperature

The tank’s water must be kept as clean as possible. Most health issues with goldfish can be traced back to the water quality in an aquarium or pond, including the cleanliness, pH, and temperature.

Speaking of pH and temperature, Jikin Goldfish thrive in water between 68° to 74° F. This is critical, as temperature fluctuations can cause several health issues for your fish. Jikins aren’t as prone to problems with pH levels, but the pH should still be kept between 7.0 and 8.4 for optimal health.


Most goldfish like to dig around in their substrate and look for morsels of food, including the Jikin. The best substrate is small, smooth pebbles that won’t scrape or cut your Jikin when they’re digging around.

Another suitable substrate for a Jikin is sand, which looks good in a tank and allows “good” bacteria to grow and help keep the tank healthy. Since Jikin Goldfish are captive-bred fish, either one should work for them.


Keeping live plants in an aquarium is always best since they look lovely and provide extra oxygen for your fish. Hardy plants are recommended with Jikin Goldfish as they will nibble on them often. Weaker plants might not survive very long if several Jikin are in the same tank.

Below are a few plants that you can add to the tank with your Jikin:
  • Java Fern
  • Cabomba
  • Pothos
  • Amazon Sword
  • Water Sprite
  • Hornwort
  • Java Moss
  • African Onion Plant


Your Jikin will need between 10 and 12 hours of light per day. In most cases, a UVB light above the tank with a timer is the best choice to provide this light. However, if your tank is set up where it receives natural sunlight, that might not be necessary. Remember that your Jikin Goldfish will need 12 hours of darkness, also.

It’s also interesting that Jikin Goldfish will become brighter if exposed to natural sunlight. In Japan, many people prefer to keep their Jikin in outdoor ponds for that reason. When exposed to the sun’s UV rays, their scales become more vibrant, adding to their already lovely look.


The issue with most goldfish is that they tend to create a much larger bioload than many other fish. A bioload is a name for the amount of biological matter (waste) that’s put into the water by a particular fish.

Since goldfish, including the Jikin, eat a lot and poop a lot, they create a heavier bioload. That necessitates the need for a bigger, more powerful filtration system. While some goldfish can live for a time in a bowl with no filtration, the beautiful Jikin is not one of those fish. They demand a proper and powerful filtration system to stay healthy and live long lives. Fish bowls with no filtration are deadly for most fish.

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Things to Know When Owning a Jikin Goldfish

Food & Diet Requirements🥫

Unlike many types of fish, the Jikin Goldfish is an omnivore, which means that it eats plants and animals as food. You can feed your Jikin Goldfish pellets and flakes, which you can find at any pet store. However, there are many other foods you can feed them, including vegetables and different types of tiny animals and insects. You can even feed cooked rice!

Keep in mind that, at the end of the day, any leftover food should be removed from their tank or pond to prevent a heavy bioload from occurring and fouling their water. Also, live food like mealworms and daphnia often have parasites and are not recommended for Jikin or other goldfish species.

Below are a few of the foods your Jikin Goldfish will readily eat:
  • Leafy greens like kale
  • Carrots
  • Corn
  • Peas
  • Crickets
  • Skinned grapes
  • Brine shrimp
  • Broccoli
  • Bloodworms

Size & Growth Rate📏

Jikin Goldfish grow slowly and usually grow to fit the tank or pond they live in. Typically, they will reach about 9 inches but can grow longer if they have the room. To get to that size would take between 5 and 7 years on average. However, when young, Jikin Goldfish grow quite rapidly. After the first year, most will grow about an inch per year.


The Jikin Goldfish only comes in the one variety we’ve discussed today. They have a silver body, six orange-red body parts, and a four-lobed tail resembling an “X.”

Lifespan and Health Conditions🏥

The Jikin is hardier than some species; when kept in a tank with excellent water conditions, they suffer from few sicknesses. Some might occur, however, including Ich (aka white spot disease), which is caused by a parasite that usually attacks weak fish due to malnutrition or poor water quality.

Bacterial infections are also relatively common among Jikin Goldfish and flukes, which are external parasites. It’s worth mentioning again that poor water conditions cause most illnesses in goldfish, so be sure to keep the tank’s water as pristine as possible.

Minor Conditions
  • Bacterial infection
  • Fin rot
  • Ulcers
  • Pop-eye disease (exophthalmia)
  • Fish lice
Serious Conditions
  • Ich
  • Flukes
  • Other types of parasite

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Male vs Female

As with most goldfish, the differences between male and female Jikin Goldfish are subtle but noticeable if you look closely. For example, males have fins that flow more and thinner bodies than the females’ rounder bodies. Males also have pointier pectoral fins, and their anal fin is closer to their tails. Lastly, the anal vent of the female is rounder than the male.

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3 Little-Known Facts About Jikin Goldfish

1. They have many names.

The Jikin Goldfish is also known in Japan as the Sea Wolf, Peacock-Tail, and Rokurin Goldfish.

2. Japanese breeders are changing colors of their fish.

Jikin breeders in Japan change the colors of their fish by removing their scales (with a spatula) and applying plum vinegar to the skin underneath.

3. They are protected.

The Jikin Goldfish is a protected species in the Japanese prefecture of Aichi.

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Final Thoughts

The Jikin is unique thanks to their coloring and x-shaped tail, and they’re treasured in Japan. Sadly, they aren’t popular in the United States because it’s incredibly difficult to find them, and few breeders are breeding them. That’s a shame since they’re gorgeous, friendly, and live for a long time. If you happen to visit Japan one day, keep an eye out for Jikin Goldfish to admire and photograph!

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Featured Image Credit: 弥富金魚ジキン (Jikin Goldfish) – Yatokin, Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0

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