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Pompom Goldfish: Care Guide, Varieties, Lifespan & More (with Pictures)

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By Lindsey Stanton

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With two big, bright bulbs protruding from the front of its face, the Pompom Goldfish is a unique and instantly recognizable fish. This fancy goldfish shares many similarities with the Lionhead Goldfish. For instance, those little pom-poms that earn this fish its name are actually growths of flesh that aren’t too different from the growth that causes a Lionhead’s lion head! Pompom Goldfish aren’t the most exciting to fish watch because of their relatively slow speed, but they’re beautiful and can be fun fish to keep for an advanced aquarist.aquarium plant divider

Quick Facts about Pompom Goldfish

Species Name: Pompom Goldfish
Family: Cyprinidae
Care Level: Moderate
Temperature: 65–78 degrees Fahrenheit
Temperament: Social, friendly
Color Form: Orange, yellow, black, white, blue, silver
Lifespan: 10–15+ years
Size: 4”–6”
Diet: Omnivore
Minimum Tank Size: 20 gallons
Tank Set-Up: Freshwater
Compatibility: Gentle, slow-swimming tank mates
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Pompom Goldfish Overview

When you look at a Pompom Goldfish, it’s hard to miss those bulbous growths on its face. Those growths are no accident. They required quite a bit of selective breeding to fully realize. Now, these fish can grow pom poms so large that some even get sucked into the fish’s mouth.

But this goldfish has been around for quite some time, so selective breeding took place hundreds of years ago. There are records of Pompom Goldfish that date back to at least 1898. This breed was then transported across the ocean from Shanghai, China, to the United Kingdom in 1936.

Though once a very popular fish, Pompoms have lost their popularity in recent years, making them far more difficult to find than they once were. Still, they’re available out there if you look, and they’re one of the easiest of all exotic goldfish to breed.

These are slow-swimming fish that aren’t agile and can’t compete for food. They’re friendly fish and can get along with many tank mates, so long as they aren’t fast-moving and won’t eat all the food, leaving the slower Pompom to starve. They’re considered to require moderate levels of care and aren’t recommended for the beginner aquarist.

How Much Do Pompom Goldfish Cost?

Goldfish are some of the least expensive pets you can purchase. Common goldfish species often cost well under a dollar, making the tank and food the most expensive parts of owning a goldfish.

But the Pompom Goldfish is a fancy goldfish that commands a much higher price. That doesn’t mean they’re expensive though! While they do cost many times more than your average common goldfish, Pompoms are still pretty affordable with an average price of $15-$30 per fish.aquarium plant divider

Typical Behavior & Temperament

Pompoms are considered to be friendly fish that can get along with many other tank mates. They’re slow movers and won’t do well competing for food as they’re non-aggressive fish. Don’t expect to watch your Pompom zip around the aquarium. They tend to lounge around a lot since those large pom poms get in the way and prohibit their movement.

Pompom goldfish in a fish tank

Appearance & Varieties

Like a Lionhead Goldfish, the Pompom has a round, egg-shaped body and a double anal fin. But it’s those big old pom-poms that attract all the attention. While they are a notable feature and the reason for the Pompoms name, they’re a bit of a risk. Special attention must be paid to a Pompom’s environment to ensure that aren’t any sharp or rough items that might scratch those sensitive growths.

Some specimens have very round pom-poms while others appear more like the growths they are. These growths are often referred to as bouquets, and they don’t begin to grow until the fish is about 18 weeks old and will take several months to reach full size.

Pompoms lack a dorsal fin, another trait they share in common with Lionhead Goldfish. But there’s a very similar Japanese fish called the Hanafusa that’s often confused for the Pompom Goldfish because they share a similar growth on the front of the face. You can tell them apart by the dorsal fin that only Hanafusas have.

Most Pompom Goldfish are about five inches long when fully grown, though some reach six inches in length. They come in a wide range of colors, including orange, white, silver, black, yellow, and combinations of these colors.aquarium plant divider

How to Take Care of Pompom Goldfish

Habitat, Tank Conditions & Setup

Pompom Goldfish require more setup and care than a standard goldfish. When creating their living space, you’ll need to keep several things in mind.

Habitat Setup

One of the most important things to do is remove any sharp or rough objects from the aquarium. These can pose a danger for a Pompom goldfish since their bouquets are so sensitive. Those rough surfaces can easily damage a Pompom’s bouquet.

Tank Size

Pompoms aren’t very large fish, but they still need ample space. For a single fish, it’s recommended that you use an aquarium of at least 20 gallons. Each additional fish will require a larger space. Two Pompoms should have a 30-gallon aquarium at least, for instance.

Water Temperature

Pompoms can handle a bit of temperature fluctuation, but they do best at an average temperature between 65 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit.


For Pompoms, you’ll want to keep the tank at the same pH level that you would for other goldfish species, making it easier to keep them together. In general, you’re looking for a pH level of 7.0-7.5.


Plants can be great in a Pompom’s habitat, though you’ll have to be careful about the plants you pick. Goldfish, including Pompoms, love to eat and dig up plants. But if you get a plant that’s got sharp points or rough edges, it could easily cause damage to your Pompom’s bouquets.


Without proper light, you could see your Pompom’s color start to disappear. They might also stop eating without a proper light cycle. You’ll need to keep your Pompom’s aquarium well-lit for approximately 12 hours each day to keep your Pompoms in top health.


A high-quality filtration system is necessary for a Pompom Goldfish, but you have to be careful. If your filtration system is too powerful, it can create currents in the tank that make it difficult or impossible for your Pompom to successfully get around.aquarium plant divider

Are Pompom Goldfish Good Tank Mates?

Because they’re friendly, non-aggressive fish, Pompoms are great tank mates for certain types of fish. These are community fish and they can get along well with other Pompoms, as well as fish of other species. However, it’s important that you only place Pompoms in a tank with other slow-moving fish. Faster species, like the common or comet goldfish, move too quickly and will eat all of the food, forcing the Pompoms to compete in a game they can’t win. This can lead to an over-stressed and unhealthy Pompom. Stick with other slow movers like Lionheads or Oranda Goldfish.

What to Feed Your Pompom Goldfish

Pompoms are omnivorous, so they’ll eat a mixture of plant-based and live food. To ensure that they get all the nutrients they need, it’s best to feed them a variety of foods that they’ll accept.

You can keep things simple for your Pompom’s main food, using basic fish pellets or flakes. They’ll also eat fruits and veggies that you can chop up yourself. You’ll also want to feed them some live food from time to time, including things like shrimp and bloodworms.

It’s a good idea to use a base of standard, easy-to-get food for your Pompoms, such as goldfish flakes or pellets, and throw in other foods like worms, shrimp, and veggies, to keep their diet varied.

Keeping Your Pompom Goldfish Healthy

Keeping your Pompom healthy will require strict attention to their habitat. You won’t want to let the water get dirty, or the pH get out of whack. These types of mistakes can cause serious health concerns for your Pompom.

It’s also important that you ensure your Pompom has access to adequate amounts of food, which means not housing them with other fish that will force them to compete for nutrition.

Be sure to also provide plenty of light for your Pompom. They need about 12 hours of light each day. If you fall short of this, it’s possible that you’ll notice your Pompom losing its color or even refusing to eat.


Compared to other exotic goldfish, Pompoms are considered to be some of the easiest to breed. This is largely because they don’t have any features that would prevent them from mating.

It can be difficult to tell males and females apart, though. Often, females are thinner and less round than males. During the breeding season, males will grow white tubercles on their pectoral fins and gill plates, making it much easier to tell them apart.

Because Pompom Goldfish are often kept in rather barren aquariums to prevent damage to their bouquets, you’ll likely need to add some spawning mops if you plan to breed them. Females usually attach their eggs to plants, but if there aren’t any available, the spawning mops will make a great substitute.aquarium plant divider

Are Pompom Goldfish Suitable for Your Aquarium?

By now, you’re ready to fully care for a Pompom Goldfish. You know everything they need to thrive, but are they a good choice for your aquarium? It depends on how your existing aquarium is currently set up. If you have a tank that’s devoid of sharp or rough objects and contains only slow-moving fish with an adequate filtration system that doesn’t create a strong current, then a Pompom will fit in nicely. But if you already have several faster species of fish or decorations that could pose a hazard to a Pompom’s bouquets, then they’re probably not a great fit for your aquarium.

Featured Image Credit: Ek Ing, Shutterstock

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