Fish, Tanks and Ponds

Fish, Tanks and Ponds
A comprehensive guide to fish

Celestial goldfish

Celestial goldfish Celestial goldfish


Records indicate - from a Chines scroll, that the celestial goldfish was in China as early as 1772. Conflicting information indicates that the fish was developed in Korea rather than China. In China the celestial goldfish is known as Choten gan.

Special features

  • Twin tailed.
  • No Dorsal fin.
  • Telescopic eyed.
  • Eyes point upwards.


  • Temp - 65 to 70°F.
  • Ammonia/Nitrite - no trace.
  • Nitrate - Ideally less than 20ppm.
  • pH - 7.5
  • GH - avoid extremes.
  • KH - 5 to 12.

Celestial goldfish must only be kept with other celestial goldfish or possibly with bubble eyed goldfish, they are in a very poor position to compete or defend themselves against other fish. especially as they get older. Avoid sharp decor in their aquarium because they have very limited vision and they do bump in to things relatively often. They are not suited to life in a pond and should only ever be kept in a cold water aquarium.

Due to their immoveable upward pointing eyes it is important to avoid bright lighting, one low wattage tube will give ample light to view your celestial goldfish without further injury to their eyes.

Goldfish are omnivores with a slight preference for vegetable matter. The main thing when it comes to feeding them is to ensure they have a balanced diet for healthy growth and resistance to disease. Their mouths are slightly down-turned and it isn't natural for them to feed at the surface and it can lead to swim bladder and other digestive problems if they are forced to, so ideally all dried food should be pre soaked prior to feeding so that it will sink. Suitable food.

  • Pellets preferably sinking ones Algae wafers
  • Pre soaked flake food.
  • Lettuce, cooked Peas without their skin, Brown Bread
  • Live or frozen Bloodworms, Adult Brine Shrimp, Daphnia.
  • Freeze dried Tubifex.

If you go away on holiday rather than risk someone with no experience feeding them it is better if the fish are left without food.

For a healthy Goldfish to go two weeks with no food will do no harm at all. Being cold blooded their food requirements are far less than an equivalent sized mammal but the risk of over feeding poses a very real threat to their lives. 

Ethical note

The eyes of the Celestial change position over the first six months of their lives. The change to upward pointing eyes has severe implications for the Celestial. The retina degenerates which leads to progressive blindness. This coupled with the lack of a dorsal fin which affects the fish's ability to swim with normal manoeuvrability means that the fish could not compete in the wild and can only exist in an aquarium with special care. All celestial goldfish are affected by this to varying degrees of severity.

This article isn't about the rights and wrongs of fancy goldfish, indeed I do like most varieties but on a personal note I feel the celestial goldfish is a breed to far away from what is acceptable.


The celestial standard is as follows:

  • Depth of body to be greater than 1/2 of body length
  • Eyes to be protruding upwards from the surface of the head
  • Dorsal fin to be absent All other fins to be paired, caudal fin to be divided
  • Caudal fin to be forked Extremities of fins to have a rounded appearance
  • Minimum length of body to be 5.5 cm (2¼ inches)

Other areas of judging include:

The fish should be healthy, active and alert.
The body should be short not elongated, with smooth dorsal contours and showing no sign of a dorsal fin.
The caudal fins (tails) should be fully divided.
The eyes should be even in size and shape, looking upwards and well developed.


  • Metallic - Self – red, orange, yellow, blue, brown, black.
  • Variegated - red, orange, yellow, blue, brown, black and silver - any combination of the listed colours in a pleasing pattern and similar on both sides.
  • Colours to appear as burnished metal, extending into the fins.
  • Calico group - blue background with patches of violet, red, orange, yellow and brown spotted with black

Points system

  • Body 20
  • Colour 20
  • Finnage 20
  • Special characteristics 20
  • Condition and deportment 20
  • Total 100

North East Goldfish Society