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Clear shubunkin.jpg
Country of origin
Single tailed
Breed standards

Shubunkins (朱文金 translated literally as "red brocade"?) are a hardy, single-tailed goldfish with nacreous scales, and a pattern known as calico. The shubunkins are of Japanese origin.[1][2]


Illustration of a shubunkin.

Shubunkins are just a common goldfish and comet goldfish that has a calico coloration. However, the shubunkins are calico goldfish; they possess nacreous scales (a mix of metallic and transparent scales that are pearly in appearance). The overlapping patches of red, white, blue, grey and black (along with dark speckles) normally extend to the finnage of shubunkins. Blue is the most prized colour in shubunkins. Calico originally denoted three coloured varieties of goldfish that did not include blue. The best blues are produced from line breeding of good blue specimens of shubunkins. Sometimes good blues may be obtained by breeding bronze (metallic) with pink (matte) goldfish, but a grey slate colour may result instead.Some Calico fish tend to have a pointy mouth.

It may take several months for the nacreous coloration to develop on a young fry (baby fish). Shubunkins are excellent pond fish because they reach a length of 9 to 18 inches (23 to 41 centimeters) at adulthood. A shubunkin goldfish is considered an adult at 2 to 3 years of age,[1][2] even though they live much longer.

American shubunkin
Male Shubunkin


An adult shubunkin, 26 cm (10 in) in length
  • Comet shubunkins (pictured in infobox) have a slimmer body shape than the common shubunkin with deeply forked, pointed tail fins, and longer finnage all around.[2]


  1. ^ a b c Chris Andrews, Interpet Publishing (2002) An Interpet Guide to Fancy Goldfish. ISBN 1-902389-64-6
  2. ^ a b c d Erik L. Johnson, D.V.M. and Richard E. Hess (2006) Fancy Goldfish: A Complete Guide to Care and Collecting, Weatherhill, Shambala Publications, Inc. ISBN 0-8348-0448-4

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