How Much Do Goldfish Cost?

Written by: Staff
Last Updated:  August 16, 2018

Quite possibly one of the cheapest pets to own, the goldfish can be yours for as little as a shiny nickel or even free if you won one at a local carnival.

However, did you know there’s more to the goldfish family than the one you often see at the carnival?

Let’s take a gander at the many varieties and what it could cost you.

Goldfish Cost
DSC_0019” (CC BY 2.0) by mk_is_here

How much does a goldfish cost?

The cost of a goldfish will generally depend on the type of goldfish you’re looking to purchase and where you purchase your goldfish from.  With a variety of goldfish on the market, te costs can range from as little as a few cents to as much as $35, but for most, you shouldn’t have to pay more than $5.

For example, Petsmart listed prices on their official website, with prices ranging from as little as $3 for a fantail goldfish to as much as $32 for a fancy goldfish.  The same price range was also spotted on Petco.

Type of GoldfishAverage Price
Black Butterfly$10
Black Moor$5
Bubble Eye$10
Calico Ryukin$11
Calico Telescope$10
Celestial Eye$60
Izumo Nankin$8 for small; $60 for large
Ranchu$30 for small
Red and White$8
Red Cap$8
Telescope Eye$10

How did we get these prices?  We researched popular pet retailer websites, such as Petco and Petsmart, as well as talked with at least five independent aquarium pet shops to come up with an average of the most popular goldfish often purchased.

Additional costs to budget for


Depending on the setup you want, a simple fishbowl can cost as little as $5 to as much as $300+ for a 50-gallon aquarium, but if you plan on keeping goldfish, an aquarium is highly recommended as some goldfish can grow larger than one foot long and require the necessary space to swim around.

If you were to purchase an aquarium larger than 10 gallons, then this price would not include the additional accessories, such as:


Fish flakes are relatively cheap, often retailing for as little as $2 to $4, depending on the brand.  MyPetWarehouse recommends only feeding your goldfish quality flakes and pellets that are defined as goldfish food as this food, designed specifically for goldfish, will contain less protein and more carbohydrates in comparison to other fish-related food.  Aside from fish flakes, goldfish owners can also choose frozen brine shrimp and/or bloodworms as a supplement as well.

Since goldfish do not have stomachs, the food will past through relatively fast, meaning goldfish will continue to eat until they no longer see any food.  This simply means they will never get full and can often suffer from constipation or swimming problems if you feed them too much. recommends feeding a few small meals a day, rather than one full meal in the day.

Types of goldfish

Before we delve into the types of goldfish, first understand there are type main categories:  the single tail goldfish, which are the goldfish that have one single caudal and anal fin, and the double tailed goldfish, which are often referred to as the fancy goldfish and are considered to be a group of goldfish with unique characteristics.

Butterfly Tail – As the name implies, the butterfly tail displays a butterflylike look as the fins are splashed out from the sides.

Calico – Known for its three or more overlapping colors with multiple scales, the calico goldfish are quite unique as no two are the same.

Common – Sometimes referred to as a feeder fish, this is often the most common type of goldfish found at a local pet store.  Similar to a carp in shape, the common goldfish is just as you picture a goldfish — a bright metallic orange with a slightly forked tail.

Comet – Similar to that of a common goldfish, the comet is known for a tail size that’s often as long as the entire body, making it look like a comet shooting through the sky.

Fantail – Whenever someone mentions the word “fancy goldfish,” most think of this type as it is the most common, yet most diverse variety.  Almost every pet store will have this type, with a wide variety of color, shapes and types available.

Jikin – The jikin, sometimes referred to as the peacock tail goldfish, has a longer body, short double tail and is known for its red and white-like pattern that colors the lips, dorsal fins and both gill plates.

Moor – Has a velvety black color appearance that sticks around for most of the fishes’ life.

Lionhead – Round in shape with a fat face, the lionhead variety are known for its large wens that cover its face as they grow old.

Oranda – Some of the largest fancy goldfish varieties, they can grow larger than 10 inches and are known for a large, fleshy–like growth on their head, which starts to develop at three to four months old.

Pearlscale – Known for its interesting scales, this variety is known for its hard, bulging center on the top of its head, giving the nickname “golfball goldfish.”

Pompom – A true pompom will be dorsalless and gets its name from the overgrown outer portion of its nose as resemble small pom poms.

Ranchu – Similar to a lionhead, the ranchu has more of an arched back and the tail tends to tuck beneath its body with a more rounded look, similar to a coin.

Ryukin – Another common fancy goldfish variety, the ryukin are larger in size and will have a larger hump on their back.

Sabao –  A cross between the syounai and ryukin, the sabao, sometimes referred to as a tamasaba, are slender in size and have a less distinguishable hump.

Shubunkin – Quite different in color when compared to the typical “gold” fish, the shubunkin almost always comes in a calico coloration pattern with clear and metallic scales.  The colors you actually see will be the skin that’s underneath the clear scales.

Tamasaba – A very rare breed, which is known to be crossed between a syounai and ryukin, resulting in a rounder body and arched back.

Telescope Eye – With a body similar to the oranda, the telescope eye goldfish possess larger than average eyes, with a variety of patterns and colors available on the market.

Veiltail – Very rare to find, the veiltail come in very few colors, some of which can include a bi or tri color.

Wakin – Growing over 12 inches long, the wakin, when examined up close, looks similar to the common goldfish; however, the difference relies on the small double tail.  This type is quite rare in the United States and is commonly found in Japan.

Watonai – A cross between the ryukin and wakin, the watonai has a double tail, with long flowing fins, similar to that of a comet.  Colors range from blacks to blues to rich orange and reds.

How long do goldfish live?

A healthy goldfish can live up to 20 years as long as taken care of properly and the oldest goldfish on record was Goldie, a 45-year-old goldfish that died in 2005.

Most goldfish, however, die quite fast, often in as little as three to five years, often due to owner negligence.

The reason?

The fish tank is often too small for the fish, overfeeding and not cycling the aquarium.

How big do goldfish get?

According to, the average goldfish, regardless of the variety, stay about one to two inches, with some growing as large as six inches; however, in the wild, it’s not uncommon to see some goldfish as large as 14 inches.

Tips to know

You should change your water at least once a week to keep the water levels at a normal level.  Failing to so can increase the ammonia and/or nitrite levels, which, as you can imagine, isn’t the best for your fishes’ health.  Make sure you change the water once a week, and when doing so, change about one-third of the water, not the entire tank at once.

Not all fish are compatible with a goldfish.  While experts recommend keeping goldfish with other goldfish, if you do decide to keep other fish in the tank, make sure they like similar temperatures, will not do any harm to the goldfish and are quick enough to avoid getting eaten by the others in the tank.

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