Lionhead Goldfish Care: Tank Setup, Diet, Tank Mates, Diseases & More!

If you are looking for a unique and captivating fish to add to your aquarium, the lionhead goldfish may be just what you need. With its distinctive appearance and charming personality, this fish is a favorite among hobbyists. However, caring for a lionhead goldfish requires some special attention and knowledge to ensure that it thrives in your aquarium.

Lionhead Goldfish require a tank size of at least 20 gallons per fish, pH levels between 6.0-8.0, and a temperature range of 65-78°F. They are omnivores and need a varied diet of high-quality pellets or flakes, vegetables, and occasional live or frozen foods. Regular water changes and tank maintenance are also important for their health. They also require a soft substrate to prevent damage to their delicate fins.

One of the most important things to keep in mind when caring for a lionhead goldfish is the water quality.

These fish are sensitive to changes in water chemistry, so it is essential to maintain a clean and well-filtered tank.

Additionally, lionhead goldfish are prone to swim bladder issues, so it is crucial to avoid overfeeding them and to provide a varied diet that includes both dry and live foods.

From personal experience, I have found that lionhead goldfish are incredibly rewarding pets to care for.

Their playful and curious nature makes them a joy to watch, and their unique appearance always draws attention from visitors. With the right care and attention, your lionhead goldfish can thrive and bring you years of enjoyment.

lionhead goldfish 1

Species Summary

If you’re considering keeping a lionhead goldfish, it’s important to understand the basics of their care. Here’s what you need to know:


The lionhead goldfish is a variety of goldfish that originated in China. They were developed by selective breeding and are now popular all over the world.


Lionhead goldfish can live up to 10 years or more with proper care. However, their lifespan can be significantly shortened if they are not kept in the right conditions.


The lionhead goldfish has a distinct appearance, with a round body and a large head.

They have a double tail and no dorsal fin, which sets them apart from other goldfish varieties. Their scales are metallic and can come in a variety of colors, including red, orange, black, and white.


Lionhead goldfish can grow up to 6 inches in length, but their size will depend on their environment and diet.

Growth rate

The growth rate of lionhead goldfish can vary depending on their age, diet, and environment.

They typically grow slower than other goldfish varieties, so it’s important to be patient and not overfeed them.

Behavior & Temperament

Lionhead goldfish are generally peaceful and can be kept with other goldfish varieties.

They are not aggressive and will not harm other fish in the tank. However, they can be shy and may hide if they feel threatened.

Male vs Female

It can be difficult to tell male and female lionhead goldfish apart, especially when they are young. However, as they mature, males may develop breeding tubercles on their gill covers and pectoral fins.

Females may have a rounder body shape and a wider vent.

When I first started keeping lionhead goldfish, I was amazed by their unique appearance and gentle temperament.

With the right care, these fish can live for many years and make a great addition to any aquarium.

Just remember to provide them with a spacious tank, clean water, and a balanced diet to ensure their health and happiness.

Tank Setup

Tank Size

When it comes to lionhead goldfish care, the size of the tank is crucial. You should provide at least 20 gallons of water per fish to ensure they have enough space to swim and grow.

If you plan on keeping multiple lionhead goldfish, you’ll need to increase the tank size accordingly.

Remember, the more fish you have, the more waste they produce, which means you’ll need a larger tank to maintain water quality.


While lionhead goldfish don’t require special lighting, they do need a consistent light cycle. Aim for 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness each day.

You can achieve this by using a timer to control your aquarium lighting. Avoid placing your tank in direct sunlight, as this can cause temperature fluctuations and algae growth.

Filtration & Aeration

Proper filtration and aeration are critical for maintaining a healthy aquarium environment for your lionhead goldfish.

A good filter will remove waste and debris from the water, while aeration will provide oxygen for your fish.

Consider using a hang-on-back filter or a canister filter, and a bubbler or air stone to ensure adequate oxygenation.


Lionhead goldfish are coldwater fish and can tolerate temperatures between 60-78°F.

However, they prefer cooler water temperatures, so you may not need a heater unless your home’s temperature drops below 60°F.

If you do need a heater, choose one that is appropriate for your tank size and can maintain a consistent temperature.


The substrate you choose for your lionhead goldfish tank is important. Avoid using sharp or rough substrates that can damage your fish’s delicate fins.

Instead, opt for smooth gravel or sand. Make sure to rinse the substrate thoroughly before adding it to your tank to remove any debris or dust.


Adding decorations to your lionhead goldfish tank can provide hiding places and a sense of security for your fish. You can use rocks, driftwood, or other aquarium-safe decorations.

Just be sure to clean them thoroughly before adding them to your tank to remove any bacteria or parasites.


Live plants can help improve water quality and provide a natural environment for your lionhead goldfish. Choose hardy plants that can tolerate the cooler water temperatures preferred by lionheads, such as Java fern or Anubias.

If you prefer artificial plants, make sure they are made from aquarium-safe materials and won’t harm your fish.

Overall, setting up a suitable tank for your lionhead goldfish takes a little effort, but it’s well worth it to provide your fish with a healthy and happy home.

Water Quality

One of the most important aspects of lionhead goldfish care is maintaining good water quality in their aquarium.

Poor water quality can lead to stress, disease, and even death for your fish. In this section, we’ll cover the key factors you need to consider to ensure your lionhead goldfish are living in a healthy environment.

Water Temperature

The ideal temperature range for lionhead goldfish is between 68 and 74 degrees Fahrenheit. You’ll need a reliable aquarium thermometer to monitor the water temperature and make adjustments as necessary.

Avoid sudden temperature changes, as this can stress your fish and make them more susceptible to disease.

Water pH

The ideal pH range for lionhead goldfish is between 7.0 and 7.8. Use a pH testing kit to monitor the water pH and make adjustments as necessary.

Avoid drastic changes in pH, as this can also stress your fish and make them more vulnerable to disease.

Water Hardness

Goldfish prefer moderately hard water with a hardness level between 150 and 300 ppm. You can test the water hardness using a water testing kit and make adjustments as necessary.

If your water is too soft, you can add crushed coral or limestone to the aquarium to increase the hardness.

Water Changes

Regular water changes are essential to maintain good water quality in your lionhead goldfish aquarium. You should aim to change 20-30% of the water every week.

Use a siphon to remove debris and waste from the gravel and replace the water with fresh, dechlorinated water that is the same temperature as the aquarium water.

Remember, maintaining good water quality is crucial for the health and well-being of your lionhead goldfish.

By monitoring the water temperature, pH, hardness, and performing regular water changes, you can provide your fish with a healthy and thriving environment.

Personally, I’ve found that keeping a consistent schedule for water changes has made it easier for me to maintain good water quality. I set a reminder on my phone to ensure I don’t forget to perform my weekly water changes.

Tank Maintenance

Maintaining a clean and healthy environment for your lionhead goldfish is essential to their well-being. Here are some tips to keep your tank in top shape:

First, check the water temperature daily and make sure it stays between 68-74°F. Use a reliable thermometer to ensure accuracy. You may need to adjust the temperature if it fluctuates too much.

Next, perform a 25% water change every week. This will help remove excess waste and toxins from the tank. Use a siphon to vacuum the gravel and remove any uneaten food or debris.

It’s also important to regularly test the water for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels. High levels of these compounds can be harmful to your fish. Use a water testing kit to check the levels and adjust accordingly.

Finally, clean the tank and its accessories every month. Use a non-toxic aquarium cleaner and a soft sponge to wipe down the glass and decorations. Rinse thoroughly before adding fresh water.

Remember, a clean and well-maintained tank is crucial to the health and happiness of your lionhead goldfish. By following these simple steps, you can ensure your fish thrive in their aquatic home.

Personally, I have found that keeping a regular schedule for tank maintenance helps me stay on top of things. I mark down the days for water changes and cleaning in my calendar, so I never forget. It’s also a good idea to keep a spare thermometer and testing kit on hand, just in case.

Tank Mates

Compatible Fish Species

If you’re looking to add some tank mates for your lionhead goldfish, there are a few species that can live peacefully together. Some good options include:

  • White Cloud Mountain Minnows
  • Otocinclus Catfish
  • Bristlenose Plecos
  • Cherry Barbs

These fish are all relatively small and peaceful, making them good companions for your lionhead goldfish. Just make sure you have a large enough tank to accommodate all of your fish.

Incompatible Fish Species

While there are some fish that can live with lionhead goldfish, there are others that should be avoided. Some species that are not compatible with lionhead goldfish include:

  • Angelfish
  • Cichlids
  • Tetras
  • Guppies

These fish are either too aggressive or too small to be housed with lionhead goldfish. They may nip at the fins of your goldfish or become prey for larger fish.

Can Lionhead Goldfish Live with Other Goldfish?

Yes, lionhead goldfish can live with other goldfish. However, it’s important to keep in mind that goldfish can be territorial and may compete for resources like food and space.

If you want to keep multiple goldfish together, make sure you have a large enough tank to accommodate all of them and provide plenty of hiding places and decorations to break up the space.

Personally, I’ve had success keeping my lionhead goldfish with a group of cherry barbs. They add some color to the tank and are peaceful companions for my goldfish.


Proper diet is crucial for the health and wellbeing of your lionhead goldfish. In this section, we will cover what to feed your fish, how often to feed them, and some tips to ensure they are getting the nutrients they need.

What To Feed

When it comes to feeding your lionhead goldfish, a balanced diet is key. You can feed them a variety of foods, including:

  • Flake or pellet food specifically designed for goldfish
  • Frozen or live foods such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, or daphnia
  • Fruits and vegetables such as peas, lettuce, or cucumber

It’s important to avoid overfeeding your fish, as this can lead to health problems such as swim bladder issues.


Adult lionhead goldfish should be fed once or twice a day, while younger fish may require more frequent feedings. It’s important to only feed your fish what they can eat in a few minutes, as any excess food will pollute the water and harm the fish.


Here are some tips to ensure your lionhead goldfish are getting the nutrients they need:

  • Rotate their diet to ensure they are getting a variety of nutrients
  • Soak any dried foods before feeding to prevent digestive issues
  • Monitor their weight and adjust their feeding schedule as needed

Personally, I have found that my lionhead goldfish enjoy a mix of pellet food and frozen bloodworms. They always get excited when they see me approaching the tank with their food!

Common Diseases


As a lionhead goldfish owner, it’s important to be aware of the common diseases that can affect your fish. Some of the most common diseases that lionhead goldfish can get include:

  • Ich (white spot disease)
  • Fin rot
  • Dropsy (swollen belly)
  • Anchor worm
  • Flukes


If your lionhead goldfish is sick, they may display a variety of symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms of fish diseases include:

  • White spots on the body or fins
  • Torn or ragged fins
  • Swollen belly
  • Red or inflamed areas on the body or fins
  • Difficulty swimming or staying upright


If you notice any of these symptoms in your lionhead goldfish, it’s important to take action right away. Depending on the disease, treatment may involve:

  • Medications
  • Water changes
  • Quarantining the sick fish
  • Adjusting water temperature or pH levels


The best way to prevent fish diseases is to maintain a clean and healthy environment for your lionhead goldfish. This includes:

  • Regular water changes
  • Cleaning the tank and equipment regularly
  • Feeding a balanced diet
  • Avoiding overfeeding
  • Quarantining new fish before introducing them to the tank

Personally, I’ve had a lionhead goldfish that developed fin rot due to poor water quality. After doing some research and making changes to the tank setup, I was able to successfully treat the fish and prevent the disease from returning.

Signs of a Healthy Lionhead Goldfish

When it comes to keeping Lionhead goldfish, it’s important to know what a healthy fish looks like. Here are some signs to look out for:

  1. Bright and vibrant coloration: A healthy Lionhead goldfish should have bright and vibrant colors. If your fish’s colors are dull or faded, it may be a sign of poor health.
  2. Active and alert: A healthy fish will be active and alert, swimming around the tank and interacting with its surroundings. If your fish is lethargic or seems to be hiding, it may be a sign of illness.
  3. Clear eyes and smooth scales: Check your fish’s eyes and scales regularly. Clear eyes and smooth scales are signs of good health, while cloudy eyes or rough scales may indicate a problem.
  4. Healthy fins and tail: A healthy Lionhead goldfish will have strong, healthy fins and a full, flowing tail. If your fish’s fins or tail are frayed or damaged, it may be a sign of poor health.

It’s important to remember that not all signs of illness are immediately visible. That’s why it’s crucial to monitor your fish’s behavior and habits, as well as its physical appearance. If you notice any changes in your fish’s behavior or appearance, it’s important to take action right away to ensure your fish stays healthy and happy.

Personally, I once had a Lionhead goldfish that suddenly became lethargic and stopped eating. After doing some research, I realized that the water quality in my tank was poor. I immediately did a water change and added some aquarium salt, and within a few days, my fish was back to its active, healthy self. It’s important to always be vigilant and proactive when it comes to your fish’s health.

Signs Your Lionhead Goldfish is Sick

If you are a proud owner of a Lionhead goldfish, you know how important it is to keep them healthy and happy. However, sometimes even the best care can’t prevent sickness. Here are some signs to look out for to know if your Lionhead goldfish is sick:

  1. Changes in Appearance: If your Lionhead goldfish’s color looks dull, or they have white spots on their fins or body, it could be a sign of illness. Additionally, if they have a swollen belly, it could be a sign of constipation or other digestive issues.
  2. Abnormal Behavior: If your Lionhead goldfish is swimming erratically, floating upside down, or hiding in the corner of the tank, it could be a sign of illness. Additionally, if they are rubbing against objects in the tank, it could be a sign of parasites.
  3. Lack of Appetite: If your Lionhead goldfish is not eating or is eating less than usual, it could be a sign of illness. Additionally, if they are spitting out their food or have trouble swallowing, it could be a sign of a digestive issue.
  4. Breathing Issues: If your Lionhead goldfish is gasping for air at the surface of the tank or breathing rapidly, it could be a sign of illness. Additionally, if they have red or inflamed gills, it could be a sign of a respiratory issue.
  5. Lethargy: If your Lionhead goldfish is not as active as usual or is spending more time at the bottom of the tank, it could be a sign of illness. Additionally, if they are not responding to stimuli or seem disoriented, it could be a sign of a neurological issue.

It’s important to monitor your Lionhead goldfish’s behavior and appearance regularly to catch any signs of illness early. If you notice any of these signs, it’s best to consult with a veterinarian who specializes in fish care to determine the best course of treatment.

Personal Anecdote: I once noticed that my Lionhead goldfish was swimming erratically and rubbing against objects in the tank.

After consulting with a veterinarian, I learned that my fish had a parasite and was able to treat it before it became a more serious issue. Regular monitoring and quick action can make all the difference in keeping your Lionhead goldfish healthy.


lionhead goldfish 2

Breeding Setup

Before breeding your lionhead goldfish, you need to set up the breeding tank. Use a tank that is at least 20 gallons and fill it with fresh water.

Add an air stone to provide oxygen and a sponge filter to keep the water clean. Place some aquatic plants in the tank to provide hiding places for the fish and to give them a place to lay their eggs.

I personally like to use java moss as it provides a great place for the eggs to attach to and the baby fish can hide in it. You can also use other plants like hornwort or anacharis.

How To Breed

The first step to breeding your lionhead goldfish is to make sure you have a male and a female. The male will typically have breeding tubercles on its gill covers and pectoral fins. The female will be rounder and have a larger belly when she is ready to lay eggs.

Once you have a male and a female, you need to condition them by feeding them high-quality food and keeping the water clean.

You can also lower the water temperature by a few degrees to simulate the change in seasons and trigger breeding behavior.

When the female is ready to lay eggs, she will start to chase the male around the tank. The male will then start to nudge her belly and the female will release her eggs. The male will then fertilize the eggs as they fall to the bottom of the tank.


After the eggs have been fertilized, you need to remove the adult fish from the breeding tank to prevent them from eating the eggs. The eggs will hatch in about 3-4 days and the baby fish will start to swim freely after about a week.

Feed the baby fish small amounts of food several times a day. You can use powdered fish food or infusoria. As the fish grow, you can start to introduce larger food like brine shrimp and crushed flakes.

It’s important to keep the water clean and well-aerated to prevent the baby fish from suffocating or getting sick. You should also monitor the water temperature and make sure it stays consistent.

I hope this section has helped you understand how to breed and care for your lionhead goldfish. Breeding fish can be a rewarding experience and I wish you the best of luck with your breeding endeavors!

Product recommendations for Lionhead Goldfish:

  1. Hikari Goldfish Pellets – These pellets are specifically designed for Goldfish, providing a balanced diet that is high in protein and essential nutrients.
  2. Seachem Prime – This water conditioner is perfect for Lionhead Goldfish, neutralizing harmful toxins and chemicals in the water and keeping your fish healthy and happy.
  3. Aqueon LED Aquarium Light Fixture – This high-quality LED light fixture is perfect for Lionhead Goldfish, providing bright and energy-efficient lighting that will help your fish thrive.
  4. API Freshwater Master Test Kit – This comprehensive test kit is perfect for Lionhead Goldfish owners, allowing you to monitor the water quality of your aquarium and ensure that your fish are healthy and happy.
  5. Zoo Med Nano 10 External Canister Filter – This powerful and efficient canister filter is designed for small aquariums and is perfect for keeping the water in your Lionhead Goldfish tank crystal clear.
  6. Tetra Whisper Air Pump – This powerful and reliable air pump is perfect for Lionhead Goldfish, providing a steady flow of oxygenated water that will keep your fish healthy and happy.
  7. API Stress Coat Water Conditioner – This aquarium conditioner is perfect for Lionhead Goldfish, reducing stress and promoting healing in your fish by forming a protective slime coat on their skin.
  8. Hikari Sinking Carnivore Pellets – These sinking pellets are specifically designed for carnivorous fish like Lionhead Goldfish, providing a high-protein diet that will help your fish thrive.


Caring for your lionhead goldfish can be a rewarding experience. By following the tips outlined in this article, you can ensure that your fish stay healthy and happy.

Remember to keep their tank clean and well-maintained, with proper filtration and regular water changes. It’s also important to provide them with a balanced diet, including both commercial fish food and fresh vegetables.

Make sure to monitor your fish for any signs of illness, and seek veterinary care if necessary. And don’t forget to give your lionhead goldfish plenty of love and attention – they are social creatures and thrive on interaction with their owners.

Personally, I have found that my lionhead goldfish respond well to a regular feeding and maintenance schedule. I also like to decorate their tank with plants and ornaments to provide them with a stimulating environment.

Overall, caring for lionhead goldfish requires some effort and attention, but the rewards are well worth it. With proper care, your fish can live long, healthy lives and bring you joy for years to come.


Here are some frequently asked questions about caring for lionhead goldfish:

Q: How often should I feed my lionhead goldfish?

A: You should feed your lionhead goldfish small amounts of food 2-3 times a day. Overfeeding can lead to health problems, so be careful not to give them too much.

Q: Can I keep lionhead goldfish with other fish?

A: Yes, you can keep lionhead goldfish with other peaceful fish that are similar in size. Avoid keeping them with aggressive or fin-nipping fish, as lionheads have delicate fins that can be easily damaged.

Q: How often should I clean my lionhead goldfish’s tank?

A: You should do a partial water change of 25% every week and a full water change every month. It’s important to maintain good water quality to keep your fish healthy.

Q: Do lionhead goldfish need a filter?

A: Yes, a filter is essential for keeping the water clean and healthy for your fish. Make sure to choose a filter that is appropriate for the size of your tank.

Q: How can I tell if my lionhead goldfish is sick?

A: Look out for signs of illness, such as lethargy, loss of appetite, or abnormal swimming behavior. If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to take action quickly to prevent the illness from spreading to other fish.

Overall, caring for lionhead goldfish requires some effort and attention to detail, but it’s a rewarding experience that can bring you years of joy and companionship.

Remember to keep your fish healthy by providing a clean and comfortable environment, feeding them a balanced diet, and monitoring their behavior for signs of illness.

Personally, I have found that taking care of my lionhead goldfish has been a great hobby that has brought me a lot of joy. Seeing them swim around happily in their tank always puts a smile on my face, and I love learning more about these fascinating fish.

Reference: Wikipedia.


Hi there! My name is Jacob, and I'm the founder of this Pet people blog that talks all about aquarium and fishkeeping. I've been passionate about fish and aquatic life since I was a kid, and I've spent countless hours learning about different species, their habitats, and how to create the perfect environment for them to thrive in.

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