Lionhead goldfish stats infographicOne look at the Lionhead Goldfish is enough for most to fall in love with it. Its unique appearance and color options are powerful attractants, but is it just as easy to care for? If you’re looking for a care guide that gives you the truth and nothing but the truth, we can help.

Keep reading, as this article will highlight all aspects of Lionhead Goldfish care.

What Is a Lionhead Goldfish?

The Lionhead Goldfish (or Fat Head Goldfish) is a fancy Goldfish type with extensive head growth and chubby cheeks. These fish are popular in the aquarium hobby due to their unique looks. However, Lionheads have extensive care needs and aren’t recommended for first-time aquarists.


Are you looking for some quick stats about the Lionhead Goldfish? If yes, then this section’s for you.

Common Name Lionhead Goldfish, Fat Head Goldfish
Scientific Name  Carassius Auratus Auratus
Care Level Intermediate
Average Lifespan Upto 15 years
Maximum Size 6-10 inches
Diet Omnivorous
Breeding Type Egg-laying
Minimum Tank Size 20 gallons

Classification Table

Order: Cypriniformes
Suborder Cyprinoidea
Family Cyprinidae
Genera Carassius
Species C. Auratus

Lionhead Goldfish Care

Are lionhead goldfish easy to care for and suitable for all aquaristsYou may think getting a Goldfish with fat head growth will add ornamental value to your tank, but they’re not suitable for beginners. To begin, these fish are pretty taxing in terms of a care routine.

Then, there’s the fact that they’re sensitive to water changes and require a practiced touch.

However, before you get put off, Fat Head Goldfish will do perfectly fine with the expertise of mid-level aquarists. All you need is the perfect care guide to direct you.

– Diet

The great thing about these chunky Goldfish is that they’re not picky eaters. Lionheads are omnivores and will accept pellets, flakes, live, and frozen food. But, as always, the secret to a healthy fish is a nutritionally-varied diet.

Lionhead Goldfish should mostly be fed fish flakes or blanched vegetables to stay fit. Commercially bought flakes are specifically formulated to look after all your fish’s dietary needs.

Blanched greens can help add fiber essential for a healthy digestive system. This is particularly important as these fish are prone to constipation and can develop health concerns like Swim Bladder Disease.

If you want to add protein to your fish’s diet, you have options like brine shrimp, bloodworms, or even Tubifex worms. However, aquarists should note that Lionheads can be clumsy and aren’t the best swimmers. That means any live feed for Lionheads needs to be cut up into bite-sized pieces to ensure your fish don’t go hungry.

Besides that, if you’re planning on creating a community tank, the inhabitants will end up competing for food. Since Fat Head Goldfish aren’t fast swimmers, you may need to pay extra attention to them during feeding time.

It’s also important to know that Lionheads can be greedy eaters if they get the chance. There’s always a danger of overfeeding them, which is why you should only feed them twice a day. However, if you notice the Lionhead Goldfish haven’t gotten enough food compared to their tank mates, add only as much food as they can finish in under three minutes.

Overfeeding your fish will automatically increase their waste output which can spell trouble for water conditions.

– Water Parameters

The Fat Goldfish breed requires specific water parameters to stay hale and hearty. Lionheads are susceptible to water fluctuations and can fall prey to stress because of it. That’s why it’s crucial to get the water criterion right before and after introducing these fish to the aquarium.

Fat Head Goldfish don’t take too well to cold water, which can negatively impact their immune systems. To avoid any such concerns, make sure the water temperature range of the tank stays stable between 76 to 80F.

If you live in a region where the summers aren’t too warm, it’s best to equip the fish tank with a water heater. This will be particularly helpful when outside temperatures take a dip in winter.

The pH range of a Lionhead fish tank should range between 6.0 to 8.0 for optimal health.

It goes without saying that the ammonia levels in a Lionhead fish tank also need to be controlled. Goldfish are very susceptible to ammonia poisoning, and aquarists need to be vigilant about this aspect of water maintenance.

Add a water filter to your fish tank to cover water conditions between water changes, and conduct weekly 20 to 25 percent water changes for best results. Watch out for decomposing debris and remove it before it has the chance to add to the tank’s ammonia load.

– Tank Setup

A full grown Lionhead Goldfish can measure between six to ten inches. This makes them one of the more sizable Goldfish species around. Plus, Lionheads aren’t very coordinated, thanks to their hooded heads, which means giving them plenty of space to move around can help prevent injuries.

For all those reasons and more, the minimum tank size requirement for this species is 20 gallons. Setting them up in a smaller tank asks for trouble, even if there’s only a single inhabitant. If you’re hoping to build a Lionhead-specific tank, the tank size capacity will need to be bigger.

Fat Head Goldfish may look very hardy, but they’re pretty easily injured. They’re especially susceptible to head injuries, like scrapes and cuts, by bumping into things.

It is ideal to create a Lionhead-safe fish tank to ensure they avoid bumps and bruises hence, start by selecting the right substrate.

Some aquarists keep the fish tank bottom bare; however, you can use a soft sandy substrate or smooth stones to cover the floor. If you’re opting for a stone substrate, ensure the rocks are big enough not to be accidentally swallowed by the fish.

Additionally, Lionheads are descended from wild carp native to still and stagnant waters, meaning Lionheads don’t like too much water flow. Aquarists may supplement the filter with an air-bubbler to strike a balance between water flow and filtration.

In terms of decorations, it’s best to stick to plants and avoid rock structures or other harsh surfaces. Finally, Lionhead setups will require extra lighting as it helps the species see clearer and keeps them from running into things.

– Lifespan

With optimal care and living conditions, you can expect your Goldfish to live up to 15 years. Nonetheless, this average lifespan statistic isn’t the gospel truth.

Several factors can impact fish life expectancy, including diet, water conditions, diseases, and stress caused by unsuitable tank mates.

As we stated earlier, Lionheads can be particularly sensitive to water conditions. Fluctuating water variables can weaken the immune system or problems like bacterial diseases.

To ensure your Lionhead lives a long and healthy life, it’s vital to provide the environment it needs to thrive.

– Common Diseases

Lionhead Goldfish aren’t very resilient fish and have delicate constitutions. Hence, you will find that these creatures are prone to viruses and infections. They can easily contract bacterial infections such as fin rot and dropsy from dirty water and unhygienic environments.

The worrisome part of many bacterial infections is that these infections might prove fatal if they aren’t treated early. Unfortunately, Lionheads are susceptible to fungal infections too. The most common fungal infection found in Lionheads is a cotton wool fungus.

Swim bladder disease, which is found in all types of Goldfish, can cause abnormal swimming patterns and balance problems.

And many such diseases can alter your beloved pet forever. Swim bladder disease can be prevented simply by keeping the water in the fish tank clean at all times and feeding your Lionhead sinking food, or you can alleviate some symptoms by giving your fish some defrosted peas.

Tank Mates

Lionhead Goldfish make excellent community members as they are very peaceful creatures. But, fish owners worry about putting in tank mates who could harm their marine babies.

Here’s a list of tank mates who will gel just fine with Lionheads, and you will also learn about fish who pose a threat to your Lionhead’s well-being

– Ideal Tank Mates

You must understand that Lionheads are slow-moving beings that like to take things easy. Therefore, you need to be very careful about the choice of fish species that you decide to keep in a fish tank with your goldfish.

Lionheads do well with other Lionheads and most kinds of goldfish. There you will see no competition for food. Other fish that are good tank mates with the Lionhead Goldfish are Black Moor, Celestial, Fantail, and Bubble Eye goldfish.

Even Rasboras, Tetras, and Danios make good companions for this species. Loaches and Corydoras are a good bet if you’re looking for suitable bottom-dwellers.

– Tank Mates To Avoid

Any aggressive or semi-aggressive fish species can be included in the list of tank mates to avoid for Lionheads. Fat Head Goldfish are slow-swimmers and have absolutely no defense against the bullying tactics of territorial fish. This makes them prone to injuries and stress.

It’s also a good idea to avoid fin-nippers like Barbs, Bettas, and Cichlids for apparent reasons. Fin-nipping fish are likely to have a go at your Lionhead’s fins and damage them until they’re frayed. This can make the injured fish more prone to infections, besides the fin damage.


Lionheads aren’t too challenging to breed in captivity. For a successful breeding venture, it’s best to group Lionheads in groups of five or larger. Other than that, fish keepers will also need to set up a breeding tank. Here’s how.

– Pre Breeding Care

As we stated earlier, breeding Lionheads in captivity will require setting up a breeding tank. Aquarists will also be required to move the group of fish selected for breeding to the other tank before the breeding season begins.

Doing so will help the male and female fish to adapt to each other presence and will make for a smoother spawning process.

You’ll need to add a water heater and filter to the breeding tank to maintain proper water parameters. The water temperature of the breeding tank should clock in no less than 60F when you transfer the fish. Gradually increase the water temperature by three degrees to trigger breeding until the temperatures range between 68 to 75F.

You’ll know your efforts have paid off when you notice the males beginning to chase the females as a form of courtship. The male Lionhead can also nudge against the female or push her against plants. Don’t be alarmed by such behavior as it’s part and parcel of the breeding process.

– Post Breeding Care

The female can lay up to thousands of eggs during spawning before the male fertilizes them with milt. The number of eggs laid doesn’t necessarily correlate with how many fry will hatch or live on to adulthood.

Once the eggs are fertilized, it’s best to remove the adult Lionheads from the breeding tank to save the eggs from being eaten. Generally, Lionhead eggs can take up to seven days to hatch. The fry will become free-swimming in a day or two after hatching.

You can feed the fry crushed Goldfish food until they’re older and can accept items like flakes or brine shrimp.


Lionhead goldfishAs care guides go, ours covered a lot of pertinent details about the care and nurturing of Lionhead Goldfish. Here’s a quick rundown of the most important bits if you feel a little overwhelmed.

  • Lionhead Goldfish are a type of fancy Goldfish popular due to their sizable head growth. These fish are somewhat clumsy and slow swimmers too.
  • The species are omnivores and readily accept most fish food items, including flakes, brine shrimp, bloodworms, and blanched vegetables.
  • Lionheads require water temperatures and pH levels of 76 to 80F and 6.0 to 8.0, respectively.
  • Tank setup for this species requires sandy or smooth rock substrate. Aquarists can add in plants or avoid them if they feel the fish keep bumping into them.
  • Lionheads are susceptible to stress and common Goldfish diseases like Swim Bladder and Cotton Wool Fungus.

Caring for a Lionhead Goldfish requires previous fish-keeping experience because of its strenuous water quality requirements. Still, it’s nothing you won’t be able to manage now that you have our guide.

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