Bubble Eye Goldfish 101: Diet, Health, Tank Setup & More!

A bubble eye fish goldfish close up
A bubble eye fish goldfish close up
Dr. Mollie Newton
Published by Dr. Mollie Newton PHD| Senior Editor
Last updated: June 10, 2024
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Many of us can recall the delight of visiting a pet shop during our youth, captivated by the vibrant shades of gold, orange, and yellow as the fish darted around in their tanks. Perhaps one particular fish grabbed your attention, known for its prominent bubble eyes, eye-catching color patterns, and long, double tail – you were probably looking at a bubble eye goldfish.

We have felt the same enrapturement as you and have created an everything you need to know guide about our favorite bubble eyed fish.

Article Summary

  • Bubble Eye Goldfish are an ornamental fish breed with distinctive bubble sacs under their eyes; they originated in China and are a variety of fancy goldfish.
  • Bubble Eye Goldfish are omnivores and should be fed a varied diet of vegetables, meat, and vitamins.
  • Bubble Eye Goldfish are peaceful and should be kept with compatible tank mates, like other goldfish and snails.

History and Background

Goldfish originated in Asia from crucian carp, which was an agriculturally farmed fish. They were domesticated to be part of the ornamental fish ponds sometime between 1650 and 1700. In fact, goldfish were considered sacred and a symbol of great wealth due to their brightly colored metallic sheen.


It is more common to see an orange goldfish rather than a yellow or golden one because in China yellow was a color of royalty. This meant that common people could not keep yellow fish and led to selective pressures from breeders.

Where did the bubble eye goldfish come from

You will not find these fish in the wild as they are captive bred. Originally goldfish were bred in China from prussian carp fish as an ornamental species to go with koi in ponds. The bubble eye goldfish itself is a variety of fancy goldfish bred because of their unusual eyes.

Other fancy goldfish include the fantail, veiltail, ranchu, oranda, ryukin, lionhead, dragon eye, black moor, and pearlscale goldfish. This is just the beginning of the list, there are actually over 200 species of goldfish.

How were bubble eye goldfish made

It is hard to trace bubble eye goldfish’s exact origins but they were likely a mutant of telescope or celestial goldfish that were then bred because of the unusual sacs under their eyes.

These bubble sacs serve no function and actually cause poor eyesight for the fish. The sacs are filled with a clear, lymph-like fluid.

When were bubble eye goldfish developed

Though goldfish have been around since the first century, bubble eyed goldfish were first recorded into existence in China in 1908, though some people claim that they were present in the eighteenth century.

How much do bubble eye goldfish cost

On average bubble eye goldfish cost $10 and you can find them in most fish stores. They are a much cheaper alternative to the Celestial Eye goldfish ($60) which has similar fluid filled sacs with upturned eyes and are also a popular fancy goldfish.


Bubble Eye Goldfish
Bubble Eye Goldfish

Unlike the popular comet goldfish, bubble eye goldfish have a large, round body with many unique features. While there is no known evolutionary benefit to the appearance of these fish, they were originally bred to be an ornamental goldfish species.

What do bubble eye goldfish look like?

The bubble eye goldfish is a variety of fancy goldfish that are named for the large fluid filled sacs under their eyes. They are generally orange, yellow, or white and have an egg shaped body. This freshwater fish has no dorsal fin but has a large double tail and upturned eyes.

Why do bubble eye goldfish have bubbles

There is no evolutionary reason for why bubble eye goldfish have bubbles besides that it was thought to be attractive by the original breeder. There is a large debate about ethics and animal welfare when it comes to the eye sacs as they were heavily bred to be this way.

Many people unfamiliar with fish keeping claim that the bubble eyes affect the fish swimming and will cause health problems, but most experienced goldfish owners argue that the fish is used to their eye bubbles and it does not bother them.

Another reason that bubble eye goldfish might have trouble swimming is their lack of a stabilizing dorsal fin and slightly rounded body.

Can I pop the bubble goldfish eye?

You should absolutely not puncture the eye bubbles on purpose. While the bubble will regrow the fragile fish will be susceptible to bacterial infections which can be fatal if left untreated.

How Can The Sacs Rupture?

If the bubble eyes rupture you should leave it alone but provide plenty of fresh, cool, and clean water with no added chemicals or salts. The most dangerous part of the eye sac rupturing is if infection occurs. While it might be tempting to pre-emptively add anti-bacterial treatment to the water it can cause the bubble eyes to become inflamed and irritated leading to delayed growth.

How big do bubble eye goldfish get

The bubble eye goldfish is a smaller variety of the goldfish species, which reaches a maximum size of 3-4 inches at maturity.

Food & Diet

Fish Food
Fish Food

Bubble eyes have much the same diet as other goldfish, and will eat most anything (veggies, chicken, pellets, and fruits to name a few.

What do bubble eye goldfish eat

Like most goldfish, bubble eyes are omnivores, and these fish eat mostly anything. Bubble eye goldfish diet should include a variety of vegetables, meat, and vitamins.

What to Feed Your Bubble Eye Goldfish

You should provide a varied, high quality and balanced diet for your bubble eyed goldfish. Many beginner fish keepers use floating flakes. Personally, I recommend using sinking pellets or unprocessed food rather than flakes because they keep their nutritional value for longer.

High quality flake food will provide all the nutrition that your goldfish needs, but it will likely expire after 6 months. If you choose to use flakes or pellets I suggest supplementing with fresh or frozen food like tubifex worms or brine shrimp to complete their diet.

When to feed bubble eye goldfish

Goldfish are prone to overeating and you will likely not have much leftover food regardless of how much you feed them. As they are prone to overeating you should use the 3 minute rule and offer food to them 2 to 4 times a day.


Because your goldfish are slow swimmers you might notice they struggle eating all of the food offered, especially if there are other fish that swim faster. To remedy this you can distribute food throughout the water column to provide equal opportunities for all of your fish to eat.

How much to feed bubble eye goldfish

How much to feed your bubble eye goldfish depends on how many fish you have in your tank. Using the 3 minute technique you should feed all of the fish in your fish tank as much as they can eat in 3 minutes. After the 3 minutes is up you should remove uneaten food from the aquarium to ensure healthy water quality. Feeding them too much can make them constipated.


Goldfish are known to be messy fish that produces a lot of waste. Using filters can come in handy in maintaining water quality, but make sure your goldfish filter should have a manageable amount of current as bubble-eye are slow-moving fish and don’t enjoy fighting the current.

Tank Requirements and Tank Mates

A Fish Tank with Goldfish
A Fish Tank with Goldfish

These fish are pretty easy going when it comes to aquarium setup and requirements, which is why we recommend them to beginner fishkeepers.

Are Bubble Eye Goldfish Suitable for Your Aquarium?

These fish are an excellent addition to your aquarium, they are not cold water species but research shows that they can tolerate slightly brackish water.


Goldfish’s tolerance for a wide variety of temperatures and brackish water leads them to be a problematic invasive species in many waterways in America. This is due to aquarists deciding to release them into the waterways when they no longer wanted to keep them.

What tank size do I need for bubble eye goldfish

For one bubble eye goldfish you need a 20 gallon tank, and an additional 10 gallons per each additional bubble eye. Even though they are peaceful it is important to have plenty of room for each fish to claim territory. They are not schooling fish so interactions between them will likely be limited.

Minimum tank size

Even if you are planning to keep only one goldfish, you should have at least a 20 gallon tank to provide ample room as your fish swims and explores its tank. Since this fish enjoys swimming throughout the water column your tank should not be a low, long breeder but a high and wide tank.

Water parameters

Water temperature65-80, ideally 72
Water hardness5 to 19 dKH

Do not be fooled by the wide range of temperatures, while bubble eye goldfish are not tropical fish they are also not cold water fish and low temperatures will stress them out. To keep your fish healthy, you should keep your aquarium around 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Using an aquarium heater for your bubble-eye goldfish is recommended to keep the water temperature consistent and avoid temperature shock, especially if you live in a cold region.

Tank Decor

Goldfish are excellent in aquariums because you can add a large variety of decorations into your aquarium to complement the colors of your fish. One of the most popular decorations is using live plants or plastic plants to create an underwater jungle atmosphere where the goldfish can hide or take a nap.

If you are using artificial plants, I recommend using silk plants as these fish have poor vision and will likely run into them. Rough plants or other sharp objects can cause the eye sacs to be punctured leading to infection.


Goldfish will likely nibble on any live plants you have in your tank, some aquarists like to keep live vegetation to provide additional access to food but it is up to your personal preferences.

Are bubble eye goldfish aggressive?

The bubble eye is one of the most peaceful fish you can have in your freshwater aquarium. They are very relaxed and will not even attack snails. However, this does make choosing goldfish buddies hard as you need to find other peaceful species.

Bubble Eye Goldfish Tank Mates

Good tank mates for bubble eyes mostly consist of other goldfish. Aggressive freshwater fish, such as barbs or cichlids, will potentially pop the bubble eye sacs leading to infection. However, other fish of the same species are not always suitable tank mates, especially fast swimming fish like the Ryukin or Fantail goldfish.

Other goldfish species that are slow swimmers and good tank mates for your community tank include lion head, celestial, black moor, and telescope goldfish.

One of the best tank mates for your bubble eye are freshwater snails as they are also a peaceful species. Snails are also an excellent tank mate because they will help manage your goldfish waste and uneaten food. Avoid aggressive tankmates such as barbs, bettas, and african cichlids.


Don’t depend solely on fish waste to feed your snail as they need a high quality diet as well.

Health and Breeding

Bubble Eye Goldfish Swimming Through Aquatic Plants
Bubble Eye Goldfish Swimming Through Aquatic Plants

Originally bred from a mutation in celestial or telescope goldfish you can now breed bubble eyes easily to produce more of the same fish.

Bubble eye goldfish lifespan

This pet fish requires a long commitment as bubble eye goldfish live 10 to 15 years.

Common Possible Diseases

Before acquiring a pet fish you should do research on proper goldfish care including common diseases. Goldfish are a delicate species and are prone to diseases such as ich/ick, dropsy, swim bladder disease, and skin flukes.

A disease that other freshwater fish do not have and is unique to bubble eyes is bacterial infections due to their sacs being ruptured. Affected fish should be placed in a separate tank with freshwater and no chemical or salt treatments until signs of infection occur. The sacs should heal on their own without any help from treatments.

How fast this injury heals depends on the quality of water and if other stressors, such as fish biting the skin, are kept out of the tank. If you do notice a bacterial infection starting then you can begin using anti-bacterial treatments, methylene blue baths, or salt baths.


Antibacterial treatments won’t help if your water is unhealthy! Be sure to always check your water parameters before starting treatments.

If you don’t treat your goldfish for these diseases when you notice the initial symptoms, they can lead to the goldfish’s death. So, always watch out for early signs and immediately apply the necessary treatment for your beloved goldfish.

Can you breed bubble eye goldfish

Yes, in fact, captive breeding is the only way to get more bubble eye fish. When ready, the male goldfish will show breeding stars on their fins and gill covers. They can breed in large groups and the females can be carrying eggs that number 800-1000 at a time.


Some aquarists claim that bubble eyes have trouble reproducing because of their poor eyesight. One benefit to this variety of goldfish spawning is that they prefer to reproduce in large groups. This should help both you and the fish from having difficulties sexing because there is a higher likelihood for both sexes to be in a large group.

Breeding condition

You can simulate breeding season with a period of cold water temperature followed by warmer water. You should lower the tank temperature into the low 60’s then slowly warm it up by roughly 3 degrees every day until it is between 68 and 74 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature range you should begin seeing the males chase the females and perform their mating dance.

Some breeders suggest that the male and female fish should be kept separate for a couple of weeks before transferring them to the breeding tank to help heighten their interest in breeding.

It is an excellent idea to have a breeding tank filled with artificial plants…

It is an excellent idea to have a breeding tank filled with artificial plants to provide a place for the eggs to drop into. After eggs have spawned (it can take several hours!) and been fertilized you should immediately remove the goldfish from the tank and begin to care for hatchlings. Goldfish are not the best at parental care and will immediately try to eat their eggs.


Many people think that as soon as the female lays her eggs they are fertilized and they should remove the parents. However, after the female spawns the male comes behind her and fertilizes the eggs. You should wait until after this before removing the parents from the tank.

The eggs hatch after 4 to 7 days and the fry will be dark brown. Their coloration will change into the normal orange and yellow present in all fancy goldfish as they get older.


The bubble eye sacs become sensitive around 6-9 months of age, if you haven’t already separated your fry by this point you should keep an extra close eye on them to make sure there are no accidental injuries.

Is the bubble eye goldfish for you?

If you are looking for a peaceful, slow swimming, and unusual fish the bubble eye goldfish might be for you. Whether you’re an experienced fishkeeper that wants to feel like you’re keeping royalty (because of the rich colors!) or a beginner aquarist who is ready for your first fancy goldfish, this is a great fish to start with!

We think the bubble eyed goldfish is especially great because of its adaptability to tank environments, its attractive appearance, its low cost, and how easy it is to provide proper bubble eye goldfish care.

If you’re still not sure if it’s for you ask yourself these questions;

  1. Am I prepared to commit to a fishy friend for 10-15 years? This means properly rehoming it if you can no longer provide care!
  2. Do I have enough room for at least a 20 gallon aquarium and all of the necessary equipment?
  3. Do I find the bubble eyed goldfish unique, peaceful, and love its personality?

If you answered an enthusiastic yes to all three of these questions, and have researched all there is to know about goldfish we encourage you to start your bubble eyed adventure!


In conclusion, the bubble eyed goldfish is an excellent first fish or addition to a tank of slow-swimming fancy goldfish. With their bright coloration and metallic orange sheen they can catch the eye in any aquarium as the centerpiece or as a complimentary fish.

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