Breeding Lionhead Goldfish – The Ultimate Guide to Success!

Breeding Lionhead Goldfish can be a rewarding and fascinating experience for any fish enthusiast. These beautiful and unique fish are known for their distinctive raspberry-like head growth, making them highly sought after in the aquarium hobby.

However, successfully breeding goldfish lion heads requires careful planning, patience, and knowledge of their specific breeding and care requirements.

In this ultimate Goldfish care guide, we will explore everything you need to know about breeding Lionhead Goldfish, from understanding their natural breeding behaviors to creating the ideal breeding environment.

Lionhead Goldfish Breeding

We will also cover topics such as selecting the correct breeding pairs, conditioning the fish for breeding, and caring for the fry once they hatch.

Whether a beginner or an experienced aquarist, this comprehensive guide will provide the information and tips you need to breed and raise healthy Lionhead Goldfish successfully.

Get ready to embark on an exciting journey into the world of breeding these stunning fish! 

Lionhead Goldfish Breeding Behaviors Overview

Lionhead goldfish, known for their distinct appearance with a hooded head and flowing fins, have interesting breeding behaviors. During the breeding season, male lion head goldfish will begin to chase after the females, nudging them and attempting to lead them to the nesting site.

Once the female is ready to release her eggs, the male will nudge her abdomen to encourage the process. The female will then release her eggs, which the male will fertilize externally. 

How Long Do Ranchu Goldfish Live

After the eggs are fertilized, they will attach to aquatic plants or other surfaces in the tank. The parents may eat the eggs if not removed from the tank. Once hatched, lionhead goldfish fry are tiny and delicate, requiring special care to ensure survival.

Breeding Goldfish lionhead can be a fascinating and rewarding experience for fishkeepers, but it requires careful attention to the breeding behaviors and the needs of the fry. 

Here’s an overview of Lionhead goldfish breeding behaviors:

Spawning Season:

  • Lionhead goldfish typically spawn in spring and early summer, when water temperatures are between 68-72°F (20-22°C).
  • Warmer water temperatures and increased daylight hours trigger the breeding season.


  • Male Lionheads will chase and nudge females, displaying their fins and bodies to attract attention.
  • They may also bump or “tap” the female’s body with their noses.
  • Females ready to spawn will respond by releasing pheromones and allowing the male to approach.

Male and Female Spawning:

  • Spawning usually takes place in the early morning hours.
  • The male will chase the female around the breeding tank until she releases her eggs.
  • The eggs are tiny, adhesive, and transparent.
  • The male will then fertilize the eggs as they are released.
  • A single female can lay thousands of eggs during a spawning season.

Parental Care:

  • Lionhead goldfish do not provide any parental care for their eggs or fry.
  • Depending on the water temperature, the eggs will hatch in 2-3 days.
  • The fry is free-swimming and will immediately start searching for food.

Raising Fry:

  • Raising Lionhead goldfish fry can be challenging.
  • The fry are tiny and vulnerable to predation.
  • It is essential to separate them from adult fish and feed them a nutritious diet of small live foods, such as brine shrimp or microworms.
  • With proper care, the fry will increase and reach maturity in about one year.

Tips for Successful Breeding:

  • Use a mature breeding pair, ideally 2-3 years old.
  • Condition the fish with a high-quality diet before breeding.
  • Provide a spacious breeding tank with plenty of plants for the eggs to be attached to.
  • Remove the parents after spawning to prevent them from eating the eggs.
  • Maintain good water quality throughout the breeding process.

Are Lionhead Goldfish Good Tank Mates?

Lionhead goldfish can make good tank mates, but it largely depends on the size of the tank and the temperament of the individual fish. They are generally peaceful and can coexist with other goldfish varieties as long as enough space and hiding spots are provided.

Monitoring the tank regularly is critical to ensure that all fish are getting along and there is no aggressive behavior. Additionally, Lionhead goldfish are not recommended to be housed with aggressive or fast-moving species, as their lack of maneuverability due to their unique body shape can make them vulnerable to bullying or competition for food.

With the right tank conditions and careful observation, Lionhead goldfish can be compatible tank mates in a community setting. 

Lionhead Goldfish: Lifespan & Quick Aquarium Care

The Lionhead goldfish is a popular and unique types of goldfish known for its distinctive “wen” or head growth and short, compact body shape. They require proper care to ensure a healthy and long lifespan. Here’s some information on the lifespan and quick aquariums or ponds care for Lionhead goldfish:

Lifespan: On average, Lionhead goldfish can live for 10 to 15 years or even longer with proper care. Some may even reach 20 years or more in exceptional cases.

Aquarium Size: Lionhead goldfish require a spacious aquarium to thrive. A general rule of thumb is to have at least 20 gallons (75 liters) of water tank per fish. However, larger tanks are always better as they provide enough swimming space and help maintain stable water conditions.

Water Parameters: Maintain good water quality by regularly monitoring and adjusting the following parameters:

Temperature: Keep the water temperature between 65°F and 75°F (18°C to 24°C).

pH Level: Aim for a pH range of 6.5 to 7.5.

Ammonia and Nitrite Levels: These should always be at zero. Regularly test the water and perform partial water changes to keep these levels in check.

Nitrate Levels: Keep nitrate levels below 40 ppm (parts per million) by performing regular water changes.

Filtration: An efficient filtration system is crucial for maintaining clean and healthy water conditions. Use a filter appropriate for your aquarium’s size and perform regular maintenance, such as cleaning or replacing filter media as needed.

Tank Mates: When selecting tank mates for your Lionhead goldfish, choose peaceful and slow moving fish that won’t nip at their wen or compete for food. Suitable tank mates include other fancy goldfish varieties like Orandas, Ranchus, and Ryukins. Avoid keeping them with fast-swimmer or aggressive fish species that may harm or stress them.

Maintenance: Regular aquarium maintenance is essential for the well-being of your Lionhead goldfish. Perform partial water changes of 20% to 30% weekly to remove accumulated toxins and maintain water quality. Clean the aquarium substrate, decorations, and glass regularly to prevent the buildup of waste and algae.

Observation and Care:

  1. Keep a close eye on your Lionhead goldfish for any signs of illness or abnormal behavior.
  2. Look out for symptoms like loss of appetite, abnormal swimming patterns, changes in red and white coloration, or visible signs of disease or bacterial infections.
  3. If you notice any issues, consult a veterinarian experienced in fish health or seek advice from a knowledgeable aquatic specialist.

By providing proper care, a suitable environment, and a balanced diet, you can help ensure a long and healthy life for your Lionhead goldfish.

What to Feed Your Lionhead Goldfish?

Lionhead goldfish, with their adorable bubble eyes and flowing fins, deserve a diet that’s just as delightful! Here’s a tasty guide to keep your aquatic friend happy and healthy:

Variety is Key:

  • Pellets: Choose high-quality pellets formulated for goldfish, offering essential nutrients and vitamins. Opt for brands with varied pellet sizes to cater to your Lionhead’s growing appetite.
  • Flakes: Supplement pellets with goldfish flakes, providing a lighter, easily digestible option. Look for flakes with spirulina or other algae for a natural color boost.
  • Live Food: Treat your Lionhead to the thrill of the hunt with live brine shrimp or blood worms. These wiggle-worms offer protein and enrichment but be mindful not to overfeed live food to avoid digestive issues.
  • Veggies and Fruits: Remember the greens! Offer chopped lettuce, spinach, or zucchini for fiber and vitamins. Occasionally, try a slice of melon or grape for a sweet surprise. Remember to remove uneaten veggies to avoid water quality issues.

Feeding Tips:

  • Frequency: Feed your Lionhead goldfish 2-3 small meals daily rather than one large one. This helps with digestion and prevents water pollution.
  • Quantity: Observe your goldfish’s appetite and avoid overfeeding. A good rule of thumb is to feed them only what they can consume in 2 minutes. Leftover food indicates overfeeding, so adjust the quantity accordingly.
  • Soak Dry Food: Before feeding pellets or flakes, soak them in a small dish of tank water for a few minutes. This softens them, making them easier to digest.
  • Variety is vital: Mix and match different food types throughout the week to ensure a well-rounded diet and excite your Lionhead’s taste buds.

Bonus Tip: Keep the water temperature stable during feeding times. Cold water slows down goldfish digestion, so a slightly warmer environment helps them process their food efficiently.

Remember, a healthy diet is just one piece of the puzzle for a happy Lionhead goldfish. Provide them with a spacious tank, clean water, and plenty of hiding spots, and you’ll have a bubbly friend for years to come!

Breeding Lionhead Goldfish – Traditional Chinese lionheads

Breeding Lionhead Goldfish, specifically the traditional Chinese lionheads, requires careful attention to water temperature, quality, and diet.

These unique fish have a distinctive appearance, with a significant growth on the head that resembles a lion’s mane, making them a popular choice among aquarium enthusiasts.

To successfully breed lionhead goldfish, providing them with a spacious and well-maintained tank, preferably with plants and hiding spots is essential.

The breeding pair should also be well-fed with a balanced diet, including live or frozen foods, to encourage spawning. Once the eggs are laid, they should be carefully monitored and protected from potential predators within the tank.

Breeders can raise healthy and vibrant lionhead goldfish offspring by ensuring proper care and conditions. 

Creating the Ideal Environment for Goldfish Lionhead Breeding

Breeding Lionhead goldfish can be a rewarding experience, but it’s essential to create the right environment for success. Here are some essential factors to consider:

  • Size: Start with a minimum of 20 gallons for spawning, and plan for additional space for fry raising. 40-50 gallons is ideal.
  • Temperature: Mimic spring conditions by gradually increasing the temperature from 50°F (10°C) to 68°F-74°F (20°C-23°C) over a week. A slight temperature fluctuation can trigger spawning behavior.
  • Water quality: Maintain excellent water quality through regular (20-25%) water changes, a strong filtration system, and monitoring ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels. Aim for pH around 7.0.
  • Substrate: Bare bottom or fine gravel is easiest to clean, but smooth rocks or spawning mops (artificial plants) can provide egg-laying surfaces.

Remember, successful goldfish breeding requires patience, planning, and proper care. Creating the right environment and following these guidelines can increase your chances of witnessing the fantastic miracle of goldfish life!

Difference Between Ranchu and Lionhead

Ranchu and Lionhead are fancy goldfish varieties known for their prominent head growths, or “wen.” However, there are some critical differences between them:

Body Shape:

  • Ranchu Goldfish: Ranchu has a rounder and more egg-shaped body with a distinctive humped back. Their back slopes smoothly from the head to the tail, forming an elegant curve. 
  • Lionhead: Lionheads have a flatter back and a more elongated body. Their back may only have a slight curve or be almost straight.

Tail Angle:

  • Ranchu: Ranchu has a tail that rises at a 45-degree angle from the body. This creates a graceful and balanced silhouette. 
  • Lionhead: Lionhead tails are more horizontal, almost flush with the body.


  • Ranchu: Ranchu has a larger and more symmetrical headgrowth that covers the entire head, including the cheeks, forehead, and top of the head. The wen should be smooth and well-proportioned, resembling a rounded hood. 
  • Lionhead: Lionhead headgrowths are smaller and less evenly distributed, often concentrating on the cheeks and forehead. They may have bumps or uneven protuberances.


  • Ranchu: Ranchu’s rounded body and curved back can make them less efficient swimmers than Lionheads. They may struggle in solid currents and require a spacious tank.
  • Lionhead: Lionhead’s streamlined body and flat back make them more agile swimmers. They can tolerate smaller tanks and handle moderate currents better.


  • Ranchu: Ranchu are Japanese goldfish developed in the 17th century.
  • Lionhead: Lionheads are Chinese goldfish with a history dating back to the 15th century.


Ranchu and Lionhead are both beautiful and unique goldfish varieties. Choosing between them depends on your personal preferences and tank setup. If you prefer a graceful fish with a distinctive humped back, Ranchu might be the right choice. If you are looking for a more active and hardy fish, Lionhead might be better suited.

Can you mix Comet Goldfish and Lionheads?

Competition for food: Comets are fast and agile swimmers, while lionheads are slower and bulkier due to their head growth. This puts lionheads at a disadvantage when competing for food, increasing the risk of them going hungry or underfed.

Water compatibility: Comets can tolerate more water temperatures and oxygen than lionheads. Mixing them might require adjusting the tank conditions toward the comet’s needs, which could stress the lion’s head.

Fin nipping: Comets can be more fin-nippy than lion heads, especially with longer-finned fancy goldfish like lionheads. This can lead to stress and even fin damage for the lionhead.

Breeding compatibility: While both are goldfish, comets and lionheads are pretty different in body shape and finnage. Interbreeding between them wouldn’t be beneficial and might produce unhealthy offspring.

However, there are some caveats to consider:

  • If you have a huge tank (at least 50 gallons per goldfish) with plenty of hiding places and good water filtration, competition for food and space might be less of an issue.
  • Some individual lionheads may be more active and competitive than others, while some comets may be less fin-nippy. Observing their behavior before mixing them can be helpful.
  • Mixing might be possible if you’re very careful about feeding and ensuring everyone gets enough food, but it still needs improvement.

Overall, **unless you have a vast and well-maintained tank with a specific plan for managing potential problems, it’s best to keep comet goldfish and lionheads separate.

Here are some better tank mates for lionheads:

  • Oranda
  • Black Moor
  • Pearlscale
  • Fantail
  • Telescope Eye
  • Bubble Eye
  • Ryukin

These goldfish have similar swimming styles, water requirements, and temperaments, making them better suited for coexistence with lionheads.

How do you breed goldfish for beginners?

For beginner goldfish breeding, set up a separate spawning tank with plants and spawning mops. Introduce healthy adults after the water temperature increases, and watch for chasing behavior. Remove parents after egg-laying to prevent them from eating the eggs.

How do I know when my female goldfish is ready to breed?

Watch for a plump, round abdomen, clear white bumps (eggs) near her vent, and increased chasing behavior from the male. These signs suggest breeding readiness but ensure ideal water conditions and a separate tank before introducing the pair.

Are goldfish hard to breed?

While goldfish readily spawn, successful breeding involves more. Setting up ideal conditions, separating parents, and raising fry can be challenging for beginners. Consider experience level and commitment before starting.

How old must goldfish be to breed?

Goldfish reach sexual maturity around 1-2 years old but breed optimally at 3+ years for better egg quality and offspring health. Don’t rush; let them grow strong!

Do goldfish have gills?

Yes, goldfish, like all fish, have gills! These feathery organs are located behind their operculum (gill covers) on either side of their head. Goldfish use their gills to extract oxygen from the water, similar to how we use our lungs to extract oxygen from air.

Do Lionhead Goldfish have dorsal fins?

Nope! Lionhead Goldfish are explicitly bred for lack of a dorsal fin, giving them their smooth, rounded back.

What are the tubercles on a goldfish?

Tiny, white bumps on goldfish fins or head? Those are breeding tubercles found only on males during spawning season! They help hold onto females and stimulate egg-laying. Don’t confuse them with disease – they’ll disappear after breeding.

Do goldfish have pectoral fins?

Yes, goldfish have pectoral fins! They have two paired fins, with pectoral fins being the first pair behind their gill covers.

How big does Carassius auratus get?

Goldfish (Carassius auratus) typically grow 6-8 inches (15-20 cm), but some fancy breeds can reach 16 inches (41 cm) with proper care!

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, breeding Oranda goldfish can be rewarding and enjoyable for fish enthusiasts. By understanding the specific care requirements and breeding behaviors of lionhead goldfish, breeders can create healthy and vibrant offspring. It is essential to provide a suitable environment with ample space, clean water for the breeding pair, and a well-balanced diet to promote successful breeding. Additionally, selecting breeding pairs with desirable traits and characteristics can help produce high-quality lionhead goldfish with attractive features.

Breeding lionhead goldfish requires patience and dedication, as it may take multiple attempts to achieve successful breeding. However, the joy of witnessing new generations of lionhead goldfish and the opportunity to contribute to preserving this unique species make the breeding process worthwhile. Overall, breeding lionhead goldfish can be a fulfilling experience for fish keepers who are passionate about these stunning and distinctive fish. 

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About Me

I am the founder of, a devoted wife and mother, and an avid fish enthusiast. My aim is to assist fellow fish lovers worldwide in understanding how to properly care for and breed their pet fish.

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