I’m going through fancy goldfish withdrawl. lol I’ve lost all the fancies I’ve bought over the last 5 years or so. None of them lived two years in my tank, although I tried to be the best fish keeper I could be. There have been seven or so of them; all beautiful, all very expensive and all of them now buried in my garden. I’ve used natural methods and, when desperate, have resorted to antibiotics; all to no avail. I’ve tried buying from different breeders. I lost my last one, a stunning oranda, about a month ago; to the same kind of dropsy-like symptoms most of them died of. Didn’t even have him 9 months. My dime store fantails, on the other hand, have all lived for at least 5 years. I have one remaining and she is 8. So when the oranda died, I made the decision to give up on the fancies. Maybe someday, when I have a ginormous tank of 150 gals or more, I’ll try them again, but otherwise, it’s the hardier varieties for me. It’s a hard habit to break, however and I’m jonesing for another fancy. I have to keep reminding myself of why I’m not getting another one.

So, right now, it’s just my little orange fantail in my 50 gal tank. I’ve been looking for another fantail to keep her company. The problem is that they’re all so small – fry basically – in the stores and online. She’s about 5 inches, nose to end of tail and I don’t want her to eat the company. lol I did see some larger fantails online, but they were $80. No thank you. That’s part of my new decision – no more very expensive fish.

So, if anyone knows of a cheap source of 4 inch fantails, please let me know.



  1. Lil Dipper May 6, 2019 at 10:37 pm

    Hi Catlady,
    I’ve been keeping my Comets for 10 years and have run into trouble several times. At this point, I’m pretty sure, that frequent maintenance is a necessity even if you think everything is just so great right now. It truly doesn’t pay to wish it away or fear you’re interrupting something good, it really does pay off to take water out, put water in. Keep testing the water regularly making sure you never miss a nitrate spike, as you never know when one could occur. Just like when I scraped the algae off the tank, I had no idea the nitrate spike that followed till one fish showed me a sign.

    Feeding is also something that I think is trickier for the fancies. I’d almost imagine they’d do better on a total vegetarian diet. But I’m not for sure, just a thought. Also, I hear depending on breeding, some of them could have misshapen digestive systems that give them trouble as they grow. The flake food and pellets seem to be a constipating type feed, so maybe not so good for fancies?? I know pellets should be soaked for 15-20 minutes before feeding.

    Do you use a pond pump?

  2. catlady May 3, 2019 at 5:08 am

    Hence the title, Master goldfish keeper. That’s a title I hope to earn some day. Thank you

  3. Cricket May 2, 2019 at 10:48 pm

    Hi Jenny, yes , I’ve read the steps. I’ve been here for about 5 years learning. I’m sorry about your fantails and glad you’re feeling hopeful again. Goldfish are a lot herder to keep than we grow up thinking, especially the fancier varieties, as I have learned the hard way. Hang in there. Welcome to the site!

  4. catlady May 1, 2019 at 8:33 pm

    I lost my fantails over a year ago, and after a few days of hating fish and myself, I bought more. I thought I was doing everything right, but they died. My new fish I’ve had a little over a year now, and they seem to be acting strange, so I was excited to find this website. I’m learning stuff I didn’t know before, and I hope you’ll get more fish too. Have you read the 10 steps to goldfish keeping? I feel hopeful now. Best of luck, Jenny

  5. Venus April 21, 2019 at 5:01 am

    I had a shu in my first school. I’m sure you’ve seen the photos of her. She was a beauty. She lived thirteen years. Yes. I can see a pond with these gorgeous splashes of colors. Ponds are hard labor. I’ve done some work on ponds locally, and even the smallest ones bring out the sweat

    One of the ponds was so 75′ x 25′ and stocked with Koi. They had a waterfall at one end with not other pumps. The pond was stagnant and filled with green water and string algae. We added five giant pond pumps and scooped string algae for a few hours, and they were good to go

    The Koi were huge

  6. Cricket April 20, 2019 at 4:09 pm

    If I ever do my pond, I’m thinking Shubunkins. I know they can get big, so don’t want to put one in the tank. Right now, I’m too fish-tired to do the pond. With all these sick fish over the last few years; all the stress and heartache, I don’t feel like cycling it, cleaning it in addition to my tank, etc. My fish muscle is tired.

  7. Cricket April 20, 2019 at 4:05 pm

    To answer your other question, no pH and KH were always good. No pH crashes, so I guess it wasn’t oxygen. I might have thought it was chronically high nitrate, back when I had that problem, but that wasn’t the case at all with the last 4 fancies.

    So you think veiltails are hardy? I thought they’d be too “overbred”, but if not, maybe I’ll try one, if I can find a smaller, young one.

  8. Venus April 20, 2019 at 2:39 pm

    I feel your pain. You are without a doubt, an excellent goldfish keeper, and I’m certain the issues you’ve experienced were out of your control. My hope is you’ll find that perfect (cheap) fantail, and it will build your enthusiasm

    It wasn’t long ago I lost all of my school one by one then two by two in the blast. I felt the same; finished, however, I ended up with grandsons one day at Petsmart, and came home with Spike the Ryukin; remember?

    If we don’t work through the issues, everything we’ve learned is a complete waste; our goldfish will have died in vain

    I’ve taken down the give us your fish section. I’m full up right now, but oddly enough, several came from your neck of the woods. Keep visiting pet shops when you’re out and about. Some have larger goldfish, and a very interesting variety. How’s about a Veiltail? I’ve always wanted one. What could be more beautiful? They’re fantails, but with longer tail fins; just what the doctor ordered

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