Dragon Eye Goldfish; Care Guide, Lifespan, and More

Dragon Eye goldfish are a variety of Moor fantail goldfish. The Dragon Eye can make a colorful and quirky addition to a coldwater fish tank, and there are different tail types to choose from, too. However, Dragon Eyes are not straightforward fish to care for, and we don’t recommend them for complete beginners to goldfish keeping.

In this guide, you can find out everything you need to know about caring for the exotic Dragon Eye goldfish, including how to breed them, so read on!

Origins Of The Dragon Eye Goldfish

Modern goldfish are distantly related to a species of wild Prussian carp and all varieties have the general scientific name Carassius auratus.

Goldfish were originally bred in China in the early 1700s by complete accident! Prussian carp were bred for food and raised in ponds. One day, a fish keeper noticed some brightly colored, “golden” specimens swimming with the other drab, gray carp. The orange fish were removed by the breeder and kept as ornamental pond fish. 

Over the centuries, more varieties and shapes of goldfish were artificially created, and by the 19th century, these beautiful fish were being traded across Europe, Asia, and the US. That’s why you’ll never see a Dragon Eye goldfish living in the wild environment unless it’s been released by an owner who can no longer care for their pet.

Dragon Eye goldfish are also sometimes known as Moors or Telescope goldfish and are a species of Fantail goldfish. In Asia, Dragon Eye goldfish are generally called Demekins.

What is a Dragon Eye Goldfish?

The Dragon Eye goldfish is one of over 200 different species of goldfish.

The Dragon Eye takes its name from its characteristic protruding eyes that sit on ¾ inch stalks situated on either side of the fish’s head. In juvenile specimens, the eyes are generally normal in appearance and don’t begin to telescope until the fish is around six months old.

Like all Fantail goldfish, the Dragon Eye has a round body and a distinctive wobbling swimming style. That might look cute, but it makes the fish pretty poor swimmers. That can be a problem if Dragon Eyes are kept with Comets and other slim-bodied goldfish that are much faster and agile and usually outcompete the slower Fancies for food.

Dragon Eye goldfish are a coldwater species that are just as happy living in a fish pond in your garden as they are in an aquarium. 

Dragon Eye Goldfish Lifespan

Dragon Eye goldfish typically live for between ten and 15 years. However, there are cases of these fish surviving in excess of that, sometimes reaching 20 or even 30 years of age in exceptional cases.

What Size Are Dragon Eye Goldfish?

Dragon Eye goldfish can grow to around 6 inches in length, excluding their tail. 

Many new owners buy a tiny little fish of just an inch or so from their local fish store, only to find that the fish rapidly outgrows its tank. So, bear in mind that Dragon Eyes grow most quickly in their first year or two, and be sure to buy a large tank to accommodate that.

Colors And Patterns

Dragon Eye goldfish come in an amazingly wide range of patterns and colors, including:

  • Red
  • Blue
  • White
  • Chocolate
  • Tri-color
  • Bi-color
  • Black-and-white (Panda)
  • Calico
  • Black Moor

Sometimes, you can find a rare example of the Dragon Eye goldfish that’s chocolate-colored with striking orange pom-poms.

Generally, the Dragon Eye has nacreous or metallic scales, although you might sometimes find a matte version, although that’s a rarity.

You can also find a variety of Dragon Eye goldfish with a beautiful butterfly-shaped tail.

Price And Availability

You can buy Dragon Eye Goldfish in good pet stores and online for around $10. 

However, you should expect to pay more for an unusual example of a Dragon Eye goldfish. 

Is The Dragon Eye Goldfish Suitable For Beginners?

We recommend that the Dragon Eye goldfish is best taken on by someone with experience in keeping Fancy goldfish, and there are a few reasons for that.

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First of all, the Dragon Eye’s protruding eyes are highly susceptible to damage, injury, and infection, making these fish somewhat challenging to keep healthy. 

Secondly, goldfish don’t have a stomach. Everything the fish eats passes through the creature’s digestive system, where all the nutrients are extracted. What’s left passes out of the fish and into the aquarium water. Goldfish are notoriously greedy fish that devour pretty much anything, creating a huge quantity of waste.

Those accumulations of waste will quickly pollute the aquarium water, meaning that you’ll need to devote a lot of time to cleaning and maintaining your tank. You’ll also need to run a powerful filtration system to cope with the mess the fish make.

Dragon Eye Goldfish Care Guide

This section of our guide explains how to look after these quirky goldfish.

Tank Size

Contrary to popular belief, goldfish don’t stop growing once they outgrow their container. So, even if your fish tank is too small, your goldfish will still keep getting bigger. That can lead to stunted growth and other developmental problems, so always buy the largest tank you have space for.

Ideally, Dragon Eye goldfish should have at least a 10-gallon tank. If you want to add more fish, increase the tank volume capacity by ten gallons per fish. When it comes to tank shape, a rectangular tank is best. As previously mentioned, Fancies are atrocious swimmers, and a deep tank makes it difficult for the fish to feed at the surface.

Goldfish need lots of oxygen to thrive, and a rectangular tank has more surface area for efficient gaseous exchange than a tall tank.

How Many Fish Can You Keep?

Dragon Eye goldfish enjoy the company of other similar types of Fancies. However, it’s essential that you don’t overcrowd the fish. If your goldfish don’t have sufficient space, they will become stressed, which can cause poor growth and disease outbreaks.

Basically, you need to allow 1 inch of fish per 1 gallon of water in your aquarium. Although small juveniles will look swamped in a large tank, don’t worry, your baby Dragon Eyes will soon grow!

Water Parameters

Dragon Eye goldfish need cool water of around 65o and 72o Fahrenheit. The pH needs to be somewhere between 6.0 to 8.0, with the water hardness in the range of 5 and 19 dGH.

Ammonia and nitrite levels should always be zero, and nitrates must be 20ppm, ideally less. 

Filtration

As we mentioned earlier, Dragon Eye goldfish are dirty fish that generate lots of waste. So, you need to have an efficient filter system in your pond or fish tank. 

The filter system should circulate water around your aquarium at least four times an hour. Filter systems should have both mechanical and biological media to ensure that the conditions are safe for your fish.

However, the Dragon Eye’s poor swimming ability gives you a problem when it comes to choosing a filter. All Fancy goldfish struggle to swim in a strong current. So, you’ll need to buy a filtration system with an adjustable outflow valve or use decorations and plants to buffer the flow.  

Tank Maintenance

Once the tank is set up and the filtration system is up and running, you’ll need to keep the tank well-maintained if your Dragon Eye goldfishes are to remain healthy. 

Every week, you must perform partial water changes of up to 30% to keep nitrate levels down and ease the burden on the biological filter system. Invest in an aquarium vacuum cleaner to remove organic waste and any leftover food that would otherwise decompose and pollute the water. Pay particular attention to waste accumulation hotspots, such as underneath the filter box, around plant bases, and in the tank corners. 

If you keep live plants in your tank, you’ll need to remove dead leaves and broken stems. Remove colonies of algae that are obscuring your viewing panes by using an algae scraper. Goldfish enjoy grazing on algae, so you might want to leave a small patch in an unobtrusive spot for the fish to eat between feeds.

Tank Decoration

You can use pretty much whatever decorations you want in your Dragon Eye goldfish tank. That said, there are one or two things to remember when aquascaping your aquarium.

Safety First!

Dragon Eye goldfish can be prone to eye injuries, and they don’t have very good vision. So, avoid anything sharp or rough that could damage your fish in the event of a collision. If you have Butterfly Dragon Eyes, the same rule applies.

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You can help to keep your fish safe by positioning your decorations around the perimeter of the aquarium, leaving plenty of clear, unobstructed swimming space for the fish. 

The best substrate to choose for goldfish is smooth large-gauge gravel, and generally, items such as smooth stones, driftwood, and flat rocks work very well as decorations for a goldfish tank.

Planting

Live plants can be extremely beneficial for a fish tank. Plants add oxygen to the water and remove carbon dioxide and nitrates. However, goldfish are well-known plant-eaters and diggers, often uprooting plants when foraging in the gravel. That said, plants, such as Java fern, Anubias, and Marimo Moss Balls, are hardy and tough enough to survive in a tank with Dragon Eye goldfish.

Lighting

If you have live plants in your fish tank, you’ll need to provide them with at least eight hours of light every day so that the plants can photosynthesize. 

Fish can benefit from that same day/night pattern of lighting. When the lights come on in the morning, the fish know that it’s time to become active and feed, and when the tank is dark, your fish will settle down to rest. That clear day/night lighting system helps to prevent stress and associated health problems in your fish.

You can either turn the lights on and off manually, buy a lighting unit with an automatic timer, or get a cheap plug-in timer from a DIY store, any of which will do the job.

Nutrition and Feeding

As omnivores, Dragon Eye goldfish are very easy to cater to. These fish enjoy a varied diet, consisting of plant matter, algae, and meaty protein. A basic daily diet for goldfish could consist of:

  • High-quality Fancy goldfish pellets and flakes
  • Frozen meaty foods
  • Blanched fresh veggies (e.g., peas, zucchini, spinach)

If your fish live outside in a garden pond, they will also enjoy insects, larvae, plant debris, and small worms that they find in their surrounding environment. 

When feeding Dragon Eyes, you need to be aware of the potential digestive problems that all round-bodied species of goldfish can suffer from. If you feed your fish too much dried food, a build-up of food can occur in the fish’s intestines, causing constipation or bloating. That accumulation of food presses on the fish’s swim bladder, causing a loss of balance and buoyancy. Affected fish sometimes swim on one side, struggle to get to the surface to feed, or become stuck at the surface unable to swim down again.

You can generally cure those issues by fasting your fish for a day or two, and then feeding them some fresh veggies or meaty protein. Thankfully, preventing constipation is quite easy. Simply, include some live or frozen meaty foods or fresh veg in your fish’s diet every day.

How Much To Feed?

You should feed your Dragon Eye goldfish two or three small meals daily. Offer the fish only what they will eat in a few minutes so that you don’t overfeed them.

What Are Good Tank Mates For Dragon Eye Goldfish?

Dragon Eye goldfish are peaceful creatures that do very well when kept in the company of their own kind. The best tank mates for Dragon Eyes are other species of Fancy goldfish. You can also include large shrimp and snails in your setup. 

Species to avoid are slim-bodied, fast-swimming goldfish types that can harass the slower Dragon Eyes, especially at feeding times. When choosing shrimp, be sure to pick large species that won’t end up as lunch for the goldfish! 

Health and Diseases

Generally, goldfish are fairly hardy. However, Dragon Eyes are susceptible to a few health problems.

Eye Injuries

All goldfish species with telescope eyes are prone to eye injuries that can happen in a melee at feeding times or are caused by collisions with ornaments in the aquarium. Eye injuries often result in secondary bacterial infections, and injured fish can sometimes lose the damaged eye altogether.

If you need to net your Dragon Eyes, use a net with a very fine mesh so that the fish’s eyes are not trapped in the net and damaged.

White Spot Disease

White Spot Disease is also commonly referred to as Ich or Ick.

Ich is caused by an aquatic parasite. This parasite is typically found in most freshwater and marine fish tanks. However, the pest only attacks fish that are stressed or already diseased. Infected fish flash or rub against the substrate and tank decorations. After a few days, a scattering of little white spots like grains of sand appears over the fish’s fins, body, and gills.

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Fortunately, provided it’s treated early, Ick can be cured with an over-the-counter medication that you can get from most pet stores

Bacterial Infections

Secondary bacterial infections affect fish that are already injured or weak. The signs of a bacterial infection vary, depending on the species of bacteria responsible. However, common symptoms can include:

  • Reddening of the skin
  • Ulcers
  • Inactivity
  • Loss of appetite
  • Missing scales
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Torn or damaged fins

Thankfully, many simple bacterial infections are treatable with a proprietary drug that you can buy in fish stores or from your vet.

Flukes

Fluke is the catch-all term that’s used to describe any of the species of external parasites that affect freshwater fish, including:

  • Anchor worms
  • Fish lice
  • Skin flukes

Flukes typically get into your fish tank on new fish, hidden amid plant leaves, or in live food. The easiest way to keep flukes out of your aquarium is to quarantine any new arrivals for at least a fortnight before adding them to your tank.

Cloudy Eye

Cloudy Eye is a condition that often affects Dragon Eye goldfish.

Cloudy Eye can affect one or both eyes, often causing blindness. This condition is typically caused by poor water quality and unhygienic tank conditions and can be prevented by keeping your aquarium clean.

Breeding Dragon Eye Goldfish

Goldfish breed pretty readily in a pond or tank, as long as they receive a good balanced diet and the right water conditions.

You’ll need a ratio of one male fish to two females for a successful breeding project. Juvenile Dragon Eyes are virtually impossible to sex. However, female adult specimens are generally somewhat fatter than males, and male fish have white prickly growths called tubercles on their heads and gills during the breeding season.  

Spawning Conditions

Dragon Eye goldfish are egg layers, breeding in the spring when the water warms up.

Fish in breeding condition must be healthy and disease-free. You’ll need a spawning tank of at least 20 gallons that’s densely planted and contains a few spawning mops or flat rocks where the fish can deposit their eggs.

To encourage breeding, increase the water temperature by around 3o every day until the water is between 68o and 74o Fahrenheit. Carry out 20% water changes each day until the fish begin to breed. Throughout the build-up to breeding, give your Dragon Eyes a protein-rich diet that includes bloodworms, brine shrimp, and the like.

Spawning

During spawning, the male goldfish chases the female around the tank, pushing up against her to trigger egg-laying. Once the female deposits the eggs, the male fertilizes them. Spawning can take several hours, and up to 10,000 eggs can be laid during every spawn.

So that the parents don’t eat their eggs, the adult Dragon Eyes must be removed once the eggs are fertilized.

After seven days, the eggs will hatch. The fry is free-swimming immediately and can be given commercially prepared fry food until the juvenile Dragon Eyes can eat finely crushed Fancy goldfish flakes and live baby brine shrimp and micro worms. 

Don’t be disappointed if your juvenile Dragon Eyes are black or brown in color for the first few months. The idea of that drab coloration is to provide the young fish with camouflage against predators. Once the young fish reach an inch or so long, you can put them in your main tank with the adult goldfish.

Final Thoughts

Dragon Eye goldfish can make an eye-catching addition to your aquarium, although we don’t recommend them for beginners.

These Fancy goldfish need a large tank of at least 10 gallons to do well, and you must have a powerful filter system to process the vast quantity of waste that these fish generate. These fish are happiest when kept with a group of similar round-bodied goldfish in a well-planted tank with lots of open swimming space and no sharp or rough objects that could injure the fish. 

Do you keep Dragon Eye goldfish? What tank mates do you have in your aquarium? Tell us in the comments box below.

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