Tamasaba Goldfish: Care Guide, Lifespan and More

Tamasaba goldfish are a rare type of egg-shaped goldfish. These unusual fish are seldom seen in the hobby outside of their native Japan. 

However, if you do manage to get hold of one of these beauties, they are relatively easy to look after, making them suitable for beginners.

Even better, these coldwater specialists are equally at home in a garden pond or an aquarium without a heater.

Read this guide for more information about the enigmatic Tamasaba goldfish, including how to care for these rare fish.

Origins Of The Tamasaba Goldfish

Like all goldfish varieties, the Tamasaba has the scientific name of Carassius Auratus and shares the same origins as all its cousins, being distantly related to a common species of Prussian Carp.

The carp were raised as food fish back in the 1700s. However, one day a few brightly colored specimens appeared among their drab silvery-gray peers. These “golden fish” became highly prized as ornamental pets.

During the next few hundred years, fish keepers experimented with crossbreeding their fish, creating myriad colors and forms, many of which still exist today.

By the 1800s and 1900s, goldfish were being traded extensively in Asia, Europe, and finally, the US.

There are thought to be over 200 different varieties of goldfish around today, many of which are extremely rare and only found in their countries of origin, especially Japan.

So, if you spot a “wild” goldfish, it’s almost certainly an unwanted pet that’s been dumped by its owner, having outgrown a bowl or small tank.

What is a Tamasaba Goldfish?

Tamasaba goldfish are also known as Yamagata Kingyo, Mackerel Tail, or Yamagata goldfish since the fish originates from the Yamagata prefecture in Japan.

The fish is a variety of Fancy Goldfish that’s created by crossing a Syounai or single-tailed fish with a double-tailed Ryukin. The fish has a long, flowing tail that resembles that of a mackerel, hence the variety’s common name, Mackerel Tail.

The fish has a round body and arched back with one caudal and one anal fin.

Contrary to popular belief, the Tamasaba goldfish is not the same fish as the Sabao, which is a different species. The Tamasaba’s body arch is larger than that of a Sabao but not as high or prominent as that of the Ryukin.

Tamasaba Goldfish Lifespan

Tamasaba Fancy goldfish typically live for around ten years, generally longer if kept in a large pond with optimal water conditions and a nutritious, high-quality diet.

What Size Are Tamasaba Goldfish?

Tamasaba Goldfish usually reach around 10 inches long, possibly slightly larger if kept in a pond.

It’s important to remember that the fish you buy in a pet store or online are juvenile specimens only a few months old. The fish grow extremely rapidly, quickly filling a small tank. So, you should always buy the largest setup you can afford and accommodate to save having to upscale in the future when the fish outgrow their original aquarium.

Colors And Patterns of the Tamasaba Goldfish

Tamasaba goldfish are exclusively red and white.

Price And Availability

Tamasaba goldfish are not usually available in high street pet stores, although you can usually buy them from breeders in Japan.

Individual fish are priced from around £120 ($150) each, but you must remember to factor in shipping costs.

Is The Tamasaba Goldfish Suitable For Beginners?

Tamasaba goldfish are easy to care for, hardy goldfish that do well in both an aquarium and an outdoor pond.

For that reason, we consider these fish to be suitable for beginners.

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However, the cost of these fish should be borne in mind. Transporting fish over long distances is fraught with potential problems, and the creatures often arrive in a stressed and weakened state.

That leaves the fish vulnerable to diseases and attacks by parasites, sometimes resulting in mortality.

Tamasaba Goldfish Care Guide

If you decide to take the plunge and buy a few Tamasaba goldfish, you need to read this section of our guide to find out how to care for your rare and expensive fishies!

Tank Size

Tamasaba goldfish grow to a large size, sometimes reaching 10 inches in length.

For that reason, you’ll need to allow at least 15 gallons of water for every adult Tamasaba. Therefore, if you want to keep a group of ten to 15 fish, the minimum aquarium size you can get away with is 130 gallons.

Tank Shape

Tamasabas do best in a long tank that offers plenty of swimming space and sufficient surface area for good gaseous exchange.

Do not keep Tamasabas in a goldfish bowl! A traditional goldfish bowl is too small for these strong swimmers and doesn’t provide enough dissolved oxygen for these oxygen-hungry fish.

Although Tamasaba goldfish don’t generally jump, we recommend using an aquarium that has a hood or cover slide to prevent evaporation and keep dust from settling on the water.

How Many Tamasaba Goldfish Can You Keep?

Tamasabas are sociable, peaceful creatures that thrive when kept with other goldfish. If you keep your fish in a pond, you can include Koi and slim-bodied goldfish in the community since the Tamasabas as strong swimmers that won’t be intimidated by those speedy types

As a general rule, you should allow 1 gallon of water per 1 inch of fish in your aquarium or fish pond.

Water Parameters

Temp (oF) pH Hardness Ammonia Nitrate
60o – 78o F 6.0 – 8.0 5 – 19 dGH >30ppm

Tamasaba goldfish can live in cooler temperatures in the range of 60o and 78o Fahrenheit. The water pH should be between 6.0 to 8.0, with a hardness of from 5 to 19 dGH.

Ammonia and nitrites must always be zero, and nitrate levels should be less than 30ppm.

Filtration

Goldfish are filthy creatures that create a vast amount of waste as they swim around their tank.

So, to keep the water clean and healthy for the fish, you must run a strong filter system that circulates water around the tank at least four times every hour.

Despite their round-bodied physique, Tamasaba goldfish are efficient swimmers that can cope with a moderately strong current in the aquarium.

Tank Maintenance

Although Tamasabas are robust, hardy fish, they won’t do well in dirty conditions, so you’ll need to set aside time each week for aquarium maintenance tasks.

Change around 30% of the water in the tank every week to dilute nitrates, and use an aquarium vacuum cleaner to get rid of solid waste, including fish waste, leftover food, and plant debris.

Focus on the areas around the bottom of the tank, especially in the tank corners, under ornaments, and around plant bases.

Keep the viewing panes clear so that you can enjoy an unobstructed view of your fish, and snip off dead leaves and damaged stems from any living plants you have in your aquarium.

Tank Decoration

You can use whatever decor and aquascaping schemes you want to in your Tamasaba goldfish tank. However, there are a few things to be aware of before you start.

Safety

Tamasaba goldfish have long, flowing tails that are somewhat susceptible to injury if they come into contact with rough surfaces or get snagged on sharp objects.

So, choose smooth stones, glass pebbles, and driftwood for safe tank decorations.

Large, smooth gravel is the best choice of a substrate for a Tamasaba goldfish setup.

What About Plants?

Live plants make a great choice for any coldwater and tropical aquarium. Plants are aesthetically pleasing, remove CO2 and nitrates from the water, and give off oxygen, helping to keep the environment healthy for the fish.

Unfortunately, all goldfish varieties tend to eat and uproot plants while foraging through the substrate. However, you can still enjoy the benefits of living plants by using tougher species, including Marimo Moss Balls, Java fern and Anubias.

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If you don’t fancy the hassle of looking after living plants, you could use silk ones as an alternative.

Silk plants are easy to maintain, come in a range of beautiful colors and designs, and your fish won’t eat them! Uprooted silk stems can easily be replanted without damage.

However, we don’t recommend plastic plants for a goldfish tank. Plastic plants often have sharp points that could tear your Tamasaba’s caudal fins.

Do you add plants to your aquarium? Tell us in the comments!

Lighting

Living plants need between eight and ten hours of light every day for photosynthesis. 

Fish living in a garden pond enjoy the natural 24-hour day/night light cycle, which is essential for their wellbeing.

However, fish in an aquarium need that cycle to be provided artificially. You can do that by choosing a lighting unit with an auto-timer feature or by using a timer plug that you’ll get from a DIY store, as a cheaper option.

Nutrition and Feeding

Goldfish are omnivores, thriving on a diet of:

  • Meaty protein
  • Plant matter
  • Green algae

A good daily diet for your Tamasaba goldfish could be made up of:

  • High-quality Fancy Goldfish flakes or pellet food
  • Frozen meaty foods, such as bloodworms and daphnia
  • Some fresh vegetables, including spinach, peas, and zucchini.

Leave a few small patches of lush green algae in your tank for the fish to graze on during the day.

What About Live Foods?

If you keep your Tamasabas in an outdoor fish pond, the fish will feed on insects, worms, insect larvae and tiny crustaceans that they will take from their environment.

You can buy live foods in pet stores. However, we strongly advise against feeding those foods to your fish.

Live food frequently comes with a cargo of parasites and bacteria that could be harmful to your fish. Instead, feed your fish some frozen foods or set up a home brine shrimp hatchery.

How Much To Feed Tamasaba Goldfish

Tamasaba goldfish should receive two or three small meals each day. Pond-kept fish can often do very well on just one feed, as they can supplement that with what they find living in their pond.

Give your goldfish only what they will clear up in a few minutes so that you don’t overfeed them.

What Are Good Tank Mates For Tamasaba Goldfish?

Tamasaba goldfish are peaceful, gregarious fish that thrive in the company of other goldfish and Koi.

We don’t recommend including slow-swimming, round-bodied varieties of Fancy goldfish in the same habitat as Tamasabas.

The round-bodied types are weak swimmers that are often outcompeted for food and they can be buffeted and injured by the faster-swimming varieties.

If you want to add interest and variety to your setup, you might want to include a few large freshwater shrimp and snails. These creatures make an efficient cleanup crew.

However, be careful that the invertebrates are not so small that the fish can make a meal out of them!

Health and Diseases of the Tamasaba Goldfish

Tamasaba goldfish are hardy fish that are pretty resilient. That said, there are a few common fish diseases that you should be aware of that could affect your goldfish.

White Spot Disease

White Spot Disease is also commonly called Ich or Ick.

The condition is caused by a parasite that attacks weak or stressed fish, including those in well-maintained tanks.

If you notice your Tamasabas rubbing their bodies against objects in their tank, they might have Ich. After a few days, the fish develop a rash of tiny white dots like grains of salt across the body, gill covers, and fins.

If caught early, White Spot Disease can be treated fairly successfully with an over-the-counter medication that you can get in pet stores.

Bacterial Infections

Bacterial infections have many different causes and present with a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Skin ulcers
  • Lethargy
  • Damaged fins
  • Absent scales
  • Not eating
  • Breathing difficulties
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Most minor bacterial infections can be treated with a broad-spectrum antibacterial drug.

Flukes

Flukes come in various forms, including:

  • Anchor worms
  • Fish lice
  • Skin flukes

These creatures generally find their way into your fish tank or pond on new fish, hidden amongst plant leaves, and with contaminated live food.

The best way to treat flukes is to prevent them from getting into your tank by quarantining new arrivals for at least two weeks before adding them to your main setup.

Breeding Tamasaba Goldfish

Tamasabas breed readily when provided with the correct, high-quality diet and the correct living conditions.

Spawning Tank

If you keep your Tamasaba goldfish in your garden pond, they will probably just do what comes naturally. However, if you don’t have a pond, your breeding project will be more successful if you use a dedicated spawning tank.

The tank should be 30-gallons or more to provide the fish with plenty of space. If the tank is too small and the fish are overcrowded or cramped, breeding is unlikely to take place.

In the few weeks preceding breeding, you should keep the male and female fish separate. It’s thought that separating the fish makes them more conducive to spawning when they are introduced.

Feed the fish a protein-rich diet to bring them into spawning condition, and ensure that they are free from injury and disease.

Like their distant wild carp relatives, Tamasaba goldfish begin spawning when the water temperature rises in the spring. You can replicate those conditions in your aquarium by gradually increasing the water temperature by 3o each day until the water reaches 68o to 74o Fahrenheit.

Furnish the spawning tank with plenty of plants, spawning mops and flat stones where the female fish can lay her eggs. Keep the tank pristine, changing around 20% of the water every day until the fish start spawning.

Spawning

The male fish will chase the female around the aquarium, pressing against her to stimulate her to deposit her eggs.

The whole process can take up to three hours or more, and up to 10,000 eggs can be produced in just one spawn! Once the female deposits her eggs, the male fertilizes them.

Unfortunately, Tamasaba goldfish make terrible parents, eating their eggs almost as soon as they are deposited and taking no part in raising the juvenile fish.

So, once the eggs are fertilized, you need to remove the adult fish.

In a pond environment, some eggs and fry usually survive each spawning. The baby fish hide away in the bottom of the pond, camouflaged by their drab gray and brown coloring, until they are large enough to swim safely among the adults.

The free-swimming fry emerge a week or so after the eggs are fertilized. You can feed the fry commercially produced fry food until the juveniles are big enough to cope with live baby brine shrimp, spirulina, and finely crushed flake Fancy goldfish food.

When the baby fish are around an inch long, it’s safe to add them to your main setup. Once the juvenile fish reach a couple of months old, they will begin to develop their adult colors.

Final Thoughts

Tamasaba goldfish are rare and unusual goldfish that can be kept in a large aquarium or garden pond. You can also undertake a successful breeding project with your fish, provided you have a mixture of males and females.

These rare goldfish are easy to care for and pretty hardy, making them a good choice for a beginner. However, since you can expect to pay around £120 ($150) for an individual fish, we urge caution if you’ve not kept goldfish before!

Do you keep Tamasaba goldfish? Do you have any other types of rare goldfish? Tell us about your fish in the comments box below.

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