Pearlscale Goldfish: An Useful Care Guide For This Peerless Fish

Pearlscale Goldfish in its Habitat
By Garrison Hickles Updated

The Pearlscale Goldfish is a captive-bred species, without any natural occurrence. This is just another variety of Goldfish, with a beautiful, rather more unique appearance. Quite naturally, caring for them might seem difficult for aquarists, but these fishes are not that high maintenance and it certainly is a big relief. Let’s guide you through to a more intense aspect in terms of caring for this “Fancy Goldfish”.

Key Specifications of Pearlscale Goldfish

The key specifications are given in this table and subsequently elaborated in the following sections. Take a quick look now!

OriginAsia (China/Japan)
Also Known AsPing-pong Goldfish, Golfball Pearlscale, Pearlscale Fancy Goldfish, Chinshurin (Japanese name)
LifespanAverage 5-10 years, but it can extend to 15 years rarely.
ColoursOrange and white combination
Size6-8 inches
Maintenance RequirementsModerately easy
Tank Size10-20 gallons


Like any other Fancy Goldfish, this species is bred for its rich colouration and social deportment. These popular fishes are a worldwide sensation for multiple reasons. Some of them being, the ability to cohabit with other fishes and the flexible dietary requirements. Also, their fuss-free attitude and small to medium size, the low or rather easy maintenance, makes them a darling pet species, ideal to grace aquariums for apartment dwellers.

Origin and Habitat of Pearlscale Goldfish

Pearlscale Goldfishes are comparatively a new variant than its other cousins, appearing in the 20th Century itself. They are direct descendants of a common Carp Fish, but the incessant breeding has resulted in genetic mutations, showcasing bright body colours and different shapes. Although its origin is China and Japan, currently, England holds the position of largest breeding hub for this species.

This species, following its parents, belong to the freshwater fish groups.

Appearance of Pearlscale Goldfish

The Pearlscale Goldfish has bright and contrasting dual shades, with a swollen or plumpy belly, justifying the name “Pingpong Goldfish”. Their bodies are short and stout, and they beautifully float around the water with long, uneven fins and twin tails.

The fishes exhibit nacreous white scales that are simply deposits of calcium carbonate. The white scales around the body usually have a unique raised pattern, resembling pearls, and that’s how the name has come to existence. Their caudal, anal, and pectoral fins are dual. These scales are, however, very sensitive and can lose their charm if any clash or rubbing happens. There is no surety if they can grow back or not. It is up to an individual’s body type and most of the time once knocked off, they don’t recur.

Some further variations exhibit a certain kind of head growth in the fishes, and they are known as Hamanishiki Crown Pearlscale or Crown Pearlscale Goldfish.

Theoretically, they are dimorphic species, but those differences are clearly observed when they attain their sexual maturity, which is around 1 year of age. Their signature round belly appears when they age around 8 months.


This fish has a standard size ranging from 6 inches to 8 inches. Some specimens can slightly be unusually smaller like sizing around 4 inches or even bigger like 10 inches, but that is not their standard size.


The species is frequently compared to orange fruits, because of its bright orange colour, adorned with some white spots. This orange and white combination is majorly noticed but there are other colour versions, due to the breeding mechanism, and they are as followed,

  • Red
  • White
  • Black
  • Blue
  • Chocolate Brown
  • Golden and Black
  • Yellow and Black

Behaviour of Pearlscale Goldfish

These fishes have a gentle temperament combined with a playful nature. They swim slowly across the tank, showing off their fins and agile movement. The Pearlscale Goldfish loves to explore the bottom of the tank, it is placed inside. However, they thrive wonderfully in a community tank because of their good social skills. They are mostly peaceful with the least tantrums, making themselves irresistible.

Lifespan of Pearlscale Goldfish

These fishes generally live for 5 to 10 years, but in some exceptional cases, some of them have been reported to live for even 15 years.

Diet of Pearlscale Goldfish

Pearlscale Goldfishes are omnivorous by nature and they enjoy a varied diet. They usually don’t throw any tantrums regarding food and can consume pretty much everything that you will offer. In simple words, they love eating but don’t have a strong digestive system to absorb everything. So, as an owner, feeding in the proper portion is important for you and the fish.

First and foremost, feed your Goldfish twice, every day, once in the morning and once in the evening.

Give a vegetable-enriched diet where it will take 70% of the whole dietary plan. You can always provide some protein, but in lesser quantities than vegetables like 50%. Excess protein intake can result in severe health problems. Vegetables help them with good digestion and keep constipation at bay. Also, don’t forget to sterilize the vegetables to avoid any sort of health issues.

Furthermore, calcium-enriched dry pellet foods and dry flakes are also helpful for them but it has to be necessarily soaked prior to their eating. Otherwise, it might cause swim bladder disease to these fishes.

Frozen or live foods are also important, but they should be limitedly given as a treat or snack. Live food might be a carrier of several parasites or bacteria, so feed them occasionally. Bloodworm, that are not dead, can trigger flatulence for which the fish can eventually die, losing its balance.

The Goldfish food that you commonly find in the market has a lesser amount of protein compared to carbohydrates.

Here is a compiled list of nutritious items that you can feed your Pearlscale Goldfish :

  • Lettuce
  • Cucumber
  • Frozen peas
  • Daphnia
  • Brine Shrimp
  • Tubifex

Provide foods that the fish can consume within 2 minutes, or else there will be leftover accumulation inside the tank.

Avoid any kinds of food that sink easily and choose floating foods instead. This is because despite having a knack for digging the bottom, Pearlscale Goldfishes prefer to swim in the middle zone of the water, so the foods that float should be their ideal ones.

Pro Tip

If you give live foods, they have a high chance of carrying some parasites or bacteria that can be a threat to such fishes, so either harvests the live ones all by yourself or give a lower quantity of them.

Tank Requirements of Pearlscale Goldfish

The community fishes thrive excellently in cold waters, along with similar slow swimmer species. Keeping that in mind, you should choose such tanks or aquariums, that will enhance the fish both physically and mentally. So that, it can socially interact with other species, without harming each other, rather cohabit in a peaceful way.

Tank Size

The fish swims comfortably in a minimum 10 gallons of the tank, but that is for a single fish. You are not going to keep them alone, so a minimum 20 or 30-gallon tank is required, to say the least,  for a standard aquarium. However, if you keep on adding fishes of similar kinds, add at least 10 gallons of water accordingly for each fish.

Tank Lid

The tank lid should always be well placed to avoid dust gathering inside the tank.


This bottom-digging species keeps on exploring the substrate area as a part of their nature. So, allow them to satisfy their craving by providing a sandy surface. Place some gravel and pebbles so that they can play with them. But, make sure the gravels are not small, as the over-inquisitive fish can swallow them. So, find bigger and chunkier yet smooth pebbles for the substrate decoration.


The water should be appropriately filtered preferably by a Canister Filter.


The playful fish would love some driftwoods lying at the bottom, as it would give them some room to play and be occupied with. You can experiment with plastic decorations, leaving plenty of room for the fish to swim.


Pearlscale Goldfish doesn’t mind having lights around them, that gives you ample scope to play with. Since harsh or bright lights are detrimental for the fish, install some smooth lighting that is conducive for you to see the fish. It will also not give the fish any chance to get glazed over.

Presence of Flora

Placement of any hardy plants with strong and deep roots inside the tank is recommended. The leaves should be coarse so that the fish doesn’t find them interesting enough to eat. It will help the ecological balance of the tank intact.

You could even try some plastic plants as well, just to make sure they don’t have any sharp border that can injure the fish.

Here are the names of the plants that can help you decorate the tank,

Cleaning Method

Cleaning the tank is as essential as it could get, all you need to do is to keep the exterior of the tank clean with a damp towel. Read the water replacement segment to know how to clean the water inside the tank.

You can clean the substrate by placing the empty tank under a tap and navigating the water flow to a moderate level. The running water will clean the gravels, if the water speed is too fast it might destroy the stuff, so maintaining the water speed is important.  

Water Type of Pearlscale Goldfish

These fishes are comfortable inside the cold water of an aquarium. They also prefer slow-moving water and can’t adjust to fast waters. Below are the parameters that you should abide by for your cute Pearlscale Goldfish.


The ideal range for these fishes is 18-26 Degree Celsius. Although the fish can tolerate temperature fluctuations quite well, still it is not recommended to make random changes like increasing or decreasing the temperatures by any means.


If you can, provide 21 Degree Celsius in the water as this is ideally the most suitable temperature.

pH Level

The thriving pH level for Pearlscale Goldfish is 6.0-8.0.


The standard carbonate hardness of the water should ideally be 4-20 dKH.  

Mineral Level

The ammonia and nitrite quantity should be nil inside the water.  The nitrate quantity should be under 40 ppm.

Replacement Procedure of Water

In order to clean the tank, perform a water change procedure which involves one third or one fourth water change every week of the month. Here we are showing some easy simple steps of two general procedures.

The Classic Hose and Bucket Method

Start off with unplugging everything that the aquarium is connected with. Then Immerse the hose inside the water and make sure the other end is inside a clean 5-gallon bucket. The hose should be able to suck out the water from the tank or aquarium and make it flow into the bucket.

The next part involves moving the ornamentations and any sharp objects inside the substrate. Once you see that the water bucket is full, lift up the hose from the tank, and empty the bucket. The tank or aquarium should have 20% or 30 % of the water removed from it by now.

Then slowly take a bucket that can contain 1 gallon of water and start pouring that slowly into the aquarium. This is the most crucial step as you need to maintain the water temperature of both the existing water of the tank and the water of the bucket. You may use a digital thermometer to monitor if there is any water temperature fluctuation. Pouring 1 gallon of water is strongly recommended because that will make the entire process smooth and will not shock the fish.

The next step is to dechlorinate the water of the tank, which you can either do each time you are pouring 1 gallon of water or after a certain gap during the entire water changing procedure. You may also follow the manual given with the manufacturing details. This dechlorination is a process that helps exterminate the chloramine and chlorine of a tank, otherwise those two ingredients harm the gills and the tissues of the fish.

After your water change is complete, wait for half an hour to one hour to let the water settle. Now you should check if all the water conditions, like the temperature, alkalinity level, and hardness are all as per the recommended level or is there any sudden shift or alternation in any of them.

The Easy Cleaning with Gravel Vacuum

Using any commercially-bought gravel vacuum, either machinery or manual is also a preferable option you can consider. It takes away the accumulated dirt or solid objects along with the unclean water once you start the gravel, placing them inside the tank or aquarium.

Pro Tip

If you see some unusual spike in the nitrate or ammonia level of the water, then you need to change the water either on the same day or the next day, but don’t delay anymore. Only 15% -20% of water change is required.

Compatibility of Pearlscale Goldfish

It has already been mentioned that Pearlscale Goldfish is a social fish and an ideal option for a community tank. They usually do not have any problem with similar non-aggressive species, when housed together. However, if there are any temperamental issues between two species and the other one gets territorial, that could lead to some unwanted fights. They can’t defend themselves as fighting doesn’t come to them easily. So, while choosing, carefully select the tank mates that would not intimidate the Goldfish.

Suitable Tank Mates

The Pearlscale Goldfish are compatible with the following species as all of them together don’t get threatened by each other

  • Lionhead Goldfish
  • Veiltail Goldfish
  • Bubble Eye Goldfish
  • Butterfly Tail Goldfish
  • Fantail Goldfish
  • Celestial Eye Goldfish
  • Wakin Goldfish
  • Comet Goldfish
  • Tosakin Goldfish
  • Ryukin Goldfish
  • Ranchu Goldfish
  • Janitor Fish
  • Mystery Snail
  • Nerite Snails

Unsuitable Tank Mates

Larger fishes or fighter species who can fight or bully the apparently gentle Pearlscale Goldfish should be strictly avoided. Shrimps are not suitable unless they get a really large tank to hide and crawl.

Breeding of Pearlscale Goldfish

These gentle fishes can mate and breed on their own, without any external influence or catalyst. However, if you still want to propel the breeding, then keep them in the breeding tank and slowly increase the temperature from 10 to 20 Degree Celsius. This gradual warmth will set the breeding environment. Once the male is ready, it will chase its preferred female (if female fishes are comparatively more in numbers) and females will gradually lay up to 10,000 eggs (in each spawning). Since they don’t exhibit any parental care at all, you need to separate the parent fishes or else they are likely to consume the eggs.

The eggs are hatched in one week and primarily they depend on the egg sacs for the first couple of days until they can start swimming on their own. During this phase, give foods in powdered form along with infusoria.

Diseases and Treatments of Pearlscale Goldfish

These fishes are prone to have digestive disorders if their diet is slightly compromised. They can be affected by all common Goldfish diseases like dropsy, fungus, fin rot, tumours, and ulcers. A combination of clean water and a healthy diet can keep such illnesses at bay. Here we are giving the possible illnesses that can disturb the Goldfish.


Once your Goldfish is affected by constipation, it will show signs like staying at the bottom most of the time and inactivity along with a bloated appearance.

The swim bladder is the commonest of all, this is triggered by severe constipation, bacterial infections, stress, poor quality of water, injuries, or any birth defects. When the fish is suffering from this it will mostly showcase a sedentary position, either at the bottom of the tank or slightly tilting on any side of the tank, it can also turn upside down due to buoyancy issues.

Goldfish Lice is a typical parasitic infection, troubling the fish mostly around the gills area. The fish will always try to get the parasite off its body by rubbing itself against the tank wall. That is a telltale sign you should never take casually.


While mashed pea along with the regular diet is suggested for the prevention of constipation, you should separate this particular fish in a different tank. Then allow it to starve for at least 5 days and then see if it returns to its natural agile self. Once it is active, give it dried and frozen food for around 7 days. If constipation looks more serious, then you can soak the dried food in paraffin oil (medicated), or castor oil or glycerol. You should return the fish to the tank only when it is completely fit.

Constipation can always be a reason or symptom for other serious diseases like the immediate next one.

For treating the swim bladder disease, provide any roughage-based foods like live foods, peas for around 4-5 days, use antibacterial remedies, raise the water temperature, and add some tank salt or the ones exclusively meant for the aquariums. However, you should determine the exact cause first and then act accordingly.

As a remedy of lice, you can either remove the lice with a help of forceps or give the fish a bath in potassium permanganate for around 10- 30 minutes. The quantity of it will be according to the seriousness of the fish. Disinfecting the fish and keeping it separate unless the infection goes away is a needless thing to say.

Apart from this, there are some commercially available products that you can provide for your fish, only after consulting a veterinarian.  


The Pearlscale Goldfish is a darling of all Goldfishes because not only it looks good, but it has a jolly temperament. The not-so-demanding species are exclusively bred for the tank ornamentation purpose. The easiest of all, their simple demeanour attracts many fish enthusiasts. Their health is a delicate issue undoubtedly, but with optimal conditions, they can thrive really well and provide much-needed pet companionship to all fish lovers.

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