About Telescope Goldfish – “Oh, what big eyes you have…”

“Grandmother, oh, what big eyes you have,”
“The better to see you with, my dear.”

Do you remember this dialog? If not, a little hint – It is something that you probably had come across during your childhood… rings a bell?

Anyway, this dialog is from the story of Little Red Riding Hood. I am sorry if this doesn’t make sense to you but I get reminded of it every time I see or think about Telescope goldfish. 🙂

Yes, the eyes on this breed of goldfish are definitely the highlight, but there are more about Telescope goldfish than… well, meets the eye.

About Telescope Goldfish

A little bit of history

Long long time ago, the dull Prussian carps were selectively bred to create a new breed of fish with more interesting coloring on the body. This new breed of fish is the common goldfish. Since then, more and more selective breeding were done to enhance specific characteristics, creating a lot of goldfish breeds that we are familiar with.

In the early 1700s, a new goldfish breed with protruding eyes was born in China. This goldfish which looks as if it is wearing a badass biker’s goggles is known as Telescope goldfish.

Characteristics of this breed

The Eyes

Well, the protruding eyes are definitely the distinctive characteristic about Telescope goldfish. The sockets look like 2 huge domes or globes which the large eyes sit in. When a telescope goldfish looks at you, you feel as if they are scrutinizing you up and down, left and right.

Telescope Goldfish
Photo by Benson Kua, CC BY

You would think with such big eyes, the Telescope goldfish will have very good vision, right? …WRONG!!! The fact is, this breed has very bad vision.

“The better to see you with, my dear.” part of the dialog doesn’t apply here.

So no worries about Telescope goldfish looking and scrutinizing you. 🙂 What you need to worry about though… is whether this breed of goldfish is able to compete for food with their bad eyesight.

Besides that, the eyes are also fragile and can easily be hurt. So you may want to reconsider putting things with sharp edges in your tank.

The Body

Telescope goldfish has a rounded egg-shaped body. This means that it is darn adorable with its chubby look and wobbly swimming style. Like any goldfish, this breed will also grow very big when being taken care of properly.

About Telescope Goldfish

Egg-shaped goldfish breeds can grow more than 6″ in body length, so please provide them with at least 20 gallons of swimming space for the first fish, and 10 gallons each for subsequent ones.

Note: The following contain affiliate links. For more information, please visit my disclosure page.

Having an egg-shaped body also means that the Telescope goldfish is a slow swimming breed. It is better to keep it with equally slow swimming goldfish such as Oranda, Ranchu, Lionhead, Bubble-eyes and Celestial eyes so that it has a chance to compete for food.

Keeping it with streamlined bodied goldfish breeds such as common goldfish or comet is really bad idea. These breeds will finish the food before the poor Telescope goldfish manages to swim over.

The egg-shaped body of goldfish does come with a risk. Goldfish with this shape is prone to the swim bladder disease. So extra care is needed on the food to feed and also not to overfeed.

The Fins

Telescope goldfish can come in short or long fins. Aside from its single dorsal fin, the rest of its fins are paired. The caudal fin (or tail) can come in different styles such as veil tail, broadtail, and the butterfly tail.

Telescope Ryukin Mix
A short finned Telescope Goldfish (a Ryukin mix)

The Colors

Like most of the other fancy goldfish breeds, you can find Telescope goldfish in many colors variations in metallic and nacreous scales. You can find them in a solid color of red, orange, yellow, blue, chocolate, white and black; or in bi-colored of red/white or black/white; or in tri-colored and calico.

The solid black Telescope goldfish is called the Black Moor and it is very sought after by enthusiasts. This is because the black color in goldfish is usually not permanent, as they tend to change to other colors such as orange. This applies to a black/white bi-colored variation called the Panda Telescope too.

Black Moor
Photo by Benson Kua, CC BY

About Telescope Goldfish Care

In general, the following rules on goldfish keeping applies:

Telescope goldfish is not as hardy as its streamlined bodied counterparts such as the common goldfish. They will require more consideration in taking care of the delicate protruding eyes.

Telescope Goldfish


The Telescope goldfish is really one of the more interesting ones in the goldfish world. I can’t help but to quote this dialog from Little Red Riding Hood again, just because this goldfish breed always reminds me of it:

“Grandmother, oh, what big eyes you have,”
“The better to see you with, my dear.”

However, we must remember that although the distinctive characteristic about telescope goldfish is on its huge protruding eyes, it is its whole package that makes this breed interesting. It has an egg-shaped body which is both a blessing and a curse, it comes in many different styles of fins, and of course, the many color variations!

So what do you think about Telescope goldfish? Pretty… or Freaky?

Share this:

6 Replies to “About Telescope Goldfish – “Oh, what big eyes you have…”

  1. Wow, this is interesting. Do you think the Telescope Goldfish has bad eyesight because of the type of breeding it took to create them? Also, I never knew goldfish could be chocolate, or black. I do recall visiting the Japanese Tea Gardens in San Antonio some years back (it’s beautiful and you should go if you’re ever in the area), and there were tons of goldfish there. Some of them were the calico that you mention, and I do remember seeing some black fish. But I never in a hundred years would have guessed that they were goldfish! They were also about two feet long … I mean, generally I think goldfish are cute. But had I been in the water and one of those suckers came at me…. haha no thanks! I’d be out in a heartbeat!

    1. Hi Courtney,
      The different varieties of goldfish that we see are all from selective breeding. So yeah, some of these “enhancements” on the characteristics made them look more unique, but not necessarily more functional. Goldfish do grow very big. So it is possible for you to see one which is 2 feet or more in length, especially when they are kept in ponds.

  2. Wow, what a strange looking fish! Here is a crazy question for you… are all those colours of the fish natural? Or were they bred in by humans, much like some breeds of dogs were bred?

    1. Hi Gregory,
      Yes, all goldfish varieties are from selective breeding by humans. The first goldfish breed was created from Prussian carps, and from there more selective breeding was done to come out with all the different goldfish varieties.

  3. So I recently started looking after my neighbors neglected backyard pond. After cleaning out the heavy stuff, and installing filter with small fountain, it’s looking much better. I added some feeder comets to help clean it more, and they have done a great job.
    But would like to add other goldfish other than the comets. Are these able to be in a pond? It rarely gets cold enough here to freeze for a long time, so pond would be open all winter.

    1. Hi Brad,
      Goldfish are coldwater fish and they prefer temperatures between 18-24°C. As long as the pond water temperature doesn’t fluctuate too much from this range, it should be ok. However if it gets too cold, you may want to move the fish inside.

      As for keeping other goldfish with your comets, I think it is best to keep them with other similar streamlined bodied goldfish such as common goldfish, shubunkin, wakin etc. This is because they are equally fast swimmers and are able to compete for food. If you keep with those egg-shaped bodied goldfish which are slow swimmers, these egg-shaped ones will lose out on food.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.