Bubble Eye – The Goldfish with Big Cheeks

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Are you looking for an exotic species with a unique appearance? Look no further! The bubble eye goldfish is here to charm you with its whimsical yet lovable features. This is a great species to keep if you’re into slow-swimming, peaceful fish. However, like all fish, it has its peculiarities and requirements you must be aware of.

In this article, I’ll cover everything you need to know about the bubble eye. From tank size to diet and care, to tankmates, you’ll find everything you need here. But before we get into the more technical details, you might be wondering—

What is a Bubble Eye Goldfish?

The bubble eye goldfish is a captivating goldfish species that originated in Asia. It’s coveted by many aquarists but remains rare and quite expensive in most parts of the world. Most of its popularity comes from its peculiar look.

This small-sized fancy goldfish has upward-pointing eyes. Most importantly, it sports two disproportionately large fluid-filled sacs beneath its eyes. Most bubble eye goldfish also have double tails and no dorsal fins. These fish come in a variety of colors including red, yellow, black, white, and even calico patterns.

The bubble eye goldfish can’t be found in the wild. This species was cross-bred in captivity, over multiple generations. It is believed that this species was a result of crossbreeding other mutated goldfish species. The most likely “ancestor” of the bubble eye goldfish was either the toadhead goldfish or the celestial eye goldfish. Both of these species show similar albeit smaller eye sacks.

There’s a steep divide in opinion when it comes to this species. Some people think they look dorky and cute, while others are horrified by what they perceive to be painful deformities. Truth be told, these puffy cheeks do have some drawbacks.

First, these bubbles make swimming more difficult. They jiggle and slow down the goldfish while it swims. These goldfish also seem to have a strange posture with their head usually pointed downwards while swimming. Second, these bubbles are also extremely delicate and prone to punctures and infections.

How Long do Bubble Eye Goldfish Live?

Bubble eye goldfish have a lifespan similar to most other goldfish species. They can live up to 10-15 years if they receive proper care. Sometimes, they might even reach 20 years of age! That’s pretty good for a pet, and exceptional for a fish. Most other freshwater species average just 1-3 years, just saying.

You might think a mutated, heavily cross-bred species wouldn’t be so long-lived. But it seems like things are going pretty well for this bubbly fish. It’s true though that there are more long-living goldfish species still. The bubble eye goldfish also requires some additional care to reach its full potential. They tend to get hurt easily due to their fragile sacks and clumsy swimming.

You also need to pay close attention to multiple environmental factors if you want your goldfish to live long, healthy lives. This applies to most fish species though, so no pressure. Keep an eye on their diet and water parameters. More on these topics later. If you keep their nutrition and environment in check, this will minimize stress levels and the risk of most diseases.

How Big do Bubble Eye Goldfish Grow?

Bubble eye goldfish are comparable in size with most other goldfish species. While regular goldfish can grow up to 2-6 inches, bubble eye goldfish can reach 5 inches at most. That’s when they’re fully grown. And they don’t grow any larger than this. You might get slightly smaller goldfish though.

Unlike other goldfish species, the bubble eye goldfish doesn’t have the potential to grow bigger, even when kept in very large tanks. They’re not as small as guppies and platies, but they’re still on the small side. They’re thus easily manageable.

You can house plenty of bubble eye goldfish in an average aquarium, no need to upgrade. The way they grow is also interesting. When young, the fry look pretty much like your average goldfish, minus the dorsal fin. However, when they reach 6-9 months, magic happens.

The eye bubbles start growing and puffing up. These bubbles don’t stop growing until the fish reaches 2 years of age. Bubble eye goldfish stop growing around the same time their eye sacks are done developing.

What do Bubble Eye Goldfish Eat?

A proper diet is key for keeping your fish healthy and happy. Bubble eye goldfish are omnivorous. They do well on a balanced diet with a bit of everything. Variety is key. Feel free to combine different types of proteins and veggies. Fresh, frozen, dried, all is good.

Live foods also make an exceptional nutrient-rich treat. For protein, you can try giving them brine shrimp, bloodworms, daphnia, and tubifex worms. These foods are also high in healthy fatty acids and B-vitamins. For vegetables, a combination of green and orange or yellow foods is best to cover all their vitamin, mineral, and fiber needs.

Also, don’t forget to include some algae wafers for some extra vitamin A, C, K, and plant pigments! Bubble eye goldfish also do well on a staple diet of high-quality fish flakes and pellets. I recommend choosing mostly sinking foods. These goldfish are slow swimmers. They take a long time to feed. That’s why they mostly prefer foraging.

Sinking foods will give them the chance to engage in their preferred feeding habits. You need to take their slow eating into account when giving them food. Try to space out the portions accordingly. With regards to frequency, bubble eye goldfish should be fed 2-4 times a day.

What Tank Size do Bubble Eye Goldfish Need?

The minimum tank size should be 10 gallons or more. And that’s if you’re only planning to keep one fish, mind you. For a pair, you’ll need at least a 20-gallon tank. The simple rule of thumb here is to provide 10 gallons for every single bubble eye goldfish.

These goldfish might be mellow, slow swimmers, but they still need enough space to move around at their own pace. Not to mention that a larger water volume makes it easier to keep water parameters in check. The worst choice you could make is to put your goldfish in a small bowl.

While it looks slick and modern, a bowl aquarium is hard to maintain. The low water volume leads to sudden water parameter fluctuations. A bowl aquarium is also harder to equip than a regular tank. And the more obvious problem is it doesn’t provide enough space for your fish to feel comfortable!

Swimming space is necessary for all fish species. Giving your fish enough space can reduce stress levels and encourage active behavior. For bubble eye goldfish, providing enough space also prevents the fish from bumping into things and getting hurt.

Their eye sacks are very delicate and even something as harmless as a plant can puncture the thin skin of their eye bubbles. The more space they get to move in the tank, the less likely these unfortunate accidents become.

What are the Best Water Parameters for Bubble Eye Goldfish?

The bubble eye goldfish isn’t very different from other fancy goldfish species. You’ll still have a cold-water fish on your hands. These fish prefer a water temperature around 72°F. That’s the ideal level that stimulates the best growth and appetite. However, the water temperature may fall between 65-80°F.

Like all goldfish, this species thrives in water that’s slightly acidic to slightly alkaline. This means the water pH should fall between 6.0-8.0. Bubble eye goldfish are also hardy and prefer a carbonate hardness around 5-19 dKH. Ammonia and nitrite levels should be kept at 0 ppm, and nitrates no higher than 40 ppm.

The water parameters should be kept stable, especially things like temperature, pH, and ammonia. Most goldfish, the bubble eye included, are sensitive to rapid shifts in water quality. I recommend performing a 20-30% water change once a week to keep things in check. You might also want to equip your tank properly to manage things like ammonia, nitrites, and pH.

Do Bubble Eye Goldfish Need a Filter?

A high-quality filter is one of the easiest ways to make aquarium care easier. Filters prevent dirt and harmful bacteria from affecting water quality. They also keep pH stable and can help maintain proper water oxygenation. But are they necessary for a bubble eye goldfish tank? Yes, absolutely!

As I’ve already mentioned, bubble eye goldfish are very sensitive to changes in water quality. Poor management of water parameters is a big cause of stress and disease in all fish species, goldfish included. Having an aquarium filter isn’t an option, but a must. Still, some people are afraid of adding a filter, because there have been some reports of unfortunate accidents.

A strong filter might suck up the fish or cause damage to the eye sacks if the fish swim too close. You can easily avoid these problems by either choosing a foam filter or an under-gravel filter. These filters minimize the risk of accidents because the fish can’t be harmed by a strong uptake valve.

In case you own a big aquarium and have a canister filter, you can also proof the filter with foam to prevent accidents. But the safest and easiest option is with an under-gravel filter. This is what I recommend for this species. Because the filter is neatly hidden underneath the substrate, there’s no way for the fish to accidentally come into contact with it.

Can Bubble Eye Goldfish Live with Other Fish?

Bubble eye goldfish will get along with all peaceful fish species. But living with other species is a different story. You could say the bubble eye makes an incredible tankmate. But other fish aren’t good tankmates for it. Still, there are some options if you want to create a community tank.

When choosing the bubble eye’s tankmates, you’ll have to keep a few things in mind. The species should be similar in size and temperament. Bubble eye goldfish are slow, mellow, peaceful fish. They won’t do well with aggressive or energetic fish. They can get easily stressed and intimidated when in such company.

Playful fish and nibblers should also be avoided. They might accidentally harm the goldfish and accidentally pop the eye sacks. The chosen tankmates should also be slow swimmers. Bubble eyes are slow themselves, and they’re also clumsy. Housing them with agile swimmers will make feeding a challenge for obvious reasons.

Taking all of these factors into account, I suggest choosing similarly “bubbly” fish for the community tank. Species like the celestial goldfish, telescope goldfish, lionhead goldfish, ranchu goldfish, and the pearlscale goldfish are the best options.

Are Bubble Eye Goldfish Hardy?

It’s ironic, but this fragile fish is actually quite hardy. Like other goldfish species, the bubble eye can thrive in various water parameters. This includes soft and hard water, as well as very cold and warm water. They don’t live up to two decades for no reason! There’s a catch though.

While they can adapt to various water parameters, the transition must be gradual as not to shock the fish. Like most goldfish species, the bubble eye can also go for multiple days without food. Not that I encourage not feeding your fish for a prolonged time. But I’m just saying that they’re a very robust species.

“But what about the eye bubbles?” you might be wondering. They are very sensitive and can get easily punctured. Don’t they pose a danger to the goldfish? Well, luckily, a punctured eye sack can still grow back! However, it won’t reach its initial size. But it’s still good news that this goldfish can regenerate a punctured bubble without much trouble.

Are Bubble Eye Goldfish Prone to Diseases?

Bubble eye goldfish aren’t more likely to become ill than other fish species. As long as you maintain the tank and water parameters properly, this species isn’t prone to any life-threatening disease. However, when kept in poor conditions, bubble eye goldfish are susceptible to the same common health problems you might encounter in other species.

I’m talking about things like swim bladder problems, ich, dropsy, fin rot, fungal infections, skin flukes. Most of these issues are caused by harmful bacteria or fungus growing in the aquarium. A unique potential issue arises when one of the eye sacks gets punctured.

Once ruptured, the inner tissue of the bubble gets exposed to external factors. This increases the risk of infection significantly. The same thing would happen when any fish has an open wound. If spotted early on, most health problems can be treated.

Funny Bubble Eye Goldfish Names

If this charming goldfish sounds like the perfect pet for you, the next logical step is thinking about a fitting name for your companion. I’ve included a list of 30 funny names to inspire you. I’ve kept them short and simple, but they still have a catchy ring to them. Here they are, in no particular order. Let me know which one is your favorite!

  1. Goofy
  2. Chubs
  3. Loaf
  4. Klutz
  5. Biggie
  6. Garfield
  7. Banjo
  8. Cheeto
  9. Snoozy
  10. Softie
  11. Houdini
  12. Blush
  13. Jello
  14. Puffin
  15. Bubbles
  16. Slug
  17. Nosy
  18. Munchkin
  19. Buttercup
  20. Flippers
  21. Shark
  22. Marshmallow
  23. Chubby Cheeks
  24. Jabba
  25. Bouncer
  26. Macaroon
  27. Pumpkin
  28. Sir Bounce-a-lot
  29. Slow Poke
  30. Herbert


The bubble eye goldfish is fragile. But with the right tank set-up, it can avoid harm and live a long, healthy life. Other than its very sensitive eye bubbles which require extra safety measures, this fish has very similar requirements to other goldfish species. With the right water parameters, diet, and a low-stress environment, this clumsy little fish will become the heart and soul of every aquarium.

Author Image Fabian
I’m Fabian, aquarium fish breeder and founder of this website. I’ve been keeping fish, since I was a kid. On this blog, I share a lot of information about the aquarium hobby and various fish species that I like. Please leave a comment if you have any question.
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