Butterfly Telescope Goldfish Care Guide

Butterfly Telescope Goldfish Care Guide7 mins read

Fact checked by
Sydney Perry
Reading Time: 12 minutes

Butterfly Telescope Goldfish Care Guide

The butterfly telescope goldfish is a unique and exquisite quality goldfish that falls under the Fancy Goldfish Breeds.

The butterfly telescope goldfish is very appealing for most fancy Goldfish enthusiasts. However, does need a bit more effort when it comes to caring for it. Thus, it is more suitable for someone with reasonable experience.

If you are interested in this elegant and rare fancy goldfish breed, then we have much more information for you.

Unique butterfly telescope goldfish
Image From Wikipedia

Breed Overview

OriginAsia coming from Waterways of Southern China
Lifespan8 to 10 years
SizeAround 6 to 8 inches in a tank and up to 12 inches in a pond
ColourChocolate, Calico, Orange, White, Red, Black, and Black and White (Panda), Tri-Colored, and Blue-Scale
Tank Size20-40 Gallons
TemperamentSocial and do not Shoal
Water TypeFreshwater
Water TemperatureAround 10-25 Degrees Celsius or 55-77 Fahrenheit
Water pHNeutral PH of 7.0
Difficulty LevelIntermediary

Species Information

Species information of telescope goldfish
The telescope Goldfish is well-known for its more protruding eyes. Image from MaxPixel

As from the trusted sources of Teichfischer 1994 “The Butterfly Telescope Goldfish is a variant of the Telescope Goldfish that is distinguished by the butterfly-shaped caudal fins when viewed from above”

The variety has only recently been deemed a specific breed from a few published works. The telescope Goldfish is well-known for its more protruding eyes, and the tail conformation according to Wikipedia is basically bred from the Butterfly Goldfish into the Telescope Goldfish.

Different Color Variations

The image below shows a regular Butterfly Goldfish, rather than a Telescope. This should give you an idea of their more common orange color.

Color variations of butterfly goldfish
The Telescope Butterfly Goldfish being a rarer species is also available in similar colors to the Butterfly Goldfish. Image from Wikipedia

The Telescope Butterfly Goldfish being a rarer breed, is also available in similar colors to the Butterfly Goldfish:

  • Basic orange.
  • Red a darker deeper orange.
  • Orange or Red and white Tri-Colors and Bi-Colors.
  • Black.
  • Calico which has lighter markings.
  • White.
  • Chocolate Brown is sometimes called Iron or Copper.
  • Panda which is a black and white color with equal patches resembling a panda.
  • Blue Scale which is a much rarer color.

Telescope Butterfly Goldfish Size

Telescope butterfly goldfish Size
Telescope butterfly goldfish have been claims that they can reach up to 12 inches in size. Image from Flickr

The telescope butterfly goldfish is a medium to larger-sized fish that is robust and can reach sizes of around 4-6 inches in the right tank conditions. In ponds, there have been claims that they can reach up to 12 inches in size.

General Care

Generally speaking, the telescope butterfly goldfish is easy to care for and quite hardy, however, they are very prone to swim bladder. Butterfly Telescope Goldfish likewise also do not do well in water that is too cold.

They are a good choice for pet owners and breeders who have a little more experience with fancy goldfish. They are quite a popular choice among Goldfish enthusiasts due to their unique appeal, and are a rarer breed.

So, let’s start off with the basics for caring for your Butterfly telescope Goldfish;

Setting Up Your Tank

The Video below shows a very minimalist tank set-up in which the butterfly telescope goldfish have much freedom to roam:

1. Selecting The Right Sized Tank

The Butterfly Telescope Goldfish requires enough space in the tank. Compared with some breeds, they need less clutter and more open space for swimming as they are quite active. As they are similar in size to the Oranda Goldfish, also a fancy Goldfish with an easy going temperament, they need around a 20 to 30-gallon fish tank per fish.

You may need to increase the size of your tank for every Goldfish that you want to add by around 20 to 30 gallons.

2. Water Conditions And Filtration

It’s important to get the right filtration system for your Telescope Butterfly Goldfish. You will need quite a strong filtration system as Goldfish are notoriously messy in general. Indeed, they can produce plenty of waste in no time.

On the other hand, the telescope Butterfly Goldfish is not the strongest swimmer. Therefore, you will also need to opt for a filter system such as a canister filter with an adjustable flow. However, you can also use a plant or ornament to buffer the current.

You may need an artificial light in your tank if the tank is in a shaded area. You can also place it in indirect sunlight for Live Plants to survive. This will also give your fish a clear idea of day and night.

Telescope Butterfly Goldfish thrive in cold fresh water. However, you should take care, as with other fancy varieties, not to expose them to very low water temperatures.

The ideal water conditions for telescope Butterfly Goldfish are as follows:

  • Temperature between 10-25 degrees Celsius (50-77 degrees F)
  • The pH of the water should be neutral pH 7.0.
  • Water Hardness needs to be between 5 and 19dGH.
  • Nitrates should be around 20 ppm or less.

3. Decorating Your Tank

Decorating your tank of butterfly goldfish
Some natural plants are edible and many Goldfish do enjoy nibbling on them once and a while. Image from Flickr


Plants give a more natural feel to your Goldfish tank. They also create a more comfortable environment for them. Additionally, you can choose between natural or synthetic plants.

With synthetic plants just be cautious of hard parts that could cause an injury to your fish.

Though Goldfish in general do not essentially require natural plants in their tank. However, live plants can help to keep the water clean, and in addition, provide oxygen. Some natural plants are edible and many Goldfish do enjoy nibbling on them once and a while.

Good plant options for Telescope Butterfly Goldfish include:

  • Java Ferns
  • Anubias
  • Hornwort
  • Marimo Moss Balls
  • Bolbitis Ferns
  • Floating Plants


Although not 100% necessary, it is a much better choice to use a good substrate in your Goldfish tank. This acts as a filter for dirt and waste, and also as a medium to plant your plants in and place ornaments securely.

When choosing the best substrate for Telescope Butterfly they are a bit fussier. You may need to follow these cautionary steps:

  • The Substrate needs to be smooth in texture as their skin is quite delicate. This is the case especially the tail, which in turn has quite a “wide tail spread”
  • Most fancy Goldfish are sensitive to pH levels in their tank, especially the telescope Butterfly Goldfish which requires a more specific neutral pH of 7.0. The substrate can affect the pH, so choose a gravel or sand-based substrate.
  • Goldfish overall will generally nibble on the substrate in their tank. The wrong type of substrate could easily cause a digestive issue or more severe consequences. Make sure the substrate that you use is safe.


Firstly, you can start off with a background decal of your choices to add some color and a natural feel. Decorations will depend on your style and preferences, however here are a few ideas that you could use:

  • You can add more natural driftwood and larger stones.
  • Synthetic decorations including Castles, Shipwrecks, or even cars are ideal.
  • Bridges and treasure chests are some interesting decorations for your tank.

When choosing any decorations, be careful that they do not have a rough surface or sharp edges that could injure your Goldfish.

Adding Your New Fish

Adding new fish of butterfly goldfish tank
You need to find a reputable breeder or a good Pet store to find a healthy Goldfish and tank mates. Image from Flickr

At this point, your tank is finally ready, and you will have added your water conditioner to get the right pH. Now, it’s time to introduce your telescope Butterfly Goldfish to its new home.

However, you need to find a reputable breeder or a good pet store to find healthy Goldfish and tank mates.

Choosing A Healthy Goldfish

I would suggest that you do a bit of research to find a good fancy Goldfish breeder who has knowledge of this species. This ensures they will provide you with a healthy and good quality fish.

Here are a few tips from the Encyclopedia of Aquarium and Pond Fish to help you choose a good specimen;

  • They should have a balanced Caudal fin or tail fin that is strong and must not droop.
  • The Dorsal Fins should be more compact and rounded in shape.
  • Telescope Butterfly Goldfish have the Telescope eye trait for telescope fish, with both eyes that are clear and telescopic in shape.

Other than that, generally speaking, any healthy Goldfish should be more active and swimming, and not lethargic.

Placing Your Goldfish In Its New Home

The process of adding any new fish, especially Goldfish, to a new tank is much more than just dropping your fish off in the water.

You need to acclimate your fish to their new tank which is a slow process. As you will see from the video, it is a step-by-step explanation to add your new telescope Goldfish to the Tank.

Most of us will not have a separate quarantine tank, and want to acclimate our fish in their original tank. This is also fine, though with rare species such as the Telescope Butterfly fish, it is ideal to use a Quarantine tank. The tnk can also come in handy later if you would like to breed your fish.

So, here are just the basic steps:

  1. Allow the inside bag with the fish to float on the water for around half an hour to match the temperature.
  2. Use a cup to scoop some of the tank water into the bag with the fish still allowing it to float.
  3. Add some of the tank water to the bag every 15 minutes for an hour or two.
  4. Pour the fish into the tank, but avoid pouring all the water from the bag into the tank.

Selecting Tank Mates

You may want to introduce a few other species as friends for your Butterfly Telescope Goldfish.

The Butterfly telescope fish is a rather gentle species that has wide flowing caudal fins. These can easily get damaged by more aggressive species. I would avoid keeping them with more aggressive fish species such as African Cichlids, Oscars or Tiger Barbs.

Most other fancy Goldfish species that can handle similar water conditions are ideal to keep with your Butterfly Telescope fish. You could also consider some of these species:


Leopard catfish
Leopard catfish Image from Flickr


Common and Bristle nose Pleco Image from Wikimedia.

Neon Tetras Image from Flickr

Striped Danio Image from Flickr

Rice Fish Image from Wikimedia

 Be careful with much smaller fish. The Butterfly Telescope Fish is quite a sizeable fish when fully grown. It could easily swallow small fish.

Tank Maintenance

As most Goldfish species can be quite messy, it is vital to clean and maintain your fish tank regularly. This will keep the water conditions at peak levels for your fish to thrive.

Here are the steps you need to take for proper maintenance of your tank;

  • Remove half of the old water from your Goldfish tank, you will be replacing it with new water.
  • Every couple of days to a week, fill a separate container with water, mixing hot and cold to get the right temperatures.
  • Add your water conditioner to the water to clean and disinfect the water.
  • Now, add your aquarium salts and ensure that the pH is right, 7.0 neutral.
  • Add the new treated water to the tank.
  • You can use a tank vacuum or scraper to clean the gravel, sides, and ornaments, or remove ornaments and plants for cleaning.


feeding to telescope butterfly goldfish
You can feed your fish two to three times daily, only enough that they can finish eating. Image from Flickr

Goldfish are notorious overeaters, and the same fact applies to the telescope Butterfly Goldfish.

You can feed your fish two to three times daily. Only ever feed enough that they can finish eating. Food that they leave will sink to the bottom of the tank and promote waste, causing harmful ammonia build up.

Butterfly telescope Goldfish are Omnivores and therefore require a diet based on both plants and protein.

1. Flakes And Pellets

High-quality pellets or flakes from a trusted source and brand should be the staple diet of your new goldfish. You can seek recommendations from reputable breeders and from trusted pet stores.

2. Live And Freeze-Dried Foods

As an occasional treat, it is good to supplement their diet with freeze dried or live foods. You can offer foods such as daphnia, brine shrimps, bloodworms, insect larvae, and tubifex worms. Just ensure that they come from a trusted source and never feed insects that you caught.

3. Plant-Based

Your Butterfly Telescope Goldfish do require some plant matter to thrive. You may occasionally find them nibbling on the plants in their tank. Aquatic plants and algae are ideal, though you can also offer small amounts of spinach, zucchini, and lettuce.

Temperament And Personality

For beginners, we do not recommend handling your fish unless you are absolutely skilled to do so. But for example purposes only, you can see from the video how calm and playful Butterfly Telescope fish are.

They are very calm and easygoing and relatively easy to care for. They do have specific tank requirements and water parameters. Yet, other than that they are quite low maintenance.

Common Health Issues

As with most fancy goldfish, telescope butterfly goldfish are likewise prone to certain health conditions.

  • Swim Bladder Disease – you may notice that your Goldfish has some balance issues and starts to bloat. This may be swim bladder disease, which can come from by overeating. It can also come from bacterial build up. Cleaning your tank will help, and getting the water conditions up to optimal levels again.
  • Ich – Ich causes small white spots, especially on the gills of your fish. It is caused by stress and a dirty tank, and it is highly contagious. Therefore you may need to quarantine the sick fish, and clean your tank.
  • Fungal and Bacterial Infections – Fungal and bacterial infections are common issues in aquarium fish and can be caused by stress and a poor immune system. There are medications that you can get from your pet stores to help with specific Fungal or bacterial infections
  • Fin Rot – Fin rot is part of a bacterial infection when the tank water is poor quality. It especially affects Butterfly Goldfish species with their wide tail fins. You need to change at least 25% of your tank water weekly, as mentioned under tank maintenance.
  • Physical Damage – Physical damage can easily happen to the fishes’ body or fins. It can come from plants, ornaments, other fish, handling, or even substrate in the tank. You should isolate a severely injured fish in a quarantine tank, and you can use some aquarium salts or even plain non-iodized salt to help heal the wounds.

You can read further on Goldfish Behavior Before Death to get more in-depth insights into Goldfish disease and conditions.

Breeding And Caring For Hatchlings

If you are interested in breeding your butterfly telescope goldfish, or any Fancy Goldfish, it is a relatively simple process. However you will need a tank to keep the eggs and small fry separately until they are bigger and stronger.

In the video below is a simple way to make your own spawning mop and it shows the entire breeding process:

You can follow these guidelines from our trusted Breeding GoldFish source which will be suitable for breeding most types of fancy Goldfish:

Most goldfish species only become mature after one year but they only reach their prime within three years of age. Butterfly telescope Ggldfish can live in pairs or groups of males and females.

Males that are ready to spawn will form white dots on their pectoral fins and gill covers called tubercles. The females will become heavier on their rear side with more swelling on the left side of the body. The female can lay up to 1000 eggs per spawn.

This makes her capable of laying approximately 500-1000 eggs per spawn!

Conditions for spawning and breeding:

  • The water temperatures need to be cooler for spawning. This should be around 21 degrees Celsius during the day, and 10 degrees Celsius at night. You can add ice or cooler water to the tank to get the right temperatures.
  • The females will lay their eggs in plants, and the males will fertilize them or a fish mop such as the one in the video that you could make yourself or purchase.
  • Do not remove eggs immediately if your fish are resting, as they may not have completed the spawning process.
  • You will then need to remove the eggs to a separate tank where they will hatch within around four to seven days.
  • You can remove the spawning mop by turning and shaking it gently.
  • Fry can be fed with small baby brine shrimp and a high protein diet until they are older.

An Interesting fact read in the Encyclopedia of Aquarium and Pond Fish is that “many fry will develop with one normal eye and one telescope eye”. This can make it quite difficult to breed perfect show quality specimens.

Last Thoughts

How much do butterfly telescope goldfish cost
The Butterfly telescope Goldfish is truly an exquisite fancy goldfish breed that is relatively friendly, calm, and has little issues when properly cared for. Image from Flickr

The Butterfly telescope Goldfish is truly an exquisite fancy goldfish breed that is relatively friendly and calm. It has little issues when properly cared for. You can keep this breed in a tank and pond, as it prefers relatively cold-water temperatures. And to top it off, the butterfly telescope goldfish is available in some really breath-taking colors.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Exact Temperature ranges for Keeping a Butterfly Telescope Goldfish?
Well, you may have read from many sites that they enjoy temperatures between around 62- and 75-degrees Fahrenheit, however many people do not know that they ideally prefer slightly colder temperatures, so I would suggest a range of around 50 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit, or 10-25 degrees Celsius. Temperatures do need to be cooler for spawning.
How Do I Know if Telescope Butterfly Goldfish is Male or Female?
With Butterfly Goldfish especially the tell tale sign that they are male is that their fins are much longer than that of the females. You can also watch their behavior as males will follow and swim against the females, almost chasing them around. Female goldfish generally have an anal vent that is rounder and protrudes more than that of the male, especially during breeding season.
How Much Do Butterfly Telescope Goldfish Cost?
The prices will greatly differ depending on whether you buy from a breeder or pet store, and depending on the age, and color variations of the Goldfish. They range from around cheapest at $10 and can cost up to $130.
View sources

Tal Halperin

Tal is an avid fish keeper and has been raising ornamental fish for decades. As a little boy, he drove his father crazy to buy him an aquarium with all the necessary equipment. Now, after a career in the field, he has set up Your Aquarium Place to offer the most comprehensive guide to ornamental fish keeping available and share his passion for the different species he has looked after.