Fantail (Metallic and Calico, English, Japanese and American)


The Fantail is generally thought to be Japanese in origin. It is a cross between the Wakin and the Ryukin. In the 1940’s the English have promoted improvements to Fantails, making them stockier. In North America, a small group of people breed these hardy specimens. In the United States these fish are commercially bred. Some of the more vigorous fish in North America are short tailed offspring of Veiltail crosses.

© Merlin Cunliffe 2016, Fantail

Breed Development

The fantail is fairly common starting point for aquarium hobbyist in North America. It is available in metallic and calico forms. The metallic form as shown below is most common but they do occasionally come to the market in blue, chocolate and yellow.

Fantails have these features;

  • Matched pectoral, caudal and anal fins.
  • Dorsal fin is smooth with a prominent lead fin ray on most fish.
  • Height of dorsal fin is about 50% the body depth.
  • Tail is lobed and 1/3 to ½ the body length.
  • Nariel flares are sometimes present.
  • The is no hump, but a slight rise in the back.
  • No headgrowth or wen is acceptable.
  • Peduncle is thick.

Judging is based on a 100-point scale.

Color 20
Fins 20
Body and face 20
Condition 20
Deportment 20


Metallic must be shiny and bright,

Calicoes much be at least two colors and some speckling is preferred.

Metallic colors are faded, calico fish have white over 50% of the body 15
Fin color is not matched 15


Fins are matched and and have no splits 20
Fins do not match 0-5
Only one anal fin 10

Body and Face

Body has in line scaling and is deep, about 2/3 to ¾ the length, head is slightly rounded 20
Head has head growth 0-10
Fish is too thin or too fat. 10


Fish must be an active swimmer, body sitting or head standing deduct up to 20 points based on severity.


Fish must not lean to one side. When at rest, dorsal fin must be at rest, deduction up to 20 points judge’s decision.