Metallic Veiltail

Veiltail – metallic / normal eyed


Normal eyed Veiltails are generally thought of by most keepers are dream fish. The extremely graceful fish are very rare in North America. At the present time there are three dominant types; Philadelphia, and English lines and Asian imported hybrids.

The Philadelphia Veiltail came to North America from Japan in 1893. The fish were to be exhibited at the World’s Fair in Philadelphia but passed in shipment, another set of fish were imported into Minnesota and these gradually formed the basis for the Philadelphia Veiltail. The original fish were Fringetails. Fringetails have all of the Veiltail traits including long pectoral fins, but the tail is not squared off. The records suggest that the surviving fish was crossed to other fish in order to preserve the genepool as none of the imported fish lasted very long. The accounts of this story are all over the map, it is best to look at early publications by Innes, or the two texts by Dr. Joseph Smartt. Today, Philadelphia Veiltails are kept and bred in North America by about 15 amateur breeders and kept by about 30-70 additional keepers.

The English Veiltail was formulated in the 1940’s and stock was imported by Commander Whitehead on two occasions. Winston Churchill really liked these fish and got some from Blue Ridge Nurseries in Maryland (still in operation today) . Some of the English publications may report this this differently, but there is some newspaper documentation about the Churchill visit. English Veiltails were imported into North America by Glenn Wachner early in the 21st century. The calico version is widely distributed, the metallic grouped has disappeared and is most probably extinct in North America

The Asian Veiltail imports continue to come into the United States annually form Chinese origin. Historically the metallic have not bred true, while the calico specimens show some promise.

These striking, long finned fish are extremely beautiful and graceful. When acquiring these fish it should be remembered that the long flowing fins never quit growing. While the giant flowing fins look great on fish under three years of age, after that the long finned fish often find the tail fin (often described as a sail) as a burden or perhaps a sea anchor. This often leads to bottom sitting, tail standing or hanging in a clump of plants (or breeding pompoms). Over the last decade, breeders are selecting for fish with shorter tails and thicker peduncles.

Presently there are only red, orange and wild colored metallic Veiltails in North America. The famous Blue metallic Veiltails are appear to be temporarily lost.

© Merlin Cunliffe 2016

Breed Development

Metallic Veiltails are shinny because of the guanine in their scales. The fish has a classic Fantail body, so only a slight rise not a hump like a Ryukin. Judges will have issue with this in the future as Broadtail Ryukin are now common in the “fancy” and the off spring will show in the Ryukin or Veiltail category. Judges are trained to consider moving an entry to a different class instead of penalizing. Also if breeders have numerous Broadtail Ryukins, they may decide to place entries in both Ryukins and Veiltails. TGC, therefore allows a hump exception for Broadtail Ryukins.

Critical features are numerous and are listed below;

  • Face is in alignment with the back and there is not a step like in a Ryukin.
  • Dorsal fin height is ½ to ¾ the depth of the body.
  • The tail is split from 2/3 to 100% of its’ length.
  • The tail is ½ to 2/3 the body length
  • The tail should be squared off, but may be slightly indented.
  • Pectoral fins should be longer than other varieties. The fins are preferred to be straight, but they are often scalloped, twisted.
  • Anal fins should be paired and similar, twists are possible.
  • Nariel flares are acceptable.

Key deductions / write downs include the following;

  • Turned down mouth (carp mouth).
  • Fused tail fins.
  • Enlarged veins in the tail.
  • Extra mucus in globs/ patches on tail.
  • Bottom Sitting.
  • Tail Standing.


The judging of this variety is always exciting because of its’ rarity and exception features.

Maximum points awards are as follows;

Fin development and shape 30
Body Shape 20
Head shape and position 20
Fin Color 10
Overall Condition 10
Deportment 10

The complexity of the finnage is the most challenging part of judging this fish. The table below detail this unique feature;

Fin development and shape

Dorsal Fin

Dorsal fin tall and ½ to ¾ the height of the body or more, does not fold when at rest

Dorsal fin tall and ½ to ¾ the height of the body or more, does fold when at rest or the fin has a wave in it. 26
Dorsal fin is not ½ as tall as the body 25
Dorsal fin has a rip, tear or an edge that abnormal 22-25
Tail Fin

Tail fins are matched and 2/3 to 100% split, trailing edge is square.

Tail fins are as above but not split, trailing edge is square 25
Tail fins are matched and 2/3 to 100% split, trailing edge is indented 25-27
Pectoral Fin

Fins are matched and are straight or cupped shaped

Fins are twisted or corkscrew in appearance 28
Fins are mismatched 26-27
Anal Fin

Two anal fins that are similar in appearance

One anal fin 25
No anal fins Disqualified

Dorsal Fin, Tail Fin, Pectoral Fin and Anal Fin value are averaged for a final score.

Body Shape

Body shape similar to a Fantail, depth ½ to 2/3 the length 20
Body shape similar to a Oranda, depth 2/3 to ¾ the length 20
Body shape similar to a Ryukin depth 2/3 to 3/4 the length, Broadtail Ryukin Exception 20
Body depth is not deep enough and described above 15

Head shape and position

Head is Fantail shaped, dorsal back of the head matched the shape of the back, no hump. 20
Head is Fantail shaped, dorsal back of the head matched the shape of the back, no hump.

In older fish, the fish may have some head growth.

Head is Ryukin shaped, or pointed, dorsal back of the head, proceeds to a hump. This option is only allowed for Broadtail Ryukins. If not a BTR, score in15 or less. 18
Head is short, and gill plates are short or twisted 15
Head is pointed 15

Fin Color*

Fin color patterns are all the same. 10
Fins have some colors that are matched, some are not 8
Coloration of fins is faded 7
  • Translucent fins are acceptable

Overall Condition

Fish must be active and vigorous, fish that appear to not be able to support the tail and are discounted. Judge looks for the fins to be clear and not clody


Fish must swim and not drag its’ tail.