The pompon is very rare in UK, being something of a novelty fish. They breed true to form. The nasal septa are enlarged and frilly, hence the name.

In the Far East the pompon (without dorsal) is called the velvetyball eggfish. In Japan there is a dorsalled variety of this fish called the hanafusa, which is also seen in Hong Kong and, in the last few years, in UK too.

Pompons first appeared in 1900.

Note that there are several ways of spelling the name of this fish: pompom (the 'modern' spelling), its two-word variants with/without a hyphen (pom-pom, pom pom), pompon (the original spelling, which came into English from French in the mid 18th Century, as is used in the BAS website), and its two-word variants (pom-pon, pom pon). (It means a decorative small woollen ball attached to a garment, especially a hat.)


The pompon standard is as follows:

The fish should be bright and alert. The body should be medium length with smooth contours and no sign of a dorsal fin. The caudal fin should be well divided, forked and held above the horizontal. The pompons should be large, well shaped and matching.

Metallic fish may be self-coloured (red, orange, yellow, blue, brown or black) or variegated (any combination of red, orange, yellow, blue, brown, black and white) in a pleasing pattern similar on each side. Quality fish will have high colour intensity and metallic shine extending into the fins.

Calico fish should have a blue background with patches of violet, red, orange, yellow, brown and white, spotted with black. Quality fish should have a high intensity of colour evenly distributed over the body, with colour, especially black, extending into the fins.

Ideal profiles are illustrated below:

pompon standard, side view pompon standard, top view


Adult pompons, calico colouration, Western standard

pompon goldfish pompon goldfish

Orange pompons photographed at BAS 2011. These fish have a good body contour and finnage and well-formed nasal septa but lack the balance of red-blue colouration per the calico standard. The nasal septa of the left-hand fish are imbalanced in size and ideally should be matching.

pompon 2008 pompon 2008

Pompon with a lovely calico blue background colour. Shown at BAS 2008.

pompon pompon

Pompon with a nice, smooth dorsal contour; the body could ideally be a little deeper. Photographed at BAS 2007.

pompon pompon

Another good UK pompon, with a smooth dorsal contour, slightly deeper body and larger nasal septa. Photographed at BAS 2007.

calico pompon calico pompon
calico pompon

This fish conforms closely to the standard, but has a slight hood. The fish has good calico colouration but lacks balance of colour and pattern on either side, there being noticeably more red on the right than on the left. Photographed at BAS 2003.

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