The ryukin in some respects is intermediate between the fantail and the veiltail: it has a deep body and usually a medium to fairly long tail, but the tail is held high and its lobes are narrow; the other fins are similar to the fantail's. In two respects it is different from either: the head is pointed and there is an indentation in the anterior dorsal contour where the head joins the rest of the body, giving a dorsal hump. The ryukin was developed in China and imported and further developed in Japan.

There is a long-tailed version of this fish known as a fringetail/ribbontail ryukin, and there is a version of the foregoing called a tamasaba or sabao which has a single tail (rather than a double tail).


The ryukin standard is as follows:

The fish should be bright and alert. The caudal fin should be well divided, forked, and should be equal to the length of the body. The body should be short and rounded in appearance with a pronounced hump rising from the head smoothly over the dorsal contour. The head should be pointed in appearance.

The colour may be metallic or calico.

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. 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:

ryukin standard, side view ryukin standard, top view


Mature adults

Photographed in Hong Kong, December 2003

tricolour ryukin

Tricolour (red-white-black) ryukin with medium length tail.

large red and red-white ryukin

Red and red-and-white fish with short tails. In the centre is a black demekin (see below).

large red-white ryukin

Two red-white fish with short tails, amongst various other types.

Mature adults

large red-white variegated ryukin red ryukins
red-white variegated ryukin

Photographed in Hong Kong in December 2000 (top) and at BAS 1999 (bottom); the red-white variegated fish have long tails.

Young adult, top view

red-white variegated ryukin red-white variegated ryukin

This red-and-white variegated fish was shown at BAS 2002. Note the long, deeply forked tail, compared with the broader tail of the veiltail in which the fork has largely been bred out.


demekin, right demekins

This is the globe eye version of the ryukin, called the demekin, which has all the characters of the ryukin with the addition of the globe eye feature; it is quite distinct from the standard globe eye. Photographed in Hong Kong in December 2000.

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