Pronounced wa-KEEN, the Wakin Goldfish is a variety of Japanese fancy goldfish. Probably bred from Chinese Goldfish brought over to Japan, Wakin Goldfish have been around since the 1500s, making it one of the oldest varieties of Japanese Goldfish.
Until recently, these types of fancy goldfish were not readily available in the United States, and as such were rare to find in ponds and tanks. More recently, U.S. hatcheries have been producing Wakin Goldfish, making them more accessible. However, they are still one of the rarer types of fancy goldfish. They usually fetch a premium price, too.
As they are sturdy goldfish, Wakin don’t require a tremendous amount of TLC and so can be kept by beginners. However, with the higher cost, it might be worth owning a less expensive variety first before opting for a Wakin.
A Wakin closely resembles its more common cousin. They have long, slender bodies with a dorsal fin that can cover almost the entire back.
The most distinguishing characteristic of the Wakin, however, is its short, double tail—which, if seen first, makes people assume it is a Fantail Goldfish.
Ordinarily, the Wakin’s tail is not as long or flowing as some of the other varieties of split-tailed fancy goldfish; however, there is one type of Wakin—the Watonai—which does have a flowing tail.
Wakin Size and Life Expectancy
Although a fully grown Wakin is usually anywhere from 10-12 inches, they have been known to grow upwards of 18 inches in an ideal pond environment with optimal water parameters and healthy conditions.
The preferred temperature range for this type of fancy goldfish is 60-78ºF. However, Wakin are hardy goldfish and can weather colder pond temperatures in the winter.
The average life expectancy is 12 years (so anywhere from 10-15 years), but some Wakin have been known to live up to 20 years in bigger ponds with optimum conditions.
Traditionally, Wakin are red or white (or red and white). Though, over the last few years, new color variations have emerged as a result of selective breeding.
Wakin are now available in calico, yellow, brown and orange colors, too.
Wakin Goldfish are more mobile than some other fancy goldfish. As fast swimmers, they will require a little more room to move. These goldfish prefer pond environments where they have the space to roam.
The tank size should be at least 30 gallons, with an extra 10 gallons per additional fish. If the intention is to keep the Wakin in a tank, do not buy a heated tank. Wakin do better in cooler waters.
If you are going to use a substrate in your tank or pond, Wakin will eat small or fine pieces of gravel. Make sure that your gravel is large enough that they cannot eat it.
Wakin are known to produce large amounts of waste. Any filtration you choose to use in your tank or pond should be able to handle this biological waste, removing potentially lethal ammonia as well as introducing dissolved oxygen back into the water.
If you opt for a tank environment for your Wakin, consider a filtration system that is designed for a bigger tank than the one you have. If you have a 30-gallon tank, get the filter that is advertised for use with a 40-gallon tank.
Wakin are omnivorous and like a varied diet. Flakes are the base of a good diet, but this can be augmented with other more natural foods, too. Other foods that you can add to their diet:
- shelled peas
- chopped grapes
- chopped strawberries.
- worms (live or frozen)
- mosquito larvae
You can also add brine shrimp to that mix as a treat, too.
If you have aquatic plants in your pond or tank, Wakin will graze on those as well if they are looking for a snack outside of regular meal times. Here is an article on the 12 Best Plants for Goldfish Tanks and Aquariums.
Remember, overfeeding your Wakin can lead to swim bladder problems and add to extra waste in the tank or pond.
Only feed your Wakin as much as it can eat over the course of 1-2 minutes. This will require some testing, but eventually, you will get the amount just right.
Ideal Pond Mates
Like all goldfish, Wakin are social creatures and do better with other fish. But as agile swimmers, their pond (or tank) mates should be other strong swimmers. Common Goldfish, Comets, and Shubunkins are best suited to life with Wakin.
As a result of the body shape, Wakin tend to outmaneuver the more ovoid-shaped fancy goldfish and so will out-compete them for food. Fish to avoid pairing Wakin with are Bubble Eye, Celestial Eye, Telescopes, Ranchu, and Moor Fancy Goldfish.
Being a goldfish keeper can be a richly rewarding experience. Owning a Wakin Fancy Goldfish is no exception.
Owners will remark on the flash of color produced by the Wakin’s “peduncle flash.” This eye-catching shimmer is the result of the iridescence of the scales around the peduncle (where the tail meets the body) when the Wakin makes a sudden dash, giving it an instantly recognizable flash of brilliance under the water.
Wakin are a hardy breed of goldfish that don’t require a lot of maintenance or special care, and a fish that will offer a lifetime of color and fulfillment if they are given the proper environment in which to grow.