What is the difference between Lionchu & Ranchu? Which Goldfish Steals the Show?

What is the difference between Lionchu & Ranchu? Which Goldfish Steals the Show?

After getting my hands into the fascinating world of lionchu and ranchu goldfish in the past 15 years since i was living in Asia to now in the United States, I discovered some interesting distinctions between the two breeds. While both share the absence of a dorsal fin and an egg-shaped body, ranchu tend to have a more pronounced back curve and moderate head growth, while lionchu inherit the larger / fluffy wen from their lionhead ancestors and yes, a bigger belly shape making them more rounded.


Jimmy at Thai farm


Both lionchu and ranchu are fancy goldfish breeds known for their beautiful, egg-shaped bodies and lack of a dorsal fin. However, there are some key differences between the two breeds:


SHOW Grade Jumbo LionQueen 6 inches #0428LC_02

Sample photo of our Lionchu Goldfish

Ranchu Goldfish

Sample photo of our Ranchu Goldfish

Body Shape:

  • Ranchu: Has a deeper body with a pronounced, elegant curve in the back, resembling a traditional Japanese comb or a Koban coin. The tail is more erect and sets smoothly into the body. The Ranchu would please though who loves "rain bowl"-like back curve.
  • Lionchu: Combines the body shape of both ranchu and lionhead goldfish. It has a slightly less pronounced curve in the back and larger belly which making it more rounded (egg-shaped) compared to ranchu. The tail is set at a similar angle to the ranchu.

Head growth:

  • Ranchu: Has moderate head growth (the wen) that covers all parts of the head, including the face, cheeks, and top of the head. The wen should be smooth and even, with no lumps or bumps.
  • Lionchu: The wen, big wen is the most known visual appealing of the Lionchu. Inherits the larger, more prominent head growth from the lionhead goldfish. The wen can be quite substantial and cover the entire head, including the eyes and mouth. People usually prefer to have larger wen on fancy goldfish for their cuteness and quality.

    Care & Origin:

    • Lionchu: Developed in Thailand as a hybrid between ranchu and lionhead goldfish. Thai breeder is famous for Lionchu. Caring, it requires similar care to other fancy goldfish, including good water quality, spacious tanks, and appropriate diet. Though, they are quite clumsy which always requires attention from owner and gentle water flow would be great for them.
    • Ranchu: Developed in Japan, but it is now a popular fancy goldfish and successfully breeded by breeders around the world. Some of most popular countries like China, Thailand and Japan. There are multiple variety of ranchu nowadays. Similar care needs, there is no much difference in care between these two. They are both clumsy 😀

    Ultimately, the "best" breed depends on your preferences:

    The Lionchu's majesty goes beyond the body shape and color. Their unique head growth (wen) and the face always show a character make it unique. Ultimately, the choice between a lionchu and a ranchu comes down to personal preference. If you prefer a more delicate and graceful goldfish, the ranchu may be a better choice. If you adore the big wen, the chubby round shape, and the playful personality, the lionchu may be the better option.. If you seek a truly special centerpiece, the Lionchu awaits at Jimmy Goldfish. Visit us today and bring these "water pigs" to your aquarium!


    Disclaimer: While this information is based on various sources, it's important to conduct your own research and consult experienced aquarists before making any decisions about goldfish care.


    Jimmy Goldfish Team