Fancy Goldfish - Wakins and Watonais


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Wakin goldfish are a traditional pond breed of goldfish that never really became popular in western societies. They are characterized by having the slim, elongaged body of a common goldfish, but the double anal-fin and caudal fin of a fancy goldfish breed. Watonais are very similar, except while wakins have short fins like a common goldfish, watonais have long fish like a comet goldfish. They are beautiful, said to be hardier and more robust than fantails (but not quite as robust as commons or comets. Kind of an in-between state).

Unfortunately, due to their lack of popularity in the US, I've only ever found standard red-and-white wakins for sale at one pet store, one time, mislabeled (to my great pleasure) as fantails. Other than that lucky one-time incident, I've had to order my wakins and watonais from importers or breeders. This year both of the suppliers I relied upon for these fish, Dandy Orandas and Rain Gardens, have stopped selling. I may not be able to purchase any more wakins or watonais again for the foreseeable future.

I haven't noticed anybody talk about these two breeds on here before. I was wondering if there are any other goldfish enthusiasts hidden away on here who might know something about them, or know where they can be purchased. Perhaps, if I'm lucky, I might even find someone who had a spawning problem and had extras to rehome. That sort of thing.
 
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Some members here have those fish. I don't know if they breed them or not. I have some Watonai but they are mixed in with other types of fish in the pond, so none of their offspring would be pure, if they survived.

I got mine from someone if Florida that was just breeding them for fun. I don't know if he is still doing that but I'll try to check and find out.

I believe that mmathis has both types. Maybe you could send her a message and see if you could work something out there.

Good luck.
 
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I'm so excited to hear that other people have these little guys! I feel they are under-appreciated. WaterGardener, you've never had any trouble with these fish overwintering? I believe our hardiness zones are pretty similar, and one of my concerns with watonais and wakins is that they may not be hardy enough to overwinter like single-tailed goldfish.
 

Mmathis

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@AlyssaFish You are correct that they aren’t talked about much....and unfortunately are hard to find. I love Watonai! They are very hardy GF, and lovely. A few years ago, I placed several orders from KOITOTHE WORLD, and even ordered from a breeder in Hawaii (don’t recall the name). My original plan was to have Watonai and Wakin, (and Shubunkins) exclusively, however my regular comets got busy and quickly outbred my more expensive fish. I don’t know whatever happened to them, but I gradually lost them all. Gorgeous goldfish! After a while, I gave up and let nature take its course (comets won).

At one time there was a lady on KOIPHEN who bred Wakin, but by the time I found out about her, she wasn’t breeding anymore (and she lived fairly close to me, which would have been convenient). Right now I am between ponds, and all of my GF are living in stock tanks in my backyard. If I thought I would have better luck keeping them alive, and I could re-home my current goldies, I would try again once the new pond is built.
 
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I've never had any issues with these fish in winter, but we cover our pond with a greenhouse type structure. No additional heat, just the cover. The pond never freezes that way and it runs all year so there are none of the problems that can happen with new start up in the spring.

I think there are pictures of my pond cover on this site somewhere if you search for it. If you can't find it, I'll be happy to post them again.

The Watonai are pretty hardy fish so I doubt they would have any trouble in winter, but I really don't know how they would fare in an uncovered winter pond. Mine haven't had to experience that.

I do remember a woman on Koiphen that would sell spawning mops that her fish had spawned in for a small fee. She would ship the mops and people could raise their own Wakin and I think Watonai, too, perhaps. Not really sure about that. But she did that for only a short while and I was disappointed that I didn't find her until she had stopping doing that. That could have been fun.
 
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This thread on Watoni was posted one day ago on Koiphen.com .
 
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Mmathis

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This thread on Watoni was posted one day ago on Koiphen.com .
I just tried their web site — so disappointing, both for them, and for their fish.
 
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I have Wakins, and have found them to be real winter hardy, at least through last winter outside here in northern AZ. I had them in an IBC tote that had the top 10" cut off. The tote has about 185 gallons of water in it with a large sponge filter running on air, and a home made filter made from a 5 gallon bucket full of 1 inch volcanic rock, also running on air. The bucket has a plastic grid spacer about an inch off the bottom with a 1 inch pvc pipe running down through the rock from above the top of the bucket with an airstone down through it. I use polyester fiber batting on top of the stone as a pre filter, which I change periodically before it clogs. The ibc froze over for about 2 months, sometimes several inches thick on the surface. I kept the air running and the fish did fine. There were 10- 6 inch fish in it through the winter. I live at an elevation of 7200' and the tote was outside against a south facing wall of my house where it got full sun only about half the day. I would say that that qualifies Wakins as winter hardy. Not only was there ice covering for a couple of months, the water was very cold with ice forming at night, then thawing in the day for a couple more months. I didn't feed them for over 4 months while the water was so cold.

I really like the Wakin as a pond fish, I really much prefer the looks of the shorter tailed, normal body shaped goldfish varieties more than those with the long fins and fat bodies that look like they struggle to swim.

I'm giving breeding the Wakins a try, and have about 50 fry I'm trying to grow out right now. They spawned about a month ago, and I managed to save about 180 fry. Most of the eggs fungused, next time I'm going to use methelene blue in the water to try and prevent that.

I fed the fry Moina and vinegar eels at first, but many of the fry are stunted. A few of the most vigorous fry outgrow the others, and then start feeding on their siblings. I was not really prepared to feed many fry when the spawn came. They need an almost constant supply of live food to do well. It's best to get the numbers down as soon as possible. Hopefully I can do better raising them next time. Thing is, only a select few will turn out with nice shape, color, and markings, so culling down to the best specimens quickly is really important. At first cull I found that only about 25% even had double tails. If you don't carefully select the best few to raise, most likely what survives won't be the best looking ones. It is a lot of work raising just a few nice specimens, and that is why they are expensive.
 

Mmathis

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@Riftlake Where did you get your original Wakin? A few years ago, I was doing a lot of internet searches, but haven’t looked lately. Watonai are my absolute favorites! Both are supposed to be very hardy GF, because (if I remember), these body/fin types go back to the origin of goldfish breeding. IOW, they are not considered “fancy,” but are foundation fish. All current GF types originated from them.
 
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@Riftlake Where did you get your original Wakin? A few years ago, I was doing a lot of internet searches, but haven’t looked lately. Watonai are my absolute favorites! Both are supposed to be very hardy GF, because (if I remember), these body/fin types go back to the origin of goldfish breeding. IOW, they are not considered “fancy,” but are foundation fish. All current GF types originated from them.
I believe you are correct that wakins are the original double-tailed goldfish, however I've heard that the original watonai actually came from crossing a broad-tail ryukin (with long fins) and a wakin: http://solidgoldaquatics.com/2017/02/24/what-the-heck-is-a-watonai-goldfish-update/

Comet goldfish were first bred in the United States, so long-finned goldfish have not always been so ubiquitous.
 
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I have Wakins, and have found them to be real winter hardy, at least through last winter outside here in northern AZ. I had them in an IBC tote that had the top 10" cut off. The tote has about 185 gallons of water in it with a large sponge filter running on air, and a home made filter made from a 5 gallon bucket full of 1 inch volcanic rock, also running on air. The bucket has a plastic grid spacer about an inch off the bottom with a 1 inch pvc pipe running down through the rock from above the top of the bucket with an airstone down through it. I use polyester fiber batting on top of the stone as a pre filter, which I change periodically before it clogs. The ibc froze over for about 2 months, sometimes several inches thick on the surface. I kept the air running and the fish did fine. There were 10- 6 inch fish in it through the winter. I live at an elevation of 7200' and the tote was outside against a south facing wall of my house where it got full sun only about half the day. I would say that that qualifies Wakins as winter hardy. Not only was there ice covering for a couple of months, the water was very cold with ice forming at night, then thawing in the day for a couple more months. I didn't feed them for over 4 months while the water was so cold.

I really like the Wakin as a pond fish, I really much prefer the looks of the shorter tailed, normal body shaped goldfish varieties more than those with the long fins and fat bodies that look like they struggle to swim.

I'm giving breeding the Wakins a try, and have about 50 fry I'm trying to grow out right now. They spawned about a month ago, and I managed to save about 180 fry. Most of the eggs fungused, next time I'm going to use methelene blue in the water to try and prevent that.

I fed the fry Moina and vinegar eels at first, but many of the fry are stunted. A few of the most vigorous fry outgrow the others, and then start feeding on their siblings. I was not really prepared to feed many fry when the spawn came. They need an almost constant supply of live food to do well. It's best to get the numbers down as soon as possible. Hopefully I can do better raising them next time. Thing is, only a select few will turn out with nice shape, color, and markings, so culling down to the best specimens quickly is really important. At first cull I found that only about 25% even had double tails. If you don't carefully select the best few to raise, most likely what survives won't be the best looking ones. It is a lot of work raising just a few nice specimens, and that is why they are expensive.
That's awesome! Taking care of goldfish fry is incredibly fun and rewarding! I once found about 11 fancy goldfish fry living in the sump of my aquarium. Only 9 survived being moved to a new tank, and after that I only lost 1 more before they were all grown. I still have 6. One died about a year ago, and I rehomed one to a friend. That one is doing welI. I must have had better luck than you, because all of mine had double-tails.

Caring for them was incredibly fun, though. I fed mine baby brine shrimp and, in between brine shrimp hatchings, mushed egg yolk. Daily water changes. Constantly using airline tubing to siphon out debris. Panicking every time I'd count them and come up short. Ahh. Those were the days!

What are vinegar eels?

I'm glad I had such a small number of survivors. I don't think I could handle culling. I'm a vegetarian and I'm constantly rescuing bugs that I find drowning in my ponds. I got stung by a bee the other day and felt more sad that it had died than upset I'd been stung!
 
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I heard somewhere that Rain Garden was taken out by a hurricane a while back, last year maybe? I don't know for sure if that is true, but I suppose it could well be. That would be really devastating in so many ways.
 
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I heard somewhere that Rain Garden was taken out by a hurricane a while back, last year maybe? I don't know for sure if that is true, but I suppose it could well be. That would be really devastating in so many ways.
Yeah, they say on their website a tree crushed their ponds and grow-out tanks, and a lot of fish were killed. Very sad.
 
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@Riftlake Where did you get your original Wakin? A few years ago, I was doing a lot of internet searches, but haven’t looked lately. Watonai are my absolute favorites! Both are supposed to be very hardy GF, because (if I remember), these body/fin types go back to the origin of goldfish breeding. IOW, they are not considered “fancy,” but are foundation fish. All current GF types originated from them.
My Wakins came from: www.livekoiforsale.com/ They sell from their website and on ebay. I've bought from them a couple of times.
 
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Vinegar eels are a very prolific, extremely tiny nematode (worm) that live and reproduce well in apple cider vinegar. I have read they aren't really highly nutritious as fry food, so a steady diet of them won't work for raising fry, but they do eat them greedily. The way you harvest them is to pour the vinegar with the culture into a narrow neck bottle, filling to the beginning of the narrowing. Then you add a piece of wet cotton, or in my case a small wet wad of polyester fiber, on top of the vinegar. Then fill the neck of the bottle with water the rest of the way. The worms have to go to the surface for air and they are so small they can wiggle their way up through the fibers. The vinegar and water does not mix. You wait a few hours and the water is shimmering with thousands of the nearly microscopic worms. An eyedropper does the trick, and the fry have a feast.
 
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My Watonai are from a person in Florida. His email is (e-mail address removed) if anyone is interested. (He gave me permission to post that here and I wouldn't have done so otherwise.)

The fish I got a few years back were and still are very healthy and were packed and shipped well. I've had no problems at all with them and couldn't be more pleased.

I wasn't looking for show quality and wouldn't know that if it jumped in my lap, so I don't have any idea about that. But the fish are healthy and beautiful and that was what I was looking for. When I got mine, his prices were more than reasonable. I do know that he got some of his original stock from Blackwater Creek and some from Raingarden.

If you are looking for these fish he is a good source and a good guy, in my opinion.
 
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Dandy Orandas had jikins from time to time! I am not as fond of their tail shape as I am of wakins or watonais, but they are really cool.
 

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