Oranda Goldfish

Oranda Fancy Goldfish

Family: Cyprinidae Oranda Goldfish, Oranda Fancy Goldfish, Carassius auratusCarassius auratus auratusPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy Michelle Storsberg
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My red oranda is about 3 years old. It has developed a fleshy protrusion on its body near the base of the tail. It is flesh color about the size of a pecan nut. It... (more)  George Bee

The Oranda Goldfish is like a Veiltail Goldfish but with a bit shorter tail, and develops a hood similar to the Lionhead Goldfish!

The Oranda Goldfish is one of the most popular goldfish in the world. It is favored for its hood, a fleshy growth on the top of its head called the wen. The wen starts to show at about 3 - 4 months, but only really begins to form at about 1 - 2 years. The hood gets fully developed when the fish gets to be about 2-2 1/2 years old. The Oranda Goldfish in the picture is too young to have a well developed hood.

This beautiful gold fish has a large round shape, shimmering scales, and a long flowing split caudal (tail) fin that fans out when it stops swimming. It is not surprising that the Chinese refer to it as the "flower of the water". In Japan it is called 'Oranda Shishigashiri', and there's a calico version they call 'Azuma Nishiki'. In the Orient, though the common name Oranda is applied to these fish, varieties with the fleshy growth covering the entire head are known as Tigerhead or Tiger Goldfish.

Rather than having the long slender body of the Common Goldfish or the Shubunkins, The Oranda Goldfish is one of the more rounded or egg-shaped fancy gold fish. All of their fins are paired except the dorsal fin, and the tail fin is usually split.

Red Cap Oranda Goldfish (left) Lionhead Goldfish (right), Carassius auratus
Lionhead Goldfish

They can have metallic or matte scales and are available in a wide variety of colors including red, black, calico, chocolate and red/white combinations and a more recently developed blue color. A favorite variety is the Redcap Oranda which is totally white except for a cherry red hood, looking just like a cap.

The Oranda Goldfish can be confused with the Lionhead Goldfish when their coloring is very similar. The photo on the right of a Lionhead shows the distinctive differences between the two. The Lionhead is quickly identified by the lack of a dorsal fin, which Orandas have. The Lionhead also has higher arching on the back and more intense bubbly growth around the face.

Oranda Goldfish are very popular and are found in collectors tanks throughout the world. But although they are widely available, they are considered delicate and not recommended as a beginner fish. Unlike the flat-bodied types of goldfish, they have a lower tolerance for pollution and cannot tolerate extremely cool temperatures. The hood is subject to infection from debris, bacteria, and fungi that settles in the tiny folds.

For more goldfish information, see:
Goldfish Care: Fancy Goldfish and Goldfish Diseases


Geographic Distribution
Carassius auratus auratus
Data provided by FishBase.org
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Actinopterygii
  • Order: Cypriniformes
  • Family: Cyprinidae
  • Genus: Carassius
  • Species: auratus auratus
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Oranda Goldfish - Quick Aquarium Care
  • Size of fish - inches: 7.0 inches (17.78 cm)
  • Minimum Tank Size: 10 gal (38 L)
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Aquarium Hardiness: Moderately hardy
  • Temperature: 65.0 to 72.0° F (18.3 to 22.2° C)
  • Aquarist Experience Level: Intermediate
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Habitat: Distribution / Background

The goldfish of today are descendants of a wild carp fish, known as the Prussian Carp, Silver Prussian carp, or Gibel Carp Carassius gibelio (syn: Carassius auratus gibelio) which was described by Bloch in 1782. For many years it was believed that goldfish had originated from the Crucian Carp or Golden Carp Carassius auratus auratus described by Linnaeus in 1758, but more recent research is pointing toward the former.

These wild carp originated in Asia; Central Asia (siberia). They inhabit the slow moving and stagnant waters of rivers, lakes, ponds, and ditches feeding on plants, detritus, small crustaceans, and insects. In the early 1500's these fish were exported first to Japan and then to Europe and were developed into the wonderful colors and forms of gold fish we see today. The Oranda Goldfish is one of the older varieties of fancy goldfish, today there are more than 125 captive bred fancy varieties.

  • Scientific Name: Carassius auratus auratus
  • Social Grouping: Groups
  • IUCN Red List: NE - Not Evaluated or not listed - There are no wild populations of this captive bred variety.

Description

The Oranda Goldfish is an egg-shaped variety of goldfish. The body has a large round shape, shimmering scales, and a long flowing split caudal (tail) fin that fans out when it stops swimming. All of their fins are paired except the dorsal fin, and the tail fin is generally split.

Red Cap Oranda Goldfish (left) Lionhead Goldfish (right), Carassius auratus
Calico Oranda Goldfish

The Chinese have also developed a telescope eye variety of the Oranda Fancy Goldfish.

Orandas can have metallic or matte scales and are available in a wide variety of colors including red, black, calico, chocolate and red/white combinations. These is also a more recently developed blue color.

A highly popular and favorite variety is the Redcap Oranda which can be seen in the picture above. It is totally white except for a cherry red hood, looking just like a cap.

In the Orient, though the common name Oranda is applied to these fish, a variety with the fleshy growth covering its entire head is known as the Tigerhead or Tiger Goldfish.

Red Cap Oranda Goldfish (left) Lionhead Goldfish (right), Carassius auratus
Tigerhead Oranda or Tiger Goldfish Photo Courtesy Snehashis Sarkar

The average goldfish life span is 10 – 15 years, though living 20 years or more is not uncommon in well maintained goldfish aquariums and ponds.

They will generally reach about 6 - 7 inches (5-18 cm), though they have been known to grow much larger in many aquarists tanks. The largest known Oranda Goldfish is Bruce, bred in Hong Kong at the TungHoi Aquarium, where he is reported to have reached a whopping 15 inches (38 cm) in length.

Oranda Goldfish are some of the more delicate species of goldfish and not suggested for the beginners. Unlike the flat-bodied types of goldfish, they have a lower tolerance for pollution. Its hood is subject to infection from debris, bacteria, and fungi that settles in the tiny folds. They will need good care and plenty of space

Many people will keep goldfish in an aquarium with no heater or filtration. But for the best success in keeping goldfish, provide them the same filtration, especially biological filtration, that other aquarium residents enjoy. When it comes to feeding, they will not thrive well with fast competitive tank mates.

  • Size of fish - inches: 7.0 inches (17.78 cm) - Oranda Goldfish generally reach about 6 - 7 inches (5-18 cm), but have been reported to grow twice that size in exceedingly well maintained tanks or ponds.
  • Lifespan: 15 years - The average goldfish lifespan is 10 – 15 years, but they have been known to live 20 years of more when well maintained.

Fish Keeping Difficulty

Oranda Goldfish are some of the more delicate species of goldfish and not suggested for the beginners. Unlike the flat-bodied types of goldfish, they have a lower tolerance for pollution. Its hood is subject to infection from debris, bacteria, and fungi that settles in the tiny folds. They will need good care and plenty of space

Many people will keep goldfish in an aquarium with no heater or filtration. But for the best success in keeping goldfish, provide them the same filtration, especially biological filtration, that other aquarium residents enjoy. When it comes to feeding, they will not thrive well with fast competitive tank mates.

  • Aquarium Hardiness: Moderately hardy - The Wen is prone to infection, if the aquarist notices any rawness or irritation it is wise to treat right away.
  • Aquarist Experience Level: Intermediate

Foods and Feeding

Since they are omnivorous, the Oranda Goldfish will generally eat all kinds of fresh, frozen, and flake foods. To keep a good balance give them a high quality flake food everyday. To care for your Lionhead Goldfish, feed brine shrimp (either live or frozen), blood worms, Daphnia, or tubifex worms as a treat. It is usually better to feed freeze-dried foods as opposed to live foods to avoid parasites and bacterial infections that could be present in live foods. Due to their fleshy head growth they can have poor vision and a harder time seeing their food, so need extra time to feed.

  • Diet Type: Omnivore
  • Flake Food: Yes
  • Tablet Pellet: Yes
  • Live foods (fishes, shrimps, worms): Some of Diet
  • Vegetable Food: Some of Diet
  • Meaty Food: Some of Diet
  • Feeding Frequency: Several feedings per day

Aquarium Care

Regular weekly water changes of 1/4 to 1/3 is strongly recommended to keep these fish healthy. Snails can be added as they reduce the algae in the tank, helping to keep it clean.

  • Water Changes: Weekly

Aquarium Setup

Setting up a goldfish aquarium in a manner that will keep your fish happy and healthy is the first step to success. The shape and size of the aquarium is important and depends upon the number of goldfish you are going to keep. These fish need a lot of oxygen and produce a lot of waste.

Good filtration, especially biological filtration, is very helpful in maintaining the water quality of the aquarium. Filtration systems remove much of the detritus, excess foods and waste. This in turn helps to keep the tank clean and maintain the general health of the goldfish.

  • Tank parameters to consider when choosing a goldfish aquarium:
    • Tank size
      Ten gallons is the absolute minimum required to house a goldfish. It's best to start with a 20 - 30 gallon tank for your first goldfish and then increase the size of the tank by 10 gallons for each additional goldfish. Providing a large amount of water per fish will help dilute the amount of waste and reduce the number of water changes needed..
    • Tank Shape
      Always provide the maximum amount of surface area. A large surface area of water will help minimize goldfish suffering from an oxygen shortage. Surface area is determined by the shape of the tank. For example an elongated tank offers more surface area (and oxygen) than a tall tank. In an oval or round shaped tank the middle offers more surface area than filling it to the top.
    • Number of fish
      For juveniles a general rule of thumb is 1 inch of fish (2.54 cm) per 1 gallon of water. But this rule only applies to young fish and is not adequate as they grow. Larger gold fish consume much more oxygen than young fish so maintaining this formula for growing fish will stunt them, and can contribute to disease and even death.
    • Fish size and growth
      To allow for proper growth, either buy fewer fish than the maximum number or be prepared to get a larger tank. To prevent stunted growth and other health problems, don't overstocking the aquarium.

Goldfish are a cold water fish and will do best at temperatures between 65 - 72° F (18°- 22° C). Unlike the flat-bodied types of goldfish however, the Oranda Goldfish have a lower tolerance for pollution and cannot tolerate temperatures much below 60° F (16° C).

Provide a gravel substrate to help create a natural and comfortable environment for your fish. You can add some decor, but make sure that all ornamentation is smooth with no protruding points or sharp edges. Smooth rocks or driftwood should be used sparingly if at all. Aquarium plants would be the best choice of aquarium decor for goldfish, but unfortunately these fish are diggers. Consequently live plants may be uprooted. Artificial plants make a good substitute and silk plants are safer than plastic ones.

Most aquariums come with a cover that includes lighting. A cover for the tank is desirable as it reduces evaporation and though they are not prone to jumping, on occasion some gold fish will jump out. Lighting is not essential for goldfish, but does make the aquarium a nice show piece and lighting will help if you have live plants.

Goldfish are freshwater fish, but they have some tolerance for slightly brackish water. The salinity level for C. auratus must be kept low, below 10% with a specific gravity of less than 1.002.

  • Minimum Tank Size: 10 gal (38 L) - Ten gallons is the absolute minimum required to house this fish. It has high oxygen requirements, produces a lot of waste. It will have very stunted growth if it is kept in a smaller aquarium.
  • Suitable for Nano Tank: Sometimes
  • Substrate Type: Any - A medium sized gravel works best.
  • Lighting Needs: Moderate - normal lighting
  • Temperature: 65.0 to 72.0° F (18.3 to 22.2° C) - Goldfish are a cold water fish and will do best at temperatures between 65 - 72° F (18°- 22° C). Unlike the flat-bodied types of goldfish however, the Oranda cannot tolerate temperatures much below 60° F (16° C).
  • Range ph: 6.0-8.0
  • Hardness Range: 5 - 19 dGH
  • Brackish: Sometimes - Goldfish are freshwater fish, but they have some tolerance for slightly brackish water. Any salinity for must be kept low, below 10%, a specific gravity of less than 1.002.
  • Water Movement: Moderate
  • Water Region: All - These fish will swim in all areas of the aquarium.

Social Behaviors

Goldfish are very social animals and thrive in a community. Not only are they a great community fish but they are great scavengers as well. It is really not necessary to add other scavengers or other bottom feeders to the aquarium when you have goldfish.

The Oranda Goldfish is not a fast swimmer. They cannot vigorously compete for food with fast swimming types of goldfish like the the Common Goldfish, Comet Goldfish, the Shubunkin, so may not fare well if housed with them, but they will do well housed with other egg-shaped varieties if the environment is well cared for.

  • Venomous: No
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Compatible with:
    • Same species - conspecifics: Yes
    • Peaceful fish (): Safe
    • Semi-Aggressive (): Threat
    • Shrimps, Crabs, Snails: Safe - not aggressive
    • Plants: Threat - Goldfish will eat many kinds of aquatic plants, and their constant search for food can end up uprooting plants that they don't eat.

Sex: Sexual differences

Although is it impossible to sex Goldfish when they are young and not in breeding season, the male is usually smaller and more slender that the female. In the breeding season the male has white prickles, called breeding tubercles, on its gill covers and head. Seen from above the female will have a fatter appearance as she is carrying eggs.

Breeding / Reproduction

Oranda Goldfish are egg layers that spawn readily in the right conditions. See Breeding Freshwater Fish - Goldfish for more information on breeding Goldfish.

  • Ease of Breeding: Moderate

Fish Diseases

Goldfish are subject to the same diseases as tropical fish. A couple of the more common problems are Ich, Swim Bladder Disease, and external parasites including flukes, lice and anchor worms. For more in-depth information about goldfish diseases and illnesses, see: Goldfish Care; Fancy Goldfish and Goldfish Diseases.

Availability

The Oranda Goldfish is readily available in fish stores and on-line, and is inexpensive. Fancier or rarer types can be more expensive.

References

Author: David Brough CFS
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Lastest Animal Stories on Oranda Goldfish


George Bee - 2012-10-18
My red oranda is about 3 years old. It has developed a fleshy protrusion on its body near the base of the tail. It is flesh color about the size of a pecan nut. It has not had any effect on the orandas activity. Can anyone help me on what this is? Thanks

  • Jeremy Roche - 2012-10-18
    It could be a variety of things.  More of a description would help.  Could be a water quality issue or maybe parasites?  Start with the simple thing first and test your water.
Reply
Melishea - 2014-07-30
My husband had the great idea to buy a oranda goldfish. He brought it home and put in tank. Woke up in the morning. Barely alive. The water temp is 26c. To hot I found out later. It's a 20 gal tank. And other little fish to. He didn't last 6 hrs. He is currently alive in sink. Any body please help

Reply
Rachel - 2012-10-16
I just bought an oranda a few days ago at a local Petsmart. It looks just like the picture at the top of the page (orange with black edges on his fins). I am really worried about him because the black on the edges of his dorsal and tail fins is now falling off. He also is not eating the pellets that we bought for him. I'm worried that he's on his way out. Is there anything I can do?

  • Jeremy Roche - 2012-10-16
    Check your water levels. Amonia spikes can cause this.
  • Kaitlyn - 2014-02-18
    This happened to our fish at a point too. Your fish may have fin rot, it's a disease that slowly eats the fins and turns them a reddish color. If it gets too close to the body (the disease), it may cause internal bleeding and kill the fish painfully, the fish dying due to pain probably. How old is your fish? Do you know an estimation?
Reply
Emily - 2013-08-16
We have a 29 gallon tank with 1 lionhead of Osaka and 1 Koi. This evening we noticed that the lionhead had no eyes! Did the Koi do this? Or is there some other process going on here?

  • Jasmine Brough Hinesley - 2013-08-22
    It's quite possible the koi did this. Did it happen quickly, like over night? If so, I would almost guarantee the koi was attacking the lionhead. If it happened over time, there could possibly be something in the water irritating his eyes, too.
  • Kaitlyn - 2014-02-18
    Most Koi aren't super aggressive to do this. We had a case like this in our tank, what happened was our fish was sick and the other fish could tell he was weak so they ate his eyes, knowing he couldn't defend himself.
Reply
joydeep de dhara - 2012-04-10
I am a breeder of gold fish,carp,angel etc.and also supplyer of this type of fish. If any body want to bulk purchase of this fish then contact with me.....

  • Randall King - 2012-04-15
    I am interested in purchase of small bulk mix of orandas...
  • Marco Arida - 2012-06-01
    Would like your price on different fancy orandas
  • lakshman - 2012-07-06
    I am interested in breeding gold fishes. I am from india i have bred them but I would like to know the feed for them without giving them live food.  Any other dry food and how to make them look plumpy and grow fast.  Hope to get some help from you as a hobbyist
  • Randall - 2012-08-04
    If you are abreeder of orandas I would like to have a price list.
Reply