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Redcap Oranda Goldfish

Red Cap Oranda Goldfish, Redcap Oranda Fancy Goldfish

Family: CyprinidaeRedcap Oranda Goldfish, Red Cap Oranda Fancy GoldfishCarassius auratus auratusPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy David Brough
Latest Reader Comment - See More
Hello My Fellow fish lovers...I have a problem. I have two new red cap orandas that we transfered from our small pond in our backyard-(1st year)-to a 36 gallon... (more)  Laurie

This pretty little goldfish, the Redcap Oranda Goldfish is totally white except for its cherry red hood!

The Redcap Oranda Goldfish is a favorite variety of the Oranda Goldfish, some of the most popular goldfish in the world. The Red cap Oranda is a beautiful gold fish with a large round body, shimmering scales, and a long flowing split caudal (tail) fin that fans out when it comes to a stop.

The Red Cap Oranda Fancy Goldfish are favored for their hood, a fleshy growth on the top of the head called the wen. The wen starts to show at about 3 - 4 months, but really begins to form at about 1 - 2 years becoming full in 2 - 2 1/2 years.

Unlike the common goldfish with a long slender body, the Redcap Oranda Goldfish is one of the more rounded or egg-shaped fancy gold fish. It is totally white except for a cherry red hood on its head, looking just like a cap. All of its fins are paired except the dorsal fin, and the tail fin is usually split.

The Redcap Oranda Goldfish are very popular, 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
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Actinopterygii
  • Order: Cypriniformes
  • Family: Cyprinidae
  • Genus: Carassius
  • Species: auratus auratus
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Redcap Oranda Goldfish - Quick Aquarium Care
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Aquarium Hardiness: Very Hardy
  • Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner
  • Diet Type: Omnivore
  • Minimum Tank Size: 10 gal (38 L)
  • Temperature: 65.0 to 72.0° F (18.3 to 22.2° C)
  • Range ph: 6.0-8.0
  • Hardness Range: 5 - 19 dGH
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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 fancy goldfish with the Redcap Oranda variety being an early development. 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.


The Redcap Oranda Goldfish is an egg-shaped variety of goldfish. The body has a large round shape, shimmering white 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. They have fleshy growth or hood on the top of the head that is a bright cherry red.

  • Goldfish colors
    The Redcap Oranda is totally white except for a cherry red hood, looking just like a cap.
  • Size - Weight
    Redcap Oranda Goldfish 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.
  • Goldfish lifespan
    The average goldfish lifespan is 10 – 15 years, though living 20 years or more is not uncommon in well maintained goldfish aquariums and ponds.
  • Size of fish - inches: 7.0 inches (17.78 cm) - There have been reports of well cared for adults reaching double this size.
  • Lifespan: 20 years

Fish Keeping Difficulty

Redcap Oranda Goldfish are some of the more delicate species of goldfish. 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 small one or two gallon goldfish bowls 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.

  • Aquarium Hardiness: Very 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: Beginner

Foods and Feeding

Since they are omnivorous, the Redcap 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 Redcap Oranda 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 an aquarium in a manner that will keep your fish happy and healthy is the first step to successfully fish keeping. Here are aquarium parameters to consider in choosing goldfish aquariums, filtration, lighting, and decor as well as temperature and water movement.

  • Minimum Tank Size / Length:
    The shape and size of the goldfish aquarium is important and depends upon the number of fish you are going to keep. Goldfish need a lot of oxygen and produce a lot of waste. Keep the tank size and shape in mind when you are buying your fish.
    • Tank Shape
      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 the same volume of water, an elongated tank offers more surface area (and oxygen) than a tall tank. In a goldfish bowl, filling the bowl to the middle offers more surface area than filling the bowl to the top. Always provide the maximum amount of surface area.
    • Tank size
      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
    • Formula: # of fish per gallon of water
      A general rule of thumb, but only for young fish, is 1 inch of fish (2.54 cm) per 1 gallon of water. This rule applies only 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 growth, either buy fewer fish than the maximum number of fish (based on the formula above) or be prepared to get a larger tank. 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
  • Aquarium Lighting
    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.
  • Filtration
    Goldfish 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 helps keep the tank clean and maintain the general health of the goldfish.
  • Substrate
    Provide a gravel substrate to help create a natural and comfortable environment for your fish. A medium sized gravel works best..
  • Aquarium Decor
    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.
  • Temperature: 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, they have a lower tolerance for pollution and cannot tolerate temperatures much below 60° F (16° C).
  • Water Hardness: 5 - 19° dGH
  • ph: 6.0 to 8.0
  • Water Movement: Moderate.
  • Water Region: These fish will swim in all areas of the aquarium.
  • Minimum Tank Size: 10 gal (38 L) - Ten gallons is the absolute minimum required to house this type of fancy goldfish. It has high oxygen requirements, produces a lot of waste, and will have very stunted growth if it is kept in a smaller aquarium or bowl.
  • Suitable for Nano Tank: Sometimes
  • Substrate Type: Any
  • Lighting Needs: Moderate - normal lighting
  • Temperature: 65.0 to 72.0° F (18.3 to 22.2° 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. Yet any salinity for C. auratus must be kept below 10%, a specific gravity of less than 1.002.
  • Water Movement: Moderate
  • Water Region: All

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 Redcap Oranda 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

Redcap 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.


The Redcap Goldfish is readily available in fish stores and on-line, and is inexpensive.


Author: David Brough CFS
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Lastest Animal Stories on Redcap Oranda Goldfish

Laurie - 2011-11-26
Hello My Fellow fish lovers...I have a problem. I have two new red cap orandas that we transfered from our small pond in our backyard-(1st year)-to a 36 gallon indoor tank. We spent alot of $ on a really good filter, everytime we feed our fish-1x daily 4 pellets, one of our orandas seems to get sick and floats upward, stays there and sometimes floats sideways for a day. We panic, put him in a small bucket with water,conditioner, a little salt and oxygen and feed him peas Overnight he recovers slightly but still isn't right. We feed him peas when he acts up again still isn't right. He once got messed up really bad the first time we transfered him after being in pond all summer) , cause we didn't condition the water....since then this floating goes on every time we feed him. Can someone PLEASE help me..I'm afraid we are going to lose him...Thank you...happy Holidays to all

  • Charlie Roche - 2011-11-26
    I found just two things but either could be the problem. The first is constipation and the symptoms fit. This one is easy cuz you just change the food. It would explain why feeding it a pea would help. The second is gas bubble disease gas bubbles and you might want to check this article out.
  • Lory - 2011-12-10
    Keep feeding him peas for a few days. Then just feed him veggies for a while. if you do give him pellets soak in water till they sink. Than place in tank. Also does his body look injuries from the transfer- tank from pond?
  • kelsey - 2011-12-29
    i think we have the same problem because my fish bernenne is not swimming.We just cleaned his tank today but he is struggling to move and he wont eat at all.I dont know what kind of fish he is but it looks like what you have. Any suggestions??? I'm afraid I might lose him thank you ....happy hoiladays and im sorry you don't know me I just had to get a answer. Hope your fish gets better! sincerliy kelsey
  • sheila meredith - 2012-01-19
    Dear red cap oranda owner, i too set up a huge tank a few months ago and brought 4 of these fish, one is always sickly, they suffer constpation and get swim bladder problems and cannot swim to the bottom of the tank, i put in florets of brocolli which they love (cooked and softened) also cauli, but they do love broc, i give mine the flake fish food, this time though i do not think i will be successfull, the other thre are doing well, they are a lovely temperament fish, and should not be put with goldfish, who usually bully them,
    all the best with your poorly fish, also turned out the lights on the fish tank- these are cold water species and the lights warm the water up.
    good luck
  • leah - 2012-05-01
    I had a fish that would do this. I read that it is because the fish is constipated and so the swim bladder is pressed on making it hard to swim...I made my fish fast for a day or two and then fed him and it seemed to help clean out his system and he has since stopped with the scary sideways swimming on the top of the tank.
  • sheila - 2014-03-13
    Dear Laurie I am sorry you are having trouble with your oranda, I just lost mine after 2 and a half years, but they are prone to constipation due to the commercial fish food - which is JUNK and overpriced junk at that. I boiled Broccoli florets till they were soft. When cold I put them in the tank and the orandas love it. I found it very hard to keep my oranda afloat on the granules and commercial flakes, its just junk! In fact my oranda just died and I'm positive it was the commercial fish food granules. Good luck, they are tricky fish to keep alive, but very lovely and colourful natured fish - best of luck I hear brine is good and possibly ants eggs also.
Emanemz - 2009-03-20
I have one Red Cap Oranda, I believe she is a girl, but won't know until she gets a little bigger and doesn't develop those nodules. She lives with 3 other fancy fish, which two of them bred and I now have 10 more in another tank. My Red Cap which I call Bobble or Bauble, she has some fuzz in her wen at the moment, which I just dabbed with blue. I've also added salt to the water. I have had her for a year and at one point she did flip over and lay upside down on the bottom of the tank. I fixed that problem by feeding her two peas (Thawed and de-shelled) a day for 5 days and then every second day from there. She got that problem because she got constipated and her swim bladder got pushed out of shape, therefore losing balance. She now only gets two or three meals a day (Small amounts - all food soaked in their water first) and a pea at lunch time every second day. Although every time she sees me she gets excited and I could feed her more, I just have to remember that I want her around for 20 years, so by not over feeding I am loving her better. She also loves to go to the top of the tank and just gulp at the water surface, looking for food, I also fixed that problem by soaking her food and not putting anything on the surface anymore. She has plenty of air, as it is a big filtered tank and she has an airator. She is definitely the light of the party in my tank other than my Lionhead called Puff.

  • George DeNeen - 2010-04-12
    I am new to the oranda. I have one that looks black,and I have heard of them in blue. Can you give me any info on where to look for care and help. I got one baby that was calico and she turned white(not Eyes). Thanks for your help. mmd
Matt - 2007-06-08
I have 2 medium sized orandas in a 55 gallon tank. They are great fish. They both have great personalities and always follow me around the tank. I have spent over 100 dollars on fancy meds for them since I got them a few years ago. Their wens (head growth) often get white fungus patches on them that seem to be uncurable. Never over feed Orandas their stomachs are too small . Feed them 1 time a day and sometimes don't feed them for a day. Make sure you get a really good filter for gold fish. It will save you money in the long run. I have a cheap one that came with my tank, the water is full of floating algae particles because of this, water changes only do so much. If your fish seems sick, laying on the bottom. etc. try to not feed for a day, mine usually recover. I highly recommend these fish for people that like fish with alot of personality.

  • daev - 2010-11-13
    You should get rid of the algae problem asap as the wen of the red caps are highly could get an armored catfish or rainbow sharks (I have 2 and they are excellent algae hunters...and cute too).
  • Denise - 2011-02-20
    I have a red cap oranda goldfish and he keeps getting these white spots
    on his wen that looks like pimples. I'm guessing it is fungus. What can I do?
    You said your fish get this. Does it kill them if it does'nt go away? How long
    have you had this problem with your fish?
sunny - 2014-01-16
I have a red cap oranda gold fish wen I was suckn the water out of my fish tank thru pipe its head got stuck and half of itz cap came out it jus happnd 15 mins ago n stil alive n swimn fine I added rock salt int it will it survive:(

  • Clarice Brough - 2014-01-16
    Wow, that's too bad, I sure hope it lives. I would suggest Melafix added to the water to help ward off any infectious diseases.
  • sunny - 2014-01-17
    ok i jus checked again n its stil leaving n swimmn perfectly buh the problem is metaflix is not available in my country :(
Marianne Jagga - 2013-09-01
I live in South Africa. Temp is currently 2 to 18 degrees C. Whydoes my coranda float upside down?

  • Clarice Brough - 2013-09-01
    It sounds like the temperature is fluctuating quite extremely, from very cold to temperate. The equivalent in Fahrenheit  is 35.6 - 64.4 degrees. This is very hard on the fish. Perhaps you should get a heater and a thermometer and keep the temperature constant, and then see if your fish pulls out of it.
Pamela Howard - 2012-06-11
I noticed that my redcap was missing it's eyes...what a shock. There are only 5 fish in my 55 gallon tank. The other fish 1 Moor 1 Khoi and 2 bottom dwellers are all fine. Is it a internal parasite, I'm stunned.

  • Jeremy Roche - 2012-06-12
    Could have been a bottom dweller.  What do you have?
  • Roy - 2012-12-30
    It is not very advisable to keep koi carp with gold fishes although some people say it is safe. if koi is not fed properly they will eat up gold fish eye. Eye will not be missing until it is severe fungal / parasitic infection.

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