Animal-World > Aquarium Tropical Fish > Goldfish > Redcap Oranda Goldfish

Redcap Oranda Goldfish

Red Cap Oranda Goldfish, Redcap Oranda Fancy Goldfish

Family: Cyprinidae Redcap Oranda Goldfish, Red Cap Oranda Fancy GoldfishCarassius auratus auratusPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy David Brough
Latest Reader Comment - See More
My Red cap is pretty mean, she eats everything insight so my other goldfish can't get nothing and then pushes and nips at him, when he gets something to eat. My mom... (more)  Anonymous

The pretty Redcap Oranda Goldfish is totally white except for its cherry red hood!

The Redcap Oranda Goldfish is a favorite variety of the Oranda Goldfish. Orandas are very attractive and some of the most popular goldfish in the world, and the Redcap variety is one of the most adored. This beautiful goldfish has a large, round body and shimmering scales along with the same long, flowing split tail fin of all Oranda varieties. When the fish stops swimming, the delicate tail fans out, looking much like the petals of a flower.

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

Beyond their overall good looks, these fancies are favored for their hood. This is a fleshy growth on the top of the head known as the wen. The wen will start to show when the fish are about 3 - 4 months old, but it really begins to form up at about 1 - 2 years and will be completely developed in 2 - 2 1/2 years.

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

The Redcap Oranda Fancy Goldfish can be confused with the Lionhead Goldfish when their coloring is very similar.

The photo on the right shows the distinctive differences between a Redcap and a Lionhead. The Oranda is quickly identified by its dorsal fin, which Lionheads do not have. Additionally, the Lionhead has a more arched back as well as more intense bubbly growth around the face.

The Redcap Oranda Goldfish are very popular and widely available, but 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
Pet Supply Comparison Shopping
Redcap Oranda Goldfish - Quick Aquarium Care
  • Aquarist Experience Level: Intermediate
  • 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)
Enter a Freshwater Aquarium
  • My Aquarium - Enter your aquarium to see if this fish is compatible!
Popular Searches

Habitat: Distribution / Background

The goldfish of today are descendants of a species of wild carp known as the Prussian Carp, Silver Prussian carp, or Gibel Carp Carassius gibelio (syn: Carassius auratus gibelio), which was described by Bloch in 1782. 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.

For many years, it was believed that goldfish had originated from the Crucian Carp Carassius carassius described by Linnaeus in 1758. This fish has a wide range across the waters of the European continent, running west to east from England to Russia, north to Scandinavian countries in the Arctic Circle and as far south as the central France and the Black Sea. However, recent genetic research points to C. gibelio as a more likely ancestor.

Goldfish were originally developed in China. By the 1500s, goldfish were traded to Japan, arriving in Europe in the 1600s and America in the 1800s. The majority of the fancy goldfish were developed by Asian breeders. We can see the results of this centuries-long endeavor in the wonderful colors and shapes of goldfish today.

The Oranda Goldfish is one of the older fancy goldfish, and the Redcap variety is one of the earliest varieties developed. Today, domesticated goldfish are distributed world-wide and the Oranda is one of more than 125 captive-bred fancy goldfish varieties.

  • Scientific Name: Carassius auratus auratus
  • Social Grouping: Groups - Can be kept singly or in 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 its fins are paired except the dorsal fin, and the tail fin is generally split.

The Redcap Oranda is totally white except for a cherry red hood, which looks just like a cap.

Redcap Oranda developing its wen
Red Cap Oranda - developing its wen

Their fleshy growth or hood is known as the wen. The wen starts to show at about 3 - 4 months or age, 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.

Redcap Orandas 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.

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.

  • Size of fish - inches: 7.0 inches (17.78 cm) - Redcap 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

Redcap Oranda Goldfish are some of the more delicate species of goldfish and not suggested for beginners. Unlike the flat-bodied types of goldfish, they have a lower tolerance for pollution. The Recap's 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, the Redcap Oranda will not thrive with fast, competitive tankmates.

  • 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 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

These goldfish need a well-maintained tank to stay healthy. Minimum tank size is 10 gallons, so make sure water changes are frequent. Regular weekly water changes of 1/4 to 1/3 are 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 - Goldfish produce more waste than most other freshwater fish and benefit greatly from more frequent water changes.

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. A filtration system will remove much of the detritus, excess foods, and waste, which keeps the tank clean and maintains 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 Redcap Oranda 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 minimizes the possibility that the goldfish will suffer 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. Oval or round tanks that are wide in the middle and narrower toward the top might be filled less than full to maximize the surface area.
    • Number of fish
      For juveniles a general rule of thumb is 1 inch of fish (2.54 cm) per 1 gallon of water. However, this rule only applies to young fish. Larger gold fish consume much more oxygen than young fish so maintaining this formula for growing fish will stunt them and could 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 overstock 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 Redcap 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, and 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. Unlike the flat-bodied types of goldfish, however, the Redcap Oranda cannot tolerate temperatures much below 60° F (16° C).
  • Breeding Temperature: - In the wild, goldfish spawn in the spring when water temperatures reach about 68° F (20° 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 Redcap Oranda is not a fast swimmer. They cannot vigorously compete for food with fast swimming types of goldfish like the Common Goldfish, Comet Goldfish, and the Shubunkin, so they may not fare well if housed with them. They will do much better when housed with other egg-shaped varieties as long as the environment is well cared for.

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

Sex: Sexual differences

During the breeding season, the male has white prickles, called breeding tubercles, on its gill covers and head. Seen from above, a female will have a fatter appearance when she is carrying eggs. It is impossible to sex Goldfish when they are young and not in breeding season, but generally the male is smaller and more slender than the female.

Breeding / Reproduction

Redcap Oranda Goldfish are egg layers that spawn readily in the right conditions. They can be bred in groups as small as five individuals, but they are very social animals and likely to breed in larger groups as well. The only time Goldfish will spawn in the wild is when spring arrives. To spawn them in the aquarium, you will need to mimic the conditions found in nature.

Provide an aquarium that is at least 20 gallons and make sure the fish are healthy and disease free. Some breeders suggest you treat them for parasites. Many breeders will also separate the males and females for a few weeks prior to breeding to help increase their interest in spawning. Introduce the fish into the breeding tank at the same time. The tank will need a lush environment with solid surfaces for the spawning process and for the eggs to adhere to. Bushy, oxygenating plants, such as Anacharis, work well for this, though artificial plants or fibrous spawning mops can also be used.

To induce spawning, the temperature can be slowly dropped to around 60° F (11° C) and then slowly warmed at a rate of 3° F (2° C) per day until they spawn. Spawning generally begins when the temperatures are between 68° and 74° F (20°- 23° C). Feeding lots of high protein food such live brine shrimp and worms during this time will also induce spawning. Feed small amounts three times a day, but don't overfeed. Uneaten scraps will sink to the bottom and foul the water. Maintain the breeding tank with partial water changes of up to about 20% per day.

Before spawning, as the temperature increases, the male will chase the female around the aquarium in a non-aggressive way. This can go on for several days, and the fish will intensify in color. During the spawn, the fish will gyrate from side to side, and the male will push the female against the plants. This stimulates the female to drop tiny eggs which the male will then fertilize. The eggs will adhere by sticky threads to the plants or spawn mop. Spawning can last two or three hours and can produce up to 10,000 eggs.

At this point the parents will start to eat as many eggs as they can find. For this reason, it is best to remove the parents after spawning is complete. The fertilized eggs will hatch in 4 to 7 days, depending on the temperature. You can feed the newly hatched goldfish specialty fry foods until they become big enough to eat flake or brine shrimp, or you can offer the same food as you feed the parents as long as it is crushed very small. At first, the fry are a dark brown or black color in order to better hide and not be eaten by larger fish. They gain their adult color after several months and can be put in with larger fish once they reach about 1 inch long. See Breeding Freshwater Fish - Goldfish for more information on breeding Goldfish.

  • Ease of Breeding: Moderate

Fish Diseases

In properly maintained goldfish aquariums or ponds, goldfish illness is largely preventable. Even so, goldfish illnesses can occur, and if left untreated, may prove fatal. Goldfish are hardy, though, and if treated in a timely manner, most will make a full recovery.

When treating individuals, it is usually best to move the afflicted fish into a separate tank with no gravel or plants and do regular partial water changes. However, if the disease is apparent throughout the main tank, it may be best to do the treatments there. Whether treating in a hospital tank or your main tank, read and follow the manufacturer's instructions for any medication. Some medications can adversely affect the water quality by destroying beneficial bacteria. You may also need to remove the carbon from the filtration system, as carbon will absorb many medications, making the treatment ineffective.

Goldfish diseases are mostly the same as those that afflict other freshwater fish, and the symptoms and treatment of goldfish are also similar. The main types of fish diseases include bacterial infections, fungal infections, parasites, and protozoa. There are also other ailments caused by injury, poor nutrition, or bad water conditions.

One of the more common problems is Ich, which is a protozoan disease. Ich is easy to identify because your fish looks like it is sprinkled with salt. Though Ich is easily treated, like other protozoan diseases, it can be fatal if not caught quickly. Some other protozoan diseases are Costia, which causes a cloudiness of the skin, and Chilodonella, which will cause a blue-white cloudiness on the skin.

External parasites are fairly common, too, but pretty easy to treat and usually not fatal when treated. These include flukes, which are flatworms about 1 mm long with hooks around their mouths. They infest the gills or body of the fish. Another type of parasite is fish lice (Argulus), flattened, mite-like crustaceans about 5 mm long that attach themselves to the body of the goldfish. Lastly, anchor worms look like threads coming out of the fish.

Some bacterial infections include Dropsy, an infection in the kidneys that can be fatal if not treated quickly. Fish Tuberculosis is indicated by the fish becoming emaciated (having a hollow belly). For this illness, there is no absolute treatment, and it can be fatal. Tail/Fin Rot may also be bacterial, though the reduced tail or fins can be caused by a number of factors as well. There is also fungus, a fungal infection, and Black Spot or Black Ich, which is a parasitic infection.

Swim Bladder Disease is an ailment indicated by fish swimming in abnormal patterns and having difficulty maintaining their balance. This can be caused by a number of things: constipation, poor nutrition, a physical deformity, or a parasitic infection. Feeding frozen peas (defrosted) has been noted to help alleviate the symptoms and correct the problem in some cases.

Other miscellaneous ailments include Cloudy Eye, which can be caused by a variety of things ranging from poor nutrition, bad water quality, and rough handling. It can also be the result of other illnesses, such as bacterial infections. Constipation is indicated by a loss of appetite and swelling of the body, and the cause is almost always diet. Then there are wounds and ulcers. Wounds can become infected, creating ulcers. Wounds can develop either bacterial or fungal infections, or both, and must be treated. There are treatments for each of these diseases individually and treatments that handle both. For more in-depth information about goldfish diseases and illnesses, see Goldfish Care; Fancy Goldfish and Goldfish Diseases.


The Redcap Goldfish is inexpensive and readily available in fish stores and online.


Author: David Brough CFS
Available From These Merchants
Red Cap Oranda Goldfish Medium Red Cap Oranda Goldfish Medium
Offered By: That Pet Place
Price: $9.99
Compare products and prices!
Red Cap Oranda Goldfish Small Red Cap Oranda Goldfish Small
Offered By: That Pet Place
Price: $7.99
Compare products and prices!

Lastest Animal Stories on Redcap Oranda Goldfish

Anonymous - 2015-09-28
My Red cap is pretty mean, she eats everything insight so my other goldfish can't get nothing and then pushes and nips at him, when he gets something to eat. My mom ended up over feeding her and she still begged for foods. She's such a fatty.

Roxy - 2014-06-17
I have two red caps, one does not eat any food that she likes, laying at the bottom all time. I don't know what's going wrong with her. I didn't see any white or spots on her body. Please advise me what should I do?

  • Michelle Tellez - 2014-07-12
    We got a little red cap one week ago and for 2 days now she has done the same thing. Should we be worried?
  • Glendell Crump - 2015-04-18
    these fish are generally active so if they are lay on the bottom and not eating it could mean their sick or stressed try a water change and perhaps purchase some stress coat also check your ammonia level goldfish have larg bio-loads so they could easily poison the tank if its not kept properly clean
Samantha - 2006-08-12
I have a red caped oranda named Squeaky. She is the funniest fish. When I wake up in the morning she's sleeping at the bottom of the tank, but when she notices me staring she'll wake up and wait for her food at the top. I also have a cleaner fish. He will chase my Oranda around the whole tank, then squeaky will chase him around after. Like a game of cat and mouse.

  • Anonymous - 2015-03-19
    Wow I'm looking at NY tank now. And my goldfish is chasing my red cap Luke crazy. Actually it looks tired of being chased. I'm a new tank owner. And I'm beginning to think about this.
  • Glendell Crump - 2015-04-18
    If your fish are chasing each other excessivly it could mean that the tank is to small try upgrading to a bigger tank the common oranda goldfish does best is 30 gallon tanks or more considering how many goldfish you have also you could try moving your decorations around this makes the fish confused so as not to be so teritorial
shimmy - 2014-07-26

I know it's been a while since you posted this, but your fish probably has an ailment known as Swim Bladder Disease, a disorder that tends to affect Fancy Goldfish in particular. If your other Red Cap is exhibiting normal behavior and feeding activities, this is most likely the case. I highly recommend, should you intend on continuing to keep goldfish, to research the disease when you have time, as the following advice might make more sense.

For now, temporarily stop feeding and prepare a small amount of peas (yes, the same stuff we eat) by using plain frozen or fresh peas, rinsed and with outer skin removed. Softening might help with their intake, so soaking them to allow thawing or even boiling them slightly is okay. Goldfish should be fed 2-3 times a day - replace one of those feedings with a pea daily for the sunken one, or one each if you haven't quarantined (always a good idea) it already. Also, if you're using flake or freeze-dried feed it is generally recommended that you soak the food for several minutes with water prior to offering (freeze-dried should always be soaked prior to consumption), or consider switching to or alternating with a goldfish feed of the sinking variety.

As an added precaution, check the tank parameters to ensure they are within the ranges or levels that Red Caps prefer. If you have a tester or kit (a wise investment), double-check the numbers for all the usual things but pay especially close attention to Nitrate, high levels contributing to the cause of the disorder. If higher than normal, do a larger than usual water change and feed less.

A less likely cause of the disorder are intestinal parasites, which is hard to diagnose and probably not applicable to this situation. I'd still look up symptoms of intestinal parasites and see if the fish is exhibiting any telling signs of them in addition to sitting at the bottom of the tank.

Finally, I'd do a review of the tank to make sure that your fish are in the conditions that they thrive in, which can easily be forgotten or overlooked in the midst of other events and emergencies - especially over the long life of these fish. This would include keeping in mind that Orandas in general do not do as well as their slender-bodied cousins, such as the Common goldfish/koi, in colder or faster moving water, but still require a fair amount of surface movement at the water surface to provide that high oxygen level they require. Staying on top of tank maintenance and filter cleanings are always helpful, particularly in this case where such a sensitive body part is vulnerably exposed, and upgrading or expanding the various equipment as they grow/needs change.

Other General Tips: If you have high maintenance due to algae or other plant growth, consider moving the tank further from natural sunlight (basically, any windows) or electronics (TVs, computers), even reducing the amount of time the aquarium lights are on if you have any (timer recommended, 5-6 hours is plenty). Last but not least, make sure none of the decorations or even foreign objects are in the tank, have sharp or hard pointy parts (even those smooth ornamental displays can break to form dangerous areas), for the obvious reason! =P

Hope this helps! Email me if you need more help - fish illnesses is a tough topic, of which I am not an expert of nor am remotely qualified to discuss - but I'll do my best!

Just keep swimming,