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. The Red cap variety is one of the most adored, a beautiful gold fish with a large round body and shimmering scales. It has the same long flowing split tail fin of all Oranda varieties. When the fish stops swimming this delicate adornment fans out, looking much like the pedals of a flower.
Unlike the common goldfish with a long slender body, this fancy 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.
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. It will become totally full in 2 - 2 1/2 years.
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 Lionhead's do not have, and there is also the high arching on the back on the Lionhead. The Lionheads generally have a the more intense bubbly growth around the face as well.
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.
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.
The Redcap Oranda is totally white except for a cherry red hood, looking just like a cap.
Red Cap Oranda - developing its wen
They have 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 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 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
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
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:
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..
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 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, 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 Redcap 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
Abhinav - 2014-07-07 I have 5 orandas. One of them often sits at the bottom but eats well. There is no white spots. What is the problem? Please help.
Clarice Brough - 2014-07-22 These fish should be active and swimming around. Your Oranda could be sick or stressed, possilby due to water conditions... such as an inadequate filter and low water flow, causing low oxygenation. Another possibility is if the fish is a year old or older it could be full of eggs and not able to release them, in which case, hopefully the body will re-absorb the eggs. However, the best first thing to do is an immediate 20% water change and vacumn the gravel. Then follow that up with about a 30% water change everyday for the next three days. Make sure the temperature of new water is the same as the old, and that you add a water conditioner each time. Keeping the lighting turned off during this time can also help.