Oranda goldfish care guide

Oranda (in Japanese – 和蘭獅子頭) is one of the artificially bred ornamental species of ‘goldfish’ for home aquariums (Carassius gibelio forma auratus), which is one of veiltail kinds, but it differs from them since it has fleshy outgrowths on its head and gill covers. The main distinctive feature is its “hood” on the head, which is called ‘wen’. Wen starts to appear in about 3-4 month after the birth, but it gets fully formed only 1-2 years later. However, you can say that the ‘hood’ is completely developed only when it is 2-2.5 years old.

Habitat in the wild

Oranda goldfish is an ancestor of a wild fish from cyprinoid fishes family that initially inhabited in Asia and they originate from the goldfish. Natural habitat is in slow and lantic waters, rivers, ponds, lakes and drains.

Fish feeds on plants, small crustaceans and insects. At the beginning of the 16th century the oranda goldfish was exported first to Japan and later to Europe.

Scientific NameCarassius auratus auratus
Common NamesOranda
Range and habitatNo
Size20-31 cm (8-12 inches)
Lifespan15-20 years
Ease of keepingMedium
Minimum tank size150 liters (33 gallons) and more
Temperature72-78 °F (22-26 °C)
Water hardness5-20 dGH


Oranda goldfish is one of the most fancy colored goldfish species. Its body length is from 20 to 31 centimeters (8 to 12 inches) long. However, the fish grows that large only if it dwells in open waters.

Lifespan is 10-15 years and even up to 20 years provided with good tank or open water conditions. It can be kept in an open pond at the condition of maintaining it clean and with relatively high water temperature (low water temperature is unallowable).

This good looking fish has an oviform large body, shiny scales and claw-ended paired veiltail fin. It waves fanwise when the fish stops swimming and hovers.

The rest of the fins except the dorsal one are also claw-ended. The head and gill covers are covered with fleshy outgrowths that develop as the grows.

The color may vary greatly: bright-red, red, orange, yellow and seldom bluish and black. Oranda goldfish may also be calico colored – this is when the body is covered with bright colored spots all over.

Red Cap Oranda Goldfish
Red and Black Oranda Goldfish
Black Oranda Goldfish
Panda Oranda Goldfish
Tiger Oranda Goldfish
Red and White Oranda Goldfish

Difficulties in keeping

All goldfish species are rather not demanding, since they are ancestors of a common carp which dwells in cold water and isn’t demanding either. Quite often fish is kept in open waters and the water temperature there is lower than it is required for tropical fishes. Oranda goldfish is unpretentious as for the food as well.

Though, oranda goldfish can be encountered in tanks all over the world, it requires gentle treatment and therefore it is not recommend for beginner aquarists.

The oranda goldfish is quite sensitive to water cleanness and it can’t stand dwelling in cold water unlike its relatives with flat bodies – ordinary goldfish, comet fish etc.

Care and keeping in a tank

Oranda goldfish is one of the most demanding species among all the goldfish, so it’s not recommend for beginner aquarists to keep. The oranda goldfish is very sensitive to water contamination, its ‘hood’ is prone to various infections, bacteria and fungi, if the water is very dirty. The fish needs a lot of free space and proper care.

Tank size

It is also important to choose a proper tank for oranda goldfish. It has to be spacious, rectangular with large water surface area. If a small fish will be ok in a tank of 40 liters (8.8 gallons) capacity, still in the future you’ll have to buy a bigger tank. The oranda goldfish must have a room to swim.

That’s why from the very beginning it is recommended to get a tank of 150 liters (33 gallons) capacity for one fish and raise the tank volume at 40 liters for the each oranda goldfish you put there.

Large volume of water guarantees that you won’t have problems with tank water contamination with the rubbish that the fish produces in large amounts as well as you will provide your pets with sufficient amount of oxygen.

Water parameters

All goldfish prefer low water temperature 18°— 22 °C (65-71 °F), however oranda goldfish can’t stand very low water temperature. That’s why we don’t recommend to decrease water temperature in the tank with oranda lower than 16 °C (60 °F).

Tank water parameters should be the following: temperature 16-25 °C, optimal temperature 22-26 °C, pH 6,0-8,0, 5-20 °dGH.

The tank must have a canister filter that effectively cleans water from various contaminants. Biological filtration is required as well. You should maintain proper tank conditions regularly. Water renew should be performed every week, about 25-30% from total tank volume.

If the tank is too small or overcrowded you should renew the water in larger amounts and more often.

Tank decor

The tank bottom should be covered with small smooth gravels that will not hurt the oranda goldfish (fish likes digging the bottom). You may put some decorations into the tank, but be careful if they have some sharp edges. All decorations including stones and snags also shouldn’t have any sharp sides, since the fish may hurt its fins or fleshy outgrowths. So, keep this fact in mind when choosing decorations for a tank.

Tank plants may be both live and artificial ones, but live plants should have strong roots and coarse leaves, otherwise oranda goldfish will gladly eat them.

So, plants with large and coarse leaves or just ‘not tasty’ plants such as anubias will do for the tank. These plants will not be eaten and the tank environment will benefit from them.

Oranda goldfish doesn’t tend to jump out of the tank that’s why a cover-glass or a lid are needed only to avoid water evaporation. Tank lighting also is not very important, since only tank plants require it as well as you to observe your pets comfortably.

Though tank lighting is not important for the fish, but this is when you can see all the beauty and unicity of the species.

Tank mates

Oranda goldfish swims all over the tank space. The fish swims slow and pretty laid-back. You can keep it in a company of calm and completely not aggressive.

The best tank mates are thumbstall goldfish species similar to this one.

Goldfish produces a lot of rubbish, so it is not recommend to keep it together with other tank mates. Oranda is not a very good swimmer as well, therefore don’t keep it with such active swimmers as a common goldfish or shubunkin.


Is an omnivorous fish and it has excellent appetite. It is important not to overfeed. It usually eats live and frozen food: brine shrimp, daphnia, tubifex.

Oranda goldfish also likes dry food. You shouldn’t forget about vegetable additives to the diet – for example, lettuce and spinach.

The latter is very important for the digestive system. Digestive tract of the oranda goldfish is quite tortuous and considering that the fish is an omnivorous one its digestive tract is often clogged with food. Then the oranda goldfish gets sick, swims poorly and dies in the end.

The food with large amount of vegetable components is useful for the digestive system and prevents bowel retention.

Gender differences: male vs female

It is impossible to tell between the oranda goldfish male and female if they are not reproductive. The adult male as a rule is smaller and thinner than the female one.

During the spawning period males have some white grains on their head and gill covers.


It is not difficult to breed the oranda goldfish, but it seldom happens that all the juveniles are of high-quality.

The oranda goldfish becomes reproductive at the age of 1.5-2 years. When the spring comes and days become longer you’ll see that male are ready to spawn and they actively haunt the females.

At the same time white grains appear on the male head and gill covers and notches appear on pectoral fins.

Usually aquarists separate males and females before spawning. For breeding they get a spawning tank of 50 liters capacity and put a protective net into it.

Put a bunch of small leaved plants or just a net (which is better) into the spawning tank.

Take 1 oranda goldfish female and 2-3 male for spawning. The fish starts laying eggs in the early morning and it lasts for several hours. Female lays about 2000 eggs.

The larvae appears in 2 days. On the 5th day the juveniles start to swim. Juveniles should be fed with rotifers and brine shrimps.