Oranda goldfish

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 fish main distinctive feature is its “hood” on the head, which is called ‘wen’. Wen starts to appear in about 3-4 month after the fish birth, but it gets fully formed only 1-2 years later. However, you can say that the ‘hood’ of the fish is completely developed only when it is 2-2.5 years old.

Habitat in the wild

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

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


Oranda 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.

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

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

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 Oranda is kept in open waters and the water temperature there is lower than it is required for tropical fishes. Oranda is unpretentious as for the food as well.

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

The fish 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

Scientific NameCarassius gibelio forma auratus
Common NameOranda, Oranda goldfish
Tank size0-120 liters (21-31 US gallons) and more
Temperature72°F- 78°F (22 to 26 °С)
Sizeup to 20 to 31 centimeters (8 to 12 inches)

Oranda is one of the most demanding species among all the goldfish, so it’s not recommend for beginner aquarists to keep. The fish 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.

The tank must have a canister filter that effectively cleans water from various contaminants. Biological filtration is required as well.

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 (10.57 US gallons) capacity, still in the future you’ll have to buy a bigger tank.

That’s why from the very beginning it is recommended to get a tank of 80-120 liters (21-31 US gallons) capacity for one fish and raise the tank volume at 40 liters for the each fish 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.

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

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

The tank bottom should be covered with small smooth gravels that will not hurt the fish (oranda 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 with oranda.

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

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.

The fish must have a room to swim. Though tank lighting is not important for the fish, but this is when you can see all the beauty and unicity of the goldfish species.


Oranda 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 fishes.

The best tankmates for oranda 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 fishes. Oranda is not a very good swimmer as well, therefore don’t keep it with such active swimmers as a common goldfish or shubunkin.


Oranda is an omnivorous fish and it has excellent appetite. It is important not to overfeed the fish. 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 fish diet – for example, lettuce and spinach.

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

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

If you (just like me) regularly feed your fish with artificial food, then the links will be very helpful for you – Hikari Fancy Goldfish, Fluval Bug Bites Goldfish, TetraFin Balanced Diet Goldfish, Repashy Super Gold – Goldfish and Koi Gel Food. I know what it’s like when you pet fish die because of low quality food or get ill due to infection ingress into the tank with live food. I myself give some of this food to my pets and as for the rest I’ve heard and read lots of good reviews. Yet, all of the food is of high quality and it is the best one for this fish kind as well as it keeps the tank water clean.


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

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


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

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

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

Usually aquarists separate oranda 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 female and 2-3 male fish for spawning. The fish starts laying eggs in the early morning and it lasts for several hours. Oranda goldfish lays about 2000 eggs.

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

Last update on 2019-10-22 at 13:54 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API