Oranda Goldfish is an out-of-the-world fish compared to other aquarium fishes or goldfish. Its natural crown (also called wen), majestic flowing fins, and bright color(s) make it spectacularly fascinating.
The varieties of the oranda goldfish and their colorful, alluring personas will leave you spoilt for a choice. Owning this exotic beauty is every fish lover’s dream, making it one of the most sought-after fish in the aquarium hobby and trade globally.
Well, it has a few care requirements of its own. However, it’s nothing compared to the joy and pride it can bring you.
This article deep-dives into all aspects of oranda goldfish care, empowering you to take that leap to add this crown-ed glory to your collection.
Oranda Goldfish Species Overview
|Scientific Name||Carassius Auratus Auratus|
|Other popular names||Tigerhead, Oranda Shishigashiri, Bubblehead Goldfish, Big head Goldfish|
|Average Life Span||10 to 15 years|
|Adult Size||8 to 12 inches|
Habitat and Origin
Ornamental goldfish are popular since ages. Logs of their existence are found since 265-419 AD. There were ponds of these ornamental fishes and many fancy varieties were developed in captivity. Records indicate that oranda was identified in 1893.
Oranda is never wild-caught, meaning there is no natural habitat. But they have retained most characteristics of their lineage and there is sufficient information about the environment they thrive in.
The Japanese named it as Dutch/Netherlands lion head, which translates into oranda shishigashir, due to a misunderstanding about their origin. However, the name oranada still continues to date.
How Long do they Live?
Like any other goldfish, their average lifespan is 10-15 years. However, with proper care, they can live longer. Tish, an oranda goldfish lived for 43 years. His owner won him at a fair. It is a Guinness book of world record for the longest life.
How Long do they grow?
They grow 8-12 inches long.
Interestingly, Bruce, a giant oranda goldfish, is a staggering 15 inches long, while Rocky might be the biggest (rather heaviest). At three years old, she is 6 inches long and 4 inches tall and a whopping 2lbs 10oz! Her owner claimed that she was the biggest across the UK. There are no further updates.
As is evident from the following images, it looks very different from the common goldfish.
- Its body is egg-shaped with neatly lined metallic or matte scales.
- Oranda isveiltail. It has long, swaying fins.
- Except for the upper fin (dorsal fin), all other fins are paired (one on each side), including the tail fin.
- Thus, it has two pectoral fins near the gills and two anal fins (on the lower body) below the abdomen.
- The forked tail fin is almost 75% of its body size.
- When it is not swimming, the tail fin spreads like a fan (left side image).
- The hood-like growth on its head, above its eyes, is its distinguishing feature. It is called a crown or wen.
- The wen takes any random color, further enhancing its beauty.
- Sometimes, it might also cover its face.
Oranda goldfish come in vibrant colors like orange, red, black, white (silver), gold, or a combination of two or more, with or without any random marks, strokes (lines), or dots of contrasting color(s).
Their wens start growing after they are three to four months old and keep growing till they are two to three years old. This head growth looks fleshy but is nail-like. Sometimes, the wens may grow too large and hamper their vision. In such instances, owners prefer to trim the excess growth surgically.
Types of Oranda Goldfish
There are many mutations of the oranda goldfish, resulting in different colors and patterns. Some of its most prominent varieties are listed below.
Azuma Nishiki or Calico Oranda
It is multi-colored with scattered black dots, spots, and lines all over the body, including the fins.
When it swims, these black patterns form an interesting design that keeps breaking and forming continuously. It is a top-view fish. You must view it from the top of the tank to experience these amazing designs.
Red Cap Oranda
It has an elegant silver (or white) body with a red wen, giving it an elegant look. The left fish in the image has naturally red lips, making it more desirable.
It is a crossbreed with a black moor.
This black beauty can steal the show in any community tank.
It has red and black colors on its body. An oranda having black coloration on fins only is not considered an Apache.
It is a cross between an oranda and a telescope-eye. Protruding eyes and wen on the head are its distinguishing features.
It has only black and white colors in any proportion and pattern.
It has a long body (and is not egg-shaped). It was developed in Shikoku, Japan.
It has a pearl white body and white wen, with no other coloration/pattern, giving it an angelic look.
Ingot Oranda or Yuan-Baooranda
It is a cross between Ryukin and Ranchu fishes. It has a long tail (like Ryulin) and short fins, with a wen on its box-like face.
Chocolate Oranda or Chakin
Due to its chocolate color, its name literally means Tea fish in Japanese. It is also called the Tea Goldfish.
It has an orange body with a white cap.
Seibungyo or Siebun or Blue Oranda
As the name indicates, it is bluish-gray with a silverish hue.
Generally, the crown (or wen) of oranda goldfish covers their heads and the portions above the eyes. However, when the crown covers their entire face (as in this image), they are called Thai Oranda. Thus, a Thai oranda goldfish can be in any of the above-listed variants.
An oranda endowed with strokes of three different colors in any proportion and pattern is called a Tricolor.
Pearl scale Oranda
Its white scales on a contrast-colored body appear like small pearls on its body.
Can you identify some of the above variants from the below goldfish tank video?
Typical Behavior Patterns
- They are active during the day and swim at all tank levels.
- Being shoaling fish, they thrive better in groups of their own.
- They are peaceful with other fishes.
- Due to their wens and long fins, they are slow swimmers.
- They might keep bumping into other tank mates or tank decor, hunting themselves, if large wens impair their vision.
- It’s best to down-size their wens surgically if need be.
- They dig into the substrate sometimes.
- They eat the whole day, creating high bioloads.
- They are susceptible to injuries (if they hurt their crowns) and infections thereafter.
- They are sensitive to poor water quality and low water temperature.
- These puffy-head goldfish are irresistibly endearing with their graceful demeanors.
Male Vs. Female
Unless they mature, you cannot differentiate them gender-wise. They are sexually mature once they turn a year old. But some may take longer.
If you lift their anal fins and check their vents, the one with a bigger vent opening is a female. It is because she needs to release eggs. However, this observation comes with experience only.
An adult oranda male develops white spots called tubercles around his gills and pectoral fins, as shown below. These appear in spring. If it develops white spots anywhere else on the body, it could be ich.
A female oranda looks plumper than a male as she carries eggs in her belly. Her vent (anal opening) protrudes a little when she is ready to breed.
Another obvious indicator is their mating behavior. A male oranda always chases the female, making it easy to differentiate.
Availability and Price
Due to their popularity and demand, oranda goldfish are available for sale in most local fish-pet stores, and their stocks sell quickly. You can order online too.
Their price varies anywhere from $20 and above, depending on the variety, color, size, availability, and offers. Ones with unique features (any color on the crown, lips, etc.) are expensive. They even get auctioned.
Oranda Goldfish Care
What do They Eat
Being omnivorous, they eat everything that fits into their mouth.
How and What to Feed
Since they will not refuse food anytime, avoid over-feeding your oranda goldfish. Feed them twice a day till they are a year old. Post that, feed only once a day. They will eat the plants, algae, and microorganisms in the aquarium.
Offer a little portion for a minute or two/per feeding. Use a variety of foods in rotation to maintain nutritional value. Ensure the food is of high quality and not stale/old to avoid infections through food.
They will love live foods (like brine shrimp, bloodworms, tubifex worms, etc.), frozen foods (defrosted), dried foods (like Fish Flakes, Pellets, etc.), and veggies. Spinach and lettuce will help them in digesting high-protein foods. They may accept green peas, zucchini, boiled carrots, potatoes, etc.
Oranda goldfish spawn in the spring when the water becomes warmer. Hence, replicating this spawning trigger of changing seasons will initiate their breeding.
Preparing to Breed Them
Considering they become sexually mature between one to two years of age, keep watching for breeding indicators.
Prepare a separate 20-gallon breeding (or spawning) tank and break its nitrogen cycle (which can take 2-3 weeks). Add some bushy plants or artificial spawning mops. It should have a proper filtration system and lighting.
Once you have a pair(s) ready to spawn, move it to the breeding tank and feed them a protein-rich diet throughout the spawning process.
Once you transfer the pair to the breeding tank, begin culturing infusoria and green water if you wish to save on expensive fry care foods. You can also set up a brine shrimp hatchery.
Read more about spawning tanks, mops, culturing fish fry food, etc.
Many owners separate the pair for a few days before moving it to the spawning tank to build up their urge.
Gradually reduce the water temperature to 60 degrees F. Then increase it by 3 degrees F daily, mimicking season change.
When the water temperature reaches 68 to 74 degrees F, the male oranda will start actively chasing his female counterpart. Both their body colors will become more vibrant.
While chasing, he bumps her abdomen from the sides helping her to release the eggs. It continues for a few days till the female releases all her eggs. Simultaneously, the male releases sperm. The water will look slightly cloudy when they spawn.
The free-falling eggs stick to the spawning mops/plants and all over the tank. These are visible upon close observation.
After spawning, move the parents back to the main tank. This separation is necessary as they lack parental instincts and will start eating their own eggs.
Caring for Oranda Eggs and Fry(s)
A female oranda releases ten thousand eggs per spawn. Not all of them fertilize. The eggs stuck on the mops, plants, and tank bottoms will start hatching in 4 to 7 days. Hatched eggs will look darker.
Unhatched eggs will remain white. Keep removing them from the breeding tank to avoid fungal infection.
You will notice tiny fry(s) wriggling inside the hatched eggshells. In a day or two, they will swim freely. At this time, feed them infusoria, green water, and freshly hatched brine shrimps.
Once their mouths are a little big, you can feed them adult oranda foods in crushed form and tiny portions to fit their mouths.
Initially, they will be dark but slowly gain color as they grow. After they are an inch long, you can add them to the main tank.
Know more about how and what to feed fish fry(s).
As indicated earlier, Oranda goldfish are prone to bacterial, parasitic, and fungal infections due to poor tank management and wen injuries, if any.
However, by sticking to thumb rules about aquarium management, you can easily keep them healthy and happy. Remember to keep them stress-free and feed them a nutritional diet.
Like most other goldfish, they are most susceptible to the following diseases:
- Ich, Ick, or White Spot disease.
- Swim Bladder disease.
- Velvet, Rust, Gold Rust disease.
- Fin/Tail Rot
- Anchor Worm
- Fish louse, Argulus, Common Fish Louse, FishLice.
Learn more about these diseases, their symptoms, treatment, and prevention.
Acclimating Oranda Goldfish
Inspect your prized new oranda for physical discrepancies (white dots, missing or torn fins, wounds, color, etc.) before purchasing or immediately after receiving it via courier.
Deworm and quarantine them to remove any undetected infection(s). Post that, acclimate them to your main community tank water. It will help them adjust to the new water parameters seamlessly.
Ensure you follow these steps for any new additions to your collection.
Oranda Goldfish Tank Requirements
A minimum of 30 gallons aquarium is preferable for a single oranda goldfish, considering it will grow up to 8 to 12 inches long. If you plan to add more than one, consider 10 gallons/per additional oranda.
Using a 20-gallon tank might be okay to start with when it is small, but you must try and change to a larger one at the earliest. A small tank size will curb its growth rate.
How Many to Add
Add at least three or more, as it thrives in its own group. Since their sex is undeterminable till they mature, it will also increase your chance of getting a pair to breed.
More importantly, add only as many as you can handle (considering their high bioloads).
Hobbyists have kept a single oranda successfully with appropriate tank mates for years.
Also, consider the space requirements of other tank dwellers you may already have. All the fishes should have enough free space to swim as they grow.
Since there is no natural habitat to replicate, a setup that suits their size, crowns, and long fins is apt. A simple yet tasteful decor with ample free space and a few plants makes the best setup.
Everything used in the tank should be high quality, sterilized, and rinsed thoroughly.
They habitually dig into the substrate. Hence, a soft sand and gravel substrate with large sand grains and well-rounded gravel is best. It will keep their fins and crowns intact.
Oranda goldfish require a day-night cycle. If your aquarium receives ample natural light, you can use a dimmer light during the day. Else, use white fluorescent or LED light to provide sufficient daylight without algae growth. Switch off the tank light during the night.
Even the plants will need light to grow.
If there are any nocturnal tank mates, dim lights at night and use the tank decor smartly to avoid disturbing the night cycle of your oranda.
Adding actual plants will improve oxygenation and reduce nitrate and carbon-dioxide levels in the tank water. However, to prevent them from uprooting, tie them to rocks or place them in clay pots along the aquarium walls for better support.
They will nibble on the plants. Hence, choose them accordingly. Ensure the plants do not have very large or pointed leaves/branches to avoid obstructing/hurting the oranda.
For artificial plants, opt for silk plants over plastic ones. A mix of both (silk and actual) plants is also a good idea.
Unless you have a large tank, keep the decor simple and minimal to provide ample swimming space for the oranda goldfish. Avoid caves, holes, etc., where their fins or wens might get stuck/hurt.
Any decor you use should have round-edge and smooth surfaces. Use Clay pots with plants and a few large colorful rocks tastefully.
Oxygen and Filtration
Oranda goldfish generate huge bio loads. Hence, you will need an efficient filtering system to clean the physical waste and cut the nitrate levels.
As slow swimmers, oranda goldfish need a slow water flow to move around. Too strong a water current might add to their swimming woes.
Use natural and mechanical filters. Do not clean the tank thoroughly, as you will destroy good bacteria in the process, which will take a few weeks to regenerate. Balance the tank cleaning accordingly.
Perform regular, partial water changes. The new water you add should be at the same temperature as the main tank water.
Tank mates for oranda goldfish should not be:
- Interfering, aggressive, or territorial.
- Too small to fall prey to them. Oranda will eat anything that fits their mouths.
- Fast swimmers that oranda cannot compete with for food.
Other fancy goldfish or fishes with long fins, wens, or slow-paced swimming can live with oranda goldfish. Ryukin, Black Moors, Ranchus, Sailfin Pleco, oranda varieties (refer to section 2), peppered cory catfish, etc., make ideal tank mates.
Here’s an awesome tank setup!
Frequently Asked Questions
When should I decide to trim my oranda goldfish’s wen?
Every oranda goldfish does not need a wen-trimming. Many never need it.
If you notice the wen covering its eyes or gills partially/fully, immediately consult a vet.
If its gills are covered even partially, it will not get enough oxygen. When the crown impairs its vision, it will not be able to reach its food and will keep bumping into tank mates.
Isolating it in a separate tank will reduce stress and help you feed and monitor it closely.
Is wen-trimming painful for the oranda goldfish?
Wen is a fatty collection with no major nerves passing through it. Besides, the fish is administered general anesthesia during the process. Hence, wen-trimming does not hurt that much.
Avoid attempting it yourself. You might damage its gills or eyes accidentally.
If you have a little experience in fish keeping, caring for oranda goldfish is not hard. Now that you already know everything about caring for them, it is even easier.
They provide high returns on investment, should you decide to breed them. You can exchange the oranda fry(s) for another fish species or sell them for a profit. For all you know, you will find it hard to part with them.
Watching a ramp walk of these fashionistas in your aquarium with their crowns and colorful personalities is an incredible experience.
Watch these oranda goldfish interact with their owner!
We hope you add it soon and wish you a happy fish parenting time!