Probably the most popular pet fish of all times is the goldfish. There are a ton of different types of these golden beauties, though, and today we’re going to look at an especially unique and fun fancy goldfish – the oranda goldfish.

These sparky little fish look kind of like they have bubbles on their heads in a cluster, have some fancy fins, and definitely draw the attention of visitors when they see them. They’re not the easiest-to-care-for goldfish, but in the moderate range, though, so if you’ve got a little experience as an aquarist, you’ll do just fine caring for these fancy fish.

Quick Intro to Oranda Goldfish

Family: Cyprinidae
Scientific Name: Carassius auratus auratus
Other Names: red cap, blue, black are all varieties of oranda, so you may hear them referred to this way
Care Level: Moderate/Intermediate

Natural Habitat, Identification, and Where to Buy

Oranda Goldfish, also known as Red Cap, is a fish with a reputation for being the most beautiful goldfish. This fish does not exist in nature because it is a product of selective breeding by fishkeepers hundreds of years ago. Fish keepers in East Asia (think China and Japan and their fondness for koi fish) are known for having created a large number of types of goldfish.

The origins of all goldfish, including Oranda, are the breeding of multiple generations of wild carp.

While there is active debate about how long Oranda Goldfish have been around and exactly who was the first to breed them, they date back centuries to 15th century Asia.

A four-inch Oranda is sold for approximately $35-40. The lifespan of this fish species helps to offset the cost. The average lifespan of this fish species is around 15 years, but if you can keep their aquarium at optimal levels, they have been known to live longer.

Oranda Goldfish are not a schooling species, but they like to live in tanks where they have other members of their species. This fish species is not known for being aggressive. As long as other tank mates are peaceful, they get along with a wide variety of fish.

This species of fish works great in either aquariums or ponds. This species has flowing fins that distinctive crowns that help make it a great choice for fish keepers who want to add beauty to their tanks. Additionally, there are many variations of this species so it’s possible to find the one that will look perfect for your aquarium.

This is not a particularly fast swimmer but likes to spend most of their day either swimming or digging in the substrate. This fish will explore both the top of and bottom of the tank during their swims. Due to its size, it is not known for hiding.

You can find them online for purchase at:

Optimal Water Conditions for Oranda Goldfish

Water Temperature: 65°F to 72°F
Water Flow Rate: low to moderate
pH: 5.0 to 8.0
Water Hardness: 4 to 20 dGH

Tank Setup

Minimum Tank Size30 gallon tanks
Optimal Tank Size35+ gallons
Optimal Tank Shape: standard rectangular
Recommended Filter Type: A filter that’s powerful but doesn’t create too much current

The Oranda Goldfish does not have a place in nature it can be found because this species was created through the process of selective breeding. To better understand what this species’ ideal conditions are and how the tank should be set up, we must look at their ancestor the wild Asian carp.

Each of your Oranda Goldfish will need a minimum of twenty gallons to live in. However, this fish does best when they can have thirty gallons of water per fish. The extra water in the tank will go towards helping your fish to have a high-quality life. Your fish need to have the room that they need to spread their fins and swim around. If you are intending to keep multiple Oranda Goldish in a single tank, the recommendation to have no less than thirty gallons of water with the recommendation of having forty gallons per fish in the tank.

Typical of freshwater fish, Oranda Goldfish are quite sensitive to any water changes that could tweak the parameters. If you do not keep a close eye on the tank’s water quality, it is easy for this fish to become sick. To avoid your fish becoming sick and dying it is important to purchase tools that you can use to test the water several times a week.

The water hardness should be between 6-18°dH and a neutral pH between 5 and 8. For the ideal water temperature for this species, try to keep it between 68-71.5°F.

A factor that complicates keep the water quality high, is that this species of fish enjoys eating and this will lead to the water becoming dirty. This creates the need for a quality filtration system that can keep up with your fish.

Freshwater fish need to have oxygen-rich water. You will need to find and install a strong aeration system.

Creating the Landscape

The process of designing your aquarium landscape should include picking a substrate that the Oranda Goldfish can dig around in. It is important to not choose uneven sand or sharp gravel because it is likely the goldfish will injure themselves while trying to dig. The best choices are either large-grained sand or gravel that is rounded out.

Plants make a nice addition to a tank that houses Oranda Goldfish. However, it is important to make sure you do not go overboard with plants. This is a large species of fish that needs plenty of room for swimming. If you add too many plants, it will restrict the fish and can cause them stress and sickness.

When choosing live plants for this kind of tank, your best choices are study but small-leafed varieties. Oranda like to scatter the sand while they dig and more delicate plants can be damaged or killed by the fish digging around. Popular choices include elodea and Vallisneria.

Oranda Goldfish require a daylight cycle between eight to eleven hours every day.

This fish needs water that is very oxygenated. This can be done by use of a filtration system or by installing an air bladder in your aquarium.

If you wish to add decoration to the aquarium you can. There are no decorations that Oranda Goldfish favor. But make sure that all decorations do not have sharp corners, otherwise your fish runs the risk of ripping a fin while swimming around.

Best Plants: The best plants are study small leaf plants like Vallisneria and Elodea.
Best Lighting:The fish needs a daylight cycle of 8-11 hours.
Best Decorations: A variety.
Decorations to Avoid: Avoid decorations with sharp edges or would interfere with swimming.

Physiological Considerations for Oranda Goldfish

Size:Up to 9 inches
Lifespan15 years on average
Temperament: Peaceful
Preferred Tank Region:They swim all over the tank.
Scale Thickness: They have average scale thickness, but tend to be very active and social and may lose scales due to bumping into objects frequently. If you notice they’re losing their scales, keep a close eye on them for bacterial infections that may arise. Remove any items in the fish tank that have collected scales, as these are harmful to your fish.
Gill Considerations: Goldfish use their gills to breathe in that oxygenated water. They do best with cold water (which is more heavily oxygenated than warm) for this reason.
Swimbladder Considerations:Goldfish are susceptible to this. Be sure to keep their tanks free and clear of food debris and make sure they have strong enough filters to keep up with them.
Fin Shape Considerations: They have delicate fins that easily are nipped on by other species, get snagged on jagged rocks, etc. Avoid housing them with nipping species and anything with jagged edges.

When planning your tank it is important to remember that a fully grown Oranda Goldfish average between eight to nine inches in length. 

The most common colors that this goldfish can be found in is yellow or orange. While significantly rarer, there are several other color variants that this fish can be found in.

A fish’s life expectancy centers around quality of goldfish care. If a fish is subjected to dirty water conditions and a tank with no room to swim in, then it will become sick and most likely will die early. If this fish is given proper care and is provided with correct tank conditions, this fish can expect an average lifespan of fifteen years. In a large enough pond, it becomes somewhat common for this species to reach twenty years old.

Orandas have several features that help them stand out from other goldfish. Instead of the more common slender shape, these are known to be egg-shaped with large bellies almost as wide as their length.

This species has unique fins. Apart from its dorsal fin, each of the other fins is in pairs. While this fish is not the most powerful swimmer, it does use its paired fins to help control its movements through the water. Their tail fin is long and will fan out when the fish is not moving.

The most recognizable physical feature of this fish is its cap. This cap (also called a crown or wen) is warty, thick, and has a rough texture.  Each fish is different, some caps will stay on top of the head, and others will grow until it completely covers the head and face. It does not appear until the fish is about three or four months old and does not fully develop until they are around two years old.

Varieties of Oranda Goldfish

There are a few types of oranda goldfish you may consider for your fish tank.

Black Oranda Goldfish

Black Oranda Goldfish is a variant of Oranda that has all the characteristic features of the species but has a darker coloration with the occasional hint of orange hue. A notable feature is that their crown that grows on their head tends to have slightly lighter coloration.

Blue Oranda Goldfish

This variant is also known by the names Seibun and Seibungyo. The pigmentation has a range of light to dark grey blue. A common variation has the pigments on their body mixed with other colors (like black, white, and orange) with only their head pure blue.

Red Cap Oranda Goldfish

The Red Cap is the best known of the various Oranda Goldfish variants. Its head doesn’t fully grow a cap, only the top and upper areas of its head are covered. The best known version of the Red Cap has a body and head which is almost entirely white, except for its red cap.

Society

Oranda Goldfish are known for being friendly fish. However, it is still important when choosing which fish you decide to introduce to their tank. The simplest thing is to just put a group of Oranda together or only house them with other species of Goldfish. Fish keepers who house Oranda together will purchase a variety of colors to help make the tank look more visually appealing.

If you decide that you must have a tank that mixes Oranda Goldfish with other fish species, it will require some planning on your part. There are some factors you need to take into consideration when choosing companion fish. Two of the most obvious are fish with the right kind of temperament and size of the fish. You mustn’t put small fish in the tank. If they are not big enough the Goldfish will either swallow them or try to eat them.

Fish of the wrong temperament can injure or even kill your Oranda Goldfish. Neons, Barbs, Bettas, and Cichlids are all known for biting other fish and would likely damage the goldfish’s fins.

Another thing to consider is to make sure the companion fish can be kept at the same water conditions as the goldfish. Of all the water conditions, having a similar temperature is important, otherwise you Oranda will not be able to survive.

Cyprinid fish and catfish are two of the more common fish housed alongside Oranda Goldfish.

Catfish make a great addition because they can help keep your tank clean because of how much waste that Orandas produce.

Some specific species to consider housing with your orandas include:

  • Sailfin Pleco
  • Black Moors
  • Pepper Cory Catfish
  • Ryhkin Goldfish
  • Pearlscale Goldfish
  • Leopard Pleco

Gender, Breeding, and Reproductive Considerations

When it comes to breeding, Oranda Goldfish are a species that is easy for fish keepers to breed. They are willing to breed in pairs or in a group that includes upwards of five fish.

All varieties of Oranda Goldfish reach maturity after two years.

The first step is to make a separate breeding tank that has the same conditions as the main aquarium. This breeding tank needs to be around fifteen to twenty-five gallons in size. The only difference between the two tanks is that you will need to place fine-leaf plants in the breeding tank. These plants are necessary because they are used in the breeding process and the fish will lay eggs on the leaves.

As they prepare to spawn, the fish need to be kept in separate spawning tanks as well as being conditioned using live foods.

With the proper preparation, after adding the fish to the breeding tank the fish will breed in the earlier hours of the day. Before breeding, they will chase one another around and their colors will begin to intensify in color.

Female Oranda Goldfish can lay upward of ten thousand eggs over several hours.

After the fish are finished mating, it is important to remove the adults so that they will not eat the eggs.

The time that you have to wait for the eggs to hatch varies between two days and a week.

After the eggs hatch, the fry can be fed with liquid food or Infusoria. After the brine has grown for a few days they can move to eat baby brine shrimp. If in doubt, your local pet store should have a variety of pre-made fish food you can feed the fry.

Nutritional Needs

The Oranda Goldfish has a diet that is close to that of wild carp. Both species are omnivorous that will eat foods of a wide range. Common foods include plants, insects, and crustaceans. These omnivores are known for being a greedy fish that is willing to eat anything that it can fit in its mouth.

This species will happily eat a wide range of live and dry foods, though in captivity, gel food is always better for them than flake food. For the fish’s health, you must provide them a diet that has variety, including spinach and lettuce. For those who prefer to buy their fish foods, local pet stores offer various feeds that cover all the nutritional needs of your fish.

The Oranda Goldfish is known to have its color relate directly to the quality of food it eats. The better quality food you offer the fish then the brighter the fish’s color will be.

It is important to make sure you have strict feeding times with this fish. The species love to eat and can easily gain weight. If you do not restrict feeding, then it is likely your fish will become obese and start to suffer health problems.

Young Orandas need to be fed twice a day whereas the adults only need one feeding.

There are ways to tell if you are overfeeding your fish. A classic sign is seeing your fish swim on their side. If that happens you should skip feeding for a day so it has time to digest the food it already has eaten.

If you continue to overfeed your fish it will eventually kill your fish. If you are having difficulty with portions, the average amount of food you give your fish should not exceed 3% of your fish’s size.

On the other side of the spectrum, if you aren’t feeding your fish enough they will let you know. They will begin to dig up substrate looking for food.

Best Sustenance Food Type: Pellets, dry food, and nutritious vegetables.
Additional Food For Optimal Health:Lettuce and Spinach, bloodworms
Special Foods and Considerations for Best Color and Growth: High quality store bought food.
When and How Often to Feed Fish Based on Life Cycle: Young orandas should be fed twice a day, adults once a day.

Common Diseases and How to Avoid and Treat Them

Oranda is a freshwater fish that has a lot in common with other goldfish when it comes to their care and upkeep. They are quite sensitive to any changes to their water parameters and need to have at least 25% of their water changed every week. This water change is important due to how much waste the fish produces. This waste can cause high nitrate levels in the water.

It is important that these goldfish not be kept with small and active fish that might attack the goldfish. If their fins are nipped it can lead to the fish developing fin rot. If left untreated the disease will spread causing them to lose their fin and to death.

If this species is subjected to frequent water temperature changes it can make them susceptible to Ich. This disease is caused when parasites are introduced to the tank via new fish or secondhand equipment. Water waters only increase how quickly this parasite spreads. The best solution is to use chemicals for the water and antibiotics for the fish.

It is important to monitor your fish as their cap grows on their head. The cap can block their vision and cover their mouth. If it appears that your fish’s cap is starting to do either of those, it is important to talk to your vet to see what they suggest doing. Some medications can slow and stop the development of the cap.

Some Red Cap Orandas can catch an infection on their cap. This bacterial infection can cause them great harm so it is important to pay attention to your fish and look for any unusual growth or coloring on the cap itself. If you see an unusual change it is important to talk to your vet and see what medications they suggest.

Best Antibiotics: Over the counter medications
Treatments to Avoid:N/A
Food Recommendations When Sick: Normal food
Hospital Tank or Isolation Withing the Community Tank: It is important to separate the sick fish by using a hospital tank until they have recovered.

7 Facts About Oranda Goldfish

  1. The goldfish is the number one most popular aquarium fish all over the world.
  2. You can tell how old a goldfish is by its scales! Each year, they develop a “ring” of scales much like a tree does!
  3. Oranda goldfish aren’t listed as native to anywhere because they were created in a lab, in essence. They were selectively bred centuries ago.
  4. Goldfish see more colors than humans are capable seeing.
  5. These little colorful fish have a lateral line down their sides that allows them to sense pressure changes, like currents and vibration.
  6. Goldfish taste food with their lips, which is where their tastebuds reside.
  7. These guys can remember faces, shapes, and don’t have just a 3-second memory. In fact, goldfish can still remember things at least 5 months later.

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