Oranda Goldfish: Care Guide, Types & Species Profile

Did you know that Goldfish come in over 200 different varieties?

One of the oldest and most beautiful varieties is the Oranda Goldfish.

This variety is easily identified by their trailing fins and the bumpy hood on top of their head.

Once considered a symbol of wealth and prosperity the Oranda is now available to any fish keeper looking for a new addition to their Goldfish tank. While they certainly look spectacular, this unique appearance comes with some additional Goldfish care needs (more on this later).

Has the king of the Goldfish captured your attention?

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about this species…

Oranda Goldfish

Oranda Goldfish Overview

Red Cap Oranda Goldfish

The Oranda Goldfish is a specially-bred variety of the Common Goldfish (Carassius auratus).

This particular breed originated in Japan in the late 1700s and can not be found in the wild.

They are most well known for their hood which looks like a lion’s mane. Because of this they are commonly called Lionhead or Lionmask.

You can expect your Oranda Goldfish to reach 5-8 inches in length.

They are smaller than other single tailed Goldfish because of their compressed body shape. This can actually cause a few problems that increases their level of required care. Although they are generally considered a healthy breed they are not the right choice for a first timer. You should have previous experience with other fancy Goldfish before keeping an Oranda fish.

You can buy this regal looking fish at Goldfish breeders and retailers that specialize in fancy breeds. You will struggle to find them at ordinary pet shops.

Expect to pay anywhere from $30-$150.

Around $50-$70 should get you a quality specimen.

Key Facts:

  • Experience Required: Fancy Goldfish.
  • Nicknames: Lionmask Goldfish, Lionhead Goldfish.
  • Color Forms: Various.
  • Size: 5-8 inches.
  • Tank Size: Minimum 30+ gallon.
  • Tank Temperature: 65°F to 72°F.

  • Elegant and showy appearance
  • Very peaceful and docile
  • Can be kept in tanks or ponds
  • Very long lifespan

  • Less hardy than other Goldfish
  • Harassed by fast swimming fish
  • Prone to a variety of health issues

Oranda Goldfish Appearance

Blue Oranda Goldfish

The Oranda Goldfish does not look anything like your typical Goldfish.

Their body is short and compressed which gives them a bulky apperance.

Orandas can have either a Fringetail or a Veiltail. Fringetails are defined by their wide open caudal fins with slight fringes at the edges. Veiltails have long, downward-sloping fins that look like a bridal veil.

Gold is the most common color and it can appear in any shade, from very light yellow to deep orange. However you can also find them in black, white, red or blue (more on this later).

The hood, or wen, is this breed’s defining feature. It begins to form when the fish is around 4 months old and is fully developed within 2 years.

Their hood should cover the top of the head and extend just before the gill plates. Breeders must be very careful that the hood does not cover the gill plates. The hood may also appear as a small cap on top of the head. This is much healthier for the fish but it is also more uncommon.

Just like other fancy Goldfish, almost all of their fins come in twos.

A pair of caudal, anal, pelvic, and pectoral fins along with a single dorsal fin makes for a total of 9 different fins.

You might notice that your Oranda spends a lot of time swimming with their mouth open – this is how fish breathe. However a fish with respiratory issues needs to gulp much more often.

Oranda Goldfish Types

Black Oranda Goldfish

Black is a particularly sought after color variety. A grey or gold underside complements a solid black color (similar to that of the Black Moor). The hood is usually a lighter shade than the rest of the body and under certain lighting you can see a gold sheen on their scales.

Blue Oranda Goldfish

Blue is an unusual color. It was only recently developed and till quite rare and expensive. A blue color comes in shades from bluish grey to deep navy and the shades may change as the fish grows older. The exact shade of blue that appears on the fish depends on their diet, age, genetics and breeding quality. On some individuals the hood may be a different shade than the rest of the body. In Japan, it is known as Seibungyo or Shibun.

Red Cap Oranda Goldfish

Red Caps are often healthier than other varieties because to their smaller hoods. The hood appears as a cap on top of the head, rather than extending towards the body. Their body is almost always white, which brings out the deep red color of the cap. Red or gold spots can also appear over the body.

Panda Oranda Goldfish

The Panda is a very rare variety that sells for a high price. As you might have guessed, this is a black and white colored Goldfish. Black colors usually appear over their hood and near the dorsal fin, but may also extend to their eyes and fins. Small patches of red, yellow or golden orange can appear over the hood or on the dorsal fin as well, and the colors can mix with one-another on different areas of the body.

Calico Oranda Goldfish

Calico Orandas look very similar to Koi fish or Shubunkin Goldfish. They have a mix of black, red and white colors. A Calico fish can have a white or iridescent silver base color which is decorated with large red or orange spots, and a scattering of tiny black dots. The colors can appear in any combination and will vary from fish to fish.

Oranda Goldfish Care Guide

An Oranda Goldfish

Oranda Goldfish are not suitable for beginners.

You should try keeping other types of Goldfish before you keep this one.

Their hood is prone to bacterial infections which are caused by unstable water parameters or poor cleaning.

These infections can cause pain, swelling and inflammation.

Fish with especially large hoods may have difficulty balancing or staying afloat in the water. They may also have trouble breeding if the hood is too close to their gill plates.

Also their body shape makes them susceptible to swim bladder disorders.

Uncoordinated swimming is one of the first signs of Swim Bladder Disease. The fish’s body will also look swollen or bloated. Since Swim Bladder Disease is the result of a bacterial infection, it can be prevented by keeping the tank clean and the temperature stable. A temperature that is too high or low can attract bacteria.

These fish are also susceptible to fin rot and ich.

When something is wrong in your tank your Oranda Goldfish will be the first to get sick.

To keep these fish healthy you will need to clean the tank every week, monitor water parameters and check the condition of the filter.

Food and Diet

Goldfish are some of the most voracious eaters around.

In the wild they will eat anything they can find at the river bed including: insect larvae, small worms, zooplankton and snails. They enjoy digging for food in the substrate, grazing on moss and nibbling on plants. They will even eat other fish that are small enough to fit in their mouths.

You should feed your Goldfish a diet made up of at least 30% protein. The rest can include greenery and a small amount of healthy carbohydrates. You can buy protein-packed flakes and pellets that are made especially for Goldfish, as well as gel foods and algae wafers.

Brine shrimp, insect larvae and adult insects make excellent live prey.

Grass shrimp and small snails can be added to the aquarium as feeders too.

In addition to these live prey you can feed them blanched green vegetables such as lettuce, peas, cucumbers and zucchini. They will also graze on any algae that appears in the tank and munch on any leaves that are dropped by your plants.

Here is a list of everything that your Oranda Goldfish can eat:

  • Fish flakes
  • Fish pellets
  • Algae wafers
  • Insects and insect larvae
  • Brine shrimp
  • Bloodworms
  • Micro worms
  • Grass shrimp
  • Snails
  • Algae
  • Leaves
  • Lettuce
  • Cucumbers
  • Zucchini
  • Peas

Because Oranda Goldfish have big appetites it is easy to overfeed them.

To avoid this you should stick to a consistent feeding schedule.

Young and active fish should be fed in the morning and evening every day. Older individuals can get by on just one meal per day.

Typical Behavior

A Swimming Oranda Goldfish

Orandas are one of the most docile Goldfish breeds.

They tend to wander around the middle levels of the tank looking for little bits of food.

Although they may be less active than other Goldfish their elegant swimming makes them quite a sight to watch.

It is a misconception that they are unintelligence and have short memories.

They are actually very smart and can memorize their feeding times and even the sight of their keepers. When you walk into the room you might catch your fish heading over to the tank glass to say hello. When it is dinner time they will lie in wait near their usual feeding spot.

One thing to note is that they are easily distressed by bullying and harassment. If there is a fin nipper in the tank then your Oranda Goldfish will spend most of their time hiding away.

Habitat and Aquarium Set Up

This breed does not naturally occur in the wild.

However we can learn a lot by looking at their ancestors (the Common Goldfish) who inhabit cool freshwater streams in China.

The water is usually slow moving and very well oxygenated, with water temperatures between 60-75°F. The water is slightly acidic which creates a murky bottom.

They stand up very well to changes in their environment and have established populations in areas far outside of their native range. The Oranda however, is different from their common cousin. Their water conditions are much more specific and they do not adapt well to an unpredictable environment.

Aquarium Conditions

You can keep them in either a tank or a pond.

The temperature must range from 65-72°F, with little to no changes.

Temperatures outside of this range tend to breed bacteria which can infect their hood. A heater is only needed for outdoor ponds during the wintertime. The pH must be at a neutral range (6.5-8.0) and the water hardness can range from 6-18 dGH.

A bubble filter or a hang on back filter is excellent for adding a bit of oxygen to your water column.

You can use smooth gravel, sand or mud for their substrate.

Oranda Goldfish need 8-12 hours of light every day. You can give this to them using either natural sunlight or an aquarium bulb that mimics the sun. A hood is also needed to prevent escape attempts.

You can decorate the tank with just about anything – just make sure not to overcrowd the tank.

Rocks, driftwood and plastic structures are all safe to decorate with. However, do not use fake plants because your fish will try to eat them. Real plants are safe to use however you should keep the foreground open by using background and carpet plants.

Tapegrass, Cabomba, and Hornwort are some of the best plant species to use. In a pond you can also float Duckweed and Seedbox along the surface.

Marimo Moss, Liverworts and Pellia make excellent natural carpets for any indoor or outdoor Goldfish habitats.

Tank Parameter Requirement
Minimum Tank Size 30 Gallons
Tank Type Freshwater
Temperature 65-72°F
pH 6.5-8.0
Hardness 6-18 dGH
Flow Low
Substrate Smooth gravel, sand or mud

What Size Aquarium Do They Need?

One Oranda Goldfish will need at least a 30 gallon tank.

For each additional Oranda Goldfish you will need to add 20 gallons of water.

Black Oranda Goldfish

History and First Sighting

The Common Goldfish’s history began in 16th century China when miniature carps were initially raised for food.

They did not make very good food so they were quickly promoted to pets instead. Their popularity spread throughout China and Japan from the 1500s to the 1700s.

As they became more popular people started to breed the common Goldfish to create exotic and fancy varieties. The Oranda is one of the first exotic breeds and was created in Japan in the late 1700s. At this time they were only available to the very rich.

It was not until the 19th century that the Oranda variety was introduced to the western world.

However by the 1930s it had become a mainstream breed available to everyone.

Even though they are still rather expensive they are a favorite among hobbyists from all walks of life.

Suitable Tank Mates

Although these Goldfish are very social they are also sensitive.

You cannot keep them with the same types of fish that you would be able to keep with a single tailed Goldfish. This is because they are slow swimmers which means they can be bullied by your more rambunctious tank mates.

The best tank mates are other breeds of fancy Goldfish that move at similar speeds. These include Black Moors, Veiltails, Fringetails and Ryukins.

For other fish you can try the Plecostomus. This is one of the best bottom dwellers to pair with this fish as they help keep the bottom of the tank clean. Common, Sailfin and Bristlenose Plecos are also safe additions to this community.

The Peppered Cory is one of the best Cory Catfish to keep in this tank, but you can include Julii Corys and other varieties as well.

Weather Loaches and Hillstream Loaches work if you are looking for another friendly bottom dweller. If you have a garden pond then your Goldfish can live in perfect harmony with Koi carp.

Goldfish love snacking on shrimp and snails so adding invertebrates to this tank is very risky. Fully grown Mystery Snails are safe to keep but only because of their large size.

You should avoid Tetras because they will nip at your Oranda’s trailing fins.

Guppies, White Clouds and Barbs should be avoided for the same reason. Bettas, Cichlids and other aggressive fish must be kept away as well.

Keeping Oranda Goldfish Together

They will not only interact with the other Orandas in their group but with any other Goldfish that you have. It is not uncommon for several different varieties to be spotted swimming together.

Since you need 20 gallons for each additional Goldfish in your tank, a group of 4 will need a 90 gallon tank.

In a garden pond they will group up very easily and have plenty of space to swim.

Breeding Oranda Goldfish

Close Up Red Cap Oranda Goldfish

Breeding Goldfish is a very popular hobby.

Your fish will be ready to breed once they reach 2 years of age. You should only select the healthiest, most vibrant looking individuals to breed.

Diet and environment are the two most important parts.

For the environment your tank must replicate their natural breeding season (which occurs from February to May). Gradually raise the water temperature until it reaches 74°F and feed the pair up to 3 meals of live prey every day.

When the male enters breeding condition his colors will deepen and he will develop tiny white breeding tubercles over his head. The female’s abdomen will begin to round out.

While courting the male will chase the female around the tank and lightly bump her. You should place the couple in a breeding tank once you see this happening.

Line the breeding tank with a spawning mat or a leafy plant for the eggs to stick to.

Up to 10 thousand eggs may be laid per spawn.

It can take up to a week for the eggs to hatch and the larvae will remain near the bottom of the tank until they lose their yolk sacs in 2 or 3 days.

The fry should be fed larval brine shrimp and commercial fry food. Once they grow larger you can begin to feed them micro worms, water fleas and insect larvae. Once the juveniles are old enough to start eating the same foods the parents eat you can add them to the main community tank.

Juvenile Oranda Goldfish begin to develop their hoods at 3 or 4 months of age, but the hood does not completely grow in until the fish turns 2.

Should You Keep The Oranda Goldfish? (Summary)

Oranda Goldfish
Other Common Names: Lionhead Goldfish, Lionmask Goldfish
Scientific Name: Carassius auratus
Family Name: Cyprinidae
Distribution: Captivity only
Size: 5-8 inches
Color: Various
Care Level: Intermediate
Temperament: Peaceful
Lifespan: 10-15 years
Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
Tank Mate Compatibility: Fancy Goldfish and peaceful bottom dwellers

The glorious Oranda is truly the king of the Goldfish.

Just by looking at them with their regal crown you can tell they come from a high class background.

Oranda fish are one of the most peaceful breeds of Goldfish and it is quite soothing to watch one swim around your tank.

Although they need a slightly higher level of care than other Goldfish, an experienced keeper should be able to manage just fine.

If you are looking for a truly unique type of Goldfish for your aquarium then the Oranda is something to consider.

What color is your Oranda Goldfish? Let us know in the comments section below…