Red Cap Oranda

Oranda Goldfish Complete Care Guide: Colors, Behavior, Diet and More

You might see this adorable, albeit strange-looking little fellow in fish tanks in certain parts of the world. The Oranga Goldfish is common in China and Taiwan as a sign of wealth, luck and power. There, not only do they fascinate the Chinese and other similar cultures, but also avid aquarists who are enthralled by its majestic beauty.

© Wikimedia Commons

They are stunning creatures
that have a sort of angelic presence, and there’s no doubt that their addition
to any fish tank will make it look stunning! Before you go out and purchase one
of these delicate and beautiful fish, you need to know all there is about
caring for them.


The Carassius gibelio forma auratus or Oranda Goldfish, derived from “Netherlands Lion Head”
is a relatively peaceful fish. They are originally from China but were
mistakenly believed to be from the Netherlands for a while.

From the Cyprinidae family, it’s been hard to trace the exact origins of this cute creature, but it’s widely agreed to be the product of crossbreeding among professionals. They come in a wide variety of variations, which could add color and brightness to your tank.


The goldfish species in general is mild-mannered. Just like other goldfish, the orandas are not aggressive. They are peaceful fish that can get along with just about anyone! Just make sure they are in an environment where they feel safe, and their tank makes and general living conditions do not cause the stress.

While they don’t form
schools, they do prefer to be around a few of their own kind. They are slow
swimmers that tend to spend their day floating around and having fun. They
really do liven up your take!


Are they hardy? Yes, they are
a hardy little fish that enjoy swimming all over the tank. You might find your
pet floating near the top for a few days then find him/her staying close to the
bottom. They can be quite slow but are charming and graceful at the same time.

They are a scavenger fish and
will spend some of their time picking away at leftover food (if it’s not
cleared up) and moving stuff around the tank. You can expect your oranda to
perhaps even recognize you through the glass! They are sociable little fish
that like attention.

You might be able to train
them to follow your finger. They voice their happiness and content by making
cute gulping sounds!


What sets the oranda apart from other fish is the abnormal yet fascinating growths on their heads. It’s referred to as wen, and no, it is not their brains. It sure looks like it, but it’s just fleshy growth that can be a variety of colors, similar to the goldfish itself due to its diet.

These fleshy bumps start
growing at about 4 months of age, and they can even overgrow and affect the
oranda’s vision! However, they do tend to fully form around 2 years of age, but
it may take longer in some fish.

What’s also really cool (or really gross depending on how you look at it) is that the wen can actually be trimmed! Just like our monthly haircuts, an oranda sometimes needs maintenance done on their heads. It won’t hurt your little buddy as the wen doesn’t possess any nerves, but the fish does need to be sedated for the process just so he sits calmly in your palm.

While Oranda Goldfish can come in a wide variety of colors, the Red Cap Oranda is color specific. These little darlings have an all-white body with red hoods (wens), hence their title.

Red Cap Oranda
© Benson Kua

Other common variations are the:

Red Oranda

Red Oranda Goldfish
© KoiQuestion

White Oranda

White Oranda Goldfish
© Wikimedia Commons

Blue Oranda

Blue Oranda Goldfish
© Wikimedia Commons

The bodies of this type of
goldfish are egg-shaped, meaning they aren’t slender but they aren’t bulky
either. They sit perfectly in the middle with slightly wider torsos.

What gives these fish an angel-like and graceful appearance is their tail fin. They come in different shapes such as the ribbon tail, fan tail or broad tail, and they tend to billow out behind the oranda like an elegant train.

In the US, aquarists tend to
prefer fantails or ribbontails. Broadtail orandas are of show quality and are
produced in Britain and Asia and are a coveted species.

They are quite the bright and
vivid fish with color variations of black, red, white, yellow, orange, gold and
even blue! They usually have a metallic sheen and their scales catch the light
quite nicely.

Oranda Goldfish Size

When we think of goldfish, we
think of cute little swimmers that live in a round fish bowl or in a clear
plastic bag to be won at the state fair. However, these little creatures can
get quite big. Most orandas cost about $35-40 for one of about 4 inches. How
big does an oranda goldfish get? A larger oranda can actually grow up to be
about a foot long, or the size of certain cat and dog breeds!

The oranda goldfish can
thrive and grow in suitable conditions. If you take good care of them, they can
get pretty big. The average is around 7 inches. The largest oranda ever
documented was a whopping 15 inches! His name was Bruce and he was from Hong

They are cute, hardy fish
that can but quite the companion if it is well taken care of!

Care Level

The oranda fish themselves
are quite easy to care for, but it’s the conditions that make it that much
harder. They are not recommended for beginners due to the level of care
required. The growths (wen) need to be maintained and orandas are also a
sensitive fish that won’t do too well with change in tank conditions. Their
hoods also make it exceptionally difficult. Lots of floating debris or bacteria
could get lodged within the creases and crevices and that could lead to


How long do oranda goldfish
live for?

Well, that is to be
determined by your level of care. If you pay extra close attention to their
health and well-being and are meticulous about the tank conditions, your little
companion could be with you for over 15 years (which is the average).

Oranda Goldfish Diet

As hard as it is to care for
them (environmentally speaking), they are probably among one of the easiest
fish to feed. This omnivorous species can always eat. Well, I guess we know
what also contributes to their massive size. Since they do eat whatever is
given to them, it’s important to restrict their diet to only healthy food.

They will also most likely
eat anything floating around the tank, so it’s important to keep it clean. The
life motto of an oranda goldfish would be, “if it fits, I eat”. In general, if
it can fit into your oranda’s mouth the more likely it will become food.

They enjoy live and dry food.
Just like with a lot of other pets, their diet directly contributes to their
appearance. A dog with a healthy diet rich of vitamins and antioxidants will
have a shiny and lush coat. The same goes for oranda fish. The brighter your
fish is, the healthier the diet.

Eating is their favorite past time so you need to exert control over this to prevent them from becoming overweight. Feeding just once a day should be enough for adult oranda. If you spot them swimming on their side, it could signify that they are too full. Skip over mealtime for that day and start again with smaller portions.

A good way to gauge whether
or not you are feeding too much or too little is to watch their behavior. Feed
them around 3% of their body size (industry standard) and see. If they start to
dig up the substrate to look for food, then feed them a bit more next time.

Suggested food for the oranda

Ideal Tank Conditions

Your tank should be at least about 20 gallons (or bigger of possible). The temperature should be pretty consistent, between 20-22 degrees Celsius (68-71F). The hardness of the water should be between 6-18 dH and the pH levels should be between 5-8. A part of why they are so hard to care for is their sensitivity to water conditions.

Orandas like to dig, so when you’re considering the substrate, keep away from anything that could cause them harm such as gravel. It’s very likely that with more aggressive digging they could cut themselves on the sharp edges. Look for rounded substrate like pebbles or larger pieces of sand.

Decorating the tank with plants
and creating a private little space or your fish brings you a lot of joy.
However, make sure you don’t overpopulate the tank with greenery. Since the
oranda can grow to be pretty big, you don’t want to limit their free space. Stick
to smaller and sturdier plants that keep out of their way.

If they don’t have enough
space, it could lead to stress and anxiety, which isn’t good for the fish or

Next, make sure they get
enough sunlight. They need as much sunlight as possible, usually ranging from
8-11 hours of daylight.

Nothing is as important as
fresh and clean water with a good filtration system. Invest in one that makes
sure the water is full of oxygen and clean, hopefully one with mechanical,
biological and chemical filtration capabilities. Look into changing the water
bi-weekly with 30% of the old water siphoned out. Wash out the tank whenever
you can and remove floaters and debris on the regular.

Do oranda goldfish need a heater?

If you are able to keep the water conditions stable without one, then it’s not necessary. In some parts of the world, this is much more difficult to maintain. If water temperatures dip drastically during the night, then it could be a good idea to invest in an aquarium heater for these majestic fish.

What are the best tank mates for an Oranda Goldfish?

They are peaceful, friendly
and fun-loving, but they can’t live with just anyone. It’s more about making
sure the fish joining your tank are just as friendly and not so much about your
oranda. Think about the size your oranda could grow to, and make sure you
aren’t pairing it with one of a bigger size.

Orandas do well with each
other or other species of goldfish. Fish that thrive in the same conditions as
your oranda is bets. Any kind of scavenger fish or habitants that clean up the
tank are a great idea. This is because your oranda causes more messes than you
would think.

Smaller, faster and more
active fish are not good roommates because they end up nipping at your oranda’s
fins, which is obviously not good.


Oranda goldfish are regal,
majestic and highly sought after. It’s great if you can breed them in your own
tank without having to shell out more money (even though they are not that
expensive). More and more aquarists are attempting home breeding and selling
pedigree fish online.

They hit puberty at about 2
years of age and can start the breeding process. Having a tank of 20-25 gallons
is optimal. You should put a female in with a couple of males for the most
success. It’s usually the same environment as their regular tanks. Decorate it
with some plants and round substrate.

Breeding usually happens
early in the morning. Once you are sure it has been successful, you can then
move the parents to a different tank. After the incubation period of 2 or 3
days, the babies (fry) can move on their own and start feeding.


Oranda goldfish carry
significance in Asian cultures. You may see it grace fish tanks in large
companies or at the entryway of people’s homes because they are believed to
bring wealth, luck and power. There are also a wide variety of colors for you
to mix and match and create your perfect little aquatic world.

Just keep in mind all of the
repercussions of poor care and make sure your fish has everything they need to

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