The familiar Goldfish has come a long way since its domestication back in China during the Jin dynasty in 265 A.D.–420 A.D. While its exact ancestry is uncertain, experts believe that this fish is a descendant of a species of Asian carp. Orange and other colors sometimes occurred as mutations, and domestication also brought new varieties, such as the Oranda Goldfish.
Today, the Oranda Goldfish is a big deal. There’s even an official standard for it that specifies the accepted length and conformation of the animal’s body. That’s quite a leap from a fish once kept as a symbol of good luck!
Quick Facts About Oranda Goldfish
|Species Name:||Carrassius auratus|
|Color Form:||Orange, calico, red, bronze, blue, black, yellow, variegated|
|Diet:||Commercial flakes or pellets, supplemented with krill or brine shrimp|
|Minimum Tank Size:||20 gallons or more|
|Tank Set-Up:||Aquarium or pond kept at cooler temperatures with plenty of live plants|
|Compatibility:||Gregarious with other coldwater fish|
Oranda Goldfish Overview
The Oranda Goldfish is a striking animal that hardly seems to resemble the ordinary Goldfish. They have a bigger body with flowing fins that the latter lacks. However, they are a relatively healthy fish, given the right living conditions. Unlike tetras and other tropical fish, the Oranda lives a more slow-paced existence, thanks to their large fins.
When you first look at the Oranda Goldfish, you know that you’re seeing something special. The sheen of their scales and their unusual body shape are eye-catching, to say the least. Their behavior and temperament resemble that of many prey species. They prefer a cooler tank with adequate cover, whether plants or ornaments. The Oranda is more of an omnivore, preferring a varied diet.
The care of the Oranda differs from other Goldfish because of their most noticeable feature: their hood. While it looks fleshy, it’s more like human fingernails. It only becomes an issue if it gets infected or interferes with the fish’s movement in the tank. Otherwise, the Oranda is a long-lived fish that will make a delightful pet.
How Much Do Oranda Goldfish Cost?
Oranda Goldfish are more exotic than your everyday variety. Thus, you can expect to pay more per fish than more common ones. The price often varies with availability, coloration, and size. Other factors that can affect the price include the health and hardiness of the species, which is a concern with Oranda Goldfish. You can expect to pay at least $5 or more for a healthy specimen.
Typical Behavior & Temperament
Like all Goldfish, the Oranda is a gregarious species. They will do well on their own or in small schools. The hood on top of the fish’s head will continue to grow throughout their life. Sometimes, it can get so large that it can interfere with the fish’s ability to see. That makes the Oranda vulnerable to bullying by other fish. You’ll likely find that they do best with others of their species.
Interestingly, the Oranda is an intelligent fish. It won’t take your pet long before they figure out that you’re the food source. They may even stop whatever else they’re doing to pay attention to you when you approach the tank. Wild carp show similar behavior near docks and marinas, where they score the occasional snack.
Conversely, the Oranda will also avoid people or other pets with whom they have a negative association. It makes sense because you don’t often get a second chance in the wild when predators are lurking in the water.
Appearance & Varieties
Let’s begin with the classic appearance of the Oranda Goldfish. They have a single dorsal fin on their back with a somewhat pointy tip. The tail or caudal fins are showy, reaching up to 3/4 of the fish’s body length. They look silky and flowing, which adds to the beauty of the Oranda. They also have two sets of dorsal or belly fins that are much smaller. One set is near the head, and the other is closer to the tail.
The standout feature is the hood, or wen, as the Chinese call it. At first glance, you may think that it resembles a berry with dimples all around it. It may or may not be the same color as the rest of the body. It often appears in a different hue. As you may expect, it takes some time for it to reach its adult size. Some Oranda don’t sport their full hood until they are 2 years old.
There is a broad spectrum of colors that you’ll see in the Oranda. You’ll find single-colored specimens and bi- or tri-colored fish. Whatever color they are, the Oranda often looks like they’re shimmering due to the metallic tone of the scales. They may also look different depending on the ambient light.
The calico and variegated Oranda Goldfish are the most striking. These patterns give them a memorable appearance and showcase the results of selective breeding. The spectrum of colors and combinations is truly amazing!
How to Take Care of Oranda Goldfish
Habitat, Tank Conditions & Setup
There are several essential must-dos when keeping an Oranda Goldfish, many of which apply to fish in general. The first is about the number of fish in your tank. It’s a balance between how many you have and the capability of your filtration system. Unfortunately, Goldfish aren’t the tidiest of aquatic pets. A general rule of thumb is 1” of body to 24 square inches or simply 1” of fish to 1” of the tank’s length.
It’s vital to take into account the fish’s full-grown size. Limiting the tank space will also affect the fish’s size. These animals grow into their surroundings—literally! We suggest at least a 20-gallon tank, populated only with other coldwater fish. The Oranda’s ideal temp is a bit on the cool side for tropical fish, so it’s best to house them in a separate aquarium.
The ideal pH is around 7 or neutral. A couple of inches of gravel will provide an adequate base on the bottom and an anchor for live plants. The Oranda can supplement their commercial diet with the vegetation. It will provide welcome cover to keep your fish feeling secure in their new home. A UV light is necessary to allow them to conduct photosynthesis to live.
A pump filter is our recommended choice for a filtration system. The size and biology of the Oranda Goldfish necessitate a more powerful filter to keep the water clean and the chemistry in balance.
Understanding the intricacies of water filtration can be tricky, so if you're a new or even experienced goldfish owner who wants a bit more detailed information on it, we recommend that you check out Amazon for the best-selling book, The Truth About Goldfish. It covers all you need to know about creating the most ideal tank setup, goldfish care, and more!
Understanding the intricacies of water filtration can be tricky, so if you're a new or even experienced goldfish owner who wants a bit more detailed information on it, we recommend that you check out Amazon for the best-selling book, The Truth About Goldfish.
It covers all you need to know about creating the most ideal tank setup, goldfish care, and more!
Are Oranda Goldfish Good Tank Mates?
Oranda Goldfish fare best with others of their species or at least ones with the same flowing fins. Fish that aren’t similarly adorned are likely to chase this one around the tank and nip at their fins. That puts your Oranda at risk of bacterial infections. Their vision is another concern. We suggest getting more than one fish for your aquarium, as long as it can accommodate a school.
The social nature of the Oranda and Goldfish in general makes them a good tank mate. However, bear in mind that the more fish you get, the more maintenance you’ll have to do.
What to Feed Your Oranda Goldfish
A commercial diet formulated for Goldfish or Koi will provide adequate nutrition for your Oranda Goldfish. Vegetation in your tank will provide some tasty offerings. You can also offer your pet other foods, such as bloodworms, brine shrimp, or freeze-dried krill. A well-rounded diet will keep your Oranda healthy and enhance their coloration.
We suggest feeding them only what you regularly see them consume to avoid the excess going to the bottom of the tank and fouling the water. That’s especially true if you offer them live food.
Keeping Your Oranda Goldfish Healthy
A stable environment without drastic changes to the water chemistry or temperature is the single best thing that you can do to keep your Oranda Goldfish healthy. Frequent changes increase their stress, which can, in turn, put them at a greater risk of disease. Regular water changes of no more than ¼ of the tank’s water can ensure that the levels of ammonia and nitrites stay at safe amounts.
Always add water at the same temperature to avoid shocking your fish. Using a siphon is an excellent way to get debris and waste out of the substrate to create a healthier living environment.
You can breed Oranda Goldfish as long as you’ve provided them with a healthy environment and diet. Nutrition is key to successful breeding. Nature gives them a clue that it’s time to mate when the water temperature increases, signaling a change of season. That’s where a heater can help initiate the process, as long as you change it slowly.
The Oranda is an egg layer. The sticky sacs released by the female will adhere to the plants in your tank. The fry typically hatch within 3 days, followed by a quick growth spurt. Bear in mind that some variations of Oranda Goldfish will not breed in an aquarium.
Are Oranda Goldfish Suitable for Your Aquarium?
Properly housing Oranda Goldfish boils down to one thing: temperature. Unlike tropical fish that you can mix or match, this species does best with their own kind. It’s an excellent way to deal with some of the limitations in movement and vision that are characteristic of this fish. The Oranda is relatively easy to keep, and a clean tank will go far in keeping them healthy.
Probably the best way to keep Oranda Goldfish is in a showcase tank that shows off the unique coloration and body shape of this striking fish.
The Oranda Goldfish is a unique example of selective breeding at its finest. This gorgeous fish is worth the extra effort in maintenance and care. In return, you’ll find an animal that is more like a pet than just a fish you watch to relax. That reason alone makes the Oranda worth a look as an addition to your home or a first pet for your children.
Featured Image Credit: Nantawat Chotsuwan, Shutterstock