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Oranda Goldfish

Nicole Cosgrove

June 30, 2021

The familiar Goldfish has come a long way since its domestication back in China during the Jin dynasty in 265 AD–420 AD. While the exact ancestry is uncertain, experts believe that this fish is a descent of a species of Asian carp. Orange and other colors sometimes occurred as mutations. However, 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 the variety. It specifies the accepted length and conformation of the animal’s body. That’s quite a leap from a fish kept as a symbol of good luck.

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Quick Facts About Oranda Goldfish

cute red and white goldfish_Arunee Rodloy_shutterstock
Image Credit: Arunee Rodloy, Shutterstock
Species Name: Carrassius auratus
Family: Cyprinidae
Care Level: Moderate
Temperature: 65–80℉
Temperament: Friendly, schooling
Color Form: Orange, calico, red, bronze, blue, black, yellow, variegated
Lifespan: 15-25 years
Size: 8–12” L
Diet: Commercial flakes or pellets, supplemented with krill, 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 cold-water fish

Oranda Goldfish Overview

The Oranda Goldfish is a striking animal that hardly seems to resemble the ordinary Goldfish. He has a bigger body with flowing fins that the latter lacks. However, he is 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 his large fins.

When you first look at the Oranda Goldfish, you know you’re seeing something special. The sheen of his scales and his unusual body shape are eye-catching, to say the least. His behavior and temperament resemble that of many prey species. He prefers 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 his most noticeable feature, his cap. While it looks fleshy, it’s more like nails. It only becomes an issue if it gets infected or it interferes with his 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. That is a concern with Oranda Goldfish. You can expect to pay at least $5 or more for a healthy specimen.divider-fish

Typical Behavior & Temperament

Like all Goldfish, the Oranda is a gregarious species. He will do well on his own or in small schools. The hood or wen on top of the fish’s head will continue to grow throughout its life. Sometimes, it can get so large that it can interfere with his ability to see. That makes the Oranda vulnerable to bullying by other fish. You’ll likely find that he does best with others of his species.

Interestingly, the Oranda is an intelligent fish. It won’t take your pet long before he figures out that you’re the food source. He may even stop whatever else he’s 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 since you don’t often get a second choice in the wild when predators are lurking in the water.

Oranda goldfish_Johannes Korenlius_shutterstock
Image Credit: Johannes Kornelius, Shutterstock

Appearance & Varieties

Let’s begin with the classic appearance of the Oranda Goldfish. He has a single dorsal fin on his back with a somewhat pointy tip. The tail or caudal fins are showy, reaching up to three-quarters of the fish’s body length. They look silky and flowing, which adds to the beauty of the Oranda. He also has two sets of dorsal or belly fins that are much smaller. One set is near his head and the other closer to the tail.

The standout feature is the hood or wen, as the Chinese call it. At first glance, you may think 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.

As the Quick Facts table indicated, there is a broad spectrum of colors that you’ll see in the Oranda. You’ll find single-colored specimens as well as bi- or tri-colored fish. Whatever color he is, the Oranda often appears like it’s shimmering, thanks to the metallic tone of the species’ scales. He may even look differently, depending on the ambient light.

The calico and variegated Oranda Goldfish are the most striking. That patterns give them a memorable appearance and showcase the results of selective breeding. The spectrum of colors and combinations is truly amazing when you juxtaposed it with the Goldfish you bought at the dime store as a kid.

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How to Take Care of Oranda Goldfish

Habitat, Tank Conditions & Setup

There are several essential must-dos when keeping the Oranda Goldfish, many of which apply to fish in general. The first concerns 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 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 cold-water 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 will supplement his commercial diet with the vegetation. They will provide welcome cover to keep your fish feeling secure in his new digs. An 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.

Oranda goldfish Red White_chanathip c_shutterstock
Image Credit: chanathip c, Shutterstock

Are Oranda Goldfish Good Tank Mates?

Oranda Goldfish fare best with others of his 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 his fins. That puts your Oranda at risk of bacterial infections. His vision is another concern, as we discussed earlier. We suggest getting more than one for your aquarium, as long as it can accommodate a school.

The social nature of the Oranda and Goldfish, in general, makes him a good tank mate. However, bear in mind that the more fish you get, the more maintenance you’ll have to do.divider-fish

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 his coloration.

We suggest feeding only what you see him consume to avoid the excess going to the bottom of the tank and fouling the water. That’s especially true if you offer him live food.

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Credit: hxdbzxy, Shutterstock

Keeping Your Oranda Goldfish Healthy

A stable environment without drastic changes to the water chemistry or temperature is the single best thing you can do to keep your Oranda Goldfish healthy. Frequent changes increase his stress, which can, in turn, put him 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 levels.

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.

Breeding

You can breed Oranda Goldfish as long as you’ve provided him or her 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.

Your 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 three days, followed by a quick growth spurt. Bear in mind that some variations of Oranda Goldfish will not breed in an aquarium.

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Are Oranda Goldfish Suitable for Your Aquarium?

Considering Oranda Goldfish boils down to one thing—temperature. Unlike tropical fish that you can mix or match, this species does best with his 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. A clean tank will go far in keeping him 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.

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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 tank 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

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.