Baby oranda


Breed of goldfish

This article is about the breed of goldfish. For other uses, see Oranda (disambiguation).

Orange Oranda.jpg
Country of origin
Breed standards

An oranda is a breed of goldfish characterized by a prominent bubble-like "hood" on the head. The headgrowth or hood (also known as wen or crown) may be a prominent growth on the top of the head (cranial region) or may encase the entire face except for the eyes and mouth.[1][2][3]

When it was first imported from China to Japan it was mistakenly thought to be native to the Netherlands, and was therefore dubbed the "Holland Lionmask", "Dutch Lionhead", and "Netherlands Lion Head" (オランダ獅子頭), from which its English name "oranda" derives.[citation needed]


Orange Oranda with a white full faced cap (wen)
common colors in an oranda. The top one possessed a Tancho coloration while the bottom is orange.
A pair of red cap oranda goldfish. The one on the left has red-colored lips.

Due to the fleshy outgrowth on the upper half of its head and sides of its face, the oranda has become one of the most popular goldfish.[citation needed] The headgrowth is described as a "wen" by Chinese aquarists.

The oranda is a metallic or matte scaled goldfish that is similar in appearance to the veiltail. It has a large, long and deep body accompanied by a long quadruple tail. This four-lobed and contracted tail normally spreads out broadly when the oranda stops swimming. The back does not rise up to form a ryukin-like hump.[2][3]

Orandas are available in a variety of colors, most often orange, red, red-and-white, red-and-black, black, blue, chocolate, bronze, white or silver, black-and-white (panda-colored), red-black-and-white (tricolor), and calico colors.[4][2][3]

The headgrowth of young fry may take one to two years to develop.[4][2] The oranda can reach 20 to 31 centimeters (8 to 12 inches) in length.[2][3] Sometimes the wen grows enormously covering the eyes of the goldfish. Due to this, the eyesight may become limited or even blind. Special care should be given to the wen because it is prone to bacterial infections. The Oranda can tolerate temperatures from 17 to 28 °C (65 to 80 °F). More recently blue scale oranda have been developed but these fish are very rare.[5] Oranda goldfish are especially sensitive to cold temperatures, more so than other goldfish.


  • The azuma nishiki is an attractive nacreous-colored form of the oranda.[2]
  • The red-cap oranda has a silver body with a prominent red headgrowth on the forehead.[2]
  • Chinese breeders have developed telescope eyed orandas, a cross-breeding of the telescope eye and oranda goldfish.[3]
  • The hana fusa or pompom oranda is a pompom with a dorsal fin and headgrowth like an oranda. It is a cross between the oranda and a dorsal formed pompom.[2]
  • The nagate oranda is a long body oranda developed in Shikoku, south west area of Japan.
  • The Apache oranda, is a form of oranda that bares both red and black together. Apaches cannot be named if the blackness only exists on the fin/s.[citation needed]
  • The panda oranda is a variety of oranda that is bi-colored or tri-colored, most identifiable by the black-and-white coloration for which it is named.
  • The Ingot oranda[6] also known as the Yuan-Bao oranda, is a new Chinese variety of oranda that was crossed from a ryukin with a Ranchu. Its large, short round body has a characteristics of a Ranchu, with its box shaped face containing wen. Its tail is somewhat equal as to the ryukin, though generally short-finned ingots are very popular and widely produced today.
  • The Chakin (チャキ) also named as the chocolate oranda, is a colored variant of an oranda. It has brownish scales with a color like that of chocolate. Its actual name means Tea fish or Tea goldfish in Japanese.[7]
  • The Seibungyo (成分魚) or Seibun is a blue oranda, named for its bluish grey silver coloration. The "blue" is combined with both black areas on the outside skin, and black from the inside layers, to form a blue-like sheen.[8]
  • The black oranda is a currently developed color variety that is crossed from the black moor.[citation needed]
  • The jade seal oranda is a type of color pattern that consist of a white, clear cap on its head, and the rest of the body is red or orange.[citation needed]

Special care[edit]

Orandas are sensitive to low water temperatures and can be kept with other goldfish.[2] If their wen grows too much, it may hinder vision, so it is advised to keep them with other goldfish with similarly poor vision in order to make sure that they do not starve because of the able-sighted competition. Some aquarists prefer to trim the wen off of the goldfish by using a scissor to prevent blindness and doused with peroxide to prevent from damaging essential areas around the face or body.[9] Their wen is also susceptible to injury from rough objects placed in their residence.


Wikimedia Commons has media related to Oranda.
  1. ^BAS: Oranda
  2. ^ abcdefghiAndrews, Chris. An Interpet Guide to Fancy Goldfish, Interpet Publishing, 2002. - ISBN 1-902389-64-6
  3. ^ abcdeJohnson, Dr. Erik L., D.V.M. and Richard E. Hess. Fancy Goldfish: A Complete Guide to Care and Collecting, Weatherhill, Shambala Publications, Inc., 2006. - ISBN 0-8348-0448-4
  4. ^ abKoko's Goldfish World: Oranda,, retrieved on: 3 June 2007.
  5. ^Free Information Keeping Oranda Goldfish
  6. ^"Ingot Oranda". Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  7. ^"Chocolate Oranda". Japanese Goldfish Catalog.
  8. ^"Seibun". Japanese Goldfish Catalog. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  9. ^Rand, Brenda. "Wen Trim or Removal". Goldfish Emergency. Retrieved 18 October 2018.

External links[edit]


Oranda Goldfish are definitely one of the most easily recognizable Goldfish breeds, second only to the Black Moor or Telescope Eye. They are chunky, spunky, and beautiful to behold, with a large head growth that catches the eyes.

While the beginnings of most Goldfish breeds are well understood the origin of Oranda Goldfish is actually a bit mysterious! It’s often thought that they are hybrids descended from Chinese Lionheads and Japanese Fantails (Ryukins).

However a recent genetic analysis suggested that Orandas are actually direct mutations from Japanese Fantails. The head growth, known as a crown or wen, re-appeared in their line, rather than being passed on from Lionhead Goldfish.

Regardless of how they came to be, Orandas are easily found in most pet stores. Specialty breeders also sell them for hundreds or even thousands of dollars apiece. But you can spend far less and still have a beautiful Goldfish that will provide enjoyment for decades if well cared for!

  • Common Name: Oranda
  • Scientific Name: Carassius auratus
  • Origin: China
  • Length: 8-12 inches
  • Aquarium Size: 20-30 gallons
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Ease of Care: Easy

Caring for Oranda Goldfish

This sections cover Oranda goldfish care topics such as aquarium size, setup, diet, and more.

Aquarium Size

A cute, wobbly baby Oranda may be small enough for a 5 or 10 gallon aquarium. But you should be thinking about long-term care with fish that can live for 30 years or longer! Orandas are still Goldfish and that means that they will get pretty large.

6-8 inches is perfectly normal for adult Orandas and they are known to reach 12 inches in ideal conditions. 20 gallons is an absolute minimum for a single Oranda with 30 gallons being much more comfortable for them.

Remember that deep-bodied fish are also quite messy and produce a lot of waste compared to smaller fish. This simple fact is why the inch per gallon rule is a myth; 6 1-inch Neon Tetras do not equal one 6-inch Oranda as far as the load placed on your filtration.

Larger tanks provide extra cushioning to prevent drastic changes in parameters from suddenly killing your fish as well. So err on the side of larger when buying a tank for your Oranda Goldfish.

Water Quality

Being Goldfish, Orandas are quite hardy and tolerant of a wide range of water conditions. Temperatures should stay between room temperature and tropical conditions (60-78℉). Unlike Goldfish that are closer to their wild ancestors, Orandas aren’t as cold-hardy.

You may have some success acclimating them to a container pond outdoors in temperate climates. But they are less likely to survive the winter because they have been bred in warm indoor environments for so long that their cold resistance is greatly diminished. That’s why I recommend keeping them with a heater or at room temperature.

Orandas are also slightly more sensitive to ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate compared to common Goldfish. If ammonia levels remain too high, they may develop black scales, fin rot, and mucus patches on their bodies. So make sure that you perform regular water changes to supplement your filtration.

Oranda Goldfish are unfussy when it comes to water chemistry, though. Slightly acidic to alkaline conditions (pH 6.5-7.5) are ideal, with neutral being best for them (pH 7.0). A touch of aquarium salt also stimulates slime coat production and boosts gill ion exchange.

Plants & Substrate

Oranda Goldfish can make life very difficult for your plants and aquascaping. If you’ve ever owned Goldfish then you know they love to dig! They are sifting through the gravel and sand grains hoping to find buried morsels.

However Goldfish aren’t very good at putting the substrate back the way it was. If you keep them in aquariums with sand they will leave little piles all over the place where they’ve dug. If you don’t mind this then it’s a great way to see Goldfish engaging in their natural behavior.

Otherwise, I recommend keeping Oranda Goldfish on gravel. The grains are heavier and more likely to fall back into the holes they dig.

Gravel is also better for your plants when keeping them with Goldfish. All of that digging tends to disturb plant roots, which stresses them greatly. Your Goldfish may even eat soft plants like Anacharis and Cabomba. Or simply grab and uproot loose plants, looking for worms and bugs underneath.

It’s best to choose either plants that are well established in gravel. Amazon Sword plants and other varieties with large leaves and root masses will be much more securely fastened.

You can also use epiphytes like Java Fern and Java Moss! These plants don’t root in the gravel. Instead, they attach directly to rocks and driftwood, getting all of the nutrition they need right from the water column.

Epiphytes are also very low light tolerant and don’t need specialized full-spectrum lighting! Lastly, most either have tough leaves or taste bad, discouraging your Goldfish from damaging them.

Tank Mates for Oranda Goldfish

While Oranda Goldfish are tough on substrates they are very friendly when it comes to tank mates! Nearly any fish that’s peaceful, not too small, and thrives in the same temperature range can live alongside an Oranda!

What you need to watch out for are fish that are aggressive or territorial. Large Cichlids are terrible tank mates for Orandas because Goldfish don’t understand what a “territory” is. They will bumble about, getting bitten, and being toothless they have no way to defend themselves.

Instead, choose medium sized community fish like Gouramis, Barbs, Danios, and Livebearers. While Orandas aren’t aggressive, they are opportunistic. A baby Livebearer or Tetra may be eaten but adults are going to be safe.

If keeping your Oranda in room temperature water make sure you choose coldwater tank mates like Zebra Danios or North America natives like American Flagfish and Gambusia!

Watch out when choosing algae eaters for fancy Goldfish tanks though. Being so slow and broad sided, many algae eaters love trying to suck on their sides for mucus, including Chinese Algae Eaters and Plecostomus. Stick with gentler Siamese Algae Eaters and Otocinclus for Oranda tanks.

I would not keep Orandas with invertebrates except maybe large Mystery Snails. Baby snails are crunchy snacks for them as are most freshwater shrimp. After all, invertebrates are exactly the kind of food Goldfish look for in nature.

Good Tank Mates for Oranda Goldfish

  • Danios, Barbs, and other Cyprinids
  • Gouramis, Livebearers, Killifish and other Community Fish
  • Corydoras and Siamese Algae Eaters
  • Other Goldfish

Poor Tank Mates for Oranda Goldfish

  • Aggressive Cichlids, Catfish, and other Territorial Fish
  • Plecostomus & Chinese Algae Eaters
  • Small invertebrates (Dwarf Shrimp, Ramshorn Snails, etc)

Feeding Oranda Goldfish

If there’s one thing Orandas love to do, it’s eat! Feeding Oranda Goldfish is incredibly simple because they will eat just about anything that hits the water! Like humans Goldfish are omnivores, meaning they need to eat both plants and animal matter to stay healthy.

I recommend offering a wide variety of plant-based products as a base for their diet. Japanese nori (seaweed), Spirulina flakes and pellets, blanched vegetables like peas, spinach, and zucchini…All of it will be greedily devoured and provide plenty of roughage to aid digestion.

I also sometimes offer bunches of soft aquarium plants like Anacharis and Cabomba as well. These plants tend to grow in huge amounts in sunny outdoor ponds, making them incredibly cheap appetizers for your Oranda Goldfish.

You can supplement these with a variety of animal-based products. Insects, worms, krill, and frozen brine shrimp, daphnia, and bloodworms are just a few of their favorite things to eat. 

While Goldfish pellets are a great starting point variety provides not only stimulation but extra nutrients that bolsters fish coloration and health.

Breeding Oranda Goldfish

Breeding Oranda Goldfish can be done indoors or outdoors. I believe container ponds are the best way to breed Goldfish because temperature variation stimulates spawning. Goldfish typically spawn in the late spring/early summer in temperate regions. 

If kept indoors you will be much more likely to succeed if you give them a cool period simulating winter, followed by a gradual warming up.

Sexing Orandas can be a bit of a challenge because the males and females look so much alike! Goldfish females are typically a little plumper than males but Orandas of both sexes are quite plump!

Therefore, you’ll need to be on the lookout for breeding tubercles as the temperatures start climbing. These are bony growths that develop on the gill covers and heads of sexually mature, hormonally charged males.

Females and young males may develop a few or none at all. But a head full of tubercles is a sure sign that you’re looking at a sexually mature male. The male will also likely be chasing females that are close to being ready to spawn, helping you identify which fish are females!

Goldfish are egg scatterers so you should have thickets of live or fake plants ready for them to spawn on. If raising them outdoors, handfuls of Hornwort are all that’s required. For indoor spawning, provide them with a thick spawning mop to deposit their sticky eggs on.

Spawning mops are great because they not only need no light or fertilizer but are easy to remove once the fish have laid their eggs! Otherwise the parents are likely to come back around and eat any eggs or fry they come across.

Once hatched Goldfish fry are helpless for 3-7 days. They will sit at the bottom getting all of their nutrition from their yolk sac, so don’t feed them as it will only foul the water.

When you see them begin to swim around, you can start by offering them brine shrimp nauplii, the fresher the better! The young will eagerly eat these baby shrimp alongside algae and other bits scavenged from the bottom as they mature into young Orandas.

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Goldfish, a member of the carp family, were some of the first fish to be kept in aquariums. Thus, as fish keepers learned to manipulate their breeding, an extensive number of fancy and exotic variants emerged.

Today, this selectively bred goldfish exist in varying colors and body type which include some with quite interesting heads and eyes.

Oranda and Oranda little red riding hood goldfish, are part of a breed characterized by a prominent bubble-like hood on the head. And for this reason, some new fish keepers describe them as Goldfish with big head.

The hood, also called a wen or crown may be a prominent growth on the top of the head or encase the entire face except for the eyes and mouth.

That being said, there are subtle differences between Oranda little red riding hood and Oranda goldfish albeit been the same breed and having a wen.

Oranda little red riding hood grows to about 8 inches in length, have large, spectacular fins and a red cap. Also, males grow white bumps on lids, gills, and head when breeding.

On the other hand, typical Oranda goldfish grow to about 10 inches in length with large heads relative to their bodies. Males, just like little red riding hoods, grow white bumps when breeding.

Despite the differences in size and crowns, they are social and will live in peace with all other goldfish types. Plus they both have an average lifespan of between 10 and 15 years.

For this and more…

…this article will share a quick glimpse into keeping Oranda goldfish (with a big head) in a freshwater home aquarium.

What are Big Head Goldfish Called? (Overview)

An Oranda, as I mentioned in the intro, is a breed of goldfish characterized by a prominent bubble-like crown hence the big head.

The breed was first imported from China and Japan but was mistakenly thought to be native to the Netherlands. And so it was named Netherlands Lion head from which its English name, Oranda, is derived.

Even so, due to the fleshy outgrowths on their heads, Oranda goldfish have quickly become the most popular fancy goldfish type among aquarium fish keepers.

Usually, they have a metallic or matte scaled bodies similar to veil tails but with large, long and deep shapes and long quadruple tails which spread out broadly when the fish is not swimming.

However, Orandas are also available in a variety of colors most often orange, red, red and white, red and black, black, blue, chocolate, bronze, white or silver, Panda-colored (black and white), tricolored (red-black and white) and calico colors.

How Big Do Oranda Goldfish Get?

Usually, oranda goldfish will grow to between 7 and 12 inches in length, but the average in captivity is 8 inches.

The fish increases in size gradually over the years with the signature head crown on young fry getting visibly-large in a year or two. Though it actually starts to develop when a baby oranda is about 4 months old.

A couple of interesting facts about Orandas size:

  • They are the biggest of all fancies when it comes to size.
  • They can get over 12 inches long while including the tail hence bigger than a small cat.
  • An Oranda has once held the world record for the largest goldfish ever documented.

What Size Tank do Oranda Goldfish Need?

Considering Oranda goldfish, like most other breeds, grow quite large, you will require at least a 20-gallon tank for a single fish. And between 30 and 50-gallons when keeping a pair or three individuals in your aquarium.

Moreover, you want to add at least 10 gallons of water and space in the tank for every extra Oranda you add in your tank.

The breed is also considered more sensitive than other goldfish because of the low tolerance for polluted water.

Besides, they are messy eaters and put out a lot of waste which means you will probably need a large tank, more than you would with other fancies.

For baby Oranda goldfish, the general rule is for every 1 inch of fish, have a gallon of water.

Tank and Water Condition

The oranda can tolerate temperatures from 65°F to 80+°F, but they are more sensitive to cold water than other goldfish breeds. Therefore, you want to maintain them in a tropical tank with the temperature anywhere from 70°F to 80°F.

Also, never keep them in a tank where the temperature drops to below 60°F because they can’t handle that much cold, and an aquarium temperature setting above 85°F is a little bit too warm for them.

Second, these breed is quite susceptible to infections as debris, bacteria, and fungi settle in the tiny folds of the fish crowns, and your Orandas will need close attention and plenty of space to keep them healthy.

For this reason, clean your tank and change the water frequently, plus add a powerful filter to make sure you provide them with the same filtration (especially biological) you would with any sensitive freshwater fish in your aquarium.

Regarding water quality, do 10 percent changes every week in a new tank setup and 25 percent changes every two weeks to a month for a mature fish tank.

Do Oranda Goldfish Need a Heater?

There is a lot of debate on whether goldfish generally need to stay in a heated fish tank, and the most common answer is No.

However, some aquarist and expert recommend installing a heater in a goldfish tank if the temperature in the aquarium room frequently drops to below 60°F.

That said, a heater is also more necessary when keeping fancy breeds like Oranda goldfish, especially if they run the risk of developing swim bladder issues which are quite common below 70°F.

Therefore, unless you are confident your Oranda won’t develop any floaty issues when kept below 70 (which is very unlikely), it is advisable you get a heater for your aquarium.

Besides, the heater will ensure your water is appropriate (64°F to 75°F) for a community tank, where you can have both sub-tropical and tropical freshwater fish.

Nonetheless, if you decide to tank your Oranda in a heater-less tank, it is in your best interest to place it in a room where the ambient temperature does not go below 60°F at the lowest.

Are Oranda Goldfish Easy to Care For?

Aquarium Oranda goldfish are moderately hard to care for, with the wen particularly prone to infections.

For this reason, the breed is somewhat difficult for beginner goldfish keepers, and overall not ideal for anyone new to fish keeping. Howbeit, aquarists with intermediate experience in keeping goldfish should find Orandas quite easy to care for.

The two most important aspects of keeping healthy Orandas are a proper diet and a clean, stable environment.

And since we’ve already looked at tank and water conditions, let’s now focus on what a good Oranda goldfish diet should include.

Oranda Goldfish— Diet, Food and Feeding

Fortunately, Oranda goldfish are omnivorous, they will, therefore, eat all kinds of fresh, frozen and flake fish foods. However, you must feed them high-quality food for a proper healthy diet.

Ideally, give them flake food every day, then treat them with servings of brine shrimp (either live or frozen), bloodworms, daphnia or tubifex worms occasionally.

Even so, live food often carry parasites and bacterial infections that could harm your Orandas, hence it is usually better to feed them freeze-dried food.

Having said that, a balanced diet is not only better for the fish development, but also important because this goldfish breed is prone to swim bladder disorder.

The ailment is characterized by fish floating involuntarily along the surface or sink to the bottom of the tank.

However, if one of your Oranda goldfish is floating upside down even when the diet and feeding schedule is fine, it may actually be due to an overgrown wen, though not very common.

To keep your fish properly fed with a rich diet, you may want to formulate a feeding plan. The idea is to make sure you feed your fish food they can eat in less than 5 minutes. More so because goldfish are messy fish and excess food and leftovers will escalate an already stretched water quality situation.

Lastly, due to their fleshy head overgrowth, Oranda goldfish can have poor vision and a harder time seeing food in the tank. So, don’t keep them with fast swimmer that will out-compete them for food and consequently starve them.

Are Oranda Goldfish Aggressive?

By and large, Oranda goldfish are peaceful with almost zero cases of aggression towards tankmates reported, whether goldfish or other species.

They are safe and very social and thrive in community aquariums especially when tanked with other goldfish breeds.

Orandas are also great scavengers, so it’s really not a must to add other cleaners or bottom feeders in a fish tank with this goldfish.

However, like other goldfish breeds, they eat many kinds of aquatic plants in their constant search for food hence can end up uprooting live plants or nibble and harm delicate plants in the aquarium.

Oranda Goldfish Tankmates

Oranda goldfish social behavior and peaceful demeanor make them perfect community fish, but their huge bodies and relatively high bioload make them almost impossible to companion.

Howbeit, you can maintain them with other goldfish breeds or small, docile schooling fish like pearl danios and Buenos Aires tetras.

The most important thing is to make sure the companions can live in sub-tropical aquariums and have a relatively low bioload.

Bad Oranda tankmates include fast swimming types of goldfish like common goldfish, comets, shubunkin and other vigorous species that will out-compete them for food.

Also, Oranda goldfish don’t enjoy being tanked with other messy fish because they are more delicate than most goldfish breeds hence can’t stand a wide range of water chemistry.

Besides, with more than one dirty fish, you will literally break your back with the bucket loads of water due to the tasking water change requirement.

Enjoy Keeping Oranda Goldfish (with a big head)


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Oranda baby

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