Freshwater Fish

Oranda Goldfish – Care Guide

Did you know that there are approximately 200 different species ofgoldfish? But what are the different types of goldfish and how do you know which is the best pet for your child? Well, unless you have a fish pond in your yard, we think one of the Oranda Goldfish varieties is an excellent choice.

In this guide, we focus on the Oranda goldfish. Here, you can learn where these beautiful fish come from, why they make such great pets, and how you can give your Orandas the care they need.


  • Scientific name: carassius auratus auratus
  • Common (species) name: Oranda, Tigerheads, Tiger Goldfish, Bubblehead Goldfish
  • Family: Cyprinidae
  • Origin: Hybrid bred in captivity, without wild populations
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Care level: Easy
  • Activity: Moderately active foragers
  • Life expectancy: 10 to 15 years, although you can live longer
  • Temperament: Peaceful and very social fish
  • Tank level: Swim in all areas of the tank.
  • Minimum tank size: 20 gallons
  • Temperature Range: 65° to 72° Fahrenheit
  • Water hardness: 5 to 19 dGH
  • pH range: 6.5 to 7.5
  • Filtration/Flow Rate: Need powerful filtration but dampened flow
  • Type of water: Fresh water
  • Breeding: Moderate, layers
  • Compatibility: Good community fish, but can eat very small fish and invertebrates
  • OK, for planted tanks? It tends to dig, so it can uproot plants. Sometimes eats young shoots and leaves.


Modern goldfish are descended from the wild Prussian carp of East Asia, where they were once the most widely consumed fish species in China.

The wild carp, known as «chi,» were mostly silver-gray in color. However, every once in a while, a genetic quirk would throw up a bright red, yellow, or orange fish. Wild fish of that color did not last long, being quickly attacked and eaten by predators. However, in the 9th century, Buddhist monks began «rescuing» these colorful chi and keeping them in ponds where the fish were safe from predators.

Soon, breeding colorful chi caught on and more varieties were produced, each with different coloration, shape, and fins. In the 16th century, China traded these «goldfish» with Japan. In the 17th century, goldfish made their way to Europe, reaching the US in the 19th century.


The Oranda goldfish, carassius auratus auratus, is one of the oldest fantasy goldfish variants.

The Japanese call these goldfish Oranda Shishigashira, and there is also a calico version that is known as Azuma Nishiki.

Orandas are extremely popular with collectors and breeders throughout Asia, where these fantasies are also called tiger heads or tiger goldfish. Prize specimens can sell for hundreds of dollars!


There are no wild populations of Oranda goldfish. In fact, all the fish you see for sale in pet or fish stores are captive bred.

However, distant relatives of goldfish, Prussian carp are still found living in Central Asia, inhabiting slow-moving waters such as lakes, ditches, ponds, and rivers. Here, the fish feed on insect larvae, plant matter, algae, and small crustaceans.


Like all Fancy goldfish, Oranda goldfish have egg-shaped bodies. Its scales are large and round and can be matte or metallic.

The tail fin of the fish (caudal) is long and divided. When the fish hangs still in the water, the tail spreads out in a beautiful fan shape. For this reason, the Chinese call the Oranda, «water flower». All other fins are paired, creating a symmetrical look.

But Oranda’s most distinctive feature is its large head, topped by a layer of fleshy tissue called the wen. Juvenile orandas do not have the wen, which does not appear until the fish is a few months old and continues to grow and spread until the fish is two or three years old.


Oranda goldfish come in a wide variety of beautiful colors, including:

  • orange
  • Net
  • Black
  • Blue
  • Calico
  • Red and white

There is also a variety of Oranda called Redcap. These fish are completely silver or white with a vibrant scarlet hood, resembling a bright red cap.


Male and female Oranda goldfish look virtually identical. However, you can tell the difference between boys and girls during the breeding season.

Take a look at your fish from above. If the fish is female, it will appear wider and fatter than the male. Male orandas produce white grains called tubers on their gill covers and heads.


So how big will your new pet goldfish get?

The Oranda goldfish can grow to be around seven inches long when fully mature. However, if kept in a very large tank and provided with an excellent diet and optimal conditions, Orandas can grow much larger than that.

For example, the largest Oranda ever recorded was said to be a 15-inch specimen that its breeders christened the Bruce. That amazing fish was bred in Hong Kong at the TungHoi Aquarium.


Oranda goldfish typically live between ten and 15 years, although there are reports of some fish reaching an astonishing 20 years or even longer.


Oranda goldfish are peaceful fish that can do well in a community tank of other cold water species.


Like all species of goldfish, Orandas are highly social creatures that thrive in a community of their own kind or with similar types of fancy goldfish.


Orandas are clumsy swimmers, partly due to their body shape and partly due to their wen which can obscure their vision if tissue overgrows the fish’s eyes. For that reason, it is best not to include fish that are fast swimmers, such as kites or other flat-bodied varieties of goldfish that would compete with the slower Orandas for food.

Also, large Orandas will easily make a meal of very small fish, such as Mosquitofish or White Cloud Minnows. Although snails are usually pretty safe, invertebrates like small shrimp will also be on the Oranda menu.


When choosing food for your Oranda goldfish, always buy the best quality food you can afford. Cheap brands often contain a lot of filler that has little nutritional value and can even harm your fish.


Oranda goldfish are omnivores and need a mix of plant matter and meaty protein in their diet to thrive. Therefore, a balanced mix of flakes, goldfish pellets, frozen and live foods is a good diet for your fish.


However, round-bodied goldfish are prone to digestive problems such as swim bladder disease, bloating, and constipation if fed a diet containing only dry food.

To avoid that, feed your Orandas only specially formulated fancy goldfish pellets or flakes. Also, I’ve found that by including a serving of frozen brine shrimp, bloodworms, or daphnia, I can keep my goldfish’s digestive system running properly.


Yes, you can feed your Oranda goldfish live food.

However, be very careful to only feed your fish live foods that come from a reputable source. Also, you should remove the food from the water it enters before offering it to your fish. Live food can come with hitchhiking parasites and bacteria, and you don’t have that in your tank!

For the same reason, you should never take live foods from nature.

A safe way to provide live food for your Oranda goldfish is to set up a home brine shrimp hatchery if you have the time to devote.


Goldfish are extremely greedy fish and will keep eating and eating, often to the detriment of their digestive system.

I recommend that you feed your fish two to three times a day, offering them only what they will eat in two to three minutes. That said, you may need to give your Orandas a little extra time, as the wen can make it difficult for the fish to see and locate their food.



If you are starting out with an Oranda, you can get away with a 20 to 30 gallon tank. For each additional fish, you will need to add another 10 gallons. Don’t be fooled by those cute inch-long fish you see at your local fish store. Those little guys grow quickly and it’s easy to find your tank is too full and too small.

These fish not only grow quite large, but also produce large amounts of waste. A larger tank helps dilute that waste and makes it easier to maintain a healthy environment.

Goldfish need water that has a high concentration of oxygen, so always opt for a long tank rather than a tall one; a long tank has a larger surface area that allows for good gas exchange.Don’t keep goldfish in a container!A bowl does not provide enough surface area and is too small for goldfish.


Oranda goldfish have no specific requirements when it comes to tank setup.


All goldfish like to dig and rummage through the substrate, looking for food scraps. Therefore, choose smooth, medium-gauge gravel for the substrate in your Orandas’ tank.


Orandas are not good swimmers and their eyesight can be compromised by the wen, so always leave enough free swimming space for the fish.

When choosing decor for your aquarium, avoid rough rocks and sharp pieces of wood that could damage the Oranda’s wen and hind fins, and reserve large decor items and trim around the perimeter of the tank.


Goldfish are enthusiastic diggers and also tend to eat young leaves of plants. However, you can use more resistant plant species and anchor them securely in the substrate with plant weights or keep the plants in clay pots.



Goldfish are very messy creatures that produce a lot of waste. Therefore, you need a powerful and highly efficient filtration system to remove the toxins that the fish produce from the water. An external canister filter system or powerheads can do the job efficiently.

You will need to dampen the flow so that the Orandas are not stressed by the movement of the water. My filter has an adjustable flow outlet, which is helpful, but you can also use plants or solid decorations to redirect the flow of water away from your fish’s swimming area.

Goldfish need well-oxygenated water, so adding a bubbler or air stone can be beneficial.



Oranda goldfish are cold water fish, preferring a water temperature between 65o and 72o Fahrenheit.

The pH of the water should be in the range of 6.0 to 8.0, with a water hardness of between 5 and 19 dGH.


Goldfish have no specific lighting requirements, so any good quality LED lighting unit will do just fine. Adjust the light levels to suit the live plant species you have chosen.


To keep the water super clean and toxin free, do 30% water changes every week and deep clean the substrate with an aquarium vacuum to remove uneaten food, plant debris, and fish debris.

Clean your viewing panels with an algae magnet, but don’t remove all of the biofilm and beneficial bacteria that live there, as that increases the effectiveness of your biological filter.

Once a month, rinse the filter media in the tank water to remove sludge and keep the material clean so that the water flows through it unhindered. Replace old filter media periodically, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.


Gather all the items you need to set up your goldfish tank, including:

  • Canister or Powerhead Filtration System
  • LED lighting unit
  • Floors
  • Medium gauge gravel substrate
  • Smooth rocks, driftwood, etc.
  • water conditioner


  1. Rinse the gravel under running water to remove dirt.
  2. Put a few inches of the substrate in the tank. Place an upside-down container on top of the gravel.
  3. Install the filter and heater, but do not turn them on.
  4. Fill the aquarium with dechlorinated tap water to one inch below the fill line, slowly pouring the water over the upturned container so as not to displace the substrate.
  5. To start the nitrogen cycle, the water must contain a small amount of ammonia. Add a handful of growing medium from an existing setup, a bit of fish scale, or a few drops of pure ammonia to dechlorinated water.
  6. Wash your decoration to remove dust and place the items in the aquarium.
  7. Remove damaged or dead stems and leaves from live plants if you are using them, and plant the stems in pots or in the substrate, leaving plenty of room for growth and propagation.
  8. Turn on the heater and filtration system and let them run 24/7. Live plants need eight to ten hours of light every day for photosynthesis, so turn on the lights if necessary.

Before adding any fish, you should wait at least ten days for the tank to completely fill out. To make sure the water is safe for fish, test it to make sure ammonia and nitrite levels are zero and nitrate levels are below 20 ppm.

If the levels are too high, all you need to do is allow a little more time and keep testing the water.


Oranda goldfish are quite hardy, although they can be prone to most common fish diseases, especially if the tank is not kept clean and the water quality is pristine.

The Oranda wen can be prone to developing infections if it becomes damaged or if food fragments get stuck between the folds of meat.


Oranda goldfish are busy fish that constantly forage among plant bases and in the substrate. These voracious fish are always ready to eat too!

These are social fish, happily spending time with their tank mates and swimming in all areas of the tank.


Red flags that could indicate health problems brewing for your Orandas include:

  • not eat
  • Hanging on the surface, unable to swim
  • Sitting at the bottom of the tank
  • Skin damage, sores, ulcers, or red areas
  • Rub the body against the tank substrate or decoration.
  • Inability to swim upright
  • Not socializing with tank mates


Health problem Symptoms or causes suggested action
Ich (white spot disease) Ichthyophthirius multifiliis is an aquatic parasite that causes white spot disease.
Affected fish move or rub against objects in the tank.
Tiny white dots appear all over the fish.
Raise the tank temperature to 82o
F for a few days and treat the tank with Ich medication.
Flukes Trematodes are parasites that attach to the gills or the body.
Affected fish secrete excess mucus and try to dislodge flukes by rubbing against aquarium objects.
Treat the tank with an antiparasitic treatment.
fungal infections White cottony growths on head, body, and gills. Quarantine affected fish and dose the tank with antifungal medication.
Bacterial infections Sores, ulcers and red spots on the body and head infections. Treat the water with an antibacterial drug.
swim bladder disease Fish can’t stay balanced, sinking or floating randomly, struggling to stay upright.
Commonly caused by constipation, but sometimes by bacterial infection.
Starve the fish for 24 hours and feed meaty protein, live food, or a skinless pea. If not effective, treat the tank with a swim bladder disease medication.


Oranda goldfish are egg layers and are fairly easy to raise in a home aquarium. Generally, the fish spawn in the spring when the water warms up. Goldfish are happy to breed in small or large groups.

Choose healthy fish to breed and condition them by feeding them a diet that contains plenty of live foods. Professional breeders often separate male and female fish for several weeks beforehand to increase the fish’s interest in breeding.


You need a spawning tank of at least 20 gallons.

Provide plenty of bushy plants, some spawning mops, and flat stones for the eggs to cling to.

When the fish are ready to start spawning, reduce the temperature in the tank to around 60° Fahrenheit. Gradually increase the temperature by 3° per day until the Orandas begin to spawn. That usually happens when the water temperature is between 68° and 74° Fahrenheit.

During preparation for spawning, continue to feed the fish a live diet of daphnia, bloodworms, and brine shrimp.


As a prelude to breeding, the male fish will chase a female around the tank. The colors of the fish become more vibrant and intense at this time.

Once the female is receptive to the male’s advances, the fish will rotate past each other until the female drops her eggs. The process can continue for several hours, during which time the female Oranda can lay up to 10,000 eggs.


As soon as the eggs hatch, you should remove the parents before the eggs are eaten.

The eggs usually take between four and seven days to hatch. Once the fry are free-swimming, feed them commercially prepared fingerling and infusoria foods, followed by finely crushed flake and brine shrimp once the babies are large enough to eat.


You can buy Oranda goldfish at most fish and pet stores, but buying online from a dealer is the best way to go if you want a particularly unusual color variation.

Oranda goldfish range in price from a few dollars per fish to several hundred, depending on the quality, color, and finning of the specimen.


  • air stone and bomb
  • algae magnet
  • Aquarium (minimum size 20 gallons)
  • aquarium vacuum cleaner
  • Books on tropical fish farming
  • Filtration system
  • medium caliber gravel
  • High quality luxury goldfish flakes and pellets, frozen food
  • LED lighting unit
  • Live plants (optional)
  • Smooth rocks, driftwood
  • water conditioner / dechlorinator


I hope you enjoyed our comprehensive guide on Oranda Fancy Goldfish care.

Do you have some of these delicious fish? What fun name did you choose for your Oranda? Did you raise them successfully?

Let us know in the comment box below, and don’t forget to share our guide if you loved it!

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