The Ultimate Oranda Goldfish Care Guide: Everything You Need To Know

Aquariums, Fish

Last Updated - December 12, 2023

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If you're looking for a unique and captivating addition to your aquarium, look no further than the stunning Oranda goldfish. With its distinctively curved head and flowing fins, the Oranda is a true masterpiece of nature and a favorite among fish enthusiasts.

Originating in China, Oranda is a fancy goldfish known for its striking colors and distinctive features, which include a prominent head growth, known as the "wen," and flowing, veil-like fins. These beautiful fish come in various colors, from classic red and white to striking black and gold and everything in between.

But the Oranda goldfish is more than just a pretty face. These hardy fish are also known for their peaceful nature and ease of care, making them an ideal choice for both beginner and experienced fish keepers alike. With proper attention to water quality, feeding, and maintenance, your Oranda goldfish can thrive for years, providing endless entertainment and beauty in your aquarium.

Oranda goldfish care isn't difficult, but understanding their fundamental need to thrive is important. In this guide, we will share everything you need to know about selecting, preparing, and caring for an Oranda goldfish. With its unique appearance and peaceful temperament, it's sure to become a beloved addition to your aquatic family.


Oranda Goldfish, scientifically known as Carassius auratus, is a very active, social fish of the goldfish family. They are also known as tiger heads, tiger goldfish, bubble head goldfish, or big-head goldfish. This fish originated in China and was bred to resemble the Chinese Lion Dog, a prominent figure in Chinese culture. This cold-water fish is a descendant of Wild Carp and Goldfish and is bred specifically to be held captive. The Oranda goldfish, also known as the Red Cap Oranda Goldfish, only live in captivity and do not live in the wild.

These fish have distinctive features similar to other commonly-known goldfish. They have a fleshy "cap" on their head, consisting of smaller growths. Commonly orange or orange and white, these fish are also sometimes seen in red, black, white, blue, calico, or a combination of these colors. The Oranda goldfish are symmetrical, with all paired fins other than the dorsal fin.

Life Expectancy

Oranda goldfish can live a long, healthy life with appropriate care and husbandry. Because this fish is bred for captivity, they can often live up to 15 years in your home. The average Oranda goldfish will grow up to about 8 to 9 inches in length but have the potential to grow multiple inches larger.

Fish Tanks

Orandas goldfish are larger than many other fish breeds, often held in captivity, which means that it requires a spacious tank to move freely. It is recommended to have a minimum tank size of at least 20 gallons for a single fish, but 30 gallons is ideal. For any additional Oranda goldfish, you should increase the size of the tank by 10 gallons.

These fish live in normal freshwater and should have a tank with a good filtration system and strong aeration for high oxygen levels. Oranda goldfish don't do well in environments with strong water movements or currents. Water movement in the tank can be reduced by adding other environmental elements, such as sand, smooth rocks, plants, caves, and other small decorations. Make sure to space out any added elements to the environment to allow for the fish to swim freely throughout the tank.

Temperament Requirements

These fish are usually social and very active but peaceful fish. They are rather calm and stay out of trouble, simply spending most of their days swimming around their tank. They are sometimes seen uprooting any plants inside their tank, as well. As a captivity-bred fish, Oranda is not innately aware of danger and threats, so they are always active and out in the open water of their tank. Oranda goldfish are known as "peaceful community" fish, meaning they do well in an environment with other Oranda fish or other peaceful community breeds.

Heat Requirements

Oranda goldfish are cold-water fish and do best with a water temperature of 65-72 degrees Fahrenheit. They need a water heater to keep the water at the appropriate temperature. However, water temperatures should be monitored closely because extremely low temperatures can harm their health. And because Orandas are more sensitive to temperature than common goldfish, investing in a good water thermometer should allow you to monitor the temperature consistently and make sure it never drops below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Light Requirements

Oranda fish do not require excessive light to remain healthy and active, and additional light fixtures for the tank are unnecessary for this fish to be healthy. Lighting for your tank can be useful, however, to help promote the health and growth of any live plants that you may have planted in the tank. Focusing on water temperatures, a good filtration system, and pH (neutral at 6.0-8.0) is more important for your Oranda fish. 

Feeding Requirements

Oranda fish are omnivores, meaning they require a nutritionally-balanced diet of meat and plants. Like many other captive household fish, these fish eat flakes and/or pellets mostly. However, these fish can eat other frozen or fresh foods, such as brine shrimp, tubifex worms, and bloodworms. 

It is important to note that as a "peaceful community" fish and because they do not swim quickly, Oranda goldfish do not typically compete for food. This is necessary if they are housed with other breeds of fast-swimming fish, as this will interfere with their ability to eat enough food consistently.

Be careful not to overfeed your Oranda goldfish. Although very active, small portions and portion-controlled meals are important to keep your fish sufficiently fed. Younger fish can be fed twice daily, while adult fish should be fed once daily.

Oranda Goldfish green water

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Oranda fish are large fish and can reach an average length of 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 cm) when fully grown. However, some Oranda fish have been known to grow even larger, depending on factors such as genetics, diet, and environmental conditions.

Gender Identification

Gender identification of your Oranda goldfish is actually almost impossible. Both males and females have the same physical characteristics, can be the same color, and grow to the same size. The only way to indicate gender is during the breeding season. When breeding, both the males and females will brighten in color and chase one another around their tank (if breeding, it is recommended to put your breeding fish in a separate tank). Once complete, the female Oranda goldfish will look like a distended stomach, indicating that she will lay eggs. At that point is the only time when you can indicate gender. 

How To Breed Oranda Goldfish

Breeding Oranda goldfish can provide an exciting and fulfilling experience for fish enthusiasts.. When breeding Oranda fish, it's important to consider a few key factors to ensure the best possible outcome.

First, make sure that your breeding pair is healthy and mature. Oranda fancy goldfish typically reach sexual maturity at around 2-3 years of age, and it's important to choose fish that are in good overall health and free of any disease or deformities.

Next, provide a suitable breeding environment for your fish. This can include a breeding tank or other suitable enclosure, appropriate water conditions, and temperature. Providing plenty of hiding places and other suitable decors is also important to help your fish feel comfortable and secure.

During the breeding process, monitoring your fish closely and providing proper care and nutrition to support the development of the eggs is important. This can include providing a high-quality diet, maintaining proper water conditions, and monitoring the health of the fish regularly.

Tank Mates

Oranda goldfish are a popular choice for aquarium enthusiasts due to their unique appearance and peaceful temperament. When considering tank mates for Oranda fish, it's important to choose species compatible with their needs and temperament.

Some good tank mates for Oranda fish include other peaceful species of goldfish, such as Ryukin, Ranchu, and Fantail goldfish. These fish have similar needs and temperament to Oranda fish and can make great companions in the aquarium. Other suitable tank mates for Oranda fish can include certain species of bottom-dwelling fish, such as Corydoras catfish and loaches, as well as certain species of algae eaters, such as plecos and siamese algae eaters. These species can help keep the aquarium clean and provide additional interest and diversity to the aquarium environment.

When choosing tank mates for Oranda fish, it's important to consider factors such as size, temperament, and feeding habits to ensure that all species can coexist peacefully and thrive in the aquarium environment. It's also important to provide adequate space and hiding places to help reduce stress and prevent territorial behavior.

Potential Health & Behavioral Issues


The most commonly seen disease in Oranda Goldfish is called Ich. This disease, also known as white spot disease, is caused by an aquatic parasite that causes white dots to appear on your fish's scales. It is, luckily, easily treated with medication that can be applied to their water. If left untreated, Ich can cause serious damage to the fish and lead to secondary infections.

To prevent and manage Ich in Oranda fish, it's important to maintain proper water quality in your aquarium and avoid introducing infected fish or contaminated equipment. Additionally, it's important to quarantine new fish before introducing them to your existing aquarium, as this can help prevent the spread of disease.

Fungal Infections

These fish also suffer from fungal infections that appear on their bodies. If housed with other fish, removing the affected fish to an isolated tank is important, so it does not infect the other fish in the tank.

Keeping your tank clean, at a recommendation of 25-30 percent water change every week, can help reduce the risk of disease by fungus or external parasites. Algae magnets are also recommended but should be carefully used as you should not remove all biofilm and bacteria from the tank. As long as you prepare and maintain an appropriate environment for your Oranda fish, it will likely live a healthy and happy life.

Bacteria Infections

Like other freshwater fish, bacterial infections are also a common problem in Oranda fish. These infections can be caused by a variety of bacteria, including Aeromonas, Pseudomonas, and Vibrio, and can lead to serious health issues if left untreated.

Symptoms of bacterial infections in Oranda fish can include red or inflamed patches on the skin, fin rot, cloudy or discolored eyes, lethargy, and loss of appetite. If you notice any of these symptoms in your fish, it's important to consult with a veterinarian or aquatic specialist as soon as possible.

Most fish tanks have some type of bacteria that can cause infection to sick and injured Oranda fish. To prevent and manage bacterial infections in Oranda fish, it's important to maintain proper water quality in your aquarium, including regular testing and water changes. Additionally, it's important to quarantine new fish before introducing them to your existing aquarium, as this can help prevent the spread of disease.

Fish Lice

Fish lice, also known as Argulus or fish louse, is a parasitic infection that can affect Oranda fish and other types of fish. This condition is caused by a crustacean parasite that attaches itself to the fish's skin, feeding on its blood and causing various health problems.

Symptoms of fish lice in Oranda fish can include irritation, inflammation, and redness on the skin, as well as changes in behavior and appetite. If left untreated, fish lice can cause serious damage to the fish and lead to secondary infections.

To prevent and manage fish lice in Oranda fish, it's important to maintain proper water quality in your aquarium and avoid introducing infected fish or contaminated equipment. Additionally, it's important to quarantine new fish before introducing them to your existing aquarium, as this can help prevent the spread of disease.

Oranda Goldfish in aquarium

Image Source: Unsplash


How often should I clean my Oranda fish tank?

Maintaining proper water quality in your Oranda fish tank is important by performing regular water changes and keeping the tank clean. The frequency of cleaning will depend on factors such as tank size, number of fish, and filtration system, but as a general rule, a partial water change of 20-30% should be done once a week.

How do I know if my Oranda fish is sick?

Symptoms of illness in Oranda fish can include lethargy, loss of appetite, changes in behavior, and physical symptoms such as redness, inflammation, or white spots on the skin. If you notice any of these symptoms, it's important to consult with a veterinarian or aquatic specialist as soon as possible.

Do Oranda fish need a heater in their tank?

Oranda fish can tolerate a range of temperatures, but it's important to maintain a consistent temperature in their tank to prevent stress and disease. A heater may be necessary to maintain a suitable temperature range, depending on factors such as room temperature and tank size.

Can Oranda fish live in a bowl or small tank?

Oranda fish require a suitable amount of space and water quality to thrive, and as such, a bowl or small tank may not provide adequate conditions for their health and well-being. A minimum of 20 gallons of water per fish is recommended, with larger tanks preferred for larger fish or groups of fish.

Can Oranda fish change color?

Oranda fish can change color depending on factors such as age, diet, and environmental conditions, and they may also change color as part of their natural growth and development.

Can Oranda fish live alone?

Oranda fish are social creatures and generally do best when kept in pairs or groups. However, they can also be kept alone if they have adequate space and environmental conditions.

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About the Author

Doctor of veterinary medicine with extensive experience in animal welfare with a strong interest in feline medicine and plans to pursue ABVP-Feline specialty board certification. A key member of many local veterinary associations and avid reader of animal related science journals and studies.