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Oranda and the Best other Fancy Goldfish

The author has worked in conservation and woodland management over many years.

Some types of Oranda

Some types of Oranda

Oranda are one of the most popular kinds of fancy goldfish. They were first bred by fish lovers in China and new kinds appear regularly.

The classic feature of an oranda is the colorful hood or cap that gradually develops on the fish's head as it grows. Once an Oranda is about two years old, the cap is fully formed and transforms the usual goldfish shape.

This distinctive feature shows most clearly (and some would say most beautifully) on the classic Red Cap Oranda, as pictured above.

Another characteristic is the elegant, lacy veil tail. It is a double tail distinquished from other veil tail gold fish by its square edges and the fact that there is no forking or indentation between the sections of tail fin.

Red Cap Oranda Goldfish

Red Cap Oranda Goldfish

The Different Kinds of Oranda

Red Caps

The silvery body and brilliant hood of the Red Cap Oranda make it one of the most popular choices among pet fish lovers.

Black Oranda

At first glance Black Oranda seem very unlike goldfish. They are dramatic creatures especially against white gravel or in well lit tanks.

Calico Oranda

These have a multicolored body with a light blue background and patches of either orange, yellow, violet, red or brown (or any combination). A scattering of black spots breaks up the patterns and they seem different every time they turn in the water.

The coloring often extends onto the fins.

Red Oranda

These are a single color fish- red or orange- with brilliant. high gloss scales.

How to Care for Oranda

Like most goldfish, Oranda are hardy fish and will tolerate indoor tanks very well, They don't need aeration but they do better with it and with filtration too. The caps on their heads grow better if the water is kept clean.

They don't need special fish food but can develop swim bladder problems if fed absolutely the wrong thing. Commercial pellets and things like frozen bloodworms, brine shrimp, lettuce, krill and daphnia are appreciated. Some owners make up special gel foods. They also like to nibble on live plants in an aquarium.

Oranda are more sensitive to low temperatures than most goldfish and they don't do well in outdoor ponds where temperatures drop dramatically in winter. So, if you live in Florida or California, say, your Oranda can stay out all year. In Northern states you will need to bring them in during the cold months, A water temperature between 65 and 80°F (17 and 28ºC) is ideal.

Like many fish, they don't like sudden shocks (during water changes for example) or the attention of aggressive tank mates. You should also avoid overcrowding. A two gallon tank shouldn't have more than two mature fish.

Sometimes, the distinctive cap will grow over the eyes of the Oranda so they cannot see. There is no evidence this causes the fish distress and they will live apparently normal lives, feeding and swimming around happily using their other well developed fish senses.

How Good a Pet can a Fish Be?

If you take a look at the video below you will see that Oranda can be very friendly indeed. They enjoy special attention- particularly if the hand that strokes them. is also the hand that feeds them!

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How Big Can an Oranda Grow?

The fish below probably wouldn't do well in a fight with a shark, but it would scare the average guppie! Some specimens have been reported at over 15 inches.

Other Kinds of Fancy Goldfish similar to Oranda

There are so many kinds of goldfish it would fill many pages to describe them all.

Below is a selection of some of the most beautiful kinds of goldfish with some links to explore further.

Ryukin Goldfish

Ryukin are almost round.

Ryukin are almost round.

The Ryukin is a breed from Japan which is similar to a fantail (see below) but has a large dorsal hump.

It is a popular breed and easy to find.

Veiltail Goldfish

A pair of Veiltail goldfish

A pair of Veiltail goldfish

Veiltail Goldfish were first bred in Philadelphia in the 90's and are becoming more popular.

They come in many colors and the tails have a spectacular appearance in any tank. The problem is that these fish are rare and hard to breed. You will need a specialist store to find a specimen.


Pearlscale Goldfish

Pearlscale Goldfish

The Pearlscale goldfish - 'chinshurin' in its native Japan- is a round-bodied fish with fins like a fantail. They can grow to the size (and shape!) of an orange.

Butterfly Tail

Gorgeous fan tail.

Gorgeous fan tail.

As the name suggests it is the gorgeous, wide, full and flowing tail that makes this variation special. They come in all colors including the very dramatic black kind pictured right.

Again these are rare, but if you check around at the better pet fish stores, you can find them.


Ranchu Goldfish

Ranchu Goldfish

Ranchu have no dorsal (top) fin. They come in all colors including calico and the beautiful pure silver of the one pictured.

Common or Koi Carp

Common or Koi Carp

If you are looking for a something very similar to a goldfish for a pond, Koi are a good choice. They are as colorful as goldfish and come in all kinds of variations. They are very hardy outdoors and and can tolerate low winter temperatures.

Be warned though. Koi can grow big.. The common Koi, pictured right, can weigh up to 80lbs!


Michelle , on June 07, 2014:

I am having a nightmare with my 60 gallon tank and Ick. I have read all the information and see that I need to raise the temperature in my tank to speed up the life cycle of the Ich parasite. I recently changed from a 10 gallon tank to the 60 gal. during the change the fish were placed in 5 gal bucket and when we were done and I placed them in the tank, they had no color , so I know they were stressed. then I bought a mora that had a few white spots and the tank has not been the same since, I am using the Ick treatment now on day two. I want to know if I can treat the fish with the 5 in 1 to cover any illnesses while treating with the Ick. and what is the fastest way to get rid of the Ick. HELP!!!!!!!

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