The oranda goldfish’s striking appearance and inquisitive personality make them a popular inhabitant in many aquariums.
However, these oranda fancy goldfish are also one of the most mistreated freshwater fish, as their specific care needs are often overlooked or based on false information.
This often leads to a shortened lifespan and health issues, as well as one unhappy oranda…
If you’re new to fishkeeping or just want to know a little more about the beautiful oranda goldfish…
Then here’s everything you need to know about their care, including tank setup, feeding, suitable tank mates, breeding, and common health issues.
Orandas have egg-shaped bodies, instead of the slender shape of common goldfish. They also have huge bellies that are almost as wide as the fish’s length.
The Oranda has a beautiful dorsal fin and a long and flowing caudal fin or tail fin. These tail fins tend to fan out or spread out broadly when the oranda stops swimming for a few moments.
Orandas come in a plethora of colors and variations, including red, calico, orange, and yellow.
Aside from those colors, they can also be a blueish-white or black color, though this is quite rare.
But the blue oranda goldfish, black oranda goldfish and red cap oranda goldfish are the popular ones among hobbyists.
This fish normally reaches around 7-10 inches long, but they can grow larger if cared for extremely well.
On average, orandas live for between 10-15 years.
However, it is not uncommon for them to reach 20 years and over if properly cared for.
It is extremely difficult to identify the oranda goldfish gender when they are young and not in the mating season.
However, in the mating/breeding season, there are a few differences between male and female orandas.
When viewing female orandas from above, you’ll notice that she’ll look large and round.
This is because she is full of eggs.
Males, on the other hand, will have prickles that are white in color on their head and gill covers.
Although it’s hard to sex orandas when it isn’t the breeding season, males are typically a little smaller and slimmer than females.
Goldfish are social, friendly, and interactive, and orandas are no different.
They can recognize their owners, and you’ll often find them swimming right up to the glass when you approach the tank.
Oranda goldfish are peaceful and get along with most other passive species.
Although not a shoaling fish, orandas do better when kept with their own kind or other species of goldfish.
Bear in mind that this fish is not a fast swimmer, so they can be easily outcompeted for food if grouped with more quicker, active fish species.
Digging around in the substrate is one of the oranda goldfish’s favorite activities, so you’ll often spot them scavenging for food at the bottom of the tank.
They can be seen swimming near the surface of the tank, the middle, and around the bottom.
Difficulty of Care
Oranda goldfish aren’t too hard to keep, provided you stay on top of water changes and keep their tank conditions right.
However, I wouldn’t call them a beginner-friendly fish as they might require more care and are a bit more fragile than flat-bodied goldfish.
Oranda goldfish are more suited to owners who already have some experience with owning fish or taking care of other oranda fancy goldfish.
It might be too much if it’s your first time owning a fish.
Orandas can quickly deteriorate if their water is polluted or contains too much ammonia and nitrites.
The oranda’s wen can also become easily infected from floating debris or bacteria/fungi.
That’s why it’s crucial you frequently check your water parameters with a test kit and routinely carry out water changes and also provide a biological filtration system.
If you suspect your aquarium has high level of ammonia, you can read our guide on how to reduce ammonia levels in fish tank. Ammonia poisoning symptoms include gasping for air on water surface, red or bleeding gills, and black patches developing on the skin of the fish.
Price and Accessibility
Oranda goldfish are available online or at most fish stores, so they are not too difficult to get a hold of.
They are not an expensive fish and usually cost a few dollars, between $8 and $50, though rarer variations and colors may be higher in price.
Additionally, show-quality oranda goldfish will cost more than those available at your local fish store.
When picking a suitable tank for the oranda goldfish, you must know how big your goldfish will grow, and it’s best to go as big as possible.
A 20-gallon aquarium is the bare minimum size for a single goldfish, though I’d recommend at least a 30-gallon. If you have limited space in your house, instead of a goldfish bowl, a nano tank or a fish tank coffee table can be the ideal tank.
If you want to keep an oranda in pairs or groups, then you’ll need an extra 10 gallons for each additional fish.
Orandas are oxygen hungry fish, so large fish tanks not only provide your oranda goldfish with more swimming space, but also keep the water cleaner and well-oxygenated as there is more surface area.
It is essential for goldfish to have an aquarium filter since they are messy fish, especially when eating.
In smaller aquariums, the water becomes dirty very quickly because of uneaten food and will need to be changed frequently, especially if your tank doesn’t have a filter.
If you opt for a larger aquarium, then you won’t need to change the water as often.
Typically, for most aquariums (20-gallons and above), you should aim to remove around 20-30% of water each week.
In terms of water parameters, oranda goldfish do best when kept at temperatures between 68-71.5°F.
Unlike most types of goldfish, Orandas are sensitive fish and cannot tolerate a water temperature below 60°F.
If you live in a particularly cold area, then it might be a good idea to purchase an adjustable heater to ensure that the water temperature of the tank remains stable.
However, as a rule, a heater is not necessary for this goldfish breed.
PH levels for the oranda goldfish should fall between 5 and 8, whilst water hardness should be around 6-8 dGH. You can either use an aquatic water testing kit or an aquarium pH meter to determine the pH level in your tank
It’s important to regularly check the water quality of your tank with this fish as they can be sensitive, just like other freshwater fish, to fluctuations in water parameters.
Suitable Tank Mates
Oranda is a peaceful fish, so they usually get on with other passive species as long they aren’t too small.
Goldfish can sometimes prey on smaller fish, so you need to pick your inhabitants carefully and remember to avoid fish species that are aggressive such as the Exodon Paradoxus.
Aquarists sometimes keep goldfish and bettas together in the same tank. However, I would not recommend it due to several disadvantages.
Obviously, you will also need to opt for species that can survive in the temperature, PH, and hardness of your oranda’s water.
The best tank mates for orandas are other fancy goldfish.
Although you can keep a single oranda, they do better in numbers. Orandas are gregarious fish that do best when kept in small groups.
This doesn’t mean you need to get another oranda, as other goldfish species are also suitable.
A few examples are Bubble-Eyes, Lionheads, and Black Moors.
Personally, I would avoid species like the common/ordinary goldfish and the comet-tailed goldfish as they are fast swimmers.
Orandas move quite slowly, which means they may struggle to compete for food when paired with common goldfish.
Other suitable goldfish companions for orandas include zebra danios, white cloud minnows, and plecos.
All of these species are peaceful and can tolerate similar water parameters to orandas.
Zebra danios and white cloud minnows are fairly small fish, but they are active swimmers so your orandas aren’t likely to view them as prey.
They are both shoaling fish, which means they need to be kept in groups of at least 6 to thrive.
Certain plecos make good tankmates for orandas as they are very peaceful.
I’d recommend the bristlenose pleco or rubbernose pleco (also called rubber lip pleco) as they don’t grow as large as other species.
Avoid keeping more than one as they can be territorial towards their own kind, especially in smaller aquariums.
I’d avoid the common pleco as they grow extremely big (up to 20 inches!) and have been known to suck the slime coat off goldfish, which is definitely something you don’t want.
Substrates, Decorations, and Plants
The best substrate for orandas is fine sand or rounded gravel which doesn’t have sharp edges.
Oranda goldfish like to dig around in the substrate, so soft gravel or fine sand is your best bet to ensure they don’t injure themselves.
When adding plants to your oranda’s tank environment, make sure you don’t go overboard. And you should also calculate the amount of substrate per gallon of water if you want to add plants as decorations.
You want your fish to have a lot of free space to swim around freely.
Additionally, live plants can be easily uprooted from the substrate when your orandas dig.
Orandas tend to nibble on plants…
With this in mind, it’s a good idea to select plants that are hardy or fast-growing to go inside your oranda’s tank.
To help prevent plants from being uprooted when your fish digs, consider packing large stones around the base of the plant or tying it to a heavy decoration.
There are also plant anchors you can purchase to help keep the plant weighed down.
Orandas are known to have an omnivorous diet and possess a voracious appetite. To maintain the good health of your oranda goldfish, it is recommended to offer you goldfish a varied diet, and occasionally switch up their diet.
Offer them live/frozen foods (bloodworms and brine shrimp) every so often, alongside vegetables like spinach and peas.
Peas, in particular, are good for all goldfish as the species are prone to swim bladder problems.
The swim bladder is filled with gas and helps your fish retain their balance whilst swimming.
When the swim bladder is not functioning correctly, it compromises the fish’s swimming ability.
Signs of Swim Bladder Problems
Swim bladder issues are fairly easy to detect as you’ll notice your orandas swimming abnormally.
They will typically struggle to stay afloat or swim downwards and will often flip over onto their side.
Swim bladder issues have a few causes, but the most common is constipation.
Peas act as a natural laxative in fish, so they are very beneficial for treating swim bladder disorders and keeping your oranda goldfish’s bowel movements regular.
Blanch frozen peas and deshell them before feeding them to your orandas.
You should also refrain from feeding your fish their normal dry food for a few days.
These fish can be quite greedy, which means overfeeding can be a concern.
From personal experience, my oranda would constantly beg at the top of the tank whenever I walked past.
Although endearing, don’t be fooled by this behavior and feed your orandas more than they need.
Oranda goldfish do best when they are fed once or twice a day. As a general rule of thumb, you should only feed your fish as much as they can eat in two minutes. After this time, remove any excess food.
One of the most common diseases is Ich.
This parasite is very easy to spot as your fish will look like they have been coated with salt.
Other signs include flashing and scratching against objects or gravel.
Ich in goldfish is usually fairly easy to treat with a medication targeted for Ich (such as ones made with Malachite green or methylene blue), but if it is left to advance, then it can eventually cause goldfish death.
Additionally, other common external parasitic infections are flukes, fish lice and anchor worms.
Flukes are small flatworms that attach themselves to your fish’s body or gills.
Body flukes and gill flukes cannot usually be seen by the naked eye.
Common symptoms of flukes include: scratching against objects/substrate, rapid gill movement, excess mucus on body or gills, red skin, and inflamed gills that may look like they have been chewed on.
Flukes are not too hard to treat and can usually be taken care of with medications that contain Praziquantel.
If left for too long with treatment, flukes can prove fatal.
Again, like flukes, one of the tell-tale symptoms of anchor worms in orandas is scratching their body on surfaces.
They will also have long thread-like worms sticking out of them.
The area where the worms have attached themselves to may also be red or inflamed.
Treatments for these parasites include removing the worm manually with tweezers and treating your tank with a medication that contains Cyromazine.
Other Possible Health Conditions
Other illnesses/diseases to watch out for when owning an oranda goldfish are Dropsy, Swim Bladder Disease, Velvet and tail/fin rot.
Dropsy causes the fish’s scales to stick out, which makes them take on a pine-cone appearance. It probably won’t lead to fish losing scales but it is important to deal with it as soon as possible. The infection is hard to treat once it has appeared.
If not dealt with swiftly, it is fatal.
Swim Bladder Disease, as I mentioned earlier, is common in goldfish and is normally treated with peas.
It can be caused by a few factors, including bad diet, constipation, and an internal infection.
Swim Bladder Disease isn’t usually serious when treated.
Velvet, similar to Ich, is a parasitic infestation that gives fish a rust-colored or gold appearance.
It is incredibly infectious and must be treated swiftly to prevent death.
In addition to looking like they have been coated in a gold or rust film, fish with Velvet will typically scratch against objects, breathe rapidly, lose their appetite, and have clamped fins.
They may also act listlessly.
When left to advance, Velvet can cause your fish’s skin to flake off.
Thankfully, Velvet is easy to treat. Medications that are used for Ich are also effective against Velvet.
Fin rot is a bacterial infection that is commonly brought on by stress, poor water conditions, or another illness/disease.
An oranda with fin rot will have torn or ragged fins.
It can also affect their tail.
In severe cases, the edges of the tail and fins will turn white as the bacteria grows.
Without intervention, fin rot can be extremely serious, and your fish may not be able to regrow their fins or tail.
Good water quality and a good filtration system is crucial for helping your oranda goldfish heal.
Commercial treatments or aquarium salt should also be used to fight off bacterial infections.
These ailments are not a complete list, but they are some of the most common.
There are plenty of other health conditions that affect oranda goldfish, so always keep a close eye on your fish and act quickly if you notice any abnormal behavior such as staying at the bottom of the tank, not eating, or scales turning black or white.
You’ll need a 15-gallon to 25-gallon spawning tank for breeding oranda goldfish.
Make sure the substrate is rounded and the aquarium contains some plants.
Feed them some live foods to provide them with energy for mating.
Not much intervention is needed when breeding oranda goldfish, so just let nature run its course.
Orandas usually spawn in the early hours of the morning. The whole process can take up to 3 hours and they usually lay the eggs in the leaves, but you can also use a spawning mop.
Once spawning is complete, place the parents in another tank so they cannot eat the eggs.
When the eggs hatch, the baby fish are called fry.
Oranda Fry Diet
You don’t need to feed oranda goldfish fry for the first 48-72 hours after hatching as they will consume the yolk from the egg sac they were in.
After this time, the fry will require multiple feedings each day.
A good diet is vital for their development.
Either live or frozen brine shrimp are a good option, as well as fresh vegetables and commercial fry food.
Make sure the vegetables are chopped small enough so the fry can consume them.
Oranda Fry Behavior
In the beginning, oranda fry are timid and will hide often.
However, as they grow bigger, they will act much more confident and will school together when scavenging for food to eat.
Once the fry are around 1 inch in length, they can be moved to a tank with their parents or other suitable species of fish.
Owning an oranda goldfish might seem complicated and difficult, but once you get to grips with the oranda goldfish care needs, they are extremely rewarding to keep.
Although orandas aren’t completely beginner-friendly, they are not too hard to look after.
When cared for properly, oranda goldfish can live between 10-15 years, so they are a long commitment.
Their friendly and curious nature, as well as their stunning appearance livens up any home.
To go with their bold personality, orandas require a decent-sized aquarium that’s at least 20 gallons.
Regular water changes and tank maintenance is vital for orandas as they aren’t the hardiest species of goldfish.
These fish also do better when paired with their own kind or other suitable types of aquarium goldfish.
Although they require a little more care…
Orandas are fairly inexpensive and are widely available, so are definitely worth taking a closer look at next time you pop in your local fish store.