Fish

Oranda, Goldfish with a Big Head—This is All You Need to Know

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)

Eddie Waithaka

Resident Content Creator and Marketer at AquariaWise who talks about aquariums and fish and aquascapes a lot.

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