top of page




Fish with a head growth or wen were developed more than a century ago. It is probable that the Oranda came about by crossing Lionhead with fish with dorsal fins. Even today it is confusing if all Oranda’s started in Japan or China. Writing a standard that has several body types, and wen growth pattern is difficult we attempt to recognize the hard work and diligence of these breeders by attempting to not eliminate varieties based on topical preferences that come and go. Since the start of the 21st century Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and others have built some exquisite new body and fin variations. The authors considered writing several standards for Orandas, for the 2016 edition, we have broken into only four divisions, metallic Orandas, Red Cap Metallic Orandas, Calico Orandas, and Azuma Nishiki (top view calico).

With the exception of the Red Cap Oranda (top of head only), head growth can either surround the face or just be on the top above the eyes (goosehead).

©Merlin Cunliffe 2016, Goosehead with pompoms

©Merlin Cunliffe 2016, Top head growth only.

© Merlin Cunliffe 2016, Head growth surrounds the face.

Breed Development

Orandas are different from other goldfish with dorsal fins because of their wen or head growth. The classic Oranda most often has big lobed tail fins. While the modern Asian Oranda has several tail forms that look like a Siamese Fighting Fish or Betta. This is one of the most popular breeds in North America, part of reason for this, is the unusual head as compared to other varieties, and it also is readily available from grade AAA to pet store quality. They are also available in various sizes from three months to breeder size. In several shows over the last few decades, pet store baby fish were raised to be grand champions due to excellent grooming by keeper hobbyist.

Key features include;

  1. Balanced / symmetric head growth that is free from blemishes and underlying infection.

  2. Matched tail, pectoral and anal fins.

  3. Body depth is typically ½ to 2/3 the body length excluding the tail.

  4. Metallic fin can be clear or colored.

  5. Underlying colored saddles are acceptable, for example a blue fish with brown patches.

  6. Slow to decolor fish, often result in colored bodies with black fins, a transient color, this is perfectly acceptable.

Key deductions / write downs include the following;

  1. Turned down mouth (carp mouth) or crooked mouth.

  2. Fused tail fins.

  3. Clamped tail fins.

  4. Enlarged veins in the tail.

  5. Bottom Sitting.

  6. Tail Standing.

  7. Bodies that are too short or too long.

The judging of this variety is always exciting because it is often the biggest class in the show.

Maximum points awards are as follows;Fin development and shape20Body Shape20Head shape and position30Fin and body color10Overall Condition10Deportment10100

Fin development and shapeTail fins are matched, spread at least 200, and can be lobed, or squared off like a broadtail. Tail is not on the horizontal plane.20Tails fins are too short for the body, fins clamped, or tail is close to the horizontal plane so that the fish do not swim well8-15One anal fin or zero fin10 or disqualified

Body ShapeBody Depth about ½ -2/3 the body excluding tail length20Body short in relation to depth15Body too long resulting in depth being less than ½ the depth15

Head shape and positionHead growth large but in proportion to the fish, can be just on top or completely surrounding head30Head growth extremely large and disproportionate to rest of body25Head growth lop sided or not balanced20Tiny amount of head growth15-20

Fin and body colorFin and body color matches and not faded10Fin color does not match6-8Body color is fading as if the fish is decoloring or the specimen is aged5

Overall ConditionFins and body shows no abrasion of irritations, everything matches10Fish leans to one side or sits on the bottom5Head growth contains white/grey matter as if infected5

DeportmentFish swims normally and shows no signs of stress10Head standing, head is at surface, fish is listless5Fins clamped

153 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page