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[Hobbyist] General Question about Breeding Goldfish, specifically Orandas


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  • Regular Member

Hi everyone,

I'm new to goldfish, but have kept freshwater fish all my life and am no stranger to fish keeping.

I've recently taken an interest in fancy goldfish - especially Orandas, so I was wondering if anyone with experience could provide me with some guidance and point me in the right direction.

To start off, I'm not planning to become a commercial breeder or anything like that, my interest is purely from a hobbyist perspective. With that beign said, I have a few questions below, hopefully some of you could help shed some light for me on the subject.

1. if one wants to breed orandas as a hobbyist, what would be a good amount of fish to start off with? obviously, i know this depends on how much space, equipments he/she have... but on average, what would be a good minimum amount (1 pair, 2 pairs?) capable of allowing you to play around with the gene pool and developing/producing some good variety of permutations in colors?

2. Since i'm doing this for fun and as a hobby, naturally I want to buy young fish so i can experience the joy of seeing them grow and mature (in a good enviornment with proper nutrition) as well as learning more about the fish and discovering what food works best (duckweed, earthworm, peas, algae, etc, etc) But, how early do orandas start showing their colors/patterns? Obviously purchasing adult fish is probably what most breeders would do since they can just select the fish with the pattern/coloration they're looking for with more precission. But what about for someone like me who not only want to be able to select good potential breeders, but at the same time, get them at a young age and experience the best of both world?

3. If i want to try breeding certain colors/variations, would it be better to start out with fish with single color? and gradually working towards the colors/patterns I want? I'm guessing, if i start out with fish with multi-colors, it would probably make it harder to control?

4. At the moment, i'm planning on getting a tank/tub similar to the one shown in this youtube video:

the lady in the video has 2 tubs that are about the same dimension, except one is deeper... the shallower one is about 60 gallon, while the deeper tub is 127 gallon I believe.

I think i will try to find something similar for the main area for holding my fish, while also getting a more conventional glass tank (40 gallon roughly, which is good to hold about 2 fish) so i could use that for either spawning/breeding, or quaranteen in case a fish gets sick (when none of the fish are breeding)? What do you guys think about keeping them in a tub like these? compare to regular tanks?

5. If in the future i end up with 5-6 fish in a big 120 gallon tub, how do you guys choose what fish to use for breeding? do you guys let nature take its course? just keep all 5-6 fish together int he community tank and see which one mates with which? or hand breed them by squeeing the eggs/semen from the selected fish you want to breed? (if so, how do you deal with the unexpected pregnancy? from the community tank?) lol i could imagine that becoming a lot of work and could easily overwhelm you when your'e not prepared to have so many breedings going on at once or the desired breedings between pairs that you're looking for.

I just recently moved from the u.s. and am currently residing in Taiwan. I know that majority of the higher quality fish tend to come from china/thailand/singapore, and although Taiwan local fish shops have fish that they claimed are from these regions, and yes, some do look pretty decent, but since i'm in Asia as well, should i just go straight for the source and just try to purchase them from a reputable show quality breeder from thailand, singapore or china? (the delivery fee is going to be very negligeable since Taiwan is so close to those countries)

What are some top notch places to get high quality fish for breeding purposes when it comes to Orandas? :) and what exactly is the difference between the singapore/china/thailand types?

sorry for such a length post, but hope to hear from everyone !

Edited by therue
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  • Regular Member

I am sure someone can come along and answer the majority of your questions but I would urge you to get your set up done first before you acquire your fish. Hobby breeders do way more water changes and feed a different diet than hobby owners. Aside from the tubs you will need to devise your own water changing system, how to grow or gather protein rich food sources, even streamlining your filters and sumps to keep the water pristine.

If you admire solid gold's system and want to replicate it I would suggest emailing her and see if she can help you with the specs. :)

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  • Regular Member

I know you said you were no stranger to fish, but I would first keep goldfish before wanting to breed them. Goldfish are MUCH different than other tropicals in their care requirements, so I can only urge that you first take some time to raise a few before getting into breeding. In addition, take a very hard look at keeping fry before deciding to start breeding. You are going to have to mother the fry, not the parent fish, so it's good to know what you're getting into. I apologize if this comes off as offensive, but it's my experience speaking here. Goldfish breeding is harder work than any other fish I have had the chance to help raise. It's extremely enjoyable, but won't be unless you know the ins and outs of the adults before you move on to the fry. :)

Also, I have the 127gal size tub that Jennie has. It was special ordered from Laguna Ponds from the Laguna dealer in my home city. I don't think they ship out where you are, so I would suggest looking closer to your home for suitable tubs.

Edited by ChelseaM
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  • Regular Member

Hi, I am new too. One thing that was interesting to find out is that the patterns and colors you are talking about... most of them are fleeting and do not last the life of the fish. At four or five years old, a black fish may be orange, a white fish might be yellow, a calico fish may be just an orange and white fish. So interesting colors and patterns are going to change. Even in Koi, the patterns and colors shift, change, dissapear. So you have to really like the fish, considering that their looks are always changing. There are some really great posts showing the then and now, baby to adult color changes. Some are quite amazing.

Also, being a bit of a horse racing fan, chosing who to breed and with whoem is complicated. In any kind of animal breeding you should use only top genetics, not gf from pet stores. Those folks who can trace ancestory for hundreds of years end up with much better animals.

Edited by MissBubbles
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  • Regular Member

You have very specific questions with regards to breeding. Unfortunately, like Chelsea has said, goldfish fry are difficult to look after. From my experience, it doesn't mean that you have hand spawned the fish means that you are going to end up with fry.

I will do my best with answering your questions.

1) For breeding it is suggested that having one female to two or three males is ideal. That way there is enough milt to ensure that there is fertilisation of the eggs. However since you want to have them when they are small, it can be difficult to sex the fish so buying several fish should hopefully have some males and females.

2) A lot of this depends on the genetics of the fish itself. As you are most likely going to purchase fish from an unknown source i.e. not a specific breeder, it is difficult to know exactly what genes these fish carry. The dedicated fish breeders in Japan hold onto their bloodlines very tightly and do not want to share them. These fish that these breeders keep have very specific bloodlines that have been bred over decades of years hence why they can produce spectacular colours. For your situation, it would be best to start out with fish who have the body shape that you prefer and who are most likely to develop the head growth that you desire. When orandas are young, very little headgrowth is observed.

3) Goldfish genetics are very complicated. They are not like other fish species such as livebearers and cichlids where if you breed the same colour with the same colour a vast majority of the fish have the colours of the parents. Again, as you don't know exactly what type of genes these fish have, there is a mix of colours that can be had. From my experience, I thought that by breeding calico fantails with calico fantails I would only get calico fantails. Instead, I got a mixture of about 60% calico and the rest metallic scale. Amongst these fish were also ones with telescope eyes and a few single tails as well. In order to get the colours that you want, you need to cull the ones that show the colours that you don't want and keep them until they are big enough so that you can breed them again to get the correct colour genes that you want.

4) Shallow tubs are good if you want to keep the body shape true to the form of the type of goldfish. For example, shallow ponds are used extensively for breeders of ranchu. Deeper ponds are thought to change the shape of the fish due to the pressure from the water. Usually a depth of 30-45 cms (1-1.5ft) is ideal.

5) Hand breeding is the best way to ensure that you get the right mix of genes from the male and female. If you want to let nature do its thing, that is when the ratio of one female to two or three males is required. If you have unexpected breeding, let the fish eat the eggs.

Differences in fish from other countries

If you have the money to buy fish from a reputable breeder, it is worth the time and effort. However, just to start out, it would be best to just buy some fish locally that you like and try and breed them. There is a very steep learning curve and you need to know what works best for you. Fish from Singapore, China and Thailand are different based upon the goldfish show standards that they have. For example, there are a lot of Thai black ranchu but in Japan, the black ranchu is frowned upon and is not identified as a 'true' ranchu.

Hope this helps :)

If you want to know more about goldfish genetics, this book is quite good. I'm currently reading it. It's a bit advance and would be good if you understand Medelian theory or genetics 101 :)

"Goldfish breeding and genetics" by Smartt and Bundell

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