ranchu goldfish

Ranchu Goldfish

The Ranchu Goldfish is certainly something to see! They have an impressive appearance that is similar to that of the Lionhead Fancy Goldfish.

ranchu goldfish photo

These chubby goldfish require an experienced goldfish owner who can appreciate their peaceful demeanor.

A Little History Lesson On The Ranchu Goldfish:

The Ranchu originated in China many years ago. They are one of the oldest types of fancy goldfish to date. In the 1800’s, these fancy goldfish were introduced to the Japanese in hopes of further developing the breed.

The Ranchu is highly sought after for goldfish competitions, especially in China and Japan.

ranchu goldfish

In China, the goldfish competition judges will view as well as assess the Ranchu from the side.

However, the Japanese do it a little differently. The goldfish competition judges in Japan will view and evaluate the Ranchu from above.

Therefore, they will have a better view of the broad back. While most of the world refers to this goldfish breed as the Ranchu, Asia primarily calls them the Buffalo-head Goldfish, distinguishing their most prominent physical feature.

The Ranchu may be primarily a show fish to Asia, but to us, they are finned family members.

How Long Do Ranchu Goldfish Live?

The Ranchu goldfish can have an average lifespan of about 10 - 15 years. In a well maintained and properly cared for aquarium or pond, the Ranchu can live up to 20 years or more.

Physical characteristics of the Ranchu Goldfish-How to identify them:

These fancy goldfish have a round and chubby body shape that is similar to that of the Lionhead or the Oranda.

ranchu goldfish

In fact, they resemble the Lionhead so closely that they are often mistaken for them. Both goldfish breeds lack a dorsal fin which is one of the reasons for their restrictive swimming abilities.

Both the Lionhead and the Ranchu will sport a “hood”. A “hood” is a head growth that is very brain-like in appearance. “Hoods” are also sometimes referred to as a Wen.

While both fish have this head growth, the Lionhead’s hood is much more prominent on top of his head. The Ranchu’s hood is slightly less prominent and sometimes covers more than the top of their head.

The Ranchu has a broad back and tail fins that fan out almost horizontally, whereas the Lionhead’s back is slightly flattened and tail fins fan out more vertically.

The Ranchu Goldfish can come in a variety of colors and patterns. The most familiar pattern is “bi-colored” and are usually found in red and white or gold and white.

However, the Ranchu can also be found in a calico pattern as well as a variety of solid colors (red, white, black and yellow-orange).

How Big Do Ranchu Goldfish Get?

Ranchu Goldfish will for the most part grow to about about 5 inches , though some aquarists report them growing as large as 8 inches. The Ranchu deep belly is about 3/4 the length of the fish.

Are Ranchu Fancy Goldfish difficult to care for?

The Ranchu can be quite the handful for the first-time fish owner. They are prone to various health problems and require some degree of care in order to stay happy and healthy.

Therefore, the Ranchu is only recommended for the experienced goldfish owner.

ranchu goldfish

They are considered a delicate fish because of their stubby bodies, head growth, and poor eyesight. Their Wen (head growth) is prone to bacterial and fungal infections if their aquarium is not properly cleaned.

 Once an infection is present, the owner is responsible for addressing and treating it quickly.

Most first-time owners may not know what to look for nor how to deal with the infection.

Many Ranchu’s suffer because their owners are simply not aware of the illness.

Therefore, yes, the Ranchu can be difficult to care for, and they require and experienced owner to help maintain their health and avoid potential infections and illnesses.

What do Ranchu Fancy Goldfish eat?

Goldfish are omnivores and usually enjoy various types of food. They will gladly accept fish flakes as they are both tasty and meet some nutritional requirements.

However, goldfish do not eat fish flakes in the wild. Therefore, if you are interested in feeding your Ranchu a more natural and fulfilling diet, then you can provide any combination of the following options.

Frozen or freeze-dried food: bloodworms are a big hit with most goldfish, Ranchu goldfish are no exception!

Fresh food: Goldfish enjoy many different fresh foods including algae, insects, and vegetable. However, take caution when providing your Ranchu with fresh foods. Some of them may contain parasites that can easily cause your goldfish great harm.

Ranchu Fancy Goldfish may require a little extra time to feed. They have a difficult time finding their food as a result of their poor eyesight, and their fat bodies make it difficult to swim quickly.

What kind of aquarium do Ranchu Fancy Goldfish need?

Goldfish can grow to be quite long, and even the smaller types of goldfish require a decent size tank for swimming space as well as to prevent oxygen shortages.

A 10-gallon aquarium is never recommended unless you are only planning on bringing home a single fish and the fish will be a small one, for example feeder goldfish.

orange ranchu goldfish

Goldfish are social creatures and only bringing home a single fish for a 10-gallon tank may cause your goldfish stress and boredom.

A 20-gallon tank is a good size to start at while your goldfish is still young.

However, you should be prepared to purchase larger aquariums down the road.

If you plan to have more than one goldfish in a tank, then you should plan at least 10-gallons per goldfish.

This rule of thumb will help prevent overpopulating an aquarium as well as prevent oxygen shortages.

Also, smaller tanks usually require more frequent water changes and tank cleanings.

Goldfish are messy and cannot live in a small space with their own waste for too long. Can you blame them?

Other tips that can come in handy when deciding on a goldfish aquarium:

  • You may want to add a couple of freshwater snails to you goldfish aquarium. They are natural algae eaters and can help keep the tank clean between weekly cleanings.
  • You should also choose an aquarium with a large surface area (such as a rectangular tank). The more surface area a tank has, the more room your goldfish have to swim and oxygen shortages should happen much less.

Aquarium décor for your Ranchu tank:

Make sure you choose a decent gravel for the bottom of your Ranchu Goldfish tank. Not only is the gravel appealing to goldfish admirers, but it also resembles a natural habitat for the fish inside.

You should only choose décor that is smooth to the touch. Anything sharp or pointy in the tank can harm your Ranchu’ chubby body or damage his hood.

fish tank with plants

Ranchus enjoy having aquarium plants to nibble on.

However, they are a digging fish and may uproot them. To avoid this mess, choose silk plants for the inside of the tank and consider feeding your Ranchu plants by hand.

Silk plants are a better choice as they are safer than the plastic ones you more commonly see.

Ranchu aquariums should have a lid to avoid evaporation of the tank water as well as keeping the goldfish inside the tank.

Lighting is a good additive to an aquarium with live plants or to help display your beautiful Ranchus.

Finally, provide a good filtration system for your goldfish aquarium.

However, it should not be a powerful filter speed. If it is too powerful, then your Ranchu will have an even harder time swimming in his tank.

Get to know your Ranchu’s temperament and personality:

Ranchu Fancy Goldfish are social creatures especially when they share their tank with similarly “handicapped” fish. Therefore, they would be lonely in a tank alone.

 Their tankmates should be the Lionhead, the Bubble Eyed Fancy Goldfish, or the Celestial Eyed Fancy Goldfish. Ranchus (and other goldfish) recognize their tankmates and their owners, alike. So, give them something to recognize!

ranchu fancy goldfish

Potential Health Risks:

The Ranchu can provide your home with a natural stress reliever, simply by just existing. It is your job to make sure your Ranchu Goldfish is never stressed or under any kind of duress. However, they are at risk for the following common goldfish diseases.

  • Goldfish ICH: Also known as White Spot Disease, is a pesky parasite that latches onto the Ranchu’s body and feeds until it has grown enough to reproduce and start the cycle all over again.
  • Other parasites: Argulus (fish lice) and Anchor Worms
  • Bacterial infections: Tail or Fin Rot (disintegrating fins caused by a number of health issues), Dropsy (a kidney disease), and fatal Tuberculosis.
  • Fungal Infections: Black ICH
  • Swim Bladder Disease: Condition where the goldfish has difficulty finding their swimming balance and may swim in off patterns.
  • Cloudy eye: Can be caused by any number of health conditions.

Ranchu Goldfish Questions and Answers

goldfisho mascot

What is a Ranchu goldfish?

Often called “Buffalo Head” because of the raspberry-like growth on their heads

Type: fancy

Colors: red/white, black, red, orange, white, silver

Type of Swimmer: slow

Temperament: peaceful

Single or Twin-tail: twin

Level of Care: not for beginners

What does a Ranchu goldfish cost?

$10-$70 each (dependent upon color and where you buy them)

What are compatible tank mates for Ranchu goldfish?

Because Ranchus are slow swimmers, never place them together with fast swimming fish. They are best with other slow swimming fish such as Lionheads, Bubble Eyes, Fantails, or Butterfly Tails

Note: Slow swimming goldfish should not be placed with fast swimming goldfish. Fast swimmers are aggressive eaters at feedings.

Characteristics and Traits of Ranchu Goldfish

How large does a Ranchu goldfish get?

5” - 8”

What is the lifespan of Ranchu goldfish?

Pond environment: 10-15 years

Tank: up to 20 years

What is the difference between a Lionhead goldfish and a Ranchu goldfish?

    • Lionheads have more head growth than Ranchus.

    • Ranchus’ back is curved upwards, whereas Lionheads are flatter.

    • Ranchu’s caudal fin has a 45-degree angle, whereas Lionheads are lower and larger.

    • Lionheads’ peduncle (main body) is longer and thinner, whereas Ranchus are thick and stubby.

Diet of Ranchu Goldfish

What does a Ranchu goldfish eat?


Live food (bloodworms, shrimp)

Fruits & vegetables

Flake food

Tank Requirements for Ranchu Goldfish

What size tank does a Ranchu goldfish need?

Minimum: 20-30 gallons

Fish-to-tank Ratio is 1” of fish per 1 gallon of water

What should the water temperature be for a Ranchu goldfish; and do I need to have a heater for the tank?

65 - 75 degrees (F)

A heater is required to maintain water temperature.

Do I need to have an air stone (air pump) in my Ranchu goldfish’s tank?

Yes, but avoid having one that is too powerful because Ranchus are slow swimmers and too much water movement will cause them to have trouble swimming.

Does a Ranchu goldfish’s tank require a filtration system?

Yes, all goldfish should have a filtration system in their tank.

Be careful that your filtration system’s water intake is not too powerful for the Ranchu because they are slow swimmers and too much movement in the water can be difficult for your Ranchu to tolerate.