About Ranchu Goldfish – Hail to the King (of goldfish)

Generations of selective breeding have produced so many different varieties of goldfish. One of these varieties, the Ranchu, was said to rule them all… This is a story about Ranchu goldfish, the one breed that is referred to as the “King of Goldfish” by the Japanese. Hail to the King!

Is that introduction dramatic enough? πŸ™‚

About Ranchu Goldfish

Anyway, Ranchu is indeed highly regarded in the goldfish keeping world, especially in its country of origin.

It also happens to be my favorite goldfish breed. I have one goldfish tank dedicated just for them.


So what is there to know about Ranchu goldfish?

Ranchu goldfish was first bred in Japan during the Meiji period which spanned from 1868 to 1912. During that time, it looked much different from the Ranchu that we know now. For an instance, Ranchu during that time did not have any lump on the head.

Since then, selective breeding happened to continuously improve the Ranchu goldfish until to the forms that we are familiar with now. Besides Japan, it is actively bred in China, Thailand, USA and UK.

In case you missed this, Ranchu as with most of the other goldfish breeds, are man made.

Goldfish come in generally 2 body types – the slim ones (streamlined) and the round ones (egg-shaped). The Ranchu breed is one of the round ones i.e. with egg-shaped body type. Its body is round and short, and with a cute belly.

This breed of goldfish does not have any dorsal fin. It has a fantail and the body is curved at the back.

A good looking Ranchu is like picture below.

Ranchu Goldfish
A Ranchu that took part in the 20th Pramong Nomklao fish show event, Thailand (July 2008).

All varieties of goldfish are bred to achieve their respective characteristics standards. These standards may differ from country to country and are used as the basis of judging in fish competitions. They also serve as a reference for breeders to determine the best fish for breeding.

If you are interested to know how these goldfish standards are like, click here to see the ones from UK.

In terms of price, those closest to the standards will definitely fetch a much higher price.

For Ranchu, there are 2 different standards defined:

  • Top View Ranchu (TVR) – Ranchu goldfish that are viewed from the top, example for those that are kept in ponds
  • Side View Ranchu (SVR) – Ranchu goldfish that are viewed from the side, example for those kept in fish tanks.

As you could see from my picture and video at the beginning of this post, my Ranchu goldfish are not at all near to their standard. You can easily see the difference with the Ranchu that took part in the fish beauty pageant above.

However that doesn’t mean that they are any less adorable or that you enjoy them any less as a goldfish keeper. To each their own, I guess.

About Ranchu Goldfish
I am cute too, right?

Keeping Ranchu goldfish

Ranchu goldfish can be rather demanding to keep as compared to say, the common goldfish. These are their requirements:

  • The Right Environment

As with any other goldfish varieties, good water quality is very important, more so for egg-shaped body type goldfish like the Ranchu. This means that in our home fish tank, we should have a good filter and do regular maintenance. It is very helpful to do regular water test too, to gauge the water condition.

  • The Right Space

When kept properly, Ranchu can grow more than 8″ in length. So they do need space that is big enough for them. If according to a common guideline, the suitable tank size depends on how many goldfish you keep.

The first goldfish should be allocated at least 20 gallons while the following ones should be allocated 10 gallons each. If your tank is not big enough now, at least have a plan to get a bigger one as your goldfish grow.

  • The Right Food

The word here is “variety”. Yeah… feed them a variety of food so that they can get a balanced diet. Always go for good quality fish food as they provide better nutrients composition for your goldfish.

I would also recommend feeding them sinking food instead of floating ones. Reason being that with their rounded bodies, Ranchu goldfish are susceptible to swim bladder issues. Gulping too much of air from the surface when trying to eat these floating food may cause complications on their swim bladders.

  • The Right “Friends”

This is about Ranchu goldfish compatibility with tank mates. Ranchus are not strong or quick swimmers. So if they are kept with tank mates that are much quicker, they will not be able to compete for food.

Besides that, there are also some tropical fish species that are fins nippers and Ranchu will be a very good victim for them. There are also some algae eaters that like to suck on the body of slow moving fish such as the Ranchu, and feed on their slim coat. All these causes a lot of stress to the goldfish.

I prefer to keep an all Ranchu fish tank, or in a tank with other slow swimming goldfish such as the Oranda.

Hail to the King (of goldfish)

Hopefully this post has given you a better idea about Ranchu goldfish, where they come from and their requirements.

The Ranchu is indeed a magnificent goldfish breed, one that is held in such a high regard to the status of royalty in the goldfish world. Hail to the Ranchu, the King of goldfish!

So do you keep any goldfish? What is your favorite goldfish breed? Do let me know by leaving your comments below. If you have anything to add on Ranchu goldfish, do drop me a note too!

Note: The following contain affiliate links. For more information, please visit my disclosure page.

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10 Replies to “About Ranchu Goldfish – Hail to the King (of goldfish)

  1. I love and hate goldfish. A few years, we keep the goldfish in our in-house pond with a school of Japanese carp. It died one after another. We shift to the glass aquarium. Indeed it is very cool and elegance in their swim. Once day we discovered all died due to the oxygen supply nozzle drop off.

  2. I honestly thought there was only one type of goldfish and that’s the ones you win at the fun fair lol.
    What a beautiful looking fish the ranchu is, I would have much preferred one of these as a child rather than the normal ones that I used to have.
    Thanks for educating me

    1. Hi Matthew,
      Oh there are so many varieties of goldfish beside the ones you win at fun fair. Each with their own beauty. Stay tuned to my site as I have a plan to introduce these different goldfish breeds as I go along.

  3. Hi I’ve seen these goldfish a lot on my travels in Thailand. I didn’t know anything about them until I read your page (just thought they were like normal goldfish ! ). When I go to Thailand at the end of August I will now know a lot more about them.
    many Thanks

    1. Hi Paul,
      Yeah, there are so many varieties of goldfish out there. If you are going to Bangkok, you can try checking out their Tropical Fish Market at Chatuchak. That will be a real eye opener. πŸ™‚

  4. I never considered that goldfishes compete for food. And my brother just loves goldfishes and he is looking to buy one. I am glad I made this research so I can tell him about it and I hope he takes it seriously.

  5. I currently have a ranchu (6 months old). I have him in a 70 liter (18 gallons). I want to get another fish for the tank but don’t know what type. Or what type to defiantly not put them with. I also am looking into Gold Inca Snail and I have done a lot of research on them. Would the snails be able to live with my ranchu ??

    1. Hello Oni,
      With the size of tank that you have, I think it is best to just keep your Ranchu by itself without any other fish. However, snails should be alright as they have low bioload.

      I have kept goldfish with nerite snails before without any compatibility problem. The part that I didn’t like during that time was that the snails were laying eggs all over my tank’s rocks. πŸ™‚

      Anyway please check out this post of mine on what to lookout for in determining good tank mates for goldfish.

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