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Ranch Goldfish: Raising the Amazing Fancy Goldfish

My very young Ranchu:)
My very young Ranchu:)

I am a ranchu goldfish enthusiast and am writing this article for people interested in having ranchu goldfish as a pet. I will put some tips on keeping ranchus and common problems and things to consider when looking into this species of gold fish.

I currently have two ranchu in a 4ft tank, one black ranchu and the other a red and white one , both around 1 years old.

A cute looking ranchu, some say they have puppy faces:)
A cute looking ranchu, some say they have puppy faces:)

The ranchu is a popular goldfish species and is especially popular in Japan for its unique appearance and resemblance to a small puppy. Ranchus can be very friendly and some people are actually able to pat there ranchus or even train them to do little tricks. The ranchu goldfish is the work of breeding by the Japanese, breeding different types of lionhead goldfish.

The ranchu has a quite fat egg shaped body and when it is fully grown can look quite strange but this is the attraction for goldfish enthusiasts. The ranchu also has very beautiful head growths which are prized by goldfish breeders.

a friendly ranchu
a friendly ranchu

Tank Size and Conditions

Like all goldfish they require a decent size tank and the most important factor when choosing the tank is the surface area of the water, this ensures enough oxyen for your fish, so when choosing a tank a long rectangular tank is preferred over a tall tank.

The ranchu goldfish is a very slow swimmer and because of its body shape does not cope with strong current so make sure that you have a good filter that is not too strong or is being pointed at a rock or some plants to reduce the strength of the current.

healthy natural feed for a ranchu, Duckweed
healthy natural feed for a ranchu, Duckweed

Ranchu Feed

The best thing to feed your ranchu is any type of sinking pellet. It is also beneficial to include easily digestible plant foods such as duckweed, algae, and wheat germ to aid digestion.

For a treat Ranchu’s enjoy oranges, mandarins, live food, worms, and shrimp. I currently use a specially formulated ranchu food made by hikari fish food to produce strong colourful and healthy ranchu.

Remember normal rules apply when feeding your goldfish depending on the temperature, at temperatures above 20 degrees celsius goldfish digestive system work very well at cold temperatures overfeeding can make them bloated and sometimes when they unable to digest it can die from it. So take care when feeding your ranchu.

serious bloating issues
serious bloating issues

Common Problems

The most common ranchu problem I have seen is swim bladder where the ranchu will swallow too much oxygen and eventually keep floating up to the top of the tank and then eventually flipping over. This condition can be avoided by feeding your ranchu sinking pellets so they don’t have to come up to the water level to get the food, Feeding your ranchu easily digestible food such as duckweed and plants can help relieve swim bladder problems. The other problem I have seen is that your ranchu may suck on pebbles and often accidentally swallow them so its very important to ensure the pebbles in your tank if you have any are small enough pass through the ranchu’s body. Sand could be a great alternative to pebbles and can give your fish tank a nice beachy look.

Ranchu Price $$$

When ranchu’s are fully grown they can fetch very high prices for example a five year old purebred ranchu can set you back around $100 US and even higher depending on the size and vibrant colors of your ranchu.Most pet shops I have looked at you are able to buy a ranchu for around $20 US for a6 -7 cm ranchu which is a very reasonable price. Look for a similar price otherwise you may be getting ripped off.

Where to get your Ranchu

Ranchu’s are not a very common fish specieis found in most pet stores so it may take a bit of fish hunting to find it but if you are unable to find a ranchu in your local fish shop the next option is an online fish shop as the number of online fish shops has increased dramatically so doing a quick search on google should come up with some great results. I’ve previously ordered all my fish online even the tropical fish.

Is My Ranchu Pure Bred?

How to spot if your ranchu is pure bred. The best thing is to take a close look at the pictures below , another simple way is to look at the curve from the top of the head to the tale if it is a nice and smooth curve you most likely have a pure bred if there are a few lumps or higher bumps you may have a cross bred ranchu which has not been totally bred out of other goldfish species features.

R.I.P Ranchu - Sadly my red and white Ranchu past away a few weeks ago, and the reason he died was that he kept trying to pick up food off the gravel. And he ended up eating a lot of little bits of gravel and not being able to pass them through his system. When I pulled him out of the tank he weighed a ton ,full of pebbles poor fish.

:( anyway just a reminder so you can choose a gravel size that's easier enough for them to pass or too big to swallow or maybe an even safer option to have to gravel. Even though no gravel means less room for bacteria to live in and it takes away from the you aquaculture designs.

Goldfish Competitions

Goldfish competitions are very popular in japan and the ranchu is one of the most popular contest fish , Japan hold many competitions that judge your ranchu’s for health, color and especially the famous head growths.

serious fish judging:)
serious fish judging:)

Comments 39 comments

Johnny 7 years ago

hooray i love ranchu's


ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Ranchu seems to have escaped the aquarium for awhile to call our attention. Well, congratulations. This hub has made its way into this week hubnuggets list. Do click this link http://hubpages.com/community/hubnuggets-feb6-2009 as Funride will explain what you need to do. And be sure to vote okay? Spread the word to your friends :)


finatics profile image

finatics 6 years ago

Ranchus are so cute! It's interesting that they hold Ranchu competitions in Japan. Thanks for the great article, I enjoyed reading it. Voted up for usefulness. :)


steve fish 6 years ago

good info ^^, i used to keep marines but i have now got 2 ranchu , they are about 60mm long gold and white , they are only in a 10gal tank at the mo with a filter but as they grow i will get them a bigger tank , all in all a lovely fish that we hope will live a long time , our other goldfish has just popped its clogs but he was 15 years old


expectus profile image

expectus 6 years ago from Land Downunder Author

thanks for the comments, ranchu's are wonderful, just make sure you have gravel which is either too big for them too swallow or small enough that it will pass through. lost my red and white ranchu (pic above) due to gravel choking:(


Lee 6 years ago

Ranchu are indeed wonderful, but really difficult to find in Germany und even more difficult to keep.

I am lucky I have found a provider, but still.

Although my water test turn out fine, the fish won't survive. started out with seven, now 5 Ranchu (5cm) in a 240 liter tank. I only feed once every 3-4 days, I begin to wonder whether the lionhead sinking pellets by hikari mini pellets is to large for them.

I'd be happy for any advice. ps.: i don't use gravel. Bare bottom tank


expectus profile image

expectus 6 years ago from Land Downunder Author

maybe the lack of gravel is making it hard for good bacteria to grow in your tank. you can try setting up the tank with some water from an existing tank just so you have some of bacteria and waste to start the cycle off.

have you seen any strange behavior from your fish? gasping for air at the top?


Lee 6 years ago

The typical behaviour is apathy and i also have noticed swelling of the belly , no protruding eyes , scales stay at the body.

the fish are not gasping for air.

ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 12,5mg/l, ph 7,5-8, KH 6

Temperature 75 Fahrenheit/ 24-25°C.

A friend suggusted maybe the current caused by my external filter (1028L/h waterflow) is too strong, so i pointed the incoming water to the tank wall.

i did have problems with water quality in the beginning with high nitrite and ammonia, but this is not a problem anymore.


saboo 5 years ago

Enjoyed reading ur article, i have one oranda and two ryukins and I was wondering if putting a ranching in the mix would b a good idea?


Jade Evans profile image

Jade Evans 5 years ago from Sydney, Australia

Great hub. Have found the tip about duckweed especially helpful as I have continual harvest in my outdoor pond. I love Ranchus, but have had a bit of trouble with them over the years with swim bladder problems. But the two I have now are in fine form. Might be due to the duckweed! Thanks


expectus profile image

expectus 5 years ago from Land Downunder Author

saboo - your ranchu should do fine with those other fancy goldfish :)

glad it helped Jade :)


JT 5 years ago

I have 2 black ranchu, one of them is not eating n the other one swims slightly slanted. Pls help.


Taylor 5 years ago

can I have one ranchu in a 20 gallon tank?


renz 5 years ago

i barely got 2 ranchu goldfish. there both the same color, orange. but i have troble telling weather if ones a boy and ones a girl


Goldfishgarage 5 years ago

Ranchu are the king of goldfish! I breed them to try to encourage the growth of the hobby in the USA. Please visit my blog if you are interested in ranchu. goldfishgaragedotcom.


Mclegs 5 years ago

i just got a Ranchu, (i litterly just put it in the tank and was lookin online of photos to show my friends when i came across this) and was wondering can put a fantail in the same tank?


expectus profile image

expectus 5 years ago from Land Downunder Author

ranchu and fantail will be happy together aslong as they have enough space


Ben 5 years ago

Ive got 2 ranchu's a pealscale with tropical fish the tank is always at 21c and there all happy.


vicki 5 years ago

I bought a ranchu a week ago, its the cutest thing ive ever seen, i thing it maybe of mixed breed, but that is what makes it all the more special. I love it to bits. I am hoping to get a couple more soon.


Mclegs 5 years ago

R.I.P my ranchu, it died under suspiious circumstances. the tank; clean. had been fed that day. wasn't heavy when i lifted it from the tank.

Any andswers?


brian 5 years ago

love ranchus black ones are so cute keep 8 outside in a 500 litre koi showing tank and feed them hikari in purple pack bloodworm .peas cooked rice and small earth worms they are doingreally well .The tank is in a south faceing spot by my door and i keep it natual as possible with plants


Bec 4 years ago

Can you put 2 ranchu's together in a tank? or will they fight?


Jess 4 years ago

I have a ranchu, moor, oranda and fantail. This is my first time having a ranchu and so far I find this one is giving me the most problems. I find when I do water changes the ranchu looks like it has swim bladder issues for a couple days. Also, when I got the ranchu he appeared to have a tiny bit of fin rot and a somewhat deformed tail. I have treated him 3 times for tail rot and it hasn't improved at all. Im not sure what else to do. I've sat and watched my tank for a while and there doesn't appear to be any bully fish. The 3 other fish are fine so I know my water quality is great. I do 30% water changes every week. I don't know what else to do for my little ranchu :(


Emma 4 years ago

Please help. I think my ranches are sick!! Their under bellies are sort of red and blotchy. Im not sure what's wrong :( please help if you can- what can I do? Tank is clean and I only give them a small amount of food, any help would be greatly appreciated!! Thank you


Oscar 4 years ago

I need help to distigust my ranchu bc he had a smooth back till he started to grow he starte to grow a bump almost by the tale


expectus profile image

expectus 4 years ago from Land Downunder Author

Hey Oscar, a lump near the tail usually indicates that its not a fully bred ranchu and may have some lionhead in him or other species, unless of course it appears to be some sort of growth


Vicster 4 years ago

I have two black ranchu at my office but one has just got a White patch by his eye....Any ideas?


Shelisa Friend 4 years ago

Hey there! I was wondering if anyone could help me?

My black ranchu has got some sort of red sore on his head =( It almost looks like one of his little lumpy bits has come off!

What is wrong with him? His name is Buddy and he's my favorite fish! I don't want him to be sick =( Please help!

Thank you!


tia 4 years ago

My black ranchu named ranchu died this morning and I will replace him with the name ranchu 2!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


tia 4 years ago

Also I was very upset when ranchu died I buried him in my garden beside my other fish goldie ):


Rebecca voaks 4 years ago

Here how do you feed and stroke ranchus? I would think they would die if you touch them don't you?


musictunes profile image

musictunes 3 years ago from Saint Cloud, Minnesota

I had a lot of fun with my goldfish for it's 6 years of living. I made some cool videos on me taking care of it too. http://hubpages.com/animals/Taking-Care-Of-Fancy-G...

What people don't know is that fishbowls are way too small for these fish and they wonder why they die so much. "Oh Goldfish only die" is what I always hear.. Well... take him out of a flower Vase and maybe he would live longer! Geesh people make me angry!


Klerra 3 years ago

Hey I have black ranchu and over the past few days, a white patch of skin has formed over his nose and am not sure what it is

PLEASE HELP ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :(


mary anne 3 years ago

I just lost my lovely ranchu.....I live in Oregon and having a hard time to find another......I live on the central Oregon coast.....nothing in Salem or Eugene the two biggest cities nearby have any.....help!


desiree 3 years ago

both eyes of my ranchu being dig out by another fish i hate myself so much wat should i do to keep it alive


Kallsop 3 years ago

I have two ranchus, so is sand good as gravel and how much do I put in


Kallsop 3 years ago

My fish keep coming up for air every like 5 second and staying up there for awhile should I be worried


sharon. 2 years ago

Hi, I've had my little ranchu for a year now. What a lovely little fish. He is in a 14 litre tank with two small goldfish which the retailer assured me would be fine. I have a good filter system, aimed at the tank wall and have had the water tested and it is fine.

He appeared fine this morning but by early evening is spending most of his time at the bottom of the tank , underneath the filter,not interested in eating. He does love to pick up the gravel but it is quite small. Could you advise please??


Deboramatcham8@google.com 22 months ago

Ranchus can be fed a few peas without jacket every few days, just squeeze the pea out of casing crushed a little between your fingers, this helps eliminate swim bladder.

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