Ranchu Goldfish

The Ranchu goldfish is one of the most sought-after goldfish by collectors worldwide for its charm and rarity.  Learn more about this breed of goldfish in this post.


The Ranchu goldfish is identified by its lack of a dorsal fin, its smoothly (in good specimens) arched back, deep tail tuck, stubby fins, deep body and fluffy headgrowth.  The scales of the Ranchu are usually metallic, but can also come in nacreous scales.  This breed of goldfish comes in a wide variety of colors including solid red, red and white, black, blue (0r silver), bi-colored, calico, nacreous or matte, solid white and others.  Red or red and white are the most common.

The Ranchu is also known as the Buffalo-head goldfish for its round, large head much like a bison.  Indeed, the snout is almost imperceptible and it often seems as if the fish doesn’t even have one.  In quality lines, the wen covers the entire head and is most extensive at the cheeks like chipmunks.  The cheeks can get very chubby with the headgrowth and around the eyes it may even cover the sight, as with the Oranda goldfish.  It has what is called an egg-shaped body, which is also found in several other dorsal-less breeds.

It is sometimes known as the “king of goldfish” because of its prized nature.  Quality ones can even cost hundreds of dollars!

Among their owners and/or breeders, grooming has become a very popular hobby in order to achieve the most beautiful top-view of the fish.  This is done by placing the fish in a shallow water with other Ranchus and feeding a very specific diet, amongst other treatments.  The object of grooming is to produce a fish with a squarish head and certain body proportions.

Is my Fish a Ranchu Goldfish?

This goldfish breed can be difficult to distinguish from the Lionhead because of the similarities between the breeds, but can be picked out by the steeper tuck where the tail meets the body and its rounder arched back.  Additionally, the lobes of the tail splay out on the sides and the tail itself sits nearly horizontal to the body.  It may also exhibit more headgrowth, but this is not always the case.  The arch of the back is not always very rounded depending on the genetics of the fish, and this may make it still more difficult to identify.  I have found Ranchus and Lionheads to be one of the most easily confused types, and only the tail seems to be the most reliable method of determining anything for certain.

If you got your fish from your local chain store, it is doubtful you have a true one because of their rarity – most likely it is a Lionhead.

Read on to learn the history of the Ranchu goldfish…


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