Posted on by Richard Lin

“What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call'd,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
And for that name which is no part of thee
Take all myself.”

William Shakespeare from Romeo and Juliet

True words from 1597.  A Rose by any other name would never be an Orchid or a Peacock, but still a Rose. 

As some of you may know, beginning early this year, I began making the 20+ hour journey to Thailand every month to pick fish. During my buying trips I have had the distinct privilege of discussing with each of the original farmers who produce and coined these tail types what qualities they are breeding for and specifically what they mean by Orchid/Rose/Peacock tail.  Below I will give an unbiased breakdown of the differences between the new Thai Orandas.  


Orchid Tail

Orchid tail is the product of selective breeding from a very well known Thai breeder.  Several years ago, they would have been considered the top in the world at breeding deep bodied Thai Orandas.  In the past year or 2 he has turned his attention to perfecting a specific tail type that he originated and coined as Orchid Tail.  During my June trip to Thailand, I spent nearly a day with him picking his farm as well as his brain. I came away with a new appreciation of the true beauty of what he is trying to accomplish.   

Orchid tail can be appreciated from both top view and side view.  From the top, the spread of the tail is designed to look like a Tosakin (Japanese Tosakin Goldfish).  In the following video, you can see what he is looking for.  

This beautiful black Orchid Tail Thai Oranda was picked by the farmer for me to display in his viewing bowl.  He coached me through the filming process, telling me what points he thought were the key features namely, the tail is ruffled.  In Chinese, we call this tail feature, 百折 or hundred fold tail.  Additionally, the tail on the fish is able to stand on its own when being held with the head in the hand.  When viewed from the top, there will be 4 distinct lobes of the tail as seen below.

The tail will make a near ¾ circle around the body of the fish as well as seen below.  

Even though the breeder told me you can view Orchid tail from either top or side view, I personally believe the only way to truly appreciate the fish is to see it from the side.   To be completely honest, I thought the fish were only average looking from the top. While I did appreciate tail from the top, when you put the fish in a tank and see the depth of the body as well as the movement of the tail as the fish moves, that's when you can really see the beauty of these guys!  

As you can see in the video below (taken at farm), Orchid tail oranda will have deep tall bodies.  They are bred in the new style of Thai Orandas with very round, deeper, and taller bodies. The tail will not be quite as long or as tall as the old style Thai Orandas you may be used to seeing.  This is influence from Chinese buyers in Thailand over the past few years. The tails will have ruffles (百折) which can be appreciated differently from the side.  Many of them will have white edging on the caudal fin as well as the dorsal.   They will also generally have shorter, stouter heads.  

Peacock Tail

Peacock tail and Orchid tail are names being floated around currently by a couple of farmers.  For the general purposes of oranda nomenclature, until they more permanently brand the fish, you can basically consider them synonyms.   Specifically for the King Koi Goldfish website, we will be designating Peacock and Orchid tail to different farmers. Our Peacock Tail Thai Orandas are widely considered the top orandas being produced in Thailand now.  These fish are in such high demand the farm is almost constantly sold out of fish. They cannot keep up with demand. Luckily, we have built a solid relationship with the farm over the past year and have secured fish for our US customers at every stage in production.  From small, market size fish all the way to show stopping giants. Below you can see the newest generation of Peacock Tail Thai Oranda currently being offered. And the following image is a full grown adult sized Peacock tail oranda.  

Small size Peacock Tail

Large Peacock Tail


This is a video sent to me by our customer who purchased several of our large sized show Peacock tail orandas when we first got them a few months ago.  Currently, this large size is sold out but I have secured some for the US market when the come to size in August.  

Video below is when I first picked them at the farm.  

When viewing Peacock tail oranda, look for round, deep, powerful bodies with full flowing tails.  The color will be extremely intense as these fish are raised on not only pellets but also several types of live foods.  On almost every occasion when I have visited the farm, they have been feeding live foods. This practice is much more expensive but according to the breeder, produces exceptional and superior color and growth.  This farm only produces traditional colors; Red/White and Black. 

Rose Tail

Rose tail Oranda is exclusively produced by a relatively new up and comer in the Thai goldfish industry.  They have made a big splash in the past 2 years, including taking many awards in the April All Thailand Goldfish Show.  I was lucky enough to spend a day at this farm getting to know them and learning about their fish. I was able to get the breeder to take some time out of his busy day to show me his selection process as he sorted through a few hundred fish.  I also spent some time with him learning about his future breeding plans and treatment processes.  

When looking at Rose Tail Thai Oranda, first look at the general shape of the fish. These fish will have the heaviest Chinese goldfish influence. Look for stout, egg shaped bodies.  Look for over-development in the head growth (wen). Finally, look for some ruffling in the tails and an open, spread tail.  Again, there is no doubt there are some similarities with Orchid or Peacock tail. However, if you pay close attention, you will see that the tail is different.  Additionally, Rose Tail Oranda will come in non traditional Thai colors like Kirin, Sakura and Calico. These again are from heavy Chinese influence.  

This tank of fish in the video are fish selected by the breeder himself for displaying to me what the best qualities hes breeding for.  I am totally enamored with the shape and colors he is able to produce. Again, take a look at the perfectly egg shaped bodies and large developed wen.  Then take a look at the powerful tail and flowing finnage. We spent most of the time discussing the body on the fish. Body, head, tail. However, during the selection process, we focused mainly on the finnage. 

Above: Some of our picks at the farm.  

Above: One of my holding ponds at the farm. 

Below: Small size Rose Tail - approximately 4" *Note - already poses impressive head growth.  Also note egg shaped body

small rose tail thai oranda

Below: Medium size Rose Tail - approximately 5" **Fins are beginning to fill out and develop (百折) ruffles.  Note beautiful tall dorsal.

medium size rose tail thai oranda

Below 2: Large size Rose Tail - approximately 6" ***Notice fuller finnage at mature size.  Head development should be almost full at this size.  


In conclusion, while there is no doubt there are some similarities in the new style Thai Orandas, there are also notable differences.  As we begin to introduce them to the US market, I feel it's important to pay homage to the breeders and creators of each of these tail types by correctly identifying them and not just lumping them all together and saying, “its all the same.”  


That being said, King Koi Goldfish has always aimed to represent the US consumers overseas, not sell foreign interest to US buyers.  As such, we have built relations with the 3 major farms producing these fish and are the only ones able to give a truly unbiased opinion.  Always be wary of those who are quick to put down others fish. Usually its because they are beholden to a specific farm or can only get one type of fish so they will put down others in order to sell what they have.