How To Care For Your Pregnant Goldfish

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Last Updated on 2023-08-08

Goldfish are a type of freshwater fish that are popular with both new and experienced fish keepers because they are easy to care for. Many fishkeepers and aquarists would even try to breed the Goldfish. Goldfish are not very easy to breed when they are kept in captivity. So, if you have a pregnant goldfish, it’s normal to want to take the best care of it that you can. It’s not hard, but you’ll need to put in some extra work. Read this article to find out what you need to know about taking care of a pregnant goldfish.

How Can You Tell If A Goldfish Is Pregnant?

Goldfish don’t get pregnant in the same way that humans do. But before they lay their eggs, they keep the eggs inside their bodies which makes them look pregnant. Here are some easy ways to tell if your Goldfish is pregnant.

1. Plumpy Belly

You can quickly tell if your Goldfish is going to lay eggs by looking at its stomach. But it can be hard to tell the difference between a goldfish that has eaten too much and one that is about to lay eggs. The stomach of a pregnant goldfish is usually not the same shape on both sides.

2. Change In Behavior

When female Goldfish are pregnant, they can also become a little slow and sluggish. That means you might notice the Goldfish moving more slowly than usual and having difficulty getting around. Pregnant Goldfish will also frequently spend more time hiding in plants. 

3. Male Chasing The Female

When female Goldfish are carrying eggs, males will chase them around in the fish tank and bump their sides. Don’t worry if you see this sort of thing your Goldfish in your tank aren’t hurting each other. This is just one way that the male helps the female lay her eggs.

4. White Spots and Bumps On Males

If you want to know for sure if your efforts to breed Goldfish are working, look for white bumps or spots around the male Goldfish’s gills and heads. Only male Goldfish have these white bumps, which means that your fish is “in heat.” Even though these white bumps don’t always mean that there’s a pregnant goldfish, they are usually a good sign that there is.

5. Changes in Activity

During the start of the breeding period, your Goldfish would eat their food like they normally do. But as the time for spawning gets closer, you may start noticing that the female Goldfish starts to eat less. If your fish loses its appetite, it doesn’t mean it’s sick, but it could be that it’s just getting ready to lay its eggs.

6. Slow Release of Eggs

One great way to tell if your Goldfish is pregnant is it will slowly let out some eggs.   Goldfish lay so many eggs that if you try to pick one up, the eggs will slowly fall out of it. Don’t worry, if your female Goldfish is ready to lay eggs, it will do so on its own.

7. Frayed Fins

Frayed fins are a common sign of pregnancy in female Goldfish. This is because the male Goldfish chases her around and tries to fertilize her eggs. Nipping is also common, so this could be another reason why her fins are getting worn down.

Goldfish, aquarium, a fish on the background of aquatic plants

How Long Is A Goldfish Pregnant For

Goldfish are great fish for a tank because they have different personalities and can adjust to different water conditions. They are smart but not as aggressive as other fish, and they do well in groups, whether they are in the wild or in a fish tank. Even though they are easy to keep, they are not that quite easy to breed.

Since Goldfish lay eggs, a pregnant goldfish is technically not pregnant but gravid. Also, there is no fixed time for Goldfish to get gravid, which makes it an interesting behavior. They swim around with their eggs inside and wait for males to help them get the eggs out and fertilize them.

You shouldn’t worry too much because as long as you have both male and female Goldfish within the same fish tank, the eggs will be released automatically. Your only concern should be what to do with the unfertilized eggs in the fish tank, which can quickly go bad. And what to do with the hundreds or thousands of goldfish fry that could flood the tank.

What To Do When Your Goldfish Is Pregnant?

When they are kept in a tank, Goldfish can be hard to breed. So you need to make sure your Goldfish can lay eggs and that the eggs can hatch safely. Here is a step-by-step guide for what to do if your Goldfish is pregnant.

1. Prepare A Breeding Tank

If you want your pregnant Goldfish to safely lay its eggs, it’s always a good idea to buy a separate breeding tank. This way, you control the breeding tank’s environment without affecting other species. This also helps increase the chance that fry will live after they hatch and avoid getting eaten by adults.

2. Attach Necessary Tank Equipments

Your breeding tank will also need clean water, so make sure to add a filter like a sponge filter that doesn’t have any moving parts. To get more oxygen into the water, you may also need to add an air pump. Also, add a heater to keep the water in your aquarium at a steady, warm temperature that is safe for your pregnant goldfish and hatching fry.

3. Add Live Plants

After putting some things in your breeding tank, you can add live plants. Plants can help your breeding a lot because they can act as extra water filters and help make the water better. Your pregnant Goldfish will also hang out and lay eggs in the plants.

4. Add Spawning Mops

Also, you might want to add spawning mops that will pick up the eggs after they have been laid. The eggs can be caught and kept safe with the help of spawning mops. Spawning mops also give your pregnant Goldfish a place to hide their eggs when they are ready to lay them.

5. Transfer Your Goldfish

After you’ve done the things above, your pregnant Goldfish is ready to move to your new breeding tank. But before you move them, make sure that the water in your main tank and your breeding tank is the same to keep your pregnant Goldfish from being shocked. To move your Goldfish gently, you can just use a fishnet.

6. Make Sure There Are Male Goldfish

If you only move pregnant female Goldfish, there is a chance that they will reabsorb the eggs or, in the worst case, get stuck in them. When you move your Goldfish, you should also move the males so they can help the females lay eggs and fertilize the eggs once they are out. To figure out which one is male, look at its fins and body since male Goldfish tend to have more flowing fins and bodies that are a little bit smaller and skinnier than females.

7. Place the Adults Back To The Main Tank

Wait about a week after your pregnant Goldfish has laid eggs for the males to fertilize all of the eggs. After that, you can put the adults back in your main tank so they won’t eat the eggs and the fry that just hatched. You can just use a fishnet to move them, but make sure that the water in the breeding tank and the main tank has the same water parameters.

How Long Does it Take Goldfish To Lay Eggs?

For new aquarists, goldfish breeding is a little bit of a mystery, but most Goldfish won’t reproduce in captivity. For your Goldfish to be able to mate and have baby Goldfish in a tank, they must meet a number of conditions. This might put you off, but Goldfish do funny things, and the fact that they are all different makes having them a fun hobby.

Goldfish are usually sexually mature a year or two after they hatch from their eggs, but they are at their best when they are three years old. When a female goldfish is ready to lay eggs, she sends out hormones that males can pick up. After this, the males will begin spawning by pursuing the female fish around the tank and trying to push into her stomach.

If you keep the water warm for long enough, fish will sometimes spawn multiple times. In warmer places, Goldfish that live outside might spawn eggs twice or three times per season. In an aquarium setting, if you keep the water temperature warm and stable, they may be able to spawn throughout the year.

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How To Care For A Pregnant Goldfish

Goldfish are easy to take care of, but they are tricky to breed. Taking care of pregnant Goldfish doesn’t usually take much more work, but there are some things you should do to keep them healthy. Here are some things you can do for a goldfish that is pregnant.

1. Keep Your Aquarium Clean

When taking care of a pregnant goldfish, it is very important to keep the water at the right levels. This means keeping the levels of ammonia and nitrates in your tank at 0 parts per million (ppm). You should also change the water and vacuum the gravel regularly to get rid of any uneaten food or waste.

2. Maintain Water Temperature

In addition to making sure the environment is good for a pregnant goldfish, you’ll also want to make sure that the water’s temperature is somewhere between 74 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Even though Goldfish, pregnant or not, can live in cold water, the ideal water temperature for spawning eggs is usually warmer. If it’s too cold, the eggs may hatch early or die.

3. Provide Hiding Spots

Providing ample hiding spaces is also important for a pregnant goldfish. Goldfish will tend to spend more time in the plants when they are pregnant. When the fry are born, they will need plenty of places to hide so the plants can also provide them a place to live.

4. Provide A Protein Diet

As an aquarist, it is our responsibility to make sure that our fish get the food they need to remain healthy. Protein is essential for all adult goldfish, and even more so for pregnant Goldfish. Your pregnant Goldfish will have all the nutrients and energy needed to make healthy fry if she eats a lot of protein.

5. Install A Filter To Your Fish Tank

It is also recommended that you put a good filter in your fish tank to maintain clean water for your pregnant Goldfish and to reduce the amount of ammonia and nitrates in it. Choose one with a slow current, since Goldfish like still water. Many aquarists say that to keep the fry safe, you should use a filter without moving parts, like a sponge filter or an undergravel filter.

6. Increase Water Oxygenation

To keep a pregnant goldfish healthy, it is crucial to ensure there is enough oxygen in the water. There are many ways to get more oxygen into the water, like adding live plants, adding more movement on the water’s surface, and keeping the fish in  fish tanks swimming at different levels. In an emergency, you can do a water change or cup method to increase oxygen levels in the water.

7. Put A Spawning Mop  

When a male goldfish wants to mate with a female goldfish, he tries to hook her on very soft plants. They do this so they can lay their eggs on the soft leaves, where the fry can grow up safely. Instead of always using real plants, breeders often make spawning mops to act like plants. These are very useful as they can be easily moved to a tank where the fry will grow when the spawning period is done

How To Tell If Your Goldfish Has Dropsy Or Is Pregnant?

Dropsy is a very serious disease that kills most Goldfish that get it. It is important to be able to tell if your Goldfish has dropsy so you can give it the right treatment. Here are some ways to tell if your Goldfish has dropsy or just carrying eggs.

1. Very Big Belly

Dropsy makes your fish look very fat, maybe even so fat that it would look like it’s about to explode. It’s easy to tell if your Goldfish is pregnant or just bloated because it will look normal except for a bigger belly. And pregnant Goldfish usually have a lumpy, uneven belly.

2. Pinecone Scales

When a goldfish has dropsy, its scales will start to stick out like the tips of pinecones. If the scales on your Goldfish start sticking out, you should treat it right away. A pregnant goldfish will have a normal scale that doesn’t look strange.

3. Bulging Eyes

The eyes bulging out is another sign of dropsy that can help you tell the difference between a pregnant goldfish and one with dropsy. When Goldfish have dropsy, their bodies will swell up so much that their eyes tend to bulge. Sometimes only one of its eyes will bulge, but sometimes both of them will.

4. Swimming Problems

Usually, a pregnant goldfish can swim fine and will even swim around and play chase with males. A goldfish with dropsy, on the other hand, will have trouble swimming. When a goldfish has dropsy, its fins will turn red and be stuck to its side.

5. Pale Gills

If you think your swollen Goldfish might have dropsy, you can look at its gills to see if they are pale. If it’s not, it’s probably pregnant or just probably bloated. Goldfish with dropsy often have pale gills, which is a sign of anemia.

6. Loss of Appetite

Sometimes a pregnant goldfish will eat, but if it has dropsy, it will lose its appetite. This is because dropsy can cause your fish to be so stressed out that they won’t eat. Make sure to pick up the uneaten food so that the ammonia and nitrates in the water don’t rise, which will make the Goldfish even more stressed.

7. Curved Spine

If a goldfish has dropsy, it will get so fat that its spine will start to curve. This is because fluid fills up the abdomen and moves the organs out of their normal places. On the other hand, a pregnant goldfish will look just like a normal goldfish with a straight back, except that it will have a bump on its stomach.


How Do You Know if Your Goldfish Is Pregnant or Fat?

A pregnant goldfish will often have a lumpy, uneven stomach. If your Goldfish is fat, overfed, or bloated, it will just have a big, round stomach.

How Can You Tell When A Goldfish Is Going to Lay Eggs

One way to tell if your female Goldfish is about to lay eggs is if the males and females display a spawning chase. Before they spawn eggs, females tend to get chased by males around in the fish tank.

Do Pregnant Goldfish Sit at The Bottom of The Tank

It is not true that Goldfish who are about to lay eggs spend time around the bottom of the fish tank. It’s only when the Goldfish are sick, that’s the time they tend to stay at the bottom of your fish tank.

How Often Do Goldfish Breed?

Goldfish in the wild or in a pond spawn when the water is warmer, which is usually in the spring and summer. But in an aquarium, if you keep the temperature warmer, your Goldfish can spawn at any time of year.

How Many Eggs Do Goldfish Lay at Once?

If the temperature in your aquarium is just right, a female goldfish can spawn up to a thousand eggs at once and several times a week. If the eggs are fertilized, the shell will get more transparent and have a black dot inside a few days later.

Will a Goldfish Eat Their Own Babies?

Goldfish don’t have parental instincts, so they can eat their own eggs or babies. Goldfish will eat anything and everything that happens to fit in their mouths, which makes them dangerous to the baby goldfish in the fish tank.


Aquarists sometimes have trouble getting Goldfish to breed. But to trigger them to breed, you have to wait until they are fully grown and change the water temperature from cold to warm. Once the females are carrying eggs, you can give it the care it needs, like a high protein diet, increased oxygen levels in the water, and providing hiding spots where they can lay their eggs. It is also very important that you can tell apart if your Goldfish is pregnant or having dropsy so you can treat it right away if it has become sick. There are ways that will help you tell if your Goldfish has dropsy, like extreme swelling of the body and scales sticking out like that of a pine cone. If you know what to do, taking care of a pregnant Goldfish isn’t too hard.

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