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How Long Are Goldfish Pregnant?

Renee Whitmore
Last Updated on
by Renee Whitmore

Are you wondering what can get your goldfish pregnant? After all, goldfish don’t spontaneously generate from nowhere; They’re created through sexual reproduction, just like many other types of fish.

But if you’re struggling to get your pet goldfish pregnant, this answer might not be enough. Let’s discuss how goldfish get pregnant and have babies. We’ll also address how to identify a pregnant goldfish and what to expect when handling an expecting goldfish.

This way, you can maximize your chances of seeing goldfish babies swimming around your tank!

Pregnant goldfish

What Can Get Your Goldfish Pregnant?

There are two primary ingredients you need to get your goldfish pregnant. The first thing you’ll need is a male goldfish. After all, goldfish reproduce sexually. Without a female’s eggs and a male’s sperm, they’d cease to exist.

But the second thing you’ll need to get your female goldfish pregnant is warm water. Goldfish enter their mating season when waters start growing warmer. If your tank’s water is too cool, you may never get your goldfish to reproduce.

Pregnant Goldfish: How Do Goldfish Have Babies?

How do goldfish have babies? This is the natural question to ask after “What can get your goldfish pregnant?”

Essentially, goldfish have babies by laying eggs and fertilizing those eggs. But this is only part of the whole story. After all, goldfish reproduction relies on temperature. Therefore, this fish species might stop reproducing altogether if exposed to consistently cold waters.

In the wild, goldfish begin reproducing in the springtime. During this time of the year, water begins to become warmer and more conducive to egg-laying. When raising goldfish in tanks, it’s crucial to consider this triggering event if you want to produce baby goldfish.

Once the temperature is warm enough to initiate the reproduction cycle, female goldfish will begin producing eggs. These are hidden within her body cavity, but you may notice your fish becoming rounder and plumper as they reach laying capacity.

Female goldfish can release hundreds of eggs. These are often deposited in quiet, secluded areas around the tank. Once laid, male goldfish will spray the eggs with sperm to fertilize them. Within about 48 to 72 hours, these fertilized eggs become baby goldfish, also called fry.

What Does a Pregnant Goldfish Look Like?

A pregnant goldfish looks very much like an infertile goldfish. The one true physical sign that’s easy to read is weight gain. Female goldfish that seem much rounder or plumper than they once were may exhibit egg production signs.

But examining your goldfish’s physique isn’t the only way to determine whether they’re ready to have babies. You can also watch for mating behaviors or take a hands-on approach.

How Can You Tell if a Goldfish Is Pregnant?

There are a few ways to tell if your goldfish is about to lay eggs. First, if you notice that your male goldfish are badgering your females, you may want to investigate your female specimens a little more closely. This type of behavior may indicate that the female is about to lay eggs.

Female goldfish that are close to laying eggs will release a few eggs if touched or gently squeezed. You can use your tank fish net to catch a female and give them a quick tap. If you spot orange balls tumbling from their abdominal area, you’ve got a fertile female.

How Many Babies Can Goldfish Have?

Goldfish can have hundreds (or thousands) of babies each season. That’s because goldfish lay a tremendous amount of eggs, often multiple times throughout the breeding season. The result is potentially thousands of baby goldfish.

Because goldfish can live for more than a decade, a single female can give birth to several thousand young during her lifetime. Fish breeders may also trigger multiple breeding seasons during a single year by warming their tank’s water.

But female goldfish that are forced to lay eggs in quick succession may lead shorter, less healthy lives than their slower-paced counterparts. To produce the highest-quality goldfish, you may only want to trigger breeding once or twice per year.

There’s a reason why goldfish have so many babies at a time. Many juvenile goldfish will not survive to adulthood. While environmental conditions are occasionally to blame, their tankmates consume many baby goldfish shortly before or after their birth.

Do Goldfish Eat Their Young?

Keeping freshly fertilized goldfish eggs safe from harm can be more challenging than you may think. After all, goldfish eggs (fertilized or not) are an easy snack for other aquarium inhabitants. In some cases, goldfish will graze on their own young!

Consequently, it’s a great idea to isolate fertilized goldfish eggs from your general fish population. This will ensure that the baby fish develop fully and remain uneaten by larger, adult fish. There are several ways to isolate your goldfish eggs without accidentally destroying them.

Divider boxes are simple solutions that are also affordable and easy to work with. They attach to the lip of your tank and utilize your tank’s pre-existing water. However, this plastic mini-tank doesn’t allow adult fish in or baby fish out.

You may also decide to hide the eggs in a relatively safe hiding spot within the tank. This option is slightly less foolproof than using a divider, but it doesn’t require additional equipment. To do this, you’ll simply need to use your mesh fish net to catch the fertilized eggs.

Then you can move them to a nearby plant or artificial cave. Be sure that your chosen egg destination is hidden enough to deter hungry adults but open enough to allow airflow.

Final Thoughts

Female goldfish can produce young by releasing their eggs in a safe location. A male goldfish then fertilizes these eggs by releasing sperm near them. These eggs develop rapidly, often hatching within about 48 hours. In this way, goldfish don’t truly experience pregnancy.

That said, there are ways to tell when your female goldfish is preparing to lay her eggs. Most goldfish will become noticeably rounder as their eggs develop. They might also start garnering the attention of male goldfish, which will purposely chase and bump into the female.

About Renee Whitmore
Renee Whitmore
Renee Whitmore is an American college professor and freelance writer from North Carolina. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English and a Master’s Degree in English Education. When she is not driving her teenage son to wrestling practice or learning the ins and outs of Fortnite from her younger son, she is working on her first book to be published soon.
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