October 22

Top 10 Signs How to Tell if a Goldfish is Pregnant

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Well, this is a very common question: how to tell if a goldfish is pregnant? We will be answering this question in the following paragraphs. 

A Goldfish is an egg-laying species. They developed eggs in their abdomen. When they are pregnant or grabbed with eggs, then their abdomen is going to expand. So you can have a normal idea, what your goldfish look like, and when that belly expands, there is a possibility that she is pregnant. Now there are some other things that can also cause their abdominal carry to swell. For instance, there can be infections, cancers, and things like that. Therefore, if your fish shows signs of any of these problems, then let somebody know because pregnancy in these guys is pretty easy to know. They lay those eggs, and the male will milt those eggs to fertilize them outside the female body. Not all fish are egg bearers, but some are livebearers. After fertilization can occur, those baby Goldfish can start growing and live the full life.

First, let’s take a look at how you can differentiate between a male goldfish and a female goldfish. 

Male Goldfish Characteristics 

Male goldfish

Male goldfish have a pronounced and visible midline ridge at the underside of the belly. If your goldfish has small white spots known as tubercles on the gills, this is the most common sign during the breeding season. This is because, during the breeding season, these white spots start developing in males and later fade out. The other sign is that the female goldfish is more rounder as compared to the male goldfish. During the breeding season, the male goldfish will always be chasing the female goldfish. It is an excellent sign to know the difference between male and female goldfish. 

Female Goldfish Characteristics

Female Goldfish

The female goldfish usually is more rounder and has fat and bellies full of eggs. Compared to male goldfish, the female goldfish have a rounder body with a soft abdomen. Although some fish can change sex, goldfish are certainly not in that category. Their sex is fixed before birth. During the fish spawning season, the female goldfish vent will be swollen compared to the male goldfish. Also, during the breeding season, the female goldfish will always be chased by male goldfish.

Signs Goldfish are ready to breed  

The female goldfish are ready to breed when they look fatter than usual, and the male goldfish displays white pimples on its gills and fins. You might also notice that the male goldfish is chasing the female goldfish in the water tank or aquariums and poking her in the abdomen/belly. Sometimes it can be confused with fighting, but usually, it is a goldfish mating behavior. You can observe your goldfish in the winter and then again when the temperature becomes warmer. It will make it easy to notice the physical changes that appear on female goldfish.

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Ways to Tell if Your Goldfish Maybe “Pregnant”

When the female goldfish are prepared for laying eggs, (this time is known as spawning), then the female goldfish laying eggs is said to be pregnant. There are several ways to find out the goldfish could be ready to spawn or might be preparing for the spawn. The first step is to figure out the right conditions for spawning. The second step is to observe the pre-spawning behaviors in both male goldfish and female goldfish. Oh and don’t forget, your goldfish will only be pregnant when both male and female goldfish are present in the water tank or aquarium. 

Male Goldfish with breeding tubercles

The male goldfish sex is fixed before birth. When the breeding season arrives, the mature male goldfish will develop his breeding tubercles, which look like white bumps on the gills, covers, and the rays of his pectoral fins. The presence of these tubercles also helps recognize male goldfish. Still, their absence does not necessarily indicate that they are female goldfish. Because the tubercles can appear and disappear seasonally and depends on light and temperature. 

Being chased by other Goldfish 

The most common chase by the goldfish is the chase being done for defending territorial integrity, establishing dominance, mating, and competing for food. This is because the male goldfish is jealous of other male goldfish present in the tank or aquarium. This might happen when the tank or aquarium is too small. Territorial behavior is distinguished when one of the male goldfish is nipping the other goldfish to force it to keep away from a certain area of the tank or aquarium. Secondly, the male goldfish chase the female goldfish so that she can release eggs and he can fertilize them. 

Chubby stomach  

Becoming larger than its usual size in terms of the size of the belly of goldfish can have several meanings such as a sickness. The main culprit in a freshwater aquarium could be Dropsy. The Dropsy usually causes the goldfish to become larger than its usual size. The Dropsy is sometimes also known as protruding scales, meaning the goldfish looks like a pinecone. Dropsy in goldfish can be caused by an infection from bacteria present in all kinds of aquariums. If the goldfish in the aquarium is under stress, it is quite usual that the entire aquarium/tank becomes infected. The best practice is to take out the other goldfish and prevent the spread of bacteria. 

Lopsided belly when viewed from above

To find that your female goldfish is pregnant, there are many signs to know about this. One of them is that a more rounder, lopsided belly could be seen on female goldfish when you look from above. This often happens when the female goldfish belly is filled with more eggs on the side as compared to the other side. During this time, the female goldfish also has a swimming problem. However, there might be many other reasons for a rounder belly. 

Eggs coming out when picked up   

Reach out your hand in a water tank or aquarium and try to pick one of the female goldfish. If you notice that all of a sudden bunch of eggs start streaming out as she is trying to wriggle around in your hand, then it is a clear sign that your female goldfish is pregnant. This could also mean that your female goldfish has excess eggs, and she is spawning shape. A male goldfish is going to help her lighten the load. It is not recommended to squeeze the belly of the goldfish to take the eggs out, except for seasoned breeders. This can cause potential damage to the female goldfish as well as cause them considerable stress. 


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    Common Myths About Goldfish Pregnancy 

    1. Goldfish can get pregnant

    The first myth is that the goldfish can get pregnant. The answer is that, yes, goldfish can get pregnant but not in a way humans do. The goldfish is eggs-laying species. These fish are not livebearers such as guppies, mollies, swordtails, and platies. A pregnant goldfish is a female goldfish ready to breed and full of eggs. Usually with a big abdomen and male goldfish chasing them to release eggs.

    They lay eggs, but to fertilize eggs, there should be at least one male goldfish. The goldfish goes to the bottom of the tank or aquarium and stays there until the goldfish babies hatch. The goldfish lay eggs rather than having live young develop inside them, so it means there is no such thing as “pregnant female goldfish”. Usually, a fat goldfish shows a high probability of having eggs and is ready to spawn.

    2. A pregnant goldfish refuses food

    There are many signs that your female goldfish is pregnant. This makes people wonder whether a pregnant goldfish refuses food? The answer is that “No”. A goldfish only refuse to eat food when sick or feeling unwell. A healthy female goldfish carrying eggs will always have an appetite. To care for the female goldfish, it is better to feed them two or three times per day. At least three times, protein-rich food should be given to them, such as daphnia, bloodworms, or brine shrimp.

    3. Sluggish behavior indicates a pregnant goldfish

    The male goldfish chase and bother the female goldfish to spawn. The chasing behavior of the male goldfish to nudge the female goldfish bellies is to encourage, to lay eggs so that the male goldfish can fertilize them. Another unmistakable sign of pregnant goldfish is the hanging of female goldfish around the plants in the aquarium for a place to spawn. Once you see or notice that your female goldfish lay eggs, it is better to shift the goldfish to its original tank. Sometimes the female goldfish eats its own eggs. 

    4. Fish that sit at the bottom are pregnant.

    The female goldfish, when sitting at the bottom of a water tank or aquarium, does not mean that she is pregnant. Most of the time, they are doing it because they do not feel well. It is also possible that the quality of the water is not good enough. The goldfish do not nest as they are fish, not birds. Other problems of sitting at the bottom could be parasites, swim bladder problems, stress, the temperature of the tank drops low, or getting high. 

    5. Female goldfish will show “nesting behavior.”

    Female goldfish are not birds to show nesting behavior in water tanks or aquariums. When the breeding season comes, and they start laying eggs, they throw them everywhere, like in all parts of the tank. In short, there is no consideration, where to lay eggs. They quite often eat their eggs when they get the first chance.  You may even notice some goldfish eggs in the tank.

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    How Long are Goldfish Pregnant for?

    The first thing to clarify about goldfish is that they can not be pregnant. However, they carry eggs in their belly and are ready for spawn, as their look rounder and fat. In the breeding season, the male goldfish will chase the female goldfish to encourage the release of eggs so that he can fertilize them. Once all eggs are released and fertilized by male goldfish, they hatch in about two to seven days if the conditions are favorable. 

    How to Take Care of A Pregnant Goldfish? 

    When your female goldfish is carrying eggs, its physical demands, like courtship,  and spawning itself increase. You can feed them two or more two times a day. Thrice a week, given protein-like, bloodworms, daphnia, or brine shrimp is highly suggested. Maintaining a good level of oxygenation, quality of water in tank or aquarium, and providing enough space in the tank. 

    Temperature 

    Goldfish are the type of fish that can survive in a wide range of water conditions, including very warm and cold water. But make sure to keep the water tank or aquarium in optimum temperature conditions. The ideal temperature of the tank water could be between 20°C – 23°C. This temperature is good enough to have strong growth but not so high that goldfish feel stressed out and have low oxygen levels. Stability in the tank water temperature is very important as the goldfish do not like sudden temperature changes. 

    Increase Water Oxygenation 

    For better growth and sustainability in goldfish, it is important to maintain an adequate amount of oxygen level. There are many ways to increase water oxygenation, such as adding live plants, adding a strong filter having an adjustable flow rate, increasing water surface area, increasing water surface agitation, and keeping the fish swimming in different levels of water tanks or aquariums. In emergency situations, water changes or the cup method is beneficial to improve oxygenation. 

    Feeding 

    Regarding feeding, it is suggested to feed the goldfish two or three times a day. It is important to avoid excess amount of feed as it makes indigestion for the goldfish as well as contaminates the water tank or aquarium. As a rule of thumb, the amount of feed given to goldfish is the feed they consume in less than or equal to two minutes or feed compared to the size of the goldfish eye. It is also important to give a protein feed once a week. Goldfish do best in terms of growth and development with 30% protein feed.

    Spawning Mop  

    When goldfish breed, the male goldfish tries the female goldfish into very soft plants. Therefore, when the eggs are laid, they can remain stuck on the plants and develop there safely. Instead of using live plants all the time, breeders often simulate plants by creating spawning mops. These are very handy because they can be easily removed to a fry grow-out tank once the spawning period is over.  It is also used in the wild to catch the eggs and protects predatory parents or other species. The mops with having goldfish eggs and parents should be separated afterward. 

    Final Thoughts

    It is said that keeping goldfish in homes brings happiness, wealth, and prosperity at the same time. It brings peace to minds and carries away all negativity with it. Secondly, there is no pregnancy in goldfish as they are eggs-laying species, not livebearers. During the breeding season, the female goldfish has a fat abdomen and is chased by male goldfish. After the spawning is over, the parents should be transferred back to their original water tank or aquarium. We hope the information in this article, proved useful for you. Many thanks for reading!


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