Is your goldfish pregnant? Can you expect them to lay some eggs in the not-too-distant future?
While noticeable weight gain on a goldfish is one of the biggest signs a goldfish is pregnant (more on that later), it isn’t a guarantee. There are in fact several potential indicators that your goldfish is expecting.
We’re going to cover the biggest tell-tale symptoms of a pregnant goldfish. We can also cover some basic care tips to help you. These tips can be helpful for both those who are not anticipating a pregnant goldfish, as well as those who are actively trying to breed them.
How to Tell If a Goldfish is Pregnant?
First of all, it is important to make a distinction here: While we are using the term pregnant goldfish to describe goldfish who are potentially about to lay some eggs, they are not actually pregnant in the technical sense. This is because the animals that can actually get pregnant are those which partake in live births.
Goldfish don’t. However, they can become full of unfertilized eggs. What happens after that can depend on a variety of different factors. It starts with knowing exactly what to look for in goldfish that are on the verge of breeding.
At the end of the day, that chubbiness could simply be due to the fact that your goldfish is overweight!
Symptom #1: The Belly
Let’s get the stomach out of the way once and for all.
A goldfish is pregnant will indeed look chubby, particularly around the belly. Keep in mind that this is not the same thing as being swollen in appearance. That could prove to be something else altogether.
There will be a slight-but-noticeable plumpness to them. While not a guarantee that the goldfish is about to lay some eggs, it is definitely the first significant sign you’re going to want to look for.
Also: As we mentioned before, it could be possible that you are overfeeding them, or that they are eating too much. Monitor your goldfish, and double check the directions for whatever you’re including in their diet. Don’t feel too bad. A lot of people overfeed their goldfish!
Symptom #2: Being Chased
During the breeding period, which can occur as early as in the first year, the female is going to become heavy with eggs. She will be looking for a place in which to lay them. We’ll discuss one of the biggest indicators of eggs you’re going to have, but for now, let’s focus on what the males in your tank are doing.
Male goldfish can be a real nuisance sometimes. When they sense that the female is filled with eggs, they’re going to look for a place to put their fertilization efforts to work. This biological need can be witnessed by simply observing the male and female interacting with each other.
When the female is ready to dump those eggs, they release a unique pheromone. This sends the definitive signal to the male, eager to fertilize. They will be excited to do this, seemingly, they will start chasing the female around the aquarium. They may even slap at the female with their fins.
While normal behavior, occurring during the spring and summer seasons, you should still keep an eye on it. If the male bothers the female for a significant amount of time, it can wreak havoc on their health. You may need to eventually move the female to a separate tank for a couple of days.
Symptom #3: Dropping Eggs
This is obviously one of the clearest examples of a goldfish about to lay eggs. It may be a little strange to imagine eggs literally spilling out of the goldfish, but this is indeed something that can happen sometimes.
If you really want to know for sure if the female has eggs, you can pick them up, and let them wriggle gently inside your hand. If they are in the best possible breeding shape possible, eggs may start falling out of them. This is even something breeders sometimes do, if the situation warrants such a move.
That is a big “if.” Squeezing your goldfish can also cause health issues and serious stress.
How to Take Care of A Pregnant Goldfish?
One common myth we should do away with: Does it mean my goldfish is pregnant if they’re spending increasing amounts of time on the bottom of the aquarium?
No. In fact, if your goldfish is doing this with greater frequency, the odds are unfortunately quite high that they are sick. This is also true of a belly that appears swollen, as opposed to simply chubby.
Pay attention to appetite, as well. The goldfish is still going to have a healthy appetite. If your goldfish is not eating, it could be a sign that they are sick.
In terms of taking care of your goldfish, there are a number of things you can do. Check out this guide on breeding goldfish to see what you need to do, if you are planning to purse the avenue of breeding them for fun or profit.
Remember that females may decide to eat their eggs after laying them. If you plan to breed goldfish, this is one of the most important considerations you are going to want to keep in mind.
If you don’t want baby goldfish, then make it a point to separate the male from the female for a couple of days. You can also simply see if nature will take its course.