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When is Breeding Season for Goldfish?

If you have multiple goldfish in an aquarium or pond, you may be curious as the when they’ll start breeding. Goldfish spawn indoors in a heated aquarium or outdoors in a pond when the temperature reaches at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit (or 15 degrees Celsius). As to when you can expect this to happen, well I have the answer for you below:

Breeding season for goldfish is usually in the spring. More specifically, somewhere between late spring and early summer. You can expect goldfish to begin spawning in either May or June in North America. Depending on where you live, the goldfish breeding season can extend even into the fall, provided the temperature holds steady at 60 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.

Now that you know goldfish breed in warm water in the late spring or early summer, let’s take a closer look at this in more detail. In this article, I’ll explain how to recognize when goldfish are ready to lay their eggs, what the eggs look like, and where they usually lay them. I’ll also discuss how long mating takes, what the duration of pregnancy is, and whether (or not) goldfish eat their offspring?

And now, if you’re ready to learn more about goldfish and their breeding habits, then let’s get started!

Do Goldfish have a Breeding Season?

Goldfish, like any other aquatic creature, have a breeding season. Depending on where you live, this can begin in spring and continue through to fall, if you keep them in a heated outdoor pond or live in a warm region. If you keep goldfish indoors in a heated aquarium, breeding can take place numerous times year-round, not just during a specific season.

How Long Do Goldfish Mate For?

Goldfish are capable of breeding within the first 2 years of life. Successfully mating, however, usually takes place around the age of 3 years old. On average, they’ll spawn once a month in late spring or early summer. In North America, outdoor breeding usually occurs between the months of April and August. This usually equates to multiple spawnings – anywhere from 2 to 4 times per breeding season.

What Time of the Year Do Goldfish Lay Eggs?

As mentioned above, goldfish lay their eggs in warmer weather when the temperature of the water reaches a minimum of 60 degrees Fahrenheit (or 15 degrees Celsius). In North America, this is usually in late spring (May)/early summer (June). Of course, this is regarding goldfish kept in ponds outside your home. If kept in an aquarium inside, they can lay eggs multiple times throughout the year.

How Warm Should Water Be for Goldfish to Mate?

The warmer the water, the more inclined goldfish are to mate. Consider raising the temperature in your aquarium just 3 degrees Fahrenheit (or 2 degrees Celsius) to encourage spawning. The ideal range is anywhere between 68 degrees F (20 degrees C) and 74 degrees F (23 degrees C). As well, try to ensure the pH of water remains consistent – anywhere between 7.0 and 8.0 is ideal.

Adding a heater to your outdoor pond will also promote goldfish breeding. A good one to check out online through Amazon is this Power Heat Heated De-Icer for Ponds. It’s ideal for ponds that get colder than 20 degrees F (-7 degrees C) and assists in gas exchange by keeping ice from forming around heater. For the health and longevity of your goldfish, it’s well worth the investment.

How Do You Know When Goldfish are Spawning?

If you want to know when goldfish spawning is at hand, watch the males! Male goldfish will develop small white bumps on sides of their heads, gill covers, and pectoral fins. These are known as spawning tubercles. They’ll also start to ‘chase’ the females around the tank or pond in an attempt to mate. The entire spawning process can take place anywhere from a few days to a week (or more).

How Do You Know When Goldfish are Ready to Lay Their Eggs?

You’ll know your goldfish are ready to spawn by the behavior they exhibit. Females will be become sluggish and spend most of their time hiding among the plants or rocks in the tank. They may also refuse to eat at times. This is referred to as the ‘nesting’ stage. Just before she is about to ‘drop’ her eggs, you’ll notice her belly getting bigger and rounder as well.

Where Do Goldfish Lay Their Eggs in a Pond?

Female goldfish will often lay their eggs among the aquatic vegetation in a pond. Live plants and reeds will be covered with eggs during the breeding season. The eggs look like small round ‘bubbles’ that are clear with a dark spot in the middle. Not to mention, there are thousands of them being laid at any one time! Whatever eggs go unfertilized will usually be eaten by the newly hatched fry.

Where Do Goldfish Lay Their Eggs in an Aquarium?

Female goldfish will often lay their eggs on the leaves of live or fake plants in an aquarium. They may also drop them along the substrate or onto rocks or fixed ornaments in the tank. Due to the sticky mucus coating surrounding them, the eggs will attach firmly to wherever they’ve been scattered. This also prevents them from falling onto the substrate where they can be easily eaten.

How Long are Goldfish Pregnant For?

Because goldfish aren’t livebearers (fish that retain their eggs inside their bodies and later give birth to live, free-swimming fry), they’re usually not referred to as being ‘pregnant’. That said, goldfish eggs will usually hatch anywhere from 2 to 7 days after laying. Even though thousands of eggs are dropped, only a small amount will be viable and/or fertilized by the males.

What Do Goldfish Eggs Look Like?

As mentioned above, goldfish eggs look like tiny clear bubbles with a dark spot in the center. They may also appear as small white to yellow-orange orbs lining the leaves of aquatic plants in the tank or pond. They’re extremely sticky and will adhere to almost type of vegetation or mineral matter. If you can, set-up a fry tank in advance and move the eggs there to avoid them getting eaten by other fish.

Do Goldfish Hide when Laying Eggs?

Female goldfish will often take cover in shelters or among plants and rocks in an aquarium just before she’s ready to lay her eggs. This is called ‘nesting’ and comes with other typical breeding behaviors, such as eating less and swimming slowly. Make sure you know the difference between nesting and illness, as a diseased or dying fish will also hide out, refuse food, and move sluggishly.

Do Goldfish Eat Their Babies?

It’s typical for goldfish to either eat their eggs once dropped or eat their offspring after they’ve hatched. Therefore, it’s imperative that you remove the adults from the community tank and keep them in a separate aquarium until the fry have grown. The average length of time is approximately 6 months. If kept in a pond, you can remove the eggs instead and place them in a fry tank to hatch.


To conclude, goldfish usually breed in late spring/early summer when kept in an outdoor pond. In North America, this is in either May or June. If you live in a warmer region, breeding can continue into fall, provided the temperature doesn’t drop below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. When kept in a heated aquarium indoors, goldfish breeding can happen multiple times throughout the year with a greater success rate.

I hope you’ve found this article to be both interesting and informative. Thanks for reading and good luck with your goldfish tank/pond.

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