How to Know if Goldfish is Egg Belly or the Start of Bloat

Hi, dear friends! Today, we will talk something about goldfish. Exactly, goldfish have gained popularity among aquarists. They are easy to care for, which makes them an excellent choice for beginners. Generally, goldfish can live for 5–10 years in fish tanks, but it varies from different species. However, there are still some diseases you should pay attention to, bloating for example. But sometimes, you may be confused between bloating and egg belly, right? Do not panic! You will get answers from this article. Let’s get started!

Content Table

How often do Goldfish breed?

Goldfish usually start to breed at the age of 2, while some even breed at 1-year-old. They are more likely to breed in warm water, therefore, spring and summer months are the summits of breeding seasons. But goldfish will breed all year in warm climates. After pregnancy, it takes 2–3 months until the female goldfish lays eggs. Generally speaking, female goldfish may lay eggs two or three times each year.

Besides that, goldfish can lay 500–1000 eggs at a time. Nevertheless, some goldfish even can lay 2000 eggs at one time. After female goldfish lay the eggs, male goldfish will fertilize them. The eggs will hatch within 48–72 hours. Then, after 3–10 days, the hatched eggs can grow up to goldfish fry.
pregant goldfish care

Identification: pregnant Goldfish vs bloat Goldfish

If goldfish are pregnant, they may show the following features. The swollen belly is the most obvious symptom. The eggs inside the female goldfish’s body make the belly swollen. On the contrary, some female goldfish’s bellies may not be swollen, although they carry eggs. If the female goldfish streams out eggs, then it means your fish is pregnant, but not bloating.

In addition, for male goldfish, breeding tubercles are a special feature, also called “spawning tubercles”. The breeding tubercles are something like white bumps on the covers, gills, or pectoral fins. If there are such white bumps on your male goldfish, then your female goldfish is pregnant. However, the water temperature and light will impact the appearance of breeding tubercles. And the breeding tubercles may be difficult to see.

Aside from pregnancy, diseases will also lead to swelling, and bloating for instance. Bloating typically causes a swollen belly. If it is serious, the belly will face up and grasp the air. If your goldfish stop eating food or fish, it may be an indication that the goldfish get bloated. Besides, improper diet and bacterial infection are the causes of bloating. Luckily, bloating is rarely contagious. But you should take treatment once you notice bloating fish in your tank. Aside from bloating, dropsy will also lead to swelling.

Fish’s gills and anus will become swollen and red. Moreover, the fish produce more mucus than feces. For more additional information about dropsy and bloating, you can read How to Treat Dropsy or Bloating in Fish.
goldfish egg belly
In short, you can distinguish the pregnant and bloat from the swollen part of the belly. The posterior swollen belly is the result of pregnancy, while the anterior swollen belly indicates bloating.

Pregnant Goldfish care guide

To improve the survival rate of goldfish fry, it is essential to take good care of pregnant goldfish. In this part, we will provide you with some guidelines about caring for pregnant goldfish.

1. Enjoyable and safe environment

It is recommended to provide an enjoyable and safe environment, as pregnant goldfish will lay eggs. Once the eggs are fertilized and hatched, they may be attacked or eaten by predators. In such cases, sufficient hiding places are crucial. So you can place aquarium plants, rocks, and other fish tank decorations to provide hiding space. For another thing, hiding places will protect goldfish fry from being eaten by other adult fish. The most effective way is to set up another breeding tank. It will protect the goldfish eggs and baby goldfish.

2. Ideal aquarium equipment

To keep great water quality, changing the water regularly is necessary, and 20-30 percent of the water each week is feasible. You can finish it with a fish tank gravel cleaner. It will help you a lot. Aquarium vacuum also helps you to remove uneaten food or waste. Sounds practical and convenient, right? Meanwhile, when you change the water, it is better to test the new water with an aquarium water test kit before adding the water to your tank.
oranda goldfish
Moreover, an aquarium filter can also make sense in maintaining ideal water parameters. Nonetheless, to avoid your goldfish fry getting sucked into the filter, you’d better choose a sponge filter. On the other hand, goldfish are sensitive to water temperature. If the water temp is too high or too low, goldfish may get sick. Consequently, aquarium heaters can help you a lot. Likewise, an aquarium heater with a thermometer is perfect, as it can show the real-time water temp, and you can adjust accordingly. But some heaters can automatically heat up if the temp is lower than the setting range. Besides, some aquarium supplies can help goldfish grow better, such as light and thermometers.

  • Water temperature: 75-84℉
  • pH level: 6.0-8.0
  • Ammonia level: 0 ppm
  • Nitrite level: 0 ppm
  • Nitrate level: 0 ppm

3. High-protein food

Pregnant goldfish will consume a lot of energy and nutrients. Thus, feeding them high-protein food is crucial. In the meantime, pregnant goldfish need to reproduce eggs, and the food can meet their basic requirements of nutrients. Live food, including brine shrimp, bloodworms, and daphnia, are excellent high-protein food sources. In addition, food specifically formulated for pregnant goldfish is another option.

Goldfish laying egg signs

Usually, goldfish will show some signs when they are about to lay eggs. Female goldfish may become lethargic or lose interest in eating. Also, appearance change will manifest. This segment will discuss the signs specifically.

1. Lethargy and loss of appetite

Female goldfish become not as active as usual and are lethargic. In addition to the signal of laying eggs, lethargy may also be the result of stress and unideal water conditions. On the other hand, female goldfish may refuse to eat. It also means they will lay eggs.
Goldfish laying egg signs

2. Female goldfish will hide

When female goldfish are about to lay eggs, they usually hide behind aquatic plants, rocks, and driftwood, or at the bottom of your fish tank. Besides that, female goldfish will get away from other fish and just swim in one spot.

3. Male goldfish chase females

Female goldfish release unique pheromones, which means that she is going to lay eggs. Once the signal, male goldfish will begin to chase female goldfish and run the female to make her lay eggs. Meanwhile, it will last until the female goldfish releases eggs. However, goldfish chasing each other may be just to compete for food or territory.

4. Female goldfish become rounder

For the round belly, female goldfish are larger than male goldfish. But if the female is rounder than usual, it may indicate releasing eggs. And the size of the belly may be larger, or even stick out. Nonetheless, overeating, dropsy, or abdominal infections will also make the female goldfish become rounder.


After reading, have you got answers to the difference between bloating and egg belly? We hope this article can play a role in your goldfish-keeping journey. Nevertheless, this article may not reach every aspect. Thus, any wonderful ideas, please feel free to leave them in the comment! Finally, thanks for your reading.

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Comments (2)

  1. All these photos except for one are perfectly healthy, non-“pregnant” oranda goldfish. Orandas are a breed of goldfish that have a round belly. They’re supposed to look like that.

    Dec 7, 2023 Reply
    • Hi Julie,
      Thanks for your kind, we’ll update photos for the oranda goldfish.
      hygger is making unremitting efforts with your help.

      hygger team

      Dec 7, 2023 Reply

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